Monday, September 20, 2010

Jesse Lou Bagget 1997?-2010

On Saturday, September 18, 2010 at approximately 2:20 pm EDST, Jesse Lou Bagget passed away from a lethal injection of anesthetic administered humanely at Hudson Highland Veterninary Hospital in Hopewell Junction, New York. Mr Bagget suffered from degenerative myelitis which had progressed to the point where he could no longer rise up on is own power and which caused him considerable suffering.
The circumstances of Mr Bagget's birth are shrouded in mystery. He first appeared to his ultimate adoptive family, the St Georges, as a fully adult dog in the summer of 1999 in Edith Welty Park in Yonkers, NY. Mr Bagget was a denizen of the park and the surrounding neighborhood in the Bryn Mawr section of Yonkers. He eluded dog catchers and would be adoptive families for over two years. He often joined neigborhood dogs and their families when they were on their walks in the park. He was particularly fond of Bob Geriak and his German shepherd Princess and would wait for them outside the Geriak apartment each morning.
In some parts of the neighborhood, Mr Bagget was known as Hobo. In others, he was Pal. He enjoyed the genersoity of many households who did not begrudge him table scraps. In the block where the St George family resided, he was known as Jesse. Mrs St George made a bed for Jesse on the porch for very cold nights and rainy weather, and it was to this bed that he retreated after being struck by a car and seriously injured. This led to his becoming the fourth dog in the St George household.
Mr Bagget was known for his dignity and good looks as well as his dog aggression and hatred of cats. He rose through the ranks as the St George dogs aged and passed away and assumed the position of alpha dog in 2003 on the passing of Sundance, the last of the beagles from the Washington, DC era. He governed Wm Jasper stone, a pit bull, who joined the family in 2003.
Mr Bagget is survived by WJ Stone, his underdog, and DA St George of Stormville, NY and Ellen St George of Jersey City, NJ.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Time to Get Over 9/11

Every year as September 11th approaches, Americans ramp up the ritual of narcissistic self pity about the terrorist attack on that date in 2001. I hear cries of "9/11 changed everything!" and "Never forget!" as if 9/11 actually changed anything and as if there were any possibility that it would be forgotten. Yes, the attacks on September 11, 2001 were terrible, and it is a pity that so many died, but let's try to have a little perspective.

Londoners in World War II endured rocket attacks and death and destruction without wallowing in bathos. Half of Europe experienced devastating bombings, and today little is made of it. Japan was nuked, for crying out loud, and the Japanese do not define themselves by their victimization. The Old World endured those monsters Stalin, Hitler and Mao with tens of millions dead and tens of millions more in agony. And yet life goes on and moves forward in a way that does not permit the monsters of the past to define the future or the present. Even today, there are places where suffering and death occur on a scale which renders 9/11 insignificant. Indeed, Americans have inflicted far greater suffering and death in their reaction to 9/11 on victims who had nothing to do with 9/11 than occurred on 9/11.

Where's our stiff upper lip? Why do we display such an obsession with 9/11 and surrender to a stupid eliminationist reaction? Is it because Americans are terrified? If so, the terrorists have achieved their aims.

Do you hate and fear Muslims now when before 9/11 you didn't even know they existed or didn't even give them a second thought? Then the terrorists have succeeded with you.

Are you ready to shred the Constitution and surrender your liberties for the illusion of security? Then the terrorists have succeeded with you.

Do you buy into the irrational notion that Islamist extremists pose an existential threat? Then they have you right where they want you. You are afraid of shadows.

9/11 changed nothing for me. I am not afraid. You should not be, either. Take a good long look at the figures in the media and in politics who stoke your fears. They are doing the terrorists' work; their interests are aligned with those of the terrorists. They want you afraid, because when you afraid you are stupid. And when you are stupid, you will support them. Don't be afraid; don't be stupid; don't let 9/11 change anything.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I just got home from a seven day cruise to Bermuda. My traveling companion was my 14 year old nephew. Actually, "companion" is not really an appropriate word, since I rarely saw him. He was off with the teen club and his new friends whenever he could. The NCL cruises are great for parents who don't want to see their kids much.

Basically, I was a single traveler on a cruise with no particular facilities or activities for adult singles, so I had to put some effort into enjoying myself. And enjoy myself I did. I spent a small fortune in the spa and racked up an epic bar bill. Gambling accounted for a few hundred bucks, and it was money well spent. I managed to find dance partners most of the time. On two evenings I had dates with women I met on the ship. Alas, there was no Love Boat happy ending where Gopher brings the star crossed lovers together.

I was delighted with the service and the friendliness of the crew. I met a lot of nice people who let me hang around with them. My only complaint would be that most of the passengers were of a lower social class than I am accustomed to hanging around with, so many of them were loud and obnoxious and whiny and constantly complaining about everything. I wanted to throw them overboard.

I don't think I'll take a cruise as a single person again unless it's explicitly a "Singles' Cruise".

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've been on the road a lot and keeping busy with divers activities and lessons and dating, and I have neglected to blog. I haven't had much of interest to relate besides dating horror stories and discovering that huckleberry infused vodka with lemonade is EVIL. I have done some soul searching, though, and think I have made a breakthrough that might be interesting to my reader.

My query to myself has been "what kind of fool stays in a relationship in which he is mistreated and disrespected"? A further line of inquiry is "and what kind of fool does it again and again"? A partial answer is that I believed the objects of my devotion when they suggested that I didn't deserve any better and that I couldn't do any better than them. But I am coming to realize that the problem is rooted in the nature of courting as I learned it and some deeper issues that I need to address.

Southern gentlemen press a kind of courtly, chivalric suit with unreserved and enthusiastic expressions of interest and flattery directed at women who are expected to appear to be indifferent. Or at least that's how it always seemed to me to be the way it was supposed to work. There was nothing more attractive to me than indifference (except perhaps outright hostility). Indifference was a sure sign of a lady's merit. She was not supposed to show any sign of interest until I had spent ages showering her with my devotion and practicing every charm I could muster, and then it would be most reluctantly bestowed.

So from youth, I always pursued females who did not like me and ignored those who did (assuming ad arguendo that such females existed). If they did like me, they would have to be unavailable in order to be attractive. In high school, I had some very close female friends as a result of this but very few dates. When I had girlfriends, I liked them more than they liked me, and I ignored the obvious "enthusiasm gaps" that should have foreshadowed the inevitable painful breakups.

I persisted in this throughout college and law school. I had lovers who were exceedingly selfish and inconsiderate of me. The higher maintenance, the better it must have seemed to me. I passed on many lovely young women (I was a catch at one time) who would have adored me in favor of cold and indifferent women who, in retrospect, cared nothing for me.

At first, my ex-wife was a break in the pattern for me. She pursued me relentlessly for months, and I was not attracted to her as a result. It was only when I got to know her and discovered that she was relatively unaffectionate and withholding that I realized that I had to have her. And the more she grew to despise me, the more I loved her. You can imagine that my love for her reached its zenith as she was walking out on me.

Tragic and stupid, huh? How do I break this pattern? I don't want to end up with another high maintenance, withholding and contemptuous lover, but I fear that I will be drawn to just such a woman like a moth to a flame. Perhaps the nature of on line dating will prevent me from hooking up with such women. After all, if they are indifferent to me, why would they consent to meet me or date me? I suppose, though, that there are women who enjoy being pursued and flattered by men whom they enjoy tormenting, and I am probably doomed to meet some of them. They'll be looking for men like me.

I'm hoping that awareness will help me see when my destructive pattern is emerging so I can make an escape. I really do want to find someone who will love me back. I think it would be better to die alone than to endure another lopsided relationship.

I need to develop a list of warning signs. Any ideas on what should be on that list would be welcomed.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Ballroom Dancing is Just like NASCAR!

During dance lesson #4 on Saturday, I had the sudden realization that ballroom dancing is just like NASCAR, except that everybody wins. It all made sense. It's all about a series of left turns. I'm the driver; the lady is the car; and the object is to get around the dance floor without crashing into other dancers or the wall. OK, so it's only a little like NASCAR.

I tried the swing step again and almost got it. Crap, it's fast. And it smacks of effort. I need to get in better shape before I do too much swing dancing. I really like the foxtrot, rhumba and tango, and I can visualize myself driving a woman around the dance floor and maybe even carrying on a conversation.

I used to wonder why men who were dancing seemed preoccupied and inattentive to their partners. Now I know they're scouting the track and planning their moves to avoid collisions. You can't be peering into your partner's eyes too much or you'll get into a pile up!

I've got two more lessons next weekend.

Friday, July 02, 2010

I Know Enough About Ballroom Dancing to Get Someone Killed

I had my third session of ballroom dancing lessons with Lyudmilla this evening. I have to say it was pretty gratifying because I didn't forget the previous lessons and was actually doing a pretty good foxtrot with directional changes and promenades, even a turn. Lyudmilla thinks I may eventually be able converse with my partner while I dance insteaad of counting in my head the whole time (slow, slow, quick, quick).

I had the basic rhumba down and started to work the hips a little. It must have been pretty sad because Lyudmilla quickly moved on to a cool riff on the dance, the name of which I didn't catch. It felt pretty fancy though, and I mastered it.

We started to take up swing dancing but I was such a retard that we didn't spend much time on it and moved on remedial tango where we danced around the room and did promenades . Lyudmilla promised to try swing again in the morning when I'm fresh. It won't matter. I'm always a spaz with a new step. I aim to learn it because it looks like fun and a way to dance to faster pop songs.

All in all, I am pretty satisfied with the progress I have made with 2 hours and 25 minutes of instruction.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Dating Pool

I estimate that there are 850,000 unmarried white women aged 32-52 within a 60 or so mile radius of my home. I'm ruling our married women as part of my Don't Be a Douchebag commitment. And I'm ruling out ethnicities other than white because I am physically attracted only to white women, and I want my next relationship to be physical to make up for the virtual sexlessness of the last 15 years of my loveless marriage.

Of the SWFs, I reckon 42,500 are lesbians, leaving 807,500 in the pool. I'm going to want to date someone from the right side of the bell curve (although exceptional hotness may be substituted for smartness up to a point), so the pool of potential partners is reduced to 201,880 women.

Then I have to figure in my subjective preferences. I have a type (Catherine Zeta Jones, Tanya Memme, Nigella Lawson, but a woman doesn't necessarily have to be a curvy brunette to be attractive to me. Hell, I was married to a scrawny blonde woman for 26 years. Based on a very unscientific survey consisiting of my keeping loose track of the times I have thought to myself "I'd tap that" compared to the total number of women who come into my field of vision, I figure that I could be attracted to no more than 20% of women. I'm not saying 80% of women are unattractive, just that they don't do anything for me. This gets me down to 40,376 women whom I would consider dating.

Of these demographically and subjectively qualified potential partners, I reckon that about half of them will have dealbreaking personality or character flaws. They may have voted for McCain/Palin, for one example. Or their kids could be such unbearable shits that I'd have to question their mother's judgment as a human being for letting them get that way. Now I'm down to 20,188 women who might be acceptable to me.

Of these acceptable women, given that they are intelligent and attractive, at least half of them will be in committed relationships and therefore unavailable. That leaves 10,094 ladies.

By far the largest winnower of remaining potential mates will be whether they will want to have anything to do with me. Will I meet their criteria? I'm guessing that at least half, especially on the younger end of my acceptable age range, will not be able to get past the fact that I'm 52 years old. That leaves me with 5,047 ladies. I'm not a bad looking guy, and I won't always have the paunch I'm sporting now, but I figure at least half of the remaining ladies will not be attracted to me in the least for one reason or another. I'm not their type; they like long hair or beards; whatever. They'll take one look at me and say "hell no". So, I'm down to 2,523.5. Half of these ladies just plain won't like my personality after talking to me for two minutes. Now I'm down to 1,261.75 potential mates.

I will encounter only a small fraction of these remaining ladies. They'll be on an on line dating site, or they'll be members of my church, or a mutual acquaintance will introduce us, or I'll pick them up in some singles venue. Most of the potential mates will never even know I exist. I'll probably encounter no more than 50 women in the next six months.

Maybe I should look into those Russian women who are so keen to meet me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Working on Scripts

Another script that keeps coming up is "You're lazy!"

My defense? No contest. I am lazy. I know it. I really like limin' and doing nothing.

I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that as long as I get my work done.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Scripts

Another script that runs in my head is "You're an ingrate!"

My answer these days? "No, I am a person who happens to have been ungrateful at times." I'm not immutably ungrateful by nature. If I were, would I even be aware of my ingratitude or capable of the gratitude I feel right now and which grows stronger every day?

I have not always been as grateful as I ought to have been, indeed as I would have been if I knew then what I knew now. In many cases, there is time to make amends and to express gratitude belatedly. In other cases, I can pledge to pay forward what I received, and I can take comfort in knowing that in most cases the gifts I received were freely given with no expectation of thanks.

There are other scripts to which I may make analogous retorts. I am NOT inconsiderate; I just haven't always shown the consideration that I ought to have done. I am NOT selfish; I just happen to have failed to seize on all the opportunities I have had to be generous. I don't need to internalize every misstep and failure as a character flaw. I can confess my faults and move on knowing that I am capable of improvement.

In the past, I always failed to distinguish between what I had done or failed to do and who I am. Then the scripts had me. If I denied being an ingrate, a bill of particulars consisting of a series of instances of ingratitude could be brought against me. If I denied being inconsiderate, then here would come the indictments in the form of every little instance of inconsideration. And so on with every human failing. I was not just a sinner; I was sin itself.

I'm not claiming that I have conquered the scripts, not by a long shot. But recognizing them for what they are should be a big help to me in practicing self forgiveness and being open to self improvement.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It Ain't About Deservin'

In my solitude of late, I have been able to identify a number of the scripts that run in my mind and unconsciously affect my behavior and mood. The most persistent of these is "I don't deserve to be loved/I'm not worthy of love" or some variation on that theme.

I'm confronting the script with a big fat "so what!" Of course, I don't "deserve" to be loved and am not "worthy" of love. Nobody is. Love is not an entitlement. It is freely given, an act of grace which cannot be earned or demanded. It wouldn't really be love if you could cash in your chips in exchange for it.

My very existence is testament to the love that God has for me. He so arranged the universe that I would come to be in it and live in it. What an amazing gift. And He sent Jesus and claimed me as His own, all before I was even born. There's no issue of deserts or worthiness with God.

The same goes for people. I don't have claims on their love. Nevertheless, I find it freely given and coming from unexpected quarters.

The script can run all it wants but its power over me is fading. It is true that I am unworthy and undeserving of love, but is also true that I am, in fact, beloved. This is a powerful and important realization for me.

Now my focus is turning away from wanting to be loved and more to wanting to love. The prayer of St Francis comes often into my thoughts and as part of my prayers. The salient portion in this case being:

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Emote

So I'm off sertraline which I've taken for 12 plus years (I took something else before that but don't remember what and Prozac before that). I've been on some kind of anti-anxiety, mood regulating medication for a couple of decades, and now I feel like Commander Data after his emotion chip was installed.

The anxiety has not returned so far. Sure, I get anxious, but it seems to be the normal response to normal anxiety provoking contexts, and it does not persist after the stimulus is gone. Also, excessive caffeine consumption has the expected results.

What I am having difficulty with is the intensity of the mostly positive emotions I am experiencing. I can't talk about the incredible outpouring of love and support that I have received without shedding tears. I get weepy over moving song lyrics or bathetic moments in movies or books. I cry over starving children and the victims of war in newscasts. I tear up when I feel gratitude. I weep tears of joy when I feel joy. WTF? Shouldn't I have some other mode of emotional expression in my arsenal?

On the other hand, I have been enjoying full on, unreserved laughter like I have not experienced in decades (sometimes, you guessed it, until tears run down my face). I feel love, hope, peace and joy like I have not felt them before.

I want this to wear off to the extent that I don't totally wear out my tear ducts, but I also want to keep on feeling deeply. If I could do it without the waterworks, I'd be better than OK. If I have to keeop the waterworks, I'd rather live with that than go back to numbness.

How do you humans cope with these emotions and control your physical responses?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Crazy Day

This was my "day off", so I tried to cram as many appointments in it as I could. First thing, I see a urologist who diagnoses me with "hypogonadism". I knew it! I had been fatigued, gaining weight, unable to increase weights at the gym, and lacking in the libido department. I got a prescription for a testosterone gel. Then labs to see why my earlier liver function test was abnormal. Then stuck in traffic while a downed power line was fixed. Then an allergy shot, Then a $20 sandwich to fo from Panera. WTF?

I made a quick stop at Blue Seal to get bird seed (Neat Feast, the birder's secret) and some woodpecker cakes. I hit the pharmacy to fill my new rx only to discover that my shitty insurance prefers a different brand and won't pay. So it's back to the urologist for a new scrip which I return to the drug store. Then home to check in on the dogs and activate my "Androgel Savings Card".

Then a massage. Ahhhhhhhh. Don't forget the liquor store since the former Mrs Vache Folle is coming over to pick up some of her stuff.

Then go to church and meet with a "Stephen Minister". I didn't expect this to be helpful but it was. I'm meeting him again next week. I was exhausted from weeping and dealing with issues I had been avoiding.

Then back to get my precious testosterone and some tomatoes for the salad I'm making for the former Mrs VF. She's gotta eat doesn't she? I finally decompress a bit and check my work e-mails. Deal with a crisis and then go for a "jog" (60% power walk).

Feed and medicate the dogs. Relax a moment. Former Mrs VF is effing here already? Make her a salad, pour her some wine. Pack her some cookware because her lover's ex took all his. Make her take the goddam frozen duck that I had bought for a special dinner for the weekend before she left.

Take her to the train (Jasper comes along for the ride) and try to explain to her how badly I felt about how I had acted when she dropped the bomb on me and why I had done so. Got weepy. Gave her the mini bottles bottles of wine I had bought her for her train ride. Helped her carry the bags up the platform and onto the train. Wished her a fond farewell.

Got back to her car, which we had taken and which she was leaving at the house and realized I did not have a key to it. Pit bull and wallet were inside. Convinced Mexican limo driver to risk reaching into window cracked for pit bull to unlock car and take pit bull and dumbass home.

Blogged about big day. Wished had kept some mini bottles of wine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Where I grew up, a lot of folks reckoned that dancing was sinful and incited youth to lust. So nobody ever taught us how to dance. Sure, we had dances in high school. Homecoming, the Sweetheart Dance, the Junior-Senior Prom. But nobody actually knew how to dance. We'd just "freestyle", i.e. wiggle and hop around as the music moved us and like we saw in movies. Slow dancing was just hugging while standing up and shuffling around. There were just the three dances all year, and none of us ever got any better. I certainly didn't. Even Baptist weddings didn't involve dancing.

By the time I got to college, the disco era was in full gear. So we learned a couple of stupid moves involving swinging our partners around a little and emulating the dancers on Saturday Night Fever. The dance floors in the clubs were usually too packed for most people to do much in the way of moving around, so we usually just reverted to winging it like we did in high school.

Only by then I was considerably more confident, no longer being a total dateless loser, and I felt free to innovate in my dance moves. This consisted primarily of looking disinterested most of the time while barely moving or getting really creative. My creativity generally involved pantomiming in a highly stylized fashion some sort of activity, such as fly fishing. I'd cast an imaginary line and reel it in, reel it in. Sometimes, if the music moved me, I'd catch a fish. Other movements I would deploy included "starting the mower", "rowing the boat", and "calling the dog". Later on I moved up to "riding the pony" and "sailing the sunfish". Throughout my career as a very bad dancer, I could always fall back on the old familiar "pancake breakfast".

I was blissfully unaware that I was not an excellent dancer until my wife and I and another couple went to a swing dance at Glen Echo back in the mid 1980s and saw what real dancers looked like. My wife couldn't dance, either. I thought she was worse even than I was, although I never had the heart to mention it.

Last year or the year before, I signed us up for a group dance class at my gym. I missed the first class because of a business trip. At the second class, the instructors kept referring to me as a cautionary example for the other students. I was so humiliated I didn't want to go back, and Mrs Vache Folle didn't press the point. I think she was embarrassed to be the partner of the spaz.

Now I'm single again with a lot of free time of the evenings, and I've signed up for private dance lessons with Lyudmilla and Yevginniy. I don't have a partner, and I don't know that dancing with another non-dancer will help me much, so I decided not to go the group lesson route. I hope that I am teachable.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2000th Blog Post

It's hard to believe that this is post number 2,000 on this blog.

The next 2,000 posts will find me in changed circumstances now that I'm single again and now that I am embarking on a whole new phase of my life. I am excited and optmistic about being a happier, more loving person now that my zombie marriage has been put down.

One thing I'm finding out about myself is that it can get pretty lonely. Don't get me wrong. I'm not the kind of person who has to be with other people all the time, but I do miss having someone to cook for and watch movies with.

I want to start dating again and take a chance on finding a friend and lover to share my life with. This time I aim to do it right and to be more demonstrative about my feelings and more sexually engaged. I'm still getting my sexual equipment repaired even though I have no immediate prospects of putting it to use.

I'm hoping friends will try to set me up and that I will meet women as I get out in the community more. I'm thinking of joining community theatre, taking yoga classes, dance lessons, getting a life.

I've also signed up for and, the online dating services. So far I'm a real hit with Nigerian scam artists and women who look like they could be my mother. The scammers contact me and claim to like my profile and set up on line chats in which they are way too friendly and in which they reveal that they are currently in Nigeria/Ghana/Malaysia to buy stuff for their businesses. Of course, they are entrepreneurs. Their poor command of English and evasiveness give them away, and I have not been scammed out of any money. I did some research on line and discovered that the next step is to get your pathetic lonely ass hooked and then ask for you to deposit a money order for them and send them the cash. Fortunately for me, I am not that pathetic and desperate, and I'm not stupid, either.

I have exchanged some e-mails with some actual nice ladies who really exist and are looking for guys like me, and I have spoken on the phone to a couple of them. I have a "date" to call a woman on Monday. I've gotten some polite rejections based on geographical distance and my legal status (separated, not divorced). Mostly, my "winks" and e-mails just get ignored. It's been just a few days, so I'm still hopeful.

I think I'm a pretty good prospect. I'm smart, a professional, not bad looking (if you discount the belly fat I'm working on losing), and funny. I'm not especially nutty. I'm not controlling. I'm not even that picky. I'll date women with children, women my age, women who are not beauty queens, women who are flawed.

Maybe this will be fun. If it isn't, I'll just have to go the mail order bride route ;).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Got Better

Prayer, fasting, soul searching, letting myself feel and crying like a baby, receiving prayers and words of comfort from friends. All these things have helped me realize that I will get through this. I find that I'm not only getting through this thing, but I am growing and learning.

I was in a panic about being all alone in the world. I have enjoyed an outpouring of love and support from friends and from my church and even readers of this blog. I have been prayed about and comforted and loved, and I have been moved to tears by it. I'm not alone.

Getting this panic out of the way has helped me acknowledge that my marriage has been in a zombie state for a long time. Mrs Vache Folle had the strength and courage to pull the plug, and I admire her for it. I have come to accept and to affirm her decision, and I aim to do anything I can as a loving friend to help her in this transition. I love her enough to know that letting her go is the most loving thing I can do.

I'm learning about gratitude. I'm thankful for the good times we had together and for her lovingkindness and solicitude over the years even when things were rocky. I'm thankful for the friendship I expect we will have in the future. I'm thankful for my friends and loved ones, and I aim to be a better friend, return love more freely and openly and pay it forward whenever I can. I thank God for my life and for the plans He has for me, and I am optimistic about my prospects for happiness and a fuller life. I thank Mrs VF for having the courage to to move on.

I'm learning about fear, how being afraid all the time is sucking the life out of me. I don't even know what it is I'm afraid of; it's just the default setting of my emotions since I was a child. I'm definitely afraid to feel, and the profound feelings I have been experiencing lately have allowed me to see that my feelings aren't going to destroy me. In fact, suppressing them will kill me if I keep it up. When I was a boy, I lived in a household where fear, dread and anxiety were constants, and I wonder if I somehow got stuck.

Thanks to my blog readers who offered words of encouragement and the rest of you whom I know have prayed for me. I'm getting better, and I expect to end up a better man, a better friend and closer to God out of all this.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I am Bereft

Despite promises to go to counseling and to work things out, Mrs Vache Folle left me this morning. She thought I would be gone, but my carpool companion was late. It was as if her feelings for me had totally switched off between breakfast and 9:00 am. Seriously, I am lower than whale shit as far as she is concerned, utterly undeserving of any consideration. Needless to say, it was a kick in the balls, and I have been on several crying jags since this morning. This is the first time I have felt seriously suicidal in my life. If I didn't think Mrs Vache Folle would gleefully cash the insurance check and spend it on her lover, I would have eaten a shotgun by now.

I feel as if I never knew the woman. She was always so decent.

I just want to disappear.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Last year I was told that my testosterone level was low, but I didn't do anything about it. Now I have come to understand that low testosterone can lead to low energy, depression, weight gain, incomplete erections and problems with orgasm. I have all these issues in spades, and now I am trying to become sexually active again. Therefore, I am going to see a urologist. Perhaps he can tinker with my medications and give me hormone supplements so I can make love again without the frustration of marathon sessions with belated or no happy endings for me.

I changed my primary care physician and was advised by him that the sertraline I have been taking for ten years kills your sexual sensitivity. I am lowering my dose and weaning off it to see if I can come to full attention and cope with my anxiety neurosis.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My Memorial Day Weekend

I arranged a weekend getaway for Mrs Vache Folle and myself in the hope that a change of scene might help us talk things out. We had a very nice time, but I don't know if it did any good in the marriage saving department. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I have to rave about our terrific experience in the Berkshires. Every aspect of the trip was wonderful, and I would like to publicize to the world (or at least to my three or four readers) how much we enjoyed the bed and breakfast, restaurants and other amenities in the area.

First off, let me state that I chose our B&B based on its very helpful and professionally designed website. The same went for the horseback riding stable and one of the restaurants where we dined. Being able to transact business and make inquiries by e-mail is important to me, and the businesses I chose had that capability.

We drove up the Taconic to Route 23 to Route 7 on Saturday morning. Although the day was overcast with intermittent rain, it was a lovely drive. We drove through Great Barrington and stopped for lunch in Stockbridge at a little bistro called Michaels. We shared a bleu cheese burger. The staff was attentive, and the sandwich was enjoyable. Stockbridge was quaint and picturesque as just you'd expect from a New England town.

It was too early to check into our B&B when we got to Lee, so we decided to take in some attractions. We were turned away from the Mount, Edith Wharton's mansion, because of a private event, so we made our way to the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield instead. This is a well preserved example of a once thriving Shaker community with extensive gardens and buildings and lots of Shaker artifacts. Knowledgeable docents are positioned throughout the site. I bought a Shaker style straw hat which came in handy when the sun came out.

We then checked into The Applegate Bed & Breakfast in Lee. This is a 1920s Gatsbyesque structure situated on 6 acres of gardens and manicured lawns. We were booked into the carriage house in a well appointed suite with modern conveniences and antique charm. The television was hidden behind a wall painting. There was a very comfortable king sized bed, a kitchenette, a sitting area with a gas fireplace, and a huge bath with a walk in shower and oversized jacuzzi tub. I had arranged for wine and cheese in the room, and the innkeepers supplied brandy as a matter of course. The room was very comfortable, and I could imagine spending a great deal of time in it.

Wine and cheese are served in the parlor of the main house at 5:00, and this presented an opportunity to mingle with the other guests and share stories about our holidays and suggestions for sightseeing and dining. A delightful breakfast was served from 8:00-10:00 in the dining room. In back of the main house is a heated swimming pool which we enjoyed on a very hot and sunny Sunday. The innkeepers, Len and Gloria Friedman, and their manager, Pam, were hospitable and helpful in every way. We enjoyed our stay very much and will (if we don't get divorced) return.

On Sunday morning, we made our way up to the town of Lennox and the Aspinwall Equestrian Center. This riding stable abuts Kennedy Park, a square mile or so of bridle/hiking/biking/jogging/dog walking trails on the former site of a luxury hotel which burned down in the 1930s. Our guide, Dan, was a local man who was both amiable and capable. Based on a phone converation we had had some days earlier, he had selected a pair of horses, George aka Jumbo for me and Shadow for Mrs Vache Folle. He rode the lead horse Lucky and I followed on George with Mrs VF's taking up the rear on Shadow. George was an enormous beast, and I towered over my wife and her steed. Both our horses were well mannered except for trying to stop to eat all the time if we did not check them, and we had an enjoyable two hour ride through the park, up and down hills, and in the woods. I liked it so much that I booked another one hour ride for the next day.

The stable boasts a number of Icelandic horses which look like living versions of My Little Pony. All of the animals, even down to the Manx barn cats, appeared to be well looked after.

We dined Saturday at Chez Nous in downtown Lee. This was a very busy French restaurant. The service was excellent and the food was remarkable. The atmosphere was a little crowded and bright for my liking, but I would definitely eat there again. Mrs VF had pan seared scallops with a heavenly sauce, and, unheard of for her, she cleaned her plate. I had a very nice locally grown Berkshire pork loin with truffle mashed potatoes and a bowl of seafood soup.

On Sunday we dined at Perigee, a continental restaurant in South Lee on the advice of some of our fellow guests at Applegate. Mrs VF had scallops again, this time with shrimp with risoto and a delicious cilantro pesto. I had the jamabalaya and would place my meal in the top 100 meals in my lifetime. The lighting was more romantic at Perigee than at Chez Nous, although it was just as busy.

For lunch on Monday, we ate fish and chips and fried oysters at Salmon Run in Lee. It was quite nice.

We finally toured the Mount on Monday on our way to the stable for our second ride. The house and grounds have been very nicely renovated, and the tour affords an opportunity to learn a great deal about Edith Wharton. The nearby Morgan mansion Ventfort, which is in the early stages of renovation, provides an interesting contrast to the elegant simplicity of the Mount.

Our Berkshire weekend was a great success on a number of counts, not the least of which is our belated discovery of the existence of the Berkshires as a destination not an hour and a half from our home. I did not give a moment's thought, however, to the war dead.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Conspecifics are Blind

Most of my conspecifics seem to think that large corporations are just the small businesses on main street writ large. They don't recognize them as the powerful, unaccountable institutions that they are. They don't see that large corporations more or less own the agencies that purport to regulate them. To a close approximation, governments and corporations constitute a single institutional network, but my conspecifics have been mystified and see it not.

My conspecifics are dupes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I Am NOT Proud to be a Christian or an American

Dante characterized pride as love of self turned into hatred and denigration of others.

I think of this, and the sinfulness of pride, whenever I am asked to proclaim that I am proud to possess some attribute such as, most often, being an American. On occasion, I have even been invited to express my pride in being a Christian!

God forbid that I should ever express any such pride. For to do so is to pervert the gratitude and joy that I feel to be a Christian into the vainglorious and mean spirited denigration of all those who are not. Moreover, being a Christian is not any sort of achievement for which I may take credit. All the credit goes to Jesus, and if I presume to be proud I must presume to share in His glory in my own right which I certainly do not. Finally, if I boast of my Christianity, I set myself up for judgment as an ideal practitioner of the faith, and I am the least worthy of all Christians to assume such a role.

I am grateful to be a Christian. I am blessed and joyful. I am awestruck. I cannot be proud.

Nor am I proud to be an American. I am grateful and happy to live in a society which affords relative freedom and prosperity, but I am unwilling to declare that I am a better human being on account of my being a subject of the United States than those who are not or that my fellow subjects are worthier of my esteem and compassion solely by virtue of their domicile than those who dwell elsewhere. Moreover, I did not create the positive conditions in America for which I am grateful, and I am an American primarily because I was born in America to American parents. How can I take credit for any of this without usurping it and wallowing in vainglory? I submit that I cannot and that to express pride in being an American would, therefore, be foolish.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » What Exactly Are They Supposed To Do?

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » What Exactly Are They Supposed To Do?

This is an excellent point. The capabilities to deal with a disaster like this BP snafu do not seem to exist. Arguably, we should insist on their development before assuming the risk that they will occur. NASA needs to put its brain trust to work.

Bipartisan Senate bill aims to take 'retarded' out of federal lexicon -

Bipartisan Senate bill aims to take 'retarded' out of federal lexicon -

"Intellectual disability" seems apt as a label, but it could very well apply to everyone who is not a genius. Or is genius level intellect also an abnormality of which folks may be said to suffer?

Now can everyone use retard and retarded in the comedic sense freely?

Monday, May 24, 2010

When I Let Myself Feel

I've made a huge mistake over the years in thinking that medication was all I needed to deal with my anxiety and depression. Medication and alcohol have just been ways of avoiding having feelings and listening to what my unconscious has been trying to tell me. I have always been afraid that it will be demons all the way down. That the self loathing I feel is utterly justified and that I truly am a total piece a shit and not just someone who suspects that he might be a total piece of shit.

When I avoid these feelings and subconscious messages and dreams, when I drink myself to sleep or take a sleeping pill, or when I engage in obsessive and compulsive behaviors to occupy my mind against intrusive thoughts, I also block out any chance to feel anything pleasant or to learn any lessons or to be open to love. I have been experimenting with just feeling and letting my thoughts run rampant, and I am discovering that there are some disturbing programs running my life when I'm on auto-pilot. I have lots of faults, indeed I do, but I am also deep down a decent human being, and I believe I am capable of giving and receiving love.

What do I have to fear when I have already assumed the worst of myself?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bluebird of Unhappiness

Just yesterday, I thought to myself what a lucky man I am. A loving wife, a comfortable home with a beautiful garden, a great church, two of the best dogs in the world, and a job that I actually enjoy. I figured I'd get cancer or something to make up for all this happiness.

Even this morning on my quick errand to Home Depot, I was taken by how beautiful the world is and how much I had been looking forward to the weekend with Mrs Vache Folle. But I had just walked in my front door when Mrs Vache Folle announced that she has been having an affair. I was stunned. I was just not ready to take it in that my whole wonderful life was about to change in almost every particular.

At first, she let on that she wasn't sure what she wanted to do but it soon became clear that she wants me out of her life whatever happens with her lover. I saw at once that there is no use trying to talk her out of it. Hell, why would I? If she doesn't love me after 26 plus years enough to choose me over some guy she has known less than a year, then what would be the point of sticking it out? I can't make her love me back.

While we were talking about all this on the back deck, an eastern bluebird pair showed up on the feeder, the first I had ever seen on our property. I suppose I will always associate bluebirds with the heartache I felt this morning.

Now we have to sell our house, the one I love and have put so much effort into. I'll have to look for a job with health insurance. I'll probably move away from this area and have to find a new church. The dogs will go with Mrs Vache Folle. I am stressed as hell about this, but I aim to be an adult about it and part with Mrs Vache Folle (#1) in a spirit of love and gratitude for the years we had together and with best wishes for a happy life.

In the short term, I aim to get my drink on in a serious way this evening.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Defending BP is not Libertarian (except if you are a Dondero-ite)

I'm listening to a libertarian on Rachel Maddow argue that defending BP is not very libertarian. He's right. BP is a corporation, a creature of the state with limited liability granted by the state. It, with all oil companies, gets billions in tax breaks and subsidies. It won't have to pay for the damage it is doing because of a government granted cap on liability and a clean-up fund that works as a bailout.

I am tired of the kind of "libertarian" who stands with big corporations against the people and who wants the government to get out of the way while they oppress others. I wish the libertarian left would get more exposure so I wouldn't have to distance myself from idiots all the time.

Rand Paul’s speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham, Alabama in April, 1963 (hypothetical) « The Poor Man Institute

Rand Paul’s speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham, Alabama in April, 1963 (hypothetical) « The Poor Man Institute

What Kind of Racist Are You?

Folks who think that we are living in a "post-racial" America are mostly racists.

I have encountered several kinds of racists in America and understand that all these categories of racists exist in America at this very moment.

Firstly, you have your die hard, unapologetic and admitted racists in the KKK and other white supremacist or separatist organizations or who agree openly with the organizations about the inferiority of other races. Fortunately, these are few in number.

Secondly, you have folks who believe in the inferiority of other races but are aware that it is inappropriate to express their beliefs outside of the most intimate circles. There are a crapload of people like this. Everybody knows somebody like this. They whine about "political correctness" because it makes it harder for them to express their odious views.

Thirdly, you have folks who would deny that they are racists but who actually are, often without realizing it. They don't even know that their viewpoints are racist, and they reckon that as long as they aren't overtly hostile toward someone from another race, they aren't racist. Yet they believe in the inferiority of other races and wonder why they don't just get up off their lazy asses and stop whining about discrimination and playing the victim. These people just don't get it. They don't live near anyone of the other race, go to church with them, or socialize with them, and they don't have any idea about the circumstances of people in that other racial category other than to note that they are relatively poor, often in trouble with the law, and scary in large numbers. They are pretty sure that whatever problems the other race has are their own fault.

Fourthly, you have folks who claim not to be racists and who reckon racism is a bad thing that ought to be eradicated, but they are sick and tired of "white guilt". They want other races to get over it and move on to a post-racial society and reckon that the other races are the obstacles to this. This is because they fail to understand that nobody cares whether they experience "guilt", only that they acknowledge the reality of discrimination and racist attitudes in the country and the damage that these do.

Fifthly, you have folks who harbor unconscious racist ideas as a result of their upbringing and living in a racist society. They may well deny being racist and hate racism and acknowledge its harmful effects in society, but there's a little part of them that reacts negatively whenever they see an interracial couple, for example.

Sixthly, you have folks from the fifth category who admit that they almost certainly harbor some unconscious prejudices and are working on dealing with them. When it comes to racial justice, however, they don't really go out of their way to change things through the way they live.

Add these up, and I will bet you will have a supermajority of white Americans.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Valuing Freedom Means Respecting a Variety of "Family" Values

Some families prefer for a parent to leave work and stay home with small children full time while others prefer for the parents to return to work as soon as possible. They live out these preferences according to their own judgments about what is best for them, and I reckon that it is the height of arrogance to second guess such judgments. As a lover of freedom, I reckon it is better to affirm people in such choices and rejoice in their good fortune at being able to live as they please. Neither the stay at home parent nor the working parent should be made to feel defensive about their choice. Neither should feel any need to disparage the other's preference and set his or her own subjective preference up as some kind of virtue. This is true of a wide range of preferences about family life, childrearing's being an example with which many can readily identify.

I prefer to be childfree. The Duggars of Arkansas aim to have as many children as possible and already have 19. Neither of our choices is superior or inferior. I thank God that the Duggars are free to live out their dream and that I don't have to have children if I don't want to. It is nobody's business how many kids anyone else has, and we ought to affirm one another in our choices and our ability to live them out if we value freedom.

Some folks have pretty vanilla sexual preferences. Others might be furries or leather slaves. How fortunate we are to be able to gratify ourselves as we please. Good for the furries! I probably wouldn't enjoy the furry scene (I've never tried it so I won't knock it), but good for you if you do.

Folks divide up decisonmaking in their households in a lot of ways, and whatever works for them is good. Folks rear their children in a lot of different ways, and I reckon it's nobody else's affair (as long as nobody is getting injured). Some folks stay together, others break up. They know what is best for themselves. Some folks live in extended families, others live in non-traditional families. They know what they're doing, and we should hope that it works out for them and that they are happy.

Meddling, authoritarian busybodies who, in the name of "Family Values", endeavor to regulate household structure and private interpersonal relations are great threats to freedom and ought to be told often to shut their pie holes and mind their own business. They are arrogant earslings who reckon they know better than everyone else how the rest of us should live and organize our homes.

Any of us who claims to love freedom should strive to affirm others in their private choices and familial and household arrangements whether or not we ourselves would have gone the same route.

I Clarify My Military Record

I did not mean to imply that I was a Medal of Honor recipient on account of my service in Desert Storm. I meant to stay that I was an honor student and received a medal for exceptional work as a student of history while at Dug Gap Elementary School long before Desert Storm. I did not receive any kind of medal for my actual service in Desert Storm. I spent part of Desert Storm and Desert Shield on active duty and contributed, I like to think, in my small way to the glorious victory of our troops, some of whom may have had wills and powers of attorney drafted by me, thereby relieving them of worries about their estates and allowing them to focus on their combat or combat support duties.

I was not "in theatre" during Desert Storm, but I was in "a theatre" in Harrisburg watching a movie one evening on a break from my duties at Fort Indiantown Gap, so I can see where folks might have gotten the wrong idea when I mentioned that I was in [a] theatre during the campaign.

At the time, I was domiciled in Florida, so the Harrisburg area was, in fact, "far from the comforts of home and concerned loved ones". I did not mean to imply that I was in the Middle East. I have never been to the Middle East. I may have mispronounced Middle Earth where I was often present in my imagination during marathon sessions of D&D. I fought side my side with Rammer, my elven warrior half brother, and a band of brothers not unlike the soldiers in the HBO miniseries of that name, except for the part about not really being in any danger. I fear that a lot of folks confused my waxing nostalgic for my days as Schlonak, the half elf wizard, in Middle Earth with my service in Desert Storm in the Middle East, where I never was. I regret any misconceptions that people may have had about this.

It happened that my two weeks of annual active duty coincided with Desert Shield and the first days of Desert Storm, and I was involved in getting soldiers ready to be deployed. When I said that I didn't like to talk about the war and my part in it, I was not trying to imply that it was terrible and frightening, only that it was really boring.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mr Baggett is Getting On

I took Jesse Lou Baggett to the veterinarian this morning. Yesterday, my neighbor, who walks the dogs for us when we are at work, called me at the office and reported that Jesse was falling down and could not walk very well on the hardwood floors. By the time I got home, he had improved a great deal but did seem a bit off kilter. Meanwhile, Mrs Vache Folle had scheduled an appointment with the vet.

Jesse has manifested problems with his hindquarters for several months now, and we have been giving him anti-inflammatories in the hope that he has arthritis rather than degenerative myelopathy (he has some shepherd in his ancestry). He also has had bouts of vestibulitis, and I suspected that he might have had the perfect storm of vestibular symptoms coupled with his weak hind legs.

Jesse hates riding in the car, especially the SUV, and has a hard time getting in and out of it and sitting still when it is moving. Jasper Stone, in contrast, lives for car rides, and I had to take him along for moral support. I had to lift Jesse into the car, which he hates. We arrived early at the vet's, so I walked the boys around the grounds for about 15 minutes, something they both love. There are so many new and strange smells for them to enjoy and so many unfamiliar trees to pee on. I think of this as the boys' "reading their pee-mail".

While we were waiting inside the veterinary hospital, a couple of other dogs came in, a min-pin and a golden retriever. This inspired Jasper to whine pitiably because he was not allowed to greet the other dogs and their owners. Jesse was likewise unhappy, but his intentions were not so honorable. He hates other dogs, except for Jasper and a couple of close friends he has made over the years. Given the opportunity, he might very well kill or severely injure a small dog or a cat even now in his golden years. I don't take any chances with him and warn others to keep their dogs away from him lest he start a fight. Anyway, it was a long five minutes in the waiting room with the boys' keen to get up close and personal with their conspecifics.

After an examination, Dr Christiansen agreed with me that Jesse exhibited lack of balance in his front legs as well as the back and that the onset of active vestibular disease could very well be the cause. We are supposed to take him off one of his meds, a side effect of which is sedation, to minimize any impacts on his coordination, and to substitute Metacam for it. He is also supposed to take Bonine, an over the counter motion sickness drug, to deal with the dizziness caused by vestibulitis. I hope we can nip this episode in the bud without going through the starvation and dehydration Jesse endured last time.

Jesse pooped on the vet while his temperature was being taken, and he pooped in the car on the way home. The poops were healthy looking but ill timed.

It is very difficult to see Jesse's decline with old age. He was always so vigorous and active. He was one of the fastest dogs I have ever known. Now he can barely walk. He can still get on the furniture, though, and he loves to sleep on the sofa. I hope we can keep him comfortable and happy for a long time yet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Conversion Story

Over the past six Sundays, the sermons in our church have been about conversions: Peter, Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius the centurion, Lydia the dye maker, and the Philippian jailer. Before each sermon, a co-religionist has gotten up and spoken about their conversion experience. None of the witnesses I have heard has been able to identify a precise moment of conversion. For them, it has been a process, in some cases lifelong. So far, not one witness has claimed to have come to Jesus at a certain moment of a certain day by praying a prayer from the Four Spiritual Laws tract or some version of a the formulaic prayer of acceptance I was taught as being required.

We don't have any choice as followers of Jesus. We cannot reject Him or accept Him. He chooses us, and we don't always realize it right away.

There was a time in my youth when I would have told you the very moment I had been saved when I had officially asked Jesus to be my "personal" Lord and Savior. I was fifteen years old in the family room of my friend at a weekly Bible study. I now know that I was not converted or "saved" at that moment. Rather, I was chosen from before time and the world began. I was a troubled young Christian struggling to believe, to accept, to embrace a whole religion so much of which was unbelievable, unacceptable and unembraceable. I had the idea that I had to go all in, to take it all hook, line and sinker or be damned. And I just couldn't do it. I could not make myself believe in the whole fundamentalist program.

I gradually became an "unchurched", "lapsed" apostate and dabbled in Unitarianism (which I still respect and admire). When I was forty two, I discovered the Congregationalist denomination and began to attend a tiny church in Bronxville, New York. There I was exposed to a more liberal form of Christianity with a diversity of theological views and a commitment to tolerance and coexistence. I met Christians who did not feel led to accept the Bible as the literal Word of God; rather, they undertook to read the Bible in the light of when, how, why and by whom it had been written. I began to study the Bible in this light and to read books by critical Biblical scholars.

I met Christians who were more interested in how you treated other people than in your theological opinions, and I began to realize that a lot of theology does not translate meaningfully into action as a loving disciple of Jesus. What possible difference could divergent views on the nature of the Trinity or the afterlife or other mysteries for which many women and men have been put to the stake make in how we treat each other? So what if we hear hats/don't wear hats, dress up for church or go casual, sing old hymns or praise songs? All that matters is loving God and loving one another with all our faculties.

Then I discovered Calvin and learned that belief is involuntary (the Pragmatists were also a big help) and began to realize that it was OK to acknowledge that my beliefs about the supernatural are irrational and not susceptible to proof. I believe what I believe because I believe it, and my belief system has it that belief in Jesus is a gift, not something you can attain or choose. And I don't believe what I don't believe about the supernatural because I don't believe it. I am not answerable to anyone for my beliefs or unbelief. I am happy to discuss them but I know there's no use arguing with anyone about them.

I have been led by the Spirit to focus on how we live in the here and now so as to manifest love and advance the Kingdom rather than on sin and legalism and mysteries we can neither solve nor understand.

I am the least of all Christians but grateful for the gift of belief and hopeful of advancing in some small way the work of the Kingdom even if only as a cautionary example.


On Saturday evening, Mrs Vache Folle and I attended the first shareholders' meeting of the year of the Healthy Harvest Community Supported Agriculture farm in East Fishkill. We got to meet Dave, the director of the enterprise and his flock of sheep. He explained to us that the Johnson ladies, aged 79 to 100, who own the Johnson Farm where the CSA operates receive a property tax break by having a portion of their property put to agricultural use. There are about three acres under cultivation at the moment with additional land to be used for pasturage and hay. Norbert, the farmer hired to do the tilling and what have you, was supposed to appear but did not arrive before our departure. (We didn't stay for the potluck because we had a steak thawing out on the counter at home.)

We took a look at the sprouts that were coming up from what had been planted relatively early and wandered down to see the chicken coop under construction. I'd say about ten families or so came to the meeting out of thirty shares.

We're pretty excited about the CSA, and I am keen to help with some of the work. Mrs Vache Folle may pitch in with the accounting. I'd like to learn some organic farming techniques and aim to work on that end of the business. All in all, it seems like a chance to make some acquaintances, help out some nice old ladies, contribute to local agriculture, and get heaps of fresh produce.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Customer Non-appreciation Tip of the Day

One way to tell your customers (and employees) how much you despise them is to install one of those toilet paper dispensers in your business bathroom that rations sheets of toilet paper one at a time. Another way is to fill that dispenser with single ply toilet paper.

Levi's Undershorts Suck

The folks at Levi's should stick to dungarees, because they don't seem to be able to make underwear. I bought some Levi's boxer briefs a few months ago, and I have been meaning to throw them away since week one. I don't know why I don't think of it until I'm wearing the damned things, but I don't. I forget all about them and wear them over and over and experience the same problems over and over. I'm an idiot.

These briefs are cut in a way that after you have been wearing them a few hours the short leg part curls up and starts to constrict the scrotum and chafe the insides of the thighs. And if that weren't bad enough, the back end simply will not stay out of the gluteal cleft. The most uncomfortable undershorts ever is what they are.

And another thing. The slit in the front that let's you urinate without pulling down your shorts is horizontal instead of vertical and is practically unworkable without wetting yourself.

Empire Starts at Home

So we've got this huge military and are intent on building an empire, but we're going about it all wrong. Why would we want Afghanistan as a possession? It's a dung heap, and it's on the other side of the planet. Iraq at least has oil, but we can buy Iraq's oil the same as anybody else and don't need to occupy the country, an expensive proposition, to get it. The Romans didn't run off conquering distant lands until they had conquered nearby lands, and we should follow their lead.

Let's take Canada and Mexico for starters. And the Bahamas. That way, we would save money on transportation and logistics and wouldn't have so much of a problem with the language and culture. We'd still get practice for our youth as bullet stoppers, and military contractors and suppliers would still be fed. Better yet, we'd get to practice fighting in all kinds of climates and terrains instead of just all desert, all the time. The Navy might even see some action.

Americans could colonize and Americanize the conquered territories as they are pacified.

Eventually we'd take over the whole hemisphere at which point we should probably just stop for a while and consolidate our gains.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Manifesto « The Dark Mountain Project

I heard about this on the BBC radio news this morning and had to check it out.

The Manifesto « The Dark Mountain Project

"It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight – Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

This time, the crumbling empire is the unassailable global economy, and the brave new world of consumer democracy being forged worldwide in its name. Upon the indestructibility of this edifice we have pinned the hopes of this latest phase of our civilisation. Now, its failure and fallibility exposed, the world’s elites are scrabbling frantically to buoy up an economic machine which, for decades, they told us needed little restraint, for restraint would be its undoing. Uncountable sums of money are being funnelled upwards in order to prevent an uncontrolled explosion. The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them."

"And over it all looms runaway climate change. Climate change, which threatens to render all human projects irrelevant; which presents us with detailed evidence of our lack of understanding of the world we inhabit while, at the same time, demonstrating that we are still entirely reliant upon it. Climate change, which highlights in painful colour the head-on crash between civilisation and ‘nature’; which makes plain, more effectively than any carefully constructed argument or optimistically defiant protest, how the machine’s need for permanent growth will require us to destroy ourselves in its name. Climate change, which brings home at last our ultimate powerlessness."

We won't stop growing our economy until the planet starts killing us.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Majority Of Americans Think Afghanistan 'Not Worth It,' Poll Finds

Majority Of Americans Think Afghanistan 'Not Worth It,' Poll Finds

And they are absolutely right. This is unwinnable unless you define winning as mucking around in a barbaric hell hole for no apparent reason. Afghanistan is not governable.

Sarah Palin: American Law Should Be 'Based On The God Of The Bible And The Ten Commandments'

Sarah Palin: American Law Should Be 'Based On The God Of The Bible And The Ten Commandments'

Sarah Palin is a crazy person. I used to think she was kind of an undereducated grifter, but now it seems clear to me that she's a nut.

American law is based on (a) the common law as it had developed in England over the centuries, and (b) the Constitution. It is not based on the Bible or the Decalogue or the Law of Moses. The Founders, not being ignorant and crazy, knew that, and those of us who are not ignorant and crazy know it now.

At least she allows for a quick diagnosis of idiocy in anyone who is a Palin follower or voter.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Screw Global warming; It Will Screw Us Soon Enough

What can be done about Global Warming? At this point, probably not much. We should have started working on this 30 years ago, but we didn't and now it is too late to prevent disastrous climate change. About all we can do is to hope to slow it down, ameliorate its impacts, and adapt to a hotter and less human friendly planet.

There is likely to be extensive desertification and a breakdown of the Monsoon Cycle with resultant widespread famine, war and misery. Africa, already as miserable as one would think it could get, is going to get even worse.

On the plus side, that American obesity problem is going to go away with food shortages. And Social Security won't need as much money because folks will die a lot sooner. Good news for "family values" Republicans! Families will be strengthened because we'll have to pool our resources and cooperate for our very survival. The Middle East won't hate us for our freedom anymore, because we won't really have any.

It may be a good time to invest in the things that folks will need in the postapocalyptic dystopia. I'm thinking old timey farm implements and draft animals and kits for making bullets.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Nothing is Beyond the Reach of the Commerce Clause

For those who reckon that the federales are powerless to regulate health insurance, let me remind them of Gonzales v Raich, wherein the conservative SCOTUS held that the federales had the power under the interstate commerce clause to criminalize home grown cannabis for medicinal use. From the concurrence of Fat Tony Scalia:

"And the category of 'activities that substantially affect interstate commerce'... is incomplete because the authority to enact laws necessary and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce is not limited to laws governing intrastate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce." (emphasis added).

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Freedom Lovers do not Discriminate on Irrational Bases

In a perfect world, as I envision it, no person would be hated or discriminated against on account of race, gender, age, disability, national origin, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. I embrace non-uniformity and non-conformity. I love freedom, and a truly free society is bound to be diverse. In my freedom loving value system, it is immoral to deprive anyone of the means to earn a livelihood, housing, and access to public facilities on the basis of the categories or attributes I have listed. One may loathe Baptists and all that they stand for, but one ought not to treat Baptists differently in employment, housing or access to commerce that is generally open to the public.

The religious beliefs of Baptists, however misguided one may consider them, do not do anyone other than possibly the believers any harm, and the performance of Baptist rituals is generally not a nuisance. Behavior by Baptists which is predicated on or justified by Baptist religious beliefs is for the most part peaceful. To interfere with a Baptist's exercise of his religion where that exercise is harmless and does not infringe on the rights of others would be arrogant, immoral and uncivilized. Of course, one may choose not to associate with Baptists socially as long as one does not undermine their livelihood, shelter or ability to trade in the open market.

Despite their misguided protestations to the contrary, Baptists did not choose their irrational beliefs about the supernatural any more than they chose their race or sexual orientation. Although it may be argued that Baptists can choose not to express their beliefs or practice their religion, what purpose would be served by requiring them to deny their identity and suppress their true selves? Inasmuch as they do no harm and their happiness is increased by professing and practicing their religion openly and freely, it is incumbent on freedom lovers to avoid interfering with them. In fact, a true spirit of freedom requires affirmation of the Baptist in his faith.

Some may argue that their own religious views differ from those of the Baptists and that their faith requires them to despise Baptists, perhaps even kill them. Shouldn't those persons be entitled to practice their religion freely and to express their hatred of Baptists in any manner they choose? There are limits to the privileges conferred on the faithful in the freedom loving value system. If religion leads one to harm others, perhaps by discriminating against them, then it becomes a legitimate basis for complaint and discrimination against those who harbor the harmful belief. Clothing wrongdoing in religious garb does not exempt it from punishment.

Some may argue that their own happiness is diminished by the existence of Baptists and the open practice of their religion because they have a subjective preference for a world that is Baptist-free. Those with such preferences must subordinate them to the more important principle of love of freedom. It is not merely one's own freedom that one loves but the freedom of everyone.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I Kvetch About How the Suffering of Others Causes Me Pain

I have become increasingly aware in the last year of a lot of horrific things. There is a holocaust in the Congo as well as mass murder in Sudan. Young boys are sold into sexual slavery in Afghanistan. Girls are being raped to death by their husbands in Yemen. Life still sucks in Haiti and in other areas devastated by earthquakes and other disasters both natural and man made.

The US is still in Afghanistan and Iraq with no apparent schedule to withdraw and no mission that is remotely feasible. The Middle East is rife with abuses of women and exploitation of children.

I could go on, but it is wearing on the soul. I can't seem to keep up with all the things I am supposed to feel compassion for and to remember in my prayers. What can be done? What can I do? What can my rulers do? What should my rulers do, if anything? Where do I give money? Whom do I boycott? How do I change the way I live so that I make any kind of difference for good or at least avoid contributing to the evil in the world?

Of course, suffering from compassion fatigue is way better than suffering from any of the evils for which I feel compassion, and I feel like a douche for kvetching about it. Great, now I'm fatigued and full of self loathing. Are you happy now, suffering masses?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Democratic Republic of Congo | Genocide Intervention Network

Democratic Republic of Congo Genocide Intervention Network

5 million civilians have been murdered since 1996 by government forces and rebels in the eastern Congo.

Would it make sense to raise a force of volunteers/mercenaries to keep the peace and protect civilians?

We Can't Decriminalize Cannabis Because...

I have been trying to come up with an argument against decriminalizing cannabis, and the only one I can think of is that criminalization justifies a lot of police powers and spending on police. Also, it provides cover for surveillance and harassment of poor people.

Er...those don't sound like very good reasons, either.

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Freakonomics

Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Freakonomics

From DougJ comes the threat of Wall Streeters to come to our towns and take our jobs and live on $85K a year.

"So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours."

Can anyone be that big a douche?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reducing the Number of Governments a Step in the Right Direction

I'm an anarchist, so eventually I'd like to see the government go away. I'm not interested in moving government powers from one level of government to another because I don't think that helps. Having a relatively more powerful gang in Albany would not be a step in the direction of anarchy. Neither would a relatively more powerful gang in Poughkeepsie or Hopewell Junction or the Carmel Central School District. That's just rearranging the furniture.

In fact, the more local the government, the more meddling it does in my day to day life. My neighbors have shown no compunction about taxing the crap out of me to pay for schools, recreation facilities, wreaths on every power pole at Christmas, and American flags on them in July. There is nothing that the Town of East Fishkill and Dutchess County consider off limits when it comes to regulating my life. My best friend when it comes to checking local and state government is, I have to admit, the federal government.

All the layers of local government result in costly inefficiencies. Every local school board has its own administrative apparatus when it would be far cheaper to share administrative functions. Every town has its own police and functionaries in town halls when it would be far cheaper to consolidate them. This could be done without the subjects of these entities' sacrificing a single iota of freedom. I reckon we'd be more free since we'd have to pay less for the same services due to economies of scale and synergies we'd enjoy.

This applies likewise to states. Who needs them? Fifty legislatures, state executive departments, attorneys general, judicial systems and what have you represent a monumental waste of resources. Consolidate them and get them off our backs. Why does anyone think it is a good idea to have fifty sets of laws, especially nowadays when so much commerce and interaction is interstate, indeed international?

Let's have one government in America. That's a true step in the direction of anarchy since we now have thousands of governments to contend with.

Frankly, I like my government to be remote. Having it right here in Kent and Hopewell Junction is a little close for comfort. Did you know that they actually expect me to license my freaking dogs? And heaven forbid I should decide to erect a shed on my property without their approving it. But I digress. I would like to see all my government in Washington, DC, remote and too overwhelmed with the big picture to mess with me that much.

The next step would be One World Government.

Remote Area Medical and Licensing

I listened to Stan Brock of Remote Area Medical on WBAI this morning and was appalled to learn that the mission of that organization, which provides free medical care to remote areas and within the US, is obstructed by licensure requirements. California has a bill pending in its legislature to exempt medical, dental and optical professionals licensed in other jurisdictions from state licensing requirements when providing free services within California. Good for California if it passes.

Until it does, a dental hygienist licensed in New York is not lawfully permitted to volunteer to go to Fresno and give free cleanings to poor people. An eye doctor licensed in Illinois cannot give exams and prescribe eyeglasses to poor folks in Appalachia. A physician licensed in Florida can't treat a charity case in Idaho.

The system of state licensure for these professionals is a preposterous and unnecessary restraint of trade. Teeth, eyes and human bodies don't change when state lines are crossed. A root canal in New Mexico is the same as a root canal in Maine. A colonoscope in Vermont takes the same route in Minnesota. It is time to develop a system of national or even international recognition of professional licenses so that professionals may move freely over borders and their clientele will have more choices.

I cannot think of a good reason for maintaining the present system. It protects local professionals from out of state competition, but I consider that a bad reason.

I would extend this reasoning to engineers, teachers, accountants and lawyers as well. Numbers don't change from state to state, and laws are not all that different across the country. Educational and engineering theory and practice is the same everywhere.

I would also advocate taking a good, hard look at the proliferation of occupational licensing requirements across the country and eliminate them where they serve no useful public purpose. Flower arranging, hair braiding, and any number of other occupations have been saddled with onerous licensing requirements that serve only as obstacles to entry into trade.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is the Friday that the Lord has Made

Friday evening on a beautiful spring day, a glass of Luksusowa vodka and tonic in my hand (another already in my system), and birdsong. A man would have to be a blockhead to want more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What billmon said

The "Epistemic Closing" of the Conservative Mind

This is worth reading. This is why engagement with wingers will accomplish nothing and why it is more effective to be dismissive.

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yemen is a Hellhole

I heard on NPR this afternoon about Yemeni girls as young as 9 being forcibly married and raped by their older husbands. Recently, a 13 year old child bride was raped to death by her 23 year old husband. I suppose "rape" isn't really the right word here. After all, in Yemen, as in some states of the US not so long ago, a man has a right to have sex with his wife and to use the force necessary to enforce that right.

Places like Yemen will always be hellholes as long as women are this unempowered. It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the status of women and the degree of civilization in a place. The more equal women are to men and the more opportunities they have, the better the place is to live for everyone. The creativity and ambition of women, once released from repression, enriches society in manifold ways.

I pledge to avoid doing business or spending tourism dollars in any place that allows women and little girls to be treated so badly, and I urge others to do the same unless such spending or consumption benefits women. Not that I was planning a trip to Yemen. I just aim to be more mindful of this issue.

Senatorial Revisions

I have given some more thought to the question of the Senate and figure that as long as we are overhauling the legislature we should take a hard look at what we want a Senate to accomplish and how best to select Senators to achieve those ends. Unless our goal is to have an utterly corrupt body primarily beholden to moneyed interests, we can agree that direct election of Senators is preposterous.

It may be argued, by those who have not given it much thought, that selecting Senators by means other than selecting among candidates robs citizens of real representation. This is far from the truth. Half of eligible voters wisely decline to vote in most elections. Are they represented by the person whom the fools who voted selected? If your candidate loses, are you represented by the guy you hated? Are the two choices put up by the political parties a genuine exercise of choice? And for every informed voter, there are a thousand uninformed and misinformed sheep to drown out their voices with their imbecilic bleating. No, electing Senators directly is wrong for America.

What is the point really of a less representative upper house? Is it a vestige of the House of Lords designed to safeguard the interests of the propertied classes from the rapacity of the mob? No, that was buit into the system in other ways by limiting the franchise to propertied white men. Is it to safeguard regional interests? Originally, the idea was to assure small states of a voice when the larger states overwhelmed them in population and House seats. That was a political compromise that made some sense back in the 1780s when a constitution had to be sold, but it may no longer serve in the present context in which states are more or less political subdivisions with a few vestiges of sovereignty.

Perhaps there are other regional and minority interests that we reckon should be protected from majoritarian tyranny. And if there are such interests, such as rural concerns in an overwhelmingly urban and suburban country, we should determine how much of a power imbalance to adopt to achieve our goals. In the present system, sparsely populated states in Flyoverstan control far too much of the Senate in comparison to populous coastal states and do nothing to serve regional interests. Rather, they provide convenient venues for moneyed interests to invest in Senate campaigns and buy influence relatively cheaply. A Wyoming Senate candidate needs to buy many fewer votes than a candidate in California or New York. This imbalance results in the kind of GOP Senate caucus that we suffer from now and is bad for America.

I propose that we slant things somewhat but not so crazily to rural interests by consolidating a number of sparsely populated, rural states and rural areas of nearby urban states into a number of Senate Districts which is equal to the number of Senators that would be chosen on a proportional basis plus a premium of seats to be determined by how much we really care about this social divide.

Senators would then be chosen by lottery from a pool of eligible individuals (30 plus years old, domiciled in district, no felony convictions, no receipt of government funds for ten years except legislative pay) who have previously served in the House of Representatives or the Senate. The experience requirement would help to make the Senate a more deliberative body. Terms would be for 12 years. I estimate that our consolidation program would result in 30 Senate Districts, and since we have already increased numbers in the House I propose that each District select three Senators for a total of 120 seats.

I would still prohibit the Senate from proposing legislation or offering amendments and would require it to act promptly on affirmations and ratifications.

A Senate chosen by lot would look like America and would be likely to work for America rather than for itself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Congressional Lottery Redux

I've mentioned the idea of selecting Congress by lottery instead of elections as a way of eliminating campaign finance corruption. On further consideration, I find that my idea also helps curtail some of the serious problems inherent in the two party system.

To recap my earlier argument, the problems with campaign finance would go away if we no longer had campaigns. One way to do away with campaigns is to do away with elections. We could just as effectively choose Congress in a lottery. That way, anything that anyone gave to a Congressperson would be a transparent bribe.

Another benefit of the Lottery System is that political parties would no longer be primarily concerned with electioneering and winning elections. We would doubtless still have factions but these would be concerned first and foremost with governance rather than campaigning. We would likely avoid the dangerous situation that we have now where one of the major political parties, the GOP, is incompetent to govern effectively when it gets power and invariably makes a mess of things.

The current system has led to a duopoly of two parties which exclude all other factions or potential factions from meaningful participation in the political process. The Lottery System would smooth the way for multiple parties and shifting alliances and coalitions with less potential for polarization into two hostile camps intent on thwarting one another. Congresspersons would be able to form coalitions for special purposes rather than toeing strict party lines. They would be able to remain independent from parties altogether if it suited them. The Lottery System would permit a broader range of views to be represented in Congress.

While we are changing the system to eliminate corruption inherent in political campaigns, let us also make Congress more representative. 435 members is way too few for a population in excess of 300 million. Let's double the number of Congressonal districts to 870 to bring Congresspersons closer to their constituents and to allow for greater diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives. Better yet, let's triple them to 1,305.

Under the Lottery System, Congresspersons would be selected at random from the residents of each district. The only disqualifications would be youth, felony convictions and receipt of money from any governmental source during the previous ten years, including government contracts. I propose that their terms in office be at least 6 years so that they are not cycled out just as they are learning the ropes. No person would be required to serve if they were unwilling to do so. If the selectee declined to serve, the next name would be drawn until a selectee accepted the position. If we are careful about how districts are drawn, the resulting Congress will invariable look like America. About half of the members will be women. A wide range of age cohorts would be represented, and the distribution of classes in Congress would largely mirror those in the country. In short, we would have a truly representative body.

The Senate, if we decide to keep it at all, could be returned to the original system where its members were selected by state legislatures or it could be chosen by random lottery. I propose that the powers of the Senate be significantly curtailed and that it be limited to voting on legislation passed by the House rather than advancing its own legislation and to advice and consent. In the case of advice and consent, the Senate should be obliged in all instances to give an up or down vote on every nominee within 60 days of nomination and on every treaty within 180 days of submission to the Senate. If it does not, the nominee or treaty should be deemed confirmed or ratified.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Party "Contract from America" a Fiscal Suicide Pact | Crooks and Liars

Tea Party "Contract from America" a Fiscal Suicide Pact Crooks and Liars

This story has an interesting graphic about the sources of the deficit.

Another reason I am a skeptic when it comes to Tea Party claims that they are for lower taxes and smaller government is the unfeasability of their schemes.

Nobody on the right (except some of the right leaning libertarians) ever talks about reductions in military spending and ending expensive wars or about realistic plans to cut spending significantly. They simply have other priorities on which they would spend money or create deficits, the most important being cutting taxes on the relatively affluent. They'll borrow and shift the burden to future generations just as they have always done in my adult lifetime. They'll make a huge mess and leave it to Democrats to clean it up if they can. Government will be no smaller, and overall taxes will be higher (albeit deferred).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why I Don't Believe Teabaggers

Why don't I believe the Teabaggers when they say want smaller government and more freedom? First, I've heard this same crap by so called conservatives many times before, and it has always been false. Second, they lie or are just so misled about so many easily checked facts that they render themselves utterly trustworthy. Third, their authoritarian fellow travellers are not exactly testimonials to their freedom loving.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garden and Bird News

Our new handyman came by and fixed the raised beds that I made so incompetently last year and built me a third bed. He is going to put in a fourth bed on Friday, so we will have 400 square feet (with the herb garden and strawberry patch) under cultivation plus the berry patch. With our CSA membership, we are going to be swimming in produce, so I reckon we'll have to do some canning or other preservation. My family in Georgia used to say about our huge harvest that "we eat what we can and what we can't we can".

I have my work cut out hauling wheelbarrows of top soil from the driveway to the garden beds, but I aim to do it and to plant all the beds by this weekend. We planted one already when we had that hot spell a week or so ago.

For the first time this year, I am daunted by pond maintenance. Mucking the pond by hand this years smacks of effort. I used not to mind it, but I am overcome with sloth or something this year. A pond guy is coming by to give me an estimate on muck removal and suggestions on how to reduce sediment flowing into the pond. If I can afford his solutions, I'll do it. Otherwise, I was thinking of getting a trash pump and sucking the muck out of the pond and spreading it on the lawn. That's what I was doing with the wheelbarrow loads. The grass is greener on the muck.

Jasper is getting into fair weather Kong fetching shape. He's already hunting amphibians for hours on end.

We have a new species of bird, the great crested flycatcher. I hope he eats as many flies as he can and invites his whole clan. No hummers yet. The goldfinches are getting golder by the day.

I bought a propane grill- a CharBroil Red and have been cooking out every chance I get.

Life is so much better when winter is over.


I have seen protesters several times in the last couple of weeks referred to as "anti-government". Yet, when they prevail, they immediately form a government.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So you think slavery wasn't at the heart of the Confederacy…

PZ Myers nails it. So you think slavery wasn't at the heart of the Confederacy…

We're Doomed

I got a little depressed when I found out that Andromeda and the Milky Way are on a collision course. Odds are that this will have a negative impact on survival of whatever we've evolved into by then. This means we have only 4.5 billion years to become an intergalactic civilization. There's not a moment to waste.

Afterlife Schmafterlife

I lean toward universalism but I don't really have strongly held beliefs about the afterlife. It's a mystery as far as I'm concerned, and I'll know what I need to know when I need to know it.

The concept of hell is bothersome. I trust that if hell exists God has His reasons and that them as are consigned to hell belong there. I trust that ending up in hell will be in furtherance of God's plan. I assume that God will cause the resurrected saints to forget about the tormented souls in hell or that He will construct them in a way that will enable them to embrace the fact. Some folks would doubtless be disappointed if there were no hell. I would not. It seems to me that God would not resurrect the damned just to destroy them or subject them to eternal suffering. And if there is a hell, perhaps it's temporary so that when the damned have learned their lesson they can join the saints. I just don't know. How could I? Nobody ever comes back and explains anything.

I'm not sure about hell at all. I'm not even sure about heaven or the whole idea of the afterlife. What a gift it is just to have lived at all and to have been a sentient being. We should be grateful for that and not squander it on hopes for pie in the sky when we die. If there is an afterlife, then it's a bonus. I trust that God knows what is best for us. I would still follow Jesus even if the promise of life everlasting be a myth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

SCOTUS Endorsements

What is wanted on the Supreme Court is a greater diversity of professional background. There are enough law professors and career jurists on the court already. I reckon somebody with an executive or legislative background would be an asset to the court and to the country. For example, Governor Granholm of Michigan or Secretary of State Clinton might make excellent justices and would bring new and important perspectives. It would be helpful to have someone on the court who actually knows how the government really works and can speak to the likely practical impacts of decisions.

Wonkette : Romney Beats Ron Paul By Exactly One Vote In GOP Confederate Straw Poll

Wonkette : Romney Beats Ron Paul By Exactly One Vote In GOP Confederate Straw Poll

As Wonkette puts it:

"An unelectable Taxachusetts liberal gazillionaire, an unelectable libertarian extremist, an unelectable idiot teevee host and an unelectable chocolate-sucking amoral has-been … it’s the cream of the crop, Republican-style!"

Can this really be the GOP field? Maybe these are all just placeholder candidates while the real potential candidates wait and see whether there really is any kind of shot in 2012.

Taibbi Takes Brooks to Task for Douchebaggery

Brooks: Let Them Eat Work - Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - True/Slant

Seriously, Brooks claims rich peoiple deserve to be rich because they work harder.

"Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company, or listening to impatient assholes scream at you at some airport ticket counter all day long, or even teaching disinterested, uncontrollable kids in some crappy school district with metal detectors on every door.
Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers."