Archive for November, 2008

Call It McCroskey Syndrome

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Looks like I picked the wrong day to declare 2008 the year of thinking flaccidly.

My point stands…problem is, today is Victory in Iraq day. A 24-hour oasis of virility and manly triumph in a 365-day ocean of impotence.

I just picked the wrong day.

Thank you, men AND women who’ve contributed to that crucial triumph, in ways large and small.

Hat tip: Rick.

“The bilious bastards…don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.” — Gen. George Patton, Jr., May 31, 1944

A Guest Q&A with Virgil Bierschwale

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Hey, this is really good to see. Virgil’s been our blog-bud for awhile now, and not only is he picking up some traffic but he got himself a guest spot on as well. Well deserved.

Hope it’s the first limelight out of many, Virgil.

Year of Flaccid Thinking

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Commenter Rob has nominated us for our very own Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award, or at least suggested we should be so nominated, which highlights the disadvantages involved when accolades have been systematically handed out without rules attached. Can you give yourself a BSIHORL award? The dilemma has, we confess, taken us completely by surprise. We’ll have to toddle off somewhere and give that a think-or-three.

The sentence in question has to do with the iPresident (-elect), and His Divine Effect upon the market, which has been a gloriously depressing one. And it reads thusly,

Oh well. Blame Bush. It’s always been an easy thing for the flaccid mind.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One of my keenest weaknesses, has been a consistent failure to recognize my own genius now and then. I need to have others point it out. I’m working hard to improve in this particular area…but it’s a slow process.

Now that I take another gander at my own work, the brilliance is hard to deny. Like any other brilliant thing, it cloaks a subtle challenge to orthodoxy. The word “flaccid” has an orthodoxy about it, said orthodoxy being the singularity of a particular act to which the word may pertain. That act has nothing to do with the mind, or very little, and is much more concerned with a particular male appendage.

We do not like, in these enlightened modern times, to connect abstract, capable thinking with masculinity. This would imply that our females are inherently incapable of practical thinking. This is not only politically incorrect, but all of us who were raised by determined, capable mothers know better. Such a thought is therefore relegated to the dungeon reserved for axioms that cause grievous offence both to prevailing sensibilities and to common sense.

Which is right and just.

But our mistake is to retreat headlong from anything located in that general direction.

Because whether we want to admit it or not, there is more than a casual relationship between beneficial thinking, and masculinity. And a state of flaccidness is problematic to both. Thinking, life’s experiences teach us, is quite a waste of time and energy if one is not willing to retain one’s shape when one is challenged by softer tissues that rightfully ought yield. One must assume a certain rigidity. And once one assumes that certain rigidity, one must penetrate. If one is unready, unwilling or unable to do these things, the job is left undone — someone else has to step in and achieve the task as a proxy. So in the end, the flaccid thinker doesn’t think at all, he only displays the work of others; if the task is somehow fruitful, the product belongs to another lineage. It doesn’t matter whether polite company refuses to recognize it.

I point these things out not to indulge in unnecessary vulgarities, or to offend those easily offended. Rather, I point them out to give voice to that which has been, for awhile now, suppressed. The suppression has taken place to the point that damage has been done.

The year 2008 has emerged as sort of a capstone, an epochal event, to which many of the consecutive years gone by languish in our archives as prologue. Since — roughly — the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s, thinking has been associated with classically non-male characteristics, which might be summed up as “taking the bottom position.” Passivity prefered over activity; yielding in shape and form; acceptance; getting squished; and last but not least, elevating the importance of one’s own emotions (H/T: Rick).

Men across the nation are weeping tears of joy this week. Publicly and unabashedly. The election of Obama has validated and encouraged their right to publicly expose their sensitive inner selves to the world. Feelings rule.

Metrosexuals everywhere are experiencing a collective ‘shiver up their legs’, as they rush to inform one and all of the fascinating complexities and mysteries of their inner emotions.

Setting the example that the new man isn’t a man unless he has the ability to shed tears on cue, was CBS’ Harry Smith. At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, an emotional Harry Smith declared:”…I wept tears of joy last night.”

Over on ABC, News correspondent Steve Osunsami was reporting live from Morehouse college, and when word of Barack Obama’s victory came, “Steve found himself choking back tears”. He then rushed off to pen his brilliant editorial, A Reporter Reflects on His Own Reaction to the Election. Girly Man meets the me generation.

These are not isolated cases. One is hard pressed to search for the opposite. Where’s the big, tough, rowdy musclehead pullin’ for Obama, slamming his beer mug down on the bar and yelling “YEAAHHH!!!” upon learning of the electoral college triumph of the President-God? Anybody see something like that? Anybody hear a tale, apocryphal or otherwise, that comes even close? Not I. It’s always the “tears of joy” line, or something closely resembling it.

I do not believe an assault on manhood is the point, here. Indeed, I’m open to the possibility that there is no point. Like the nocturnal recreation with which I so crudely compare it here, thinking produces some sweat. It’s work. A lot of folks have lost their virility, or perhaps traded it in; they’re not up to the challenge. They don’t rise to the occasion, because they simply don’t want to. Accountability seems to have much to do with what intimidates them. To engage in this act, without the benefit of a proxy stand-in, involves someone else forming an appraisal of your performance or lack thereof. This is a frightening thing to some lads, because it’s one of the few activities in which they participate that is not a team effort. You bollux this, and you can’t blame it on a weak player. It’s all you, Jimbo.

Perhaps there is no drive. I’m sure any lady possessing some measure of experience, will agree that drive is important in a man, that some gentlemen have it and others do not. Drive is closely associated with confidence, and confidence comes with competence. In many cases, this instance of the electorate, or that one, would be losing his virginity in thinking like a real man, should he ever choose to do so — and regardless of natural ability, nobody has the measure of confidence that comes later, when one loses one’s virginity. If one does, then that one is not being confident, he is being cocky, and this has an oppositional effect.

There has been a virtual tidal wave of opposition and pejorative thinking against Americans prevailing, following-through, defending others, acting independently of garrulous authority figures, in a manner consistent with what was announced previously — doing other things generally consistent with classical definitions of rugged masculinity. Indeed, reading through the letters to Newsweek on the subject, you see the writers taking the initiative to make the thinking-to-masculinity link. Masculine words are sprinkled throughout, like pepper on a meat dish. Violence. Dominating. Domineering. Cowboy. Military.

Interesting side note: There are two reasons to hate a man. You can hate him for what he lacks, like a weary wife or mother endlessly picking up after him because he fails to appreciate the finer things…the whole “men can’t see dirt” thing. Or, you can hate him for what he has, the way a cuckold hates another fellow he’s just learned has been having relations with his wife, or perhaps that his wife simply desires for this to occur. These two camps of male-hatred take on two distinctly different flavors, since the former brand is saturated with exhaustion and the latter is saturated with envy. When I hear people talk about how bad America has been, I don’t hear much exhaustion. What seeps through is a lot more like envy. Food for thought; but that’s a bunny trail.

Back to the subject at hand — with all these years of toxic international talk about how much America needs to shape up its act, sprinkled with these zingers about how undesirable the essentials of maleness really are…we have, in this year of flaccid thinking, capitulated. We have yielded, and yielded in most unmanly fashion. It’s the “well, alright if you say so” election.

It’s the ultimate in flaccidness. A real man, after all, doesn’t do things just because “everybody” wants him to do them (nor does he refuse to do it either, because of such a thing). A real man acts independently of the prevailing viewpoint. And if ever a real man did become fixated on what “everybody around the world” is really thinking about something — which he would not — he would treat it as a thing to be measured, to be made into an objective observation, existing independently of the emotions of those in proximity. Which would mean, world opinion would be presented to him as a poll, run door to door, across billions of households on the planet, or else it wouldn’t be presented to him as anything that means anything to him at all. In other words, he would not rely on someone else to tell him what “we all” think.

So Rob’s right. Flaccid is precisely the right word. We are not thinking like women in the way we’ve conducted ourselves, in this country, in this year; such a statement would be needlessly demeaning to women, unforgivably so.

No, our national culture has managed to conduct itself like gelded men. Call it electile dysfunction. Men who cannot, or will not, do what men were built to do. Supposedly, this has made us much more popular in something called the “world community.” Time will tell. A lot of people, under the right set of circumstances, may pretend they find it appealing when a man wears a dress…but very few really feel that way. And sooner or later, a guy has to do something to justify his existence. The garbage needs to be carried out only so many times. There are only so many pickle jars that need to be opened. Women are perfectly capable of bringing home their own paychecks.

The bedroom beckons.

Oh and there’s one other thing about real men that isn’t mentioned in polite company. By the time we’ve graduated from high school…or very soon afterward…we’ve figured out you aren’t going to get large numbers of people to like you, and want to be associated with you, simply by being a “nice guy.” That quality, all by itself, is associated with impotence; impotence has never been a sign of prestige, anywhere.

If this is the first time that it is, then the iPresident will be remembered more fondly than His predecessor.

If the trend that has remained unbroken since the dawn of time, continues, then He will not be.

All in all, I wouldn’t be feeling good about myself as a man, if this was the year in which I was elected President.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Blog Type

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Analyzing Your Blog Type, hat tip goes to Buck, who was filed into the Myers-Briggs spectrum as an…

ESTP – The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Buck claims to have been missed by a country mile. On the other hand, the engine-widget-whatchamacallzit had a look over our material here at The Blog That Nobody Reads, and it came back with the same thing produced by everyone else who’s ever inspected us with MBTI in mind, going clear back to childhood:

INTP – The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

I’m attracted to this because it’s a weekend, and the subject matter has nothing to do with politics. However…I take umbrage with this “imagine far-reaching implications” thing. Next time you want to write up a profile on INTP, I say, get an INTP to write it. We don’t imagine connections between things that appear unrelated, to the casual observer — we comprehend them.

There I go, failing to see or understand the needs of others again.

Sexual Harrassment Training

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Bill Whittle had to attend (H/T: Fellow Webloggin contributor Bookworm).

Some priceless stuff results from that.

My own impressions had to do with the twin goals of the class I attended:
1. To foster a work environment free of offense, discomfort or intimidation for the benefit of all;
2. To get the message across that in defining sexual harrassment, the intent of the offender doesn’t matter one bit — it’s the perception of the offended that defines whether hijinks were a-goin’ on.

Those are two opposing goals.

Opposing. Mutually exclusive. Irreconcilable.

As in, you absolutely, positively, have to go without one of ’em. Because there really aren’t too many ways to more effectively make people feel uncomfortable, than to surround them with a bunch of strangers empowered to act as judge, jury and executioner upon their careers once the proper itch is ensconced between their ears.

Best Sentence XLIX

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Dr. Clouthier is concise

I can’t help but thinking that if Barack Obama specified what “change”, specifically, he believed in, the markets would calm down.

Boortz is more expansive

The picture certainly isn’t rosy right now, and nobody can really explain why. The media, on the other hand, is certain that there is one recent event that is having no effect whatsoever on this economic slide; and that would be the election of Barack Obama.

OK … why don’t you try to put on an investor hat for a moment here. Let’s say you’re considering getting back in the stock market. You know that some stocks out there are at historic lows, and they’re bound to bounce back … right? So why don’t you just take some money out of your savings or out from under your mattress and plow it back into the market?

Let’s see if we can find any reasons why you might hesitate.

We have a president-elect who …
… has promised to raise capital gains taxes, perhaps even double them. So this guy is just waiting for you to jump into the stock market and make some money so he can seize a huge portion of it. Why jump now? Obama has been asked if he plans to go forward with his capital gains tax increase, but he’s not saying. Just hold off on your investments for a while until he tips his hand. If he goes the tax increase route you might want to consider trying to move your money offshore to grow until he’s out of the picture.

… has promised to sign the so-called “Card Check” bill. Now again, you’re smarter than the average voter, and you realize that this unionization-through-intimidation idea is going to have an adverse affect on American business. As soon as the bill is signed union thugs (organizers) will start their petition drives at thousands of businesses across the nation. Large businesses and small businesses. America’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, will be one of the first targets. You don’t know how far this will spread, but you do know that every business that is unionized will be a poor investment for you. So you wait .. you wait to see what is going to happen with card check.

… has promised to raise income taxes on the largest jobs producing segment of our economy, small businesses. During the campaign you heard him say that he would not raise taxes on 95% of small businesses, but you know that most of the jobs rest with the remaining 5%, and that’s where most of the new jobs would be created. The ignorant voters bought his 95% line, but you’re not that stupid. You saw through his rhetoric. So, again, why jump into the market now? Wait until we see what Obama is going to do with these tax increases on America’s jobs-producing machine.

… has promised more business regulation. Obama is no fan of free enterprise. He loves government. Obama believes America is great because of government. You really think you need to wait before you make your investment moves until you see just what regulatory punishment Obama has in mind for the free market.

So .. think about it. We’ve only scratched the surface here. We could also talk about expanding the family leave act and many other little federal anti-business goodies. Invest now? Why? Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until you get a true measure of our new anti-capitalist president?

As many words as he used, Boortz missed one that’s on my mind a bit lately.

The dialog President-elect Obama really wants to start, it seems, is one He isn’t quite ready to admit He’s willing to start, let alone admit that He is exuberant about starting it.

And that dialog has to do with whether or not the time has come to give up on capitalism.

A casual observer of everday news should be able to tell you that if He is ever backed into a corner about this lawn-dart motion the market is doing, He will just lapse into a litany about FaPoBuAd (failed policies of the Bush administration). (Thanks, small-tee-tim the godless heathen!) A more curious, conscientious and thoughtful follower of our national events will figure out the iPresident-elect Man-God is just about as enthusiastic about capitalism and free enterprise, as He is about the country He is about to start ruling. Which is to say, not very much at all.

He’ll blame the market for the problems He and His kind have caused.

(“His kind.” Can I say that? Only one way to find out, I s’pose…)

We’ve already seen it with the subprime mess. He’s a community organizer; He brags about being a community organizer; community organizers browbeat banks into making bad loans; bad loan paper caused the subprime sinkhole. And now that the whole scenario has played out He wants to blame it on free entrprise running around all half-cocked, like a little kid with a children’s menu failing to keep his crayon inside the lines or something.

So with a friendly congress, we’re bound to see some more regulation…of the very kind that made the problem in the first place.

As Neal points out, investors aren’t like ordinary voters. They tend to understand cause and effect. They have to; you must believe in cause-and-effect in order to be an investor, otherwise, to you it’s nothing more than a gamble. I suppose there may be an investor here & there who sees it that way. But that isn’t descriptive of the ones who make the real money. They need to see some concrete reasons why their dollars are likely to come back, with some extra, before they send those dollars anywhere.

So for the time being, it just isn’t happening.

Oh well. Blame Bush. It’s always been an easy thing for the flaccid mind.

Feminists Outraged: Women Underrepresented in Publication of Stupid Crazy Nonsense

Friday, November 21st, 2008


Writer Jessica Wakeman recently had an interesting study published by media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting on the present number of bylines belonging to women on Huffington Post.

After two months of tracking the number of bylines on the homepage, she found that only 23% of them belong to women:

The Post does seem to be making a conscious effort to include women’s voices; despite the low percentages, the study found at least one female byline on the home page at all times. But if there is indeed such an effort, it stops far short of parity. Of the 89 times bylines were checked during the study, not once did the number of women’s bylines equal those belonging to men. Only eight times did women account for more than a third of all bylines. And Arianna Huffington, appearing 57 times, accounted for more than a fifth of all women’s bylines; 45 of those occupied the most visible top post. Only once, in fact, did a woman other than Arianna Huffington get her byline in the most visible top slot–Post editor-at-large Nora Ephron (8/26/08).

I’d like to see a larger study around this; too many of us feel that women bloggers are undervalued in the progressive blogosphere, but hard evidence is always helpful.Thoughts?

Yeah here’s a thought, you whiner: A utopian’s work is never done. There’s always a scintilla of unfairness left lying around. Utopianism, therefore, whether it’s feminism, “civil rights,” hyper-environmentalism or general left-wing thuggery, will always be the packaging of extremism behind a veil of phony compromise.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met..

Here’s another.

When I think of a hybrid construct of all the HuffPo bloggers of whom I’ve read, be they male or female — and I probably speak for quite a few who have dabbled in that corner, here — the general picture that emerges, closely resembles a stereotype of women that might be tossed out by careless piggish men, right before feminists like you start waving around their patented theatrical outrage.

Products of lifetimes spent getting attention, and not trying to accomplish too much else.

Thoughtless. Spoiled. Snarky.

Cute to the point of irritating.

Thinking well of themselves, while never straying too far from, or reigning in too tightly, a streak of viciousness.

Unhappy if everyone in the room isn’t watching them every second.

Full of punchlines, with absolutely no solutions to the problems of which they like to complain so much, showing absolutely no effort to find any.

And so it occurs to me that you’re caught up in a cyclical protest here, feminists: You’ve been spending all these years demanding people think of women as rationally thinking, strong, reliable and capable beings — and that women take this to heart as much as anyone else. Maybe, just maybe, when women started to comply, that’s when the female-authored posts to HuffPo took a tumble.

Let’s face it. You really don’t have to wait that long for a post written by a woman to emerge from the depths of the cistern that is Huffington Post. And if I want to think more positively of women and the contributions they can make to our society, I have a lot of other things I can look at besides that. No, the real flesh-and-blood women I know, inspire much more confidence in me about what they can do, and cause me to look forward much more positively to the next time I’m called on to work on something with a female, compared to the average female-written contribution to HP.

Or to Feministing, for that matter, now that I give it another think or three.

Is This That Conservative Hatred I Keep Hearing About?

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Because, if it is, there’s something a little odd about it. Yeah it’s thick on death, and thin on inclusiveness, but it seems so much more passive than active. Like if a serial killer with an axe felt this way about me, I wouldn’t really be in too much danger.

There’s something else here that hasn’t been included in all these descriptions of right-wing rage. In fact, the one thing left undiscussed appears to me to be a key ingredient.


I resent having to breathe the same air as you. You and I are not brothers, friends, or countrymen – in fact, you’re not even the same species as me, you subhuman oxygen thieves. I wonder why there isn’t a bounty on you, but probably because to pay what you are worth wouldn’t cover the cost of the bullet it would take to put you out of respectable people’s misery, you immoral filth. If you were on fire, I would step around you rather than waste the time to piss on you and put it out, and I’d charge your relatives for the disposal of your body, as well as fine your estate because your screams of pain were noise pollution.

This is quite a bit different from what I was hearing out of left-wingers when Republicans were getting elected. That wasn’t passive, like this; that was active. It was about frog-marching the elected and appointed officials out of their offices in shackles, waterboarding them, trying them in The Hague. Setting them on fire, not walking around them once they were smoldering away. Yes, there is a difference.

I know to a lot of folks it sounds like exactly the same thing. That’s because they’re spoiled.

When you’re accustomed to having your ass kissed, it feels like a beat-down when you finally meet someone who’s sick of you. That doesn’t mean that’s what it is. It just means you’re spoiled rotten.

It’ll get worse before it gets better. I know this, because to a 42-year-old man, sixteen years isn’t that long of a time, and I remember what 1993 was like. Obama will call for things to be passed through Congress, our media will not inspect any of it, Congress won’t balk at it, none of it will be held up for discussion safe for how wonderful our iPresident-Messiah is for signing it…every day will be a brand new Easter as the Messiah rises from the dead once again with His wonderful new legislation…and even His most enthusiastic supporters will become exhausted.

Nobody wants to go to church seven days a week.

Meanwhile, is this the worst of it? I don’t see any conservatives ordering up painkillers or stretching themselves out on psychiatrists’ couches…like liberals did in ’05. All I see, is fatigue, much like this. Fatigue with seeing flaky, un-American visions for this country’s future, treated as if they are quite legitimate, when they’re not.

Yes, liberals have the idea that conservative visions for the country’s future are equally illegitimate. It’s the reaction. When it was the liberals’ turn to get extra-peeved, they went active. They went much, much further than what’s above.

H/T: Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

If Starbucks Was Marketed Like a Church

Friday, November 21st, 2008

H/T: Rick.


Friday, November 21st, 2008

That’s what I’m going to call him. Because inspiration strikes me, often, before the first streaks of gray loom over the eastern sky.

Practical as the Lotus and Sprint network are (despite the latter’s mounting financial troubles), I’m so taken with the iPhone’s bells and whistles—and especially its brilliant interface—that I’ll tolerate AT&T’s abysmal wireless service. The cute Lotus is on its way back to Sprint, and I’m waiting on my next dropped call…

That’s exactly what our 44th President is. The famous “Clinton wireless service” we got to know so well, and then voted away two or three times — repackaged with large, friendly buttons on a morphing keyboard and “bells and whistles” galore.

A perfect fit for the iDecade. As I wrote back in February

…we are designed to find ways to contribute as individuals. It matters not if we’re told day after day, hour-to-hour, that we’re loved unconditionally even should we fail to do this. We want to succeed. We want to justify our individual existences.

Notice how every hot luxury item now, the thing you get your significant-other to show how much you love them, has a name that begins with a lowercase “i”. There is deep psychological symbolism involved in this. “i” is a pronoun we use to reference ourselves…as individuals…usually capitalized, but here, curiously, not. It’s as if we have been conditioned to think less of ourselves. Lowercase “i”…as in…”i’m so glad i have this personal music player because i wouldn’t be worth much without it.” Or, “i hope people will think better of me now that i have a phone that everybody else would like to have.”

That little i will take its sweet time finding its way to the Hallway of Regrettable Trends, in the space between the pet rock and the Ouija board…but it’ll get there. I find the deep psychological symbolism fascinating. Without my iDevice i mean very little and i no longer deserve caps, therefore i must not mean very much with it, since i cannot depend on it to keep my phone call in progress when i call someone.

I doubt like hell that Melissa Clouthier has these kinds of ego issues. And she certainly hasn’t become drunk on adoration for our iPresident-Elect, however she may feel about her iPhone.

But his appeal to his iFans seems to me not much different from the appeal this overly-expensive, semi-working iPhone has to its dwindling numbers of iCustomers. I’m envisioning an iDevice pulled out of a box in an attic with twenty years of dust on it — how snazzy will that look, then? I’m recalling how cool and techy a digital watch used to look…the old kind, with ones with the RED numbers.

When people say “oh yeah, that’s from somewhere around the OBAMA administration” will that name sound too much different from the way the name “Carter” sounds right now?

The iPresident…for the iDecade. When we care about how things are packaged, and not about what those things do once we unpack them and plug ’em in. Before we became fed-up with style and hungry for function.

I’m not predicting the future. I’m making an easy call.

It’s happening already.

Over-Pleasers Syndrome

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I was chasing through Melissa Clouthier’s archives for something else entirely unrelated, and I stumbled across a beauty from a couple weeks ago that I’d somehow missed.

Wish my Mom saw it when she was alive. I think her business stayed afloat for a few more years because she understood, without anyone pointing it out, that she had this problem…she was a tough nut. But have it she did. I’ve often wondered how a business works when the principal has sailed headlong over this cliff, as opposed to simply teetering on it like she was. Ouch.

Over-Pleaser’s Syndrome (OPS): An entrepreneur’s compulsive and/or excessive need to please, often to the detriment of the business. The syndrome overwhelmingly strikes women and leads to weaker bottom lines, withering work schedules and advanced No-Life Disorder.

One of my business-coaching clients read last month’s column, “Please Everyone–and Watch Your Business Fail” and, after carefully considering my five-point evaluation for identifying OPS, realized that she is a chronic over-pleaser. And her business and her life are suffering as a result of the things she’s doing:

1. She often completes her employees’ work on weekends.

2. She mothers staffers through personal trials.

3. She pays some staffers more than they produce.

4. “Worst of all, a couple of my employees make more money than I do,” she says. “OPS is slowly, insidiously ruining what I’d spent years building.”

Then she said something really alarming. She told me she was determined to end her pleasing ways “by reconnecting with my inner bitch.”

Whoa, not so fast, I told her. Recovery has nothing to do with nastiness, but everything to do with making clear to staffers what it takes for them to be successful–as a hired employee in your business.

See that? Go too far in one direction, you need correcting; go too far in the other — you still need correcting. Moderation. It’s that stuff we usually say we want? The drawback is, it requires a little bit deeper thinking.

The lady discussed in the preamble may be beyond all hope. She seems to be using her business to showcase certain aspects of her personality, to manipulate people into believing she has some attributes she doesn’t want hidden. I’ve found that generally, people who are accustomed to putting these personality attributes on display, don’t change overnight.

Based on what I’ve seen over the years, these items make plenty good sense. I have more than a few stories to tell about the folks who ignored them with the best of intentions, and the carnage that ensued. Do click the link above, though — I’m only taking first-sentence summaries of each bullet:

1. Your employees should know the rules.
2. Establish measures and consequences.
3. Don’t chase employees around the office for updates.
4. You’re a business, not a shelter. Set boundaries.
5. Get to the bottom of your own enabling behaviors.
6. Let your employees know what it costs to retain them.
7. Make a better plan.

This ties in, I think, with my frustrations with the school system which I can fairly summarize as — perform adequately to standards academically but don’t integrate socially, we’ve got a big problem…integrate socially but don’t perform to standards, that’s more-or-less OK.

No, women aren’t particularly business-stupid. Really. How many men know something about running a business? Our gals are doing just fine. The problem is androgynous; it’s the people. Our generation has been indoctrinated from childhood to think, anytime we congregate for business or for anything else, the congregatin’ comes first. Being together and interacting socially is the point.

The problem is exacerbated by the difficulty encountered in making the distinction that really matters. Customers should be made happy they’ve made the acquaintance of the business. There should be a difference between the circumstances as they are left when the transaction has been concluded, and the circumstances that would’ve existed had the transaction not been engaged, and the difference should be a positive one. When people adopt this business goal as their own, personally, problems ensue. You’d really be screwed if it wasn’t for me because I just did all your work for you — not healthy. Or, dear boss, if the day ever comes you have to cut me or cut that other fellow, you’d better make sure it’s him because I’m doing all the work around here. That’s not healthy either.

You’ll find within that list the sage advice “If your business cannot sustain you and your employees, you have hired either too early or ineffectively…A new employee should mean more money, not less, for a business owner.” That seems to me to be an effective lodestar. A job is a task. Too many people see it as a ticket to a rock concert, or something; property held by the fellow who happens to have the job. Once you’re there, you do work if you feel like it, or socialize instead if that’s your personality, but what’s really expected out of you is to conduct yourself in such a way that you’ll be invited back in next time. So harmonizing with the social rhythm can indeed effectively replace work.

Ever been on the other side of it — ever patronize a business and then watch in frustration as you’re engulfed in salesmen, shift supervisors, waitresses, contractors, et al, who seem to think their primary mission is to make others happy to have ’em around and not to get work done? That’s more of the same. Too much pleasing. Not enough doing.

Well, if we have that kind of emphasis in education and other events when our children are young, and we make a success out of communicating this message to ’em, I don’t really see where we have a place to complain. Children remember things as they grow up, and this is how their personalities are formed.

Of course, with our new Hopey-Changey President God-Man in charge, I would expect this problem to get much worse before it gets better. We lately seem to have respect for hard work and real achievement, only when our imminent lot-in-life somehow depends on it. Otherwise it’s all iPods, dogs-in-purses and sweet coffee drinks with unpronounceable names.

His Blank Slate II

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The HOPE has something to do with the DOW coming down 1,600 points since His election…which is quite unprecedented (H/T: Rick).

The CHANGE has something to do with naming a bunch of old Clinton hacks to His transition team and cabinet.

But I really think what’s going to hurt us more than anything, is ACCOUNTABILITY: The bailout. Try this. Use Google, or whatever you want, to figure out if incoming President Obama is for it or not. Yeah, some of His comments put Him “leaning” in favor, but not to the point that He’s helplessly tethered to it should it fail, as a strong leader would be. He’s not a Captain ready to go down with the ship.

Next year’s U.S. Government, all throughout the executive branch, is going to be a fair-weather friend to the most massive treasury-giveaway in the history of the nation. They can have their cake and eat it too — claim credit if things get better, point to it as another “failed policy of the Bush administration” if it all goes south.

Which means, nobody’s really going to be burning any midnight oil to fix anything.

Change we can believe in? Change we deserve? Yes to both, it would seem…just not in the way some of us thought.

BBQ Covers Require Maintenance

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

BBQ Covers Require Maintenance…or else.

The story begins “So im using my bbq this weekend…thought ill clean it up.” It involves an enemy hidden under a veil until after it’s neutralized — and a can of roach & flea killer. Summertime play equipment neglected throughout a fertile spring.

Man against nature.


Toolbox Adrift

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

I remember one of my past linkages was particularly uncomfortable around machines, tools and such; she was the type of gal that fat old aristocratic drunk guy was talking about in Titanic when he said “women and machinery don’t mix!” or words to that effect. One day she needed me to take off from work to rescue her because she locked her keys in the car, or didn’t know how to put on a spare, or something…the first words out of her mouth when she called me on the phone, were “Don’t say ANYTHING!”

Well, I’m not going to say anything about Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, that’s for sure. For one thing, I have no idea how to pronounce her name. For another thing, I’m positive it’s much tougher to hang on to a toolbox in space than it looks. Could’ve happened to one of the fellas just as easily.

A US astronaut is left red-faced after she drops her toolbox on a spacewalk – within hours it had floated more than two miles away.

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper accidently let go of the bag while carrying out repair work outside the International Space Station yesterday.
The bag contained two grease guns, scrapers and other equipment needed to begin fixing a 10-foot-wide rotary joint that positions the station’s solar wing panels toward the sun for power.

NOT good. Now all those other astronauts are gonna run around talkin’ about ol Butterfingers Heidemarie Ste…fany…shyn…Piper…aw, nevermind, she’s got nothing to worry about.

Watch yer head. Scrapers fallin’ from space.

Cassy on the Post-November Patriots

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Cassy’s back, feeling better hopefully, and she has some words for the folks instructing the rest of us to love the country, with them, only now that His Hopey-Changey-ness has been elected President.

What’s really pathetic is how for [Julianne] Malveaux, and many liberals like her, their love for their country is wrapped up in which politicians are running the place at the moment. Yet they howl in outrage if you question their patriotism, as if conditional love is just as good as unconditional love. Maybe I, a conservative in Flyover Country, am some kind of freak or something, but I love my country all the time. I love my country regardless of who is currently in office, I love my country for the good and the bad, and I will always fight for her. I don’t need to have a President with an (R) next to his name to love my country, nor does he have to be a specific race, gender, or religion for me to love her.

It says much worse about Julianne Malveaux than it does about America that her love for her country, and seemingly her self-worth as well, is dependant on a politician. I’m guessing as soon as Obama leaves office, she’ll just sink back into despair and victimhood, right?

Couldn’t agree more. There is something sickening about a fair-weather friendship. It doesn’t fill me with hopey-changeyness and I don’t think it makes anybody else too hopeful about anything either.

Now’s the time to push back. Let’s make it a bipartisan pushback. Patriotism, after all, knows no political season. Not in any country, and most definitely not in this one…

This Is Good LVII

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

(And in shame, I quietly peel down my pathetic little LOLRadrz post, crumple it up in a little ball and toss it in the scrap-basket. It’s been up for half an hour. Fate is cruel.)

H/T: FrankJ.


Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I say, if this makes a lick of sense to you…that means you’ve been hitting this site way too hard.

D’JEver Notice? XVII

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Republicans lose voters (H/T: Frank, who thinks this guy’s delusional, and I agree) with their evil stupid plans to force women to have abortions, to keep paraplegics like Christopher Reeve in their wheelchairs, and to assert the will of an elite cultist relition over their entire country by means of theocratic rule.

The democrats lose votes with their evil stupid plans to inject pointlessness into things…like making money…following the law…defending the country. Every little thing anybody can do — except oppose Republicans — they want to make a little bit tougher, a little bit less rewarding.

I know this about Republicans because I read it in smartass backwoods newspaper columns like the one linked above.

I know this about democrats because people actually talk about it. Joe The Plumber isn’t the first one I’ve heard raising this obvious point: If I want to buy a business and hire employees, and President Obama is going to raise my taxes, what’s the freakin’ point? What’s the point of doing anything? Why follow immigration laws, why hire people, why get married, why buy a house.

As for whether they want to do these things, I know the democrats want to do what I think they want to do because they tell me so.

I’m not sure Republicans really want to do the things attributed to them. Not a hundred percent. Because when the accusation is directed at them, and then someone justifies it, they always have to invent something on the spot to make it complete. A big chunk of it is always pulled out of thin air. I’ve not heard a Republican presidential candidate say “when you force women to have babies, it’s good for everybody!” I’ve not heard one say “when you force everyone to be protestant, it’s good for everybody!” I’ve not heard one say “when you make old people choose between their last drug prescription and the next can of pet food they have to eat for dinner, it’s good for everybody!”

In other words — wowee, those Republicans sure sound foolish and dangerous, when I pretend they said things they didn’t say.

But I know damn good and well what Barack Obama said about spreading the wealth around. It wasn’t the first time I heard that, either. There’s no need to pull that out of anywhere. They’re saying they want to do it.

We’re a funny people. We pretend to be so centrist, objective and balanced. But we debate the awful horrible fictitious things Republicans are going to do if we leave them in charge…that they haven’t done, even though they’ve been in charge…versus, the idiotic things democrats do every single time they’re in charge, without fail, that with a casual skimming through the pages of recent history, we’d know haven’t worked out too well for us. If we were willing to put in the time or energy to do it.

Best Sentence XLVIII

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

The 48th Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award goes out, this morning, to askmom who comments at Gerard’s place about the whole Newt Gingrich thing…laying the smackdown upon a snarky cabal of anti-Palin loudmouths, encompassing both elite and common layers of Republican power, but destined to fail nevertheless…

A new sheriff has riden into town – on a snowmobile. Get over it.

Yup, it’s two sentences. But whatever. It made me chuckle.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XXV

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

But The Blog That Nobody Reads — the one you’re reading now, that is — is, it would seem, responsible for injecting new life into Duffy’s Marriage. Yay!

Or for making the poor fellow sleep on the couch the other night. One of the two.

I know very little about Ms. Duffy, but I’ve been convinced for quite awhile she must be a wonderful lady, for a number of reasons. Now there’s another one.

Speaking of wonderful ladies, our cynical post also caught the attention of Jaded Haven who sprinkled it with her “ribald lagniappe of jolly smut.” Some crappy writers make up for their lack of talent by keeping a thesaurus at their elbows; she may or may not have a thesaurus at the elbow, but she’s a wonderful writer who will have you anchored at her corner of the web, leafing through the archives, grasping for more. To the sidebar she goes…

Newt Says No

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Sarah Palin will be one of 20 or 30 significant players in the Republican party going forward, but she won’t be a leading contender and she won’t be the de facto leader.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is batting down the hype that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin heads into 2012 as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Palin energized the Republican base after GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) tapped her as his running mate and she has tried to preserve her high public profile since Election Day.

But Gingrich, an architect of the Republican revolution of 1994, took Palin down a notch, asserting that she would not become the party’s leader, as some have predicted.

“I think that she is going to be a significant player,” said Gingrich during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. “But she’s going to be one of 20 or 30 significant players. She’s not going to be the de facto leader.”
Palin dominated media coverage at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami last week. She grabbed the spotlight at a Thursday press conference, answering reporters’ questions while a dozen other GOP governors stood awkwardly behind her on stage.

Crowds of reporters and cameras chased Palin in Miami while ignoring more experienced colleagues from other states.

But Gingrich on Sunday sought to divert some media attention away from Palin and to other governors such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R).

“She’s going to be a much bigger story in the short run,” said Gingrich, explaining Palin’s higher media profile compared to other GOP governors. “But, I think, as she goes back to being governor and as she works in Alaska, you’re going to see a group of governors emerge, not just Sarah Palin.”

Gingrich said Huntsman and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) may emerge as political leaders on the economy while Jindal could claim the mantel on healthcare reform.

“I would say, for example, to Republicans who are about to face this question of how do you get the economy growing again, bring in Gov. Daniels and bring in Gov. Huntsman….”

“If you want to understand healthcare, you can do a lot worse than to bring in Bobby Jindal who may well know more about health policy than any other elected official in America and is doing an extraordinary job in Louisiana.”

I…I…I’m so confused. Did you just say you represented the Republican party?

Because, y’know, I think if I needed some direction from my luminous leaders on who’s supposed to catch my fancy and who is not, I would’ve joined the party run by those other guys. They thrive on that stuff, you know. “You like Shiraz better than White Zin, today’s favorite color is purple.” Since when do you get to decide what we are going to be telling you? I guess in some hidden lab somewhere deep in Mount G.O.P, some scientist is looking at a “Ignore The Base” meter and has put out a report over the weekend saying the November quota has not yet been met.

Here’s what it’s about, Newt. Not so much about growing the economy…but how. Not so much about healthcare…but quit going through life yelling for your mommy. Have Huntsman or Daniels or Jindal become known for something like “Drill Baby Drill”? Would they?

Here’s what it’s about — it’s about refusing to apologize for your existence…discouraging others from apologizing for existing…and then…refusing to apologize for those previous two.

Sarah Palin has earned our trust here.

You used to do the same, friend. Then what happened?

Maybe you’re the guy people were talking about when they clamored for this “change.” You’ve been in the beltway for awhile, and something in there seems to have gotten to you.

Psychotropic Drugs

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

File this under Must See. Thanx to commenter Shannon in AZ.

We Love Her As She Is

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

The Dagney with the misspelled name speaks for me on this one…and God only knows how many others.

I actually heard Cal Thomas, a reliable conservative voice, say on Fox News tonight say he thought Sarah Palin needed to reinvent herself? CAL, WE LOVE SARAH AS SHE IS!!!!!!!!!! WHAT IN HEAVEN’S NAME WOULD MAKE YOU THINK SHE NEEDS TO BE ANYONE ELSE?

Imagine the following in your very best slow, loud, Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction voice…

Nobody needs to reinvent a Goddamned thing.

It’s the people voting. One ticket had lawyers on it, the other ticket had none. The electorate was in the mood to vote for lawyers. Focus-group tested buzzwords, a bunch of nonsense that “Everybody” knows…that’s what the ballots were made of this year.

We’ve gotten sick and tired of lawyers and canned catchphrases before. We will be tired of ’em again. And when we are, “Smug ‘n Plugs” won’t have a single other thing to sell anybody. The hunger for real solutions, with substance, that actually work, will set in.

It’s a hunger that always arrives quickly. Quickly and painfully. The desire to see good guys treated like bad guys, and bad guys treated like good, dissipates the minute the bad guys start running around doing their damage. In other words, we’re all a bunch of Paul Kerseys…we believe in fluff and hope and change and things that sound good, “root cause of crime is poverty,” second chances, rehabilitation, right up until our wives and daughters are violated and murdered. Then we’re ready for some reality and some justice.

Let the electorate try their childish experiment. They won’t be enamored of it for long, I promise you. May the lesson arrive quickly, may the tuition be affordable, may the damage be slight.

Drill baby drill.

Update: You know, at first it strikes me as a fair argument that I ought to be doing some research into whether Mr. Thomas said what’s attributed to him, before I work up my passions. Ordinarily, I’d agree.

But not here. I’ve heard this tired trope many times before, that Ms. Palin “needs to change,” and at this point I don’t give a rat’s rear end whether Cal Thomas said it or not, nevermind in what context. I don’t care. The talking point is out there, and it’s a load of hogwash.

The electorate will be learning soon enough what a dreadful mistake they made. Sarah Palin doesn’t need to change a thing. Not in what she does, not in what she is, not in what she says. She’s smart, and she’s right.

And so this inspires some more (semi-stolen from DC Comics) artwork. As if we haven’t indulged in that enough already. I’ve always liked George Perez’ work…and the Supergirl/Wonder Woman ratio has been tilted a bit too strongly toward the Amazon Princess lately so the time’s come to even it out.

Go Sarah Go.

D’JEver Notice? XVI

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

The more potential maladies that are subjected to preventive medicine in one generation, the greater the number of preventive measures will be proposed in the next. And they always, always, always involve money.

It’s the one sales pitch, to which we fail to show any constructive skepticism whatsoever.

An annual physical exam and twice-yearly dental checkup are supposed to protect your health. Now there’s a move for married Americans to do the same to protect the health of their unions.

So far, 171 couples in the Worcester, Mass., area are getting a Marriage Checkup, part of a clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health.

With questionnaires and two in-person sessions, the free program provides personalized feedback to keep relationships on track and circumvent trouble, says psychologist James Cordova, who runs the project at Clark University, where he’s an associate professor.

“This is a health issue,” he told a session of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies on Saturday. Some 3,000 are attending the three-day meeting, which ends Sunday.

“Your marital health doesn’t catch your attention until it really starts to hurt,” he says. “By that point, sometimes irreversible damage has been done.”

Doctor Freeberg here, who has spent, uh (grabs calculator) slightly less than four percent of his visit on this big blue marble in a state of wedlock, and is not in such a state now…nevertheless…has the perfect prescription for coupling-up and staying coupled-up. And periodic check-ups, wonderful as they may sound, don’t have an awful lot to do with it.

It’s so easy. So simple. So perfectly in harmony with exactly what we do, when we don’t want to die from cancer.

And it seems nobody ever thinks of it. Until it’s too late.

Stay Away From Selfish Bitches.

If she recounts conversations back to you, and the conversations are all “and then I said…and then I said…and then I said…” — run like hell.

If she ever uses the word “oppressive” except when quoting someone else, run like hell.

If she treats the waitress like a lower form of human being, run like hell.

If she keeps up her house or apartment, and the clothes stored in it, the way a guy does the same, you run like hell.

If she turns up her nose when you donate to groups that help veterans, run like hell.

If she presses too hard for the subject to be changed when you talk about whether you want a Glock or a Sig Sauer, or debate the virtues of 5.56 NATO versus 7.65 Browning…run like hell.

And, of course, it goes without saying, if she refuses to “let” you do something — like, for example, go to Hooters — run like hell. In fact, run like hell if she doesn’t drag you there. With a big smile on her face.

Because women who don’t like to have fun, are walking wastes of energy and time. They are black holes for your life force. Life is not a dress rehearsal, boys. So you put some attention into who you’re choosing. Once you get a good one, you hang on to her and let her know how happy you are that the two of you met. Find ways. All the other good things will follow.

The marriage checkup is not therapy but an information service, Cordova told the nonprofit membership group of psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers.

“We’re able to help them identify exactly what it is they’re doing that is keeping them healthy and make sure that whatever their areas of concern are aren’t potentially problematic in the long run,” he says.

Cordova says an estimated 12 million couples — about 20% of all marriages — experience some significant level of distress. And he says about 5% of couples who marry are already distressed. Marriages deteriorate in stages, and he says a marital checkup can catch small issues before they grow big.

Marriages do not deteriotate in stages. I know it looks like that the first year or two after things “didn’t work out”…it always does. With some more time, one sees the problem really was that all those years ago, at the time the twosome became one, both halves were somewhat ignorant about what exactly it was they wanted out of life. Separation became an inevitability once, tragically united, they began to figure it out.

The thing is, though, once the intelligent divorcee realizes this, the divorce itself is a somewhat distant memory.

By then, his or her friends are done inquiring about the possible cause of the divorce. They’re too busy asking other more recent divorcee friends, still laboring under the delusion of this “grew apart in stages” fallacy, why they think they got divorced. So this epiphany is a relatively quiet one, and the urban myth of “stages” endures.


Just don’t marry bitches. Marry (or couple up with) sweethearts, and treat ’em like that’s what they are. Spend your time around someone who wants you to be happy, and you will be.

Humans. Boy, we are really good at making simple things complicated. Y’know?

Questions for Moderates

Friday, November 14th, 2008

A relative cc’d me on a disagreement he’s having in the e-mail. It seems he offered his opinion where it wasn’t welcome. One should, out of politeness, always withdraw speedily from such exchanges, and it seems he did so, but I thought his brush-off to the brush-off was pretty elegant:

Sorry you aren’t open to dialogue on controversial topics. I’ll try to remember to exclude you from them.

We’ve got a lot of folks who aren’t open to dialogue on controversial topics — provided they’re assured their guys are winning, and things are goin’ their way. Once you have, let us say, a smirky arrogant cowboy in charge of things, these “neutral” folks are suddenly open to dialogue on controversial topics just fine, thankyewverymuch.

I jotted down a comisserative reply, and my flaky treacherous wireless card, and/or my slick “New Coke” Hotmail interface that likes to give me dumb looks when I dispatch it to do something — one of those two — promptly ate it.

Computers. They’re like traffic lights. I can hear ’em giggling at me, I swear I can.

Oh well. I’ll just upload it here.

Given that there’s a connection between these moderates who don’t want to see anyone criticizing anybody else, and our new President-Elect hopey-changey President-God, I’m looking forward to the answers that must surely emerge as we are deluged by these four years of “change”:

Is there a difference between what will soon engulf the entire union, and the oily machine politics that are the hallmark of the buroughs from whence the Messiah comes? And if we are to think there is to be such a difference, why is that exactly?

What does the ascension of the MOST liberal Senator, to the White House, have to do with moderation, compromise, a new tone in Washington, or an end to partisanship?

How come it’s over the line to say Obama is Carter’s second term, but quite alright to run around repeating, ad nauseum, that McCain is Bush’s third term?

I can’t think of any democrat contender more extreme than Sen. Obama, the guy who won; can you?

I can’t think of any Republican contender more “moderate” or “middle of the road” (liberal) than John McCain; can you?

I’m hearing a lot about how Republicans should strive for moderation, in order to properly learn from their mistakes. What, exactly, am I supposed to be inspecting within the events of the past few months, to conclude this is a sweeping mandate for more moderation? On either side? What am I missing?

Since Obama’s strategy for dealing with other nations sounds so much like John McCain’s strategy for dealing with other political parties — admit to your mistakes, and apologize for being what you are — wouldn’t the most likely ultimate result for America, of an Obama administration’s foreign policy, look a great deal like the electoral outcome for the GOP in the 2008 elections? Why or why not?

Last but not least: How come these “moderates” are so passionate about having everything done their way? The more I study it, the less it seems to have to do with ideological neutrality, and the more it seems to concern a drive to wallow in ignorance, melded with a determination to stay that way and make others that way.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson.

Least Favorite Conservatives

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Right Wing News has put up a list of unliked conservatives, as voted-upon by “right of center” blogs such as this one. First, a minor quibble — this is not quite consistent with the way we see things here. What other folks call “conservative” is something we would call centrist. We see it as a personal practice of replying “Let’s Not Do It And Say We Did” to…you know…dumbass ideas that have already been tried lots of times before. Gun grabbing, pulling manufactured “rights” for special interest groups out of your rear end, eugenics, bloated welfare state, making atheism the official state religion, spreading the wealth, et al.

Opposing that is not right of center. It is the center. Most if it is written right into the U.S. Constitution. We just pretend it isn’t, by throwing around the word “constitution” as a figure of speech, and allowing it to be used by people who haven’t even glanced at that document, let alone studied the history and meaning of it.

I wouldn’t even bother with this quibble — except it has to do with what follows.

I found the list of despised conservatives, that I submitted, had only a small overlap with the “popular” list that was published in the end. I did not include, for example, Ann Coulter, George Bush or Peggy Noonan. I do not think you become “bad” at anything dealing with an exchange of ideas, when you simply become popular. That would imply conservative figureheads have a duty to stay popular. And if conservative figureheads have a duty to stay popular, we might as well call ’em liberals because that’s how you get popular and stay popular; by being a liberal.

I also didn’t include congressmen who’d cast pro-choice votes, unless they’d cast a vote on some other issue to call their credentials into serious question. I’ll not fault someone for applying their personal druthers, even when they represent hundreds of thousands of others, to an issue that is deeply personal to some, complex as all get-out, and cannot have an outcome that is completely fair to everyone. Not unless they’re pretending to be thoughtful and really following in lockstep to someone else.

On the other hand — I did include one or two “conservatives” who voted for gun control. To me, there is absolutely no logical reason to support gun control. It isn’t that I have a huge gun collection, or even that I like guns that much. It’s that, if you favor even “common sense” gun restrictions, you’ve missed an important point about what it means to be an American. You’ve revealed a sympathy for centrist authority that is quite incompatible with the intended spiritual underpinnings of our nation.

Ditto for tax increases. I don’t favor tax increases when governments are out of money. I’ve heard the argument before…”it’s a serious shortfall, and we aren’t gonna get it from anywhere else.” Eh, no. You raise taxes, people and businesses leave, next year the problem is worse. I’ve not yet seen it fail. On this point, conservatism is nothing radical — nothing over & above common sense. It is, simply, having a functional memory. Nothing more than that.

I have mixed feelings about what Mr. Hawkins is trying to do here, I must say. On the one hand, it is valuable for conservatives to inspect the list of individuals who have shouldered the responsibility for getting the message across, and what kind of job they’re doing. You’d have to be nuts to think everything is ship-shape in this department right about now.

On the other hand, whatever you might call us — tighty-righties, common-sensers, Great Americans — we do not worship popular people just because they’re popular. As I’m often fond of saying: An excellent product can be sold by an adequate salesman just as well as it can be sold by an excellent salesman; you don’t need the excellent salesman, unless you’re selling a substandard product that people really shouldn’t be buying. Since the conservatism I know is simply the possession of a decent memory, common sense, and the will to act upon those…it doesn’t have much use for excellent salesmen. Or it shouldn’t. If it does, something’s bollywonkers & gunnybags.

One other interesting point: John McCain is #1.

I can’t help but wonder what’s going on in a parallel universe in which Fred Thompson secured the nomination. And then lost. And then the Mirror-Universe John Hawkins gathers together his list of repellant conservatives. Think the former Senator from Tennessee would be Numero Uno? Think he’d even be on the list?


This has a lot to do with another thing I’m often fond of saying. When people invite you refute something unflattering about you, it’s a mistake for you to think, by the energies you’re about to channel into doing this, you’ll get ’em to do what you want. That’s the mistake conservatives made this year. The talking point got trotted out that conservatism was a consistent and unwavering excercise of bad ideas…so John McCain became the nominee, so that Republicans could show off how adept they were at wavering. See? Look at us. We can waver.

And the electorate patted the Republicans on the head, said “that’s nice,” then toddled off to vote for the other guy.

And muttered a few words as they toddled, here & there, about what in the hell it was the Republicans were trying to say.

Life is like that. That’s the way people react when you dilute yourself, and your message. Whatever reservations people had about you before, remain; all you really dissipate by doing this, is the confidence that was there before.

Happy 4th

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

To The Blog That Nobody Reads.

It’s been a privilege getting to know you nobodies who somehow can never quite find the time to not stop by and not read anything. Hope you keep disappearing into the woodwork for a few more years.

Twenty Bullshit Narratives

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Man, I am so jazzed about what happened with the previous post. I broke a cardinal rule there, you know.

I am a blogger with an software engineering background. I’ve found blogging is the opposite of engineering. Lemme explain how…

Let us say you have invented a software networking tool. It is a peer-to-peer networking tool that works kind of like those old programs that connected to bulletin boards. It is a Layer 5 tool you’ve invented, which means it is a session-layer tool. You remember that — Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away, 5th word begins with S, S stands for Session. Now let us say you have a customer that is running into problems with your tool, and whether you know it or not, the customer is having these problems because of the networking software on his desktop computer.

He has a serious bug in his datagram layer software, which is Layer 2.

You address this by changing your software. You are addressing a layer-2 problem with layer-5 fixes. What happens.


You burn a lot of midnight oil. You have very little to show for it. Your software modules take on thousands of lines of nonsense code that doesn’t really do anything. Your test cases turn to manure. You revert a lot of changes, and of those, you revert a lot of them right back again.

See where I’m going with this? In engineering, you address bugs at the layer in which they occur. Because addressing them somewhere else is always possible. But it’s a one-step-forward, three-steps-back proposition.

I’ve come to view blogging as the opposite.

People vote for Barack Obama, which is a problem. The problem is due to something else far more deeply-rooted…our continuing apathy toward truth, toward cause-and-effect thinking, toward reckoning with consequences as our parents and grandparents told us we should learn to do. But if you speak to that, you might very well lose your audience. So instead, maybe it’s better for bloggers to think like bloggers, and not as software engineers. Maybe bloggers should address symptoms instead of causes.

That’s been my rule. But I broke it.

This dipstick of a news anchor said, without a piece of evidence to back it up (so far as I know), that pro-Proposition-8 people were just as hateful and visceral as anti-Proposition-8 people. I could have acted as a good blogger and just addressed that.

But I went deeper. I broke form, and acted as a software engineer, analyzing the root cause.

I explored bullshit narratives; how popular they’ve become; what role they played in electing our Messiah of a President-Elect.

I was certain this would lose my audience. But this is The Blog That Nobody Reads. The nobodies who don’t stop by to not read The Blog That Nobody Reads when they don’t have the time, reacted favorably to it and it sparked a fascinating discussion, both online and off. And then more than a few of my friends around the web picked it up. Apparently, this has really hit a nerve.

Good. I hope the folks who’ve taken the time to comment on what this means to them, represent millions. And I think that they do.

So I made a new word, again. It’s a little bit more than one word…

Overly-Convenient Narrative (OCN), or Bullshit Narrative, Socially Expedient Narrative, Howdy Narrative:
A construct of words, sentences, expressions and focus-group-tested phrases to describe a sequence of events with only a casual relation to the truth. Recall that Bullshit has an interesting non-correlational relationship with truth: “One cannot bullshit unless one absolves onesself of any concern at all about personal costs involved in disregarding truth — costs absorbed by other parties, are quite alright.” Liars are not bullshitters because liars have to concern themselves with what’s true, and assert something that differs from it.

A bullshit narrative tends to be more believable than regular bullshit, because whereas regular bullshit meanders randomly toward and away-from what’s true, the OCN narrative is formed around a kernel of truth. It is overly-convenient because it is assembled according to what is likely to be proliferated the most rapidly among diverse audiences, and to survive the longest. People use it to introduce themselves to each other, and ingratiate themselves with others who have bought into the same bullshit narrative, thus striking up a chord of instant (if not somewhat phony) friendship.

I went on to compile a list. A list that I could, if I dare say so, add to all day long if I so chose:

Some notable overly-convenient, bullshit narratives:

1. Sarah Palin is a dumbass.
2. So is George W. Bush.
3. So is J. Danforth Quayle.
4. We’ve poisoned the environment, causing global warming, and now we’re all gonna die.
5. The rich don’t pay taxes because they can hire accountants who know all the tricks of the trade.
6. Joe McCarthy ruined the lives of hundreds of people over made up, trumped-up charges.
7. Religious people are bigoted and intolerant.
8. (DEBUNKED) America is such a racist country it will never elect a black President.
9. No one is truly free unless… (fill in the blank)
10. Saddam Hussein was not dangerous because he had no weapons.
11. Clinton kept us safe. The 9/11 attacks occurred on George Bush’s watch.
12. Whenever a Republican is President, the public debt explodes.
13. You can’t raise a family on minimum wage the way it is now.
14. Nobody has any business owning assault weapons.
15. Barack Obama… (fill in the blank)
16. Republicans are opposed to civil rights.
17. We shouldn’t care what the Founding Fathers thought of things, because those guys owned slaves.
18. America is all about separation of church and state.
19. Our strength lies in our diversity.
20. Republicans and democrats have the same goals in mind, just different ideas about how to get them done.

Thinking takes work.

A lot of people don’t want to do it.

They want to do a lot of talking anyway. So they recycle tropes. Tropes they “know” are true, because they’ve heard ’em so many times before.


Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about narratives lately. By that I mean, descriptions of events that are pieced together toward the objective of surviving, and traveling far and wide, rather than for the purpose of promoting good decisions.

There is a reason I’ve been thinking about them, and on this reason I’d rather remain somewhat slithery and vague for the time being. My old “friend” from work, the one who likes to talk about politics a lot but has shown a consistent tendency to descend into conflict with people — and it’s always someone else’s fault. Yeah, he’s an Obamaton.

I’d rather talk less about him, and more about who, and what, he represents. This should be do-able because this type of person is commonplace. They don’t want to be negative people, I don’t think. Conflict follows them around because they lack the tools to deal with the conversations they want to have. They want to talk about their truisms, their narratives…global warming will kill us all, Obama is a smarty-pants and will fix everything, George W. Bush is a war criminal and a dummy. Conflict will follow them around because if they persist in having these conversations with people who see things the same way, they’re going to get bored. It isn’t that they want to argue. It’s that they want ideas to be exchanged. If you think George W. Bush is stupid, and I think Bush is stupid, ideas won’t be exchanged because there’s no reason to explore anything.

So they gravitate outward.

And they bump into people like me…who don’t want to do a lot of arguing either. But we live in a different world, one in which each conclusion possesses an attribute of likelihood. In our world, if we are to conclude something is so, then the requirements change for the underlying justification based on whether we’re concluding the thing is probably so, versus whether we’re concluding the thing might be so. And if you’re arguing that the thing must be so, then the rules change yet again. You say this guy, whom I’ve never met and am never going to meet, who is President of the United States when I’m not, and has fooled me along with everyone else with his phony election…is a big dummy? Are you saying that’s probably true or are you saying that’s possibly true? And what of Obama rescuing us? Solving all our problems? To the satisfaction of whom?

People who argue by narrative don’t think this way. “Obama is the Real Deal,” to them, is an idea that has come to maturity just as much as any other…because it is ready to travel. To endure, to propagate. It need not prove anything, and it need not rest on evidence of anything.

Someday, I must find a way to deal with these people. Ignoring them doesn’t work. Agreeing with everything they say, doesn’t work. Changing the subject doesn’t work.

I’ve told the story before, of this popular narrative that emerged a year and a half ago that this was a racist country that would never elect a black man as President…I ended up in trouble when it was discovered I was leaving this narrative in my “holding area,” waiting for solid evidence of it, refusing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I was inexperienced in matters dealing with our racial-relations problems, was the new narrative — and there is some truth in that. But whatever. In the end, it turned out I was correct not giving the benefit-of-doubt to that other narrative. It wasn’t true, and it probably hasn’t been true for a very long time.

But it has been a very popular thing to say.

That’s the trouble with thinking by narrative. You can certainly say, they are already being subjected to a meritocracy in the theater of ideas, for they would not proliferate if there was not some truth to them. That’s the weakness: Some truth.

This battle for survival is not sufficiently taxing, for the emerging victors to show a pattern of verity. To survive and spread, the narrative doesn’t have to be provably true, demonstrably true, probably true…not even conceivably true. The appearance of truth will be quite sufficient. It’s all based on the other fellow, that stranger over there — how ready is he going to be to hear it. That’s the lodestar.

Quite a lead-in for this film clip Rick found at the “Jack Lewis” site. And this film clip is quite a morsel of ugliness, some three minutes’ worth, to get to the end, in which the dimwit anchor says something that twisted Rick off pretty good, and rightly so in my opinion:

Those last three words: “On both sides.”

You tool. You stupid tool. Yes, I mean that as the insult. I find it fitting in your case.

Maybe there was something earlier in this newscast substantiating that there was an equal measure of hate and nastiness on the “Yes On Prop 8” side. Maybe. I don’t give a rip. This is arguing by narrative. This is what I’m talking about. It’s “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes” stuff.

It has become such a convenient narrative that religious folks are bigoted and intolerant. Too many people don’t care if it’s true or not. They’re meeting people by spewing this tired trope, making friends, and that’s all that matters to them.

But I end up in conflict with them, the same way I ended up in conflict when I voiced my doubts that racism was still capable of swaying a presidential election. I doubt it. I doubt religious people are inherently nasty, I doubt they are statistically nasty, I doubt they’re even motivated in that direction more than the average bear.

Spare me your anecdotes. I’m sure you have one or two. But it speaks volumes that when the time comes to support the argument, the most popular anecdote is something called “The Crusades,” and the second most popular is something called “The Inquisition.”

I’m not supposed to think anything of Obama’s America-hating asshole friends, because some of the stuff that went down occurred “When He Was Eight” — well here’s a news flash. During the crusades, Barack Obama wasn’t eight yet — so why in the hell does anyone bother to talk about ’em?

And so this chestnut that religious people are intolerant, is being stored, by me, in that holding area. I’m still waiting to be convinced of it. That, right there, is enough to get some people spittin’ mad. It gets them mad because they’ve got this little sound bite they can trot out, and use to make new friends, nevermind if there’s truth to it or not…and when they meet someone who isn’t buying, to them it’s like they’ve met someone determined to be their enemy. I’m sure it might feel that way when you’ve become accustomed to something else.

But that just goes to show, they’re the ones generating the conflict. They make friends by twisting truth around, rather than regarding the truth as it exists. And the truth as it exists, in my experience at least, is that the religious people I’ve met have been very nice. I haven’t personally seen too many of ’em shun anyone over their sexual preferences…I’ve heard quite a lot about that kind of thing, mostly with the kind of vague outlining used to relay urban legends, friend-of-a-friend stuff, like the lady with black widows making a nest in her beehive hairdo. The religious people I’ve met possess not a monopoly, but something very close to it, in helping strangers who are less well-off and expecting no payment of any kind in return.

So mister airhead anchorman, kindly take your “On Both Sides” narrative — for that is all that it is — and stick it up your rear end where it belongs, until you have something more substantial upon which to hang it.

I am tired, exceedlingly, to the point of digust, of watching people attacked and ridiculed for their creed, within the borders of a nation that was founded expressly to provide shelter from exactly that. And supposedly, more often than not, in the name of tolerance. Cut me a megaton crystal-cadillac break.

Two Visions

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

On the one hand, as I said before, I’m sick of politics.

On the other hand, this is the kind of thing that makes me sick of politics. It’s beyond obvious that on the right-wing ship, something has to get pitched overboard and something else has to replace it, toot sweet. What is to be tossed? What is to be brought aboard? That is the question.

Some say extremism is the problem. Republicans have to get more moderate. Yes, that’s it…

You do the math: America has a moderate majority — 50% of Americans are centrists, compared to 20% who are liberal and 30% who call themselves conservative. Independents are the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate. Republicans need to appeal to the center and find common cause with independents in order to win. And that’s something they have increasingly failed to do over the past decade.

That’s a popular viewpoint, but not a unanimous one. This guy, for example, asserts something quite different:

Our party has become too fearful of our own ideas. Since 1997, congressional Republicans began a steady retreat from principled leadership to political expediency. A party built on spending discipline and government reform succumbed to the siren songs of government expansion and earmarked giveaways. Republicans squandered the opportunity to limit and reshape the relationship between the federal government and the individual.

Where do I stand on this? If you skim over my conservative platform, it will become obvious.

I find it implausible to support the idea that these people we call “conservatives” need more moderation. They’re moderate already. In a nation that was founded 232 years ago specifically for the purpose of adopting a strong nationalist identity, to profer the notion that we should continue to keep it and build on it, is the essence of moderation. It certainly isn’t extremist.

Not when, if you don’t like it, there’s a whole planet covered with other internationalist countries that are nothing more than prefectures in a global colony…to which you can emigrate if you choose. We’re the one spot on the globe with it’s own identity. What’s this drive to exterminate it? Why should I think of that as “moderate”? I don’t care what exactly the subject under discussion is for the moment…when you move to exterminate the last of something, you’re not being moderate.

Identities are good. They’re good for countries, and they’re good for political parties too. In fact, from where I’m sitting, it looks to me like Republicans lost this thing because they didn’t have much of an identity to sell. Their identity was “No We’re Not!” from beginning to end…since the day Fred Thompson threw it in, the party spent the entire time on the defensive.

The bullcusations would come out, and Republicans said “No, We’re Not!”

The liberal activists bullcused the Republicans of being mean and nasty, and the Republican position was: Nuh huh!

The liberal activists bullcused the Republicans of being against women, blacks and gays. Republicans denied it — which had the effect of legitimizing it.

Republicans were bullcused of voting with George Bush “ninety percent of the time.” McCain did something abysmally stupid in response to this: He trotted out some examples of issues on which he disagreed with Bush. You can hardly blame the electorate for what they did — which was to say to themselves “huh, that must be the other ten percent” and go ahead & vote for the other guy.

If the G.O.P. was simply doing a half-assed job of selling a brand name, like a salesman selling Pepsi products instead of Coke, it wouldn’t be nearly so aggravating. But that’s not what was happening here. Republicans were offering an alternative to ideas that have been proven not to work…this is going to become only too obvious to us in the years ahead. But that’s what this election was about. Are we so determined to change the status quo that we’ll forget what it is we’re trying to change, and therefore put in motion exactly the chain reaction history has shown us leads to the most damaging problems the most reliably? And the voters replied — Oui! They weren’t given an incentive to vote any other way.

My solution is simple. It is moderate. Here it is: Just name the damn thing. That’s what was missing. If you don’t put a name on the product you’re trying to sell, then surely your competition will do it for you. And if you ask the guy-in-the-street what Republicans were all about, you’ll get back a big ol’ mish mash of stuff that will prove the competition named the product. Oppressing homosexuals, bombing Iran, spending lots of money, starving old people and keeping gas prices really high.

Republicans aren’t about keeping gas prices high. “Drill Baby Drill” doesn’t have anything to do with keeping gas prices high. If they’re for keeping gas prices high, then George W. Bush must be just as much an incompetent boob as people keep saying, because I bought some gas today and paid easily two bones a gallon less than I paid a couple months ago.

Properly marketed, this should be a sure-fire winner. So properly market it.


People get to keep their guns.

Pull your money out, if you want to, and use it to send your kid to a private school.

Fiscal responsibility. If they’ve gotten away from it, let ’em get back to it.

Local control. People in Newark don’t decide how fast you drive in Denver.

If you’re not born yet but you’re growing in your momma’s belly already, you’re safe. No vaginal finish line you have to cross before you count.

If a bully picks on you on the schoolyard and you don’t throw the first punch but you do throw the last one…you’re good. Bully gets punished, you walk. A midnight holdup in a back-alley — same doctrine. International conflicts, same doctrine.

You do something stupid, you’ve a right to do it. Nobody will fix it for you. That way you learn.

You say something stupid, you’ve a perfect right to do that as well. And you can reap the whirlwind.

Someone else says something stupid to you while they’re beating you up, they get arrested. Just for beating you up. No enhanced penalties for having the wrong thoughts…because in a free country, you can’t get going on that kind of thing.

You keep your 401k.

If you want to leave something to your kids in your will, you can. And they’ll get it.

I don’t expect anyone has too much more of an apetite for my opinions, and if they do, they can just chase down the link above to find the complete platform. But you know what I call this? I call this something that would get it sold instantly. My name for it would sell it like ice-to-eskimoes…except we need this far, far more than any eskimo needs ice.

My name for it?

The “Pursuit Of Happiness” party. That is the vision for America; let’s get back to it. You don’t have a right to happiness here, but you certainly have a God-given right to pursue it. And if you find it, then God bless you, for no mortal man may interfere.

If that’s extreme, I don’t wanna be moderate.