Archive for the ‘Everyday Dimwits’ Category

Recumbent Bicycles

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Blogger friend Mark at Westsound Modern observes, recalls and opines…after personally experiencing.

A few years ago an acquaintance of mine purchased one of these for an ungodly amount of money as his new daily driver. Three wheels, slung low to the pavement, with an enormous plexiglass bubble windshield rising in front of the handle bars, you rode it laying flat on your back with the pedals out front. I was skeptical of its utility as a commuting rig in Seattle with its notoriously shitty drivers, but running low on smokes I convinced him to let me take it for a spin down to the 7-11 for a fresh pack and a test drive. The first thing I noticed in attempting to mount the vehicle was that you didn’t mount it so much as you flung yourself into it, and once in it I was consumed with the thought of how I was going to get out of it without the mildly embarrassing spectacle of flopping myself out onto the blacktop belly first and then struggling to my feet. No matter. I fell into the seat without too much effort and took off. Hoping inspiration for a more graceful exit would come to me on the ride.

The second thing I noticed while piloting this thing was that due to its low aerodynamic profile, I was rendered invisible to the aforementioned shitty drivers of the cars I was sharing the road with. There was a long fiber-glass rod with an orange flag on top attached to the frame that was supposed to warn these drivers of my position in relation to the underside of their vehicles but this is just not the sort of thing that Seattle drivers, who are known for their ability to cross four lanes of rush hour traffic fifty feet from their exit simply by blindly turning the wheel and hoping for the best, are capable of deducing as every vehicle I approached would lock its brakes up while the driver leaned on the horn and shout obscenities down at me. By the time I had returned to the house I had consumed about half of my new pack of Camels in the attempt to soothe nerves jangled by numerous near wrecks.

Recumbent BicycleDisappointingly, the hoped for graceful dismount had not materialized on the trip and as I rolled out onto my hands and knees, I told my acquaintance that this thing was the most useless device for transportation that I had ever encountered. He became visibly upset and began a long diatribe on the superiority of the recumbent bicycle over its more traditional counterpart. As I wearily listened to his verbal powerpoint presentation on aerodynamics, improved power train gear ratios, and increased cardiovascular efficiency while in a reclining position, it suddenly dawned on me why these things are so popular in liberal enclaves. They are the perfect metaphor for the progressive mind set. They are generally ridden by people obsessed with reinventing that which already works perfectly fine. They are easy to get into and exceedingly difficult to remove yourself from without looking like an idiot. They are more expensive, more engineered, and theoretically more efficient, at least on paper, than a traditional bicycle and therefore the rider is, as they will inform you ad nauseum, inherently superior to those on “lesser” machines. While the rider pedals nonchalantly through traffic confident in his theoretical brilliance, he pisses off everyone else on the road who would rather he just ride upright where they can see him so as to avoid an accident.

I shamelessly swiped this image from a site called 2 Blowhards, at which was posted another interesting observation to share.

My experience has been that, in almost every case, the rider of a recumbent bicycle is a wiry guy with a beard. I’m not kidding. I almost think that the factory making those bikes has a laboratory where they clone those riders.

Yes, I have noticed this as well. I see a lot of these out on the bike trails…and now that I think on it, 2-blowhards is right. I can’t think of a single exception. I have not seen a recumbent-bike-rider that looks like Charlie Sheen…or Adam West…or Kathy Ireland.

No, they all look like…like…where have I seen this before?

Ah —

Yes. That is the look. And that is the personality, too. It is a way of life. “People obsessed with reinventing that which already works perfectly fine.”

Schools Discriminate Unfairly Against Kids Who Don’t Give a Sh*t

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Good ol’ Onion. It’s like watching a hammer meet the head of a nail, dead-on. Naughty language warning.

In The Know: Are Tests Biased Against Students Who Don’t Give A Shit?

And, since it has to be stated…yes…it is parody. When I say it’s like a hammer pounding a nail, I am referring to the identification of a problem that is the subject of the parody. I have to put that in, because if everyone understood that then there’d be nothing to parody.

Cross-posted at Washington Rebel.

Best Sentence XCV

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The ninety-fifth award for Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL), goes to Daphne’s brother. Yet another repentant, sadder, wiser Obama voter. This one’s made acutely aware of the depth of his mistake, by means of an overheard conversation in a book store…which has all the depth of rice paper.

He says what many others are thinking.

They talked about these people as if they were family, Daphne. Like these fancy strangers were vitally important to the equilibrium of their pathetic lives. It bordered on the obscene, it was grotesque. How could anyone with a functioning brain stem find celebrity whores so goddamn fascinating?
Washington is so corrupt we might as well call it Goat Fucking Kabul and these mindless, well-heeled women are busy discussing Lady Gaga’s genetically mangled, fucked up crotch for a solid hour like it’s the Holy goddamn Grail.

Now that’s a way with words. I’d spare this righteous dude the I-told-you-so’s for one evening, just for the privilege of buying him a cold one.

Look At Me, I Can’t Park For Sh*t VII

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Up until late summer of ’05, I put in a recurring headline called “Look At Me, I Can’t Park For Shit“. Back in those days, The Blog That Nobody Reads really was exactly that, so it was probably harmless to put one of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words right in the large-font headline.

Nowadays, there are more nobodies, so in a spirit of consideration and cooperation, we make a point of keeping the headlines clean…and pulling the spicy language down in the small-font body of the post where it fucking belongs.

And we haven’t had any “Look At Me I Can’t Park For Shit” posts in all these years. Almost five years now. Why is that? Because it was a passing phase? No…here is the spooky part. We’ve been out there with our little cell-phone camera looking for transgressions. Not as a primary purpose in our peregrinations mind you. But we have been looking. Something’s happened. People aren’t parking like fucking morons anymore. Maybe, just maybe, they’re trembling in fear of The Blog That Nobody Reads. Minding their P’s and Q’s.

Until this weekend that is.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Just so brazen and in-your-face.

For the record: You can sort of tell in this shot, but I’ll clue you in anyway. There was not plenty of parking to go around. It was a scarce commodity. People were having to park way far away, and walk & walk & walk some more, and you could tell they were pissed about it and not just a little bit desperate.

Wasn’t my problem, I already had my spot. But in my mind’s eye, this scene replayed…

D’JEver Notice? LVIII

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Looks like I have a conflict going with a gentleman who thinks the ADD Song is insensitive to his, uh, er, disability. This particular item represents one of the very few times I do a triple-cross-posting. ADD Guy followed all the cross-posting links, to each copy of this, one at a time, and entered exactly the same comment at all three places. I watched him doing it.

Nice… Thanks for mocking a disorder that cripples some of us from having a normal life. 😡

Thanks Bunches. 🙄

As I pointed out, this behavior displays a lot of strengths which are supposed to be beyond the reach of those who are “crippled” from “having a normal life” by such a malady.

I pronounce you cured. You don’t have ADD.

People with these “softer” disabilities, the ones that are “diagnosed” as a matter of human opinion — once they catch an inkling that someone, somewhere, might regard their personal disability as maybe decisional, in the adrenaline of the moment suddenly lose that disability.

This is beyond absurd. It’s as if I suggested a guy in a wheelchair might be faking it, and in retaliation he stands up, walks over, kicks me in the ass, then goes back & sits down again. That oughtta show me!

Let’s Get Rid of Naked Protesting

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

If you’re missing out on Andy’s semi-regular installments of Let’s Get Rid Of, you’re missing a lot.

The world in which I want to live is one of honesty. When people do something ridiculous, they own up to their real motivations, and do not throw up the fetid curtain of misdirection by claiming some nobility where none exists. When a person strips naked, paints his body, and then rides a bicycle through streets and neighborhoods where other people of deeply ingrained and differing ideas of decency live, he does not claim it to be in protest of our dependency on foreign oil, or even the sheer joy of riding bicycles (as I have heard said). Instead, when asked why he joins a group of people who insist their nudity on large numbers of people who most decidedly do not approve, he is honest and answers “because I really want to piss these people off.”

Yes, this scratches an itch alright. Speaking just for myself, the dishonesty of which Andy speaks annoys me much more than the protesting itself, in whatever form it may take.

BP Spills Coffee

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Some naughty language. But yes, it’s funny and true.

Hat tip to KC.

So once this latest crisis reaches a conclusion in whatever form it may…how do we stop it from ever happening again?

They Know They’re Better Than We Are

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I don’t think Sean Penn is kooky; I just think he likes Communists. When I say that, small-tee tim the godless heathen says I lost him right there. Alright, I’ll explain: “Kooky” is a write-off. Kooky means nuts. It means eating your own feces. It implies randomness. Noticing someone is kooky, is an implied directive that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to what it is they are saying.

In my opinion, Sean Penn’s ability to absorb genuine knowledge about these subjects that fascinate him, has been put to some legitimate question and he is an exceptionally dangerous man. This is not to say he can impose danger all by his lonesome. It is an observation that there is a great multitude of people who think like him, and this multitude can shape and direct events for the worse.

Their predilections are not random. They love thugs. “Thug” meaning — not just some guy who’s in charge of things, but a dictator determined to keep the proles in line. Power-to-the-people…but only a phony, cosmetic power, nothing real. George W. Bush trying to privatize Social Security, that is not their kind of “thug.” They like Hugo Chavez, who unilaterally decides what time zone his country is going to be in.

By sheer coincidence, Neo-Neocon was noticing this about our “intellectuals” the very same day.

The stupidity of supposedly smart men can be simply stunning. And that stupidity is not random; it tends to almost always go in the same direction, that of failing to understand the workings of the totalitarian and tyrannical mindset.

I think I have found a window into the world in which these egotists live. And that window’s name is James Lovelock, who is worried about climate change but convinced the human genome is too stupid to do anything about it.

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

“Evolved” is a peculiar description, in my opinion. If you follow the link you’ll find a picture of a gentleman who is ostensibly the speaker Lovelock. He looks grouchy and ill-tempered enough, but just as human as the rest of us.

But I’m going to go way out on a limb here — since this is the primary focus of what I’m writing about, now — and speculate. Somehow, something in my gut tells me Lovelock is not including himself in his comments. I’m double-checking the picture, he still looks human. A bright fellow like him must understand if there is a limit to how much you and I have evolved, it must apply to him as well. But I think not. I think the bright fellow has been told a few times too many, over his ninety years, what a bright fellow he is. And now there can be limits to my evolution, and to yours, but not to his. He’s not really human, in his own mind.

And this is the key. If we all get what Lovelock wants, and we suspend our democracy so we can fight climate change…something tells me, in Lovelock’s vision, Lovelock will still be allowed to say things. The rest of us will be put under martial law, and while border guards are demanding to see our papers, Lovelock can simply clear his throat and all the soldiers will drop their guns and clipboards, look up from their checkpoints, and find out what the esteemed thinker has to say.

He’ll then drone on about this thing over here was indeed part of his plan, this other thing over there was not. And that third thing, he’s still chewing on it, he’ll letcha know. The jack-booted statists will duly note all this and then go back to breaking into our doors and vanishing us in the middle of the night.

That is why I think Sean Penn is dangerous. That is why I think NN has been noticing what she’s been notcing about the intellectuals. This is not intelligence; it is lack of maturity. These people have tried out freedom, they’ve tried out real power going to the little people, and you know what? They don’t like it.

They’ve figured out it’s harder for them to be special that way.

They want a social stratification to take effect. They want a terracing of the human landscape. They want compartmentalization. They want an aristocracy, so that they can be part of it.

I doubt Mr. Penn is really all that ignorant about how people in Venezuela are treated. I think he knows. But he doesn’t envision himself living “down there” in his buddy Hugo’s country. Sean Penn would get the health care that is every bit as good as Hugo Chavez says it is…and he knows full well that this isn’t true of everyone living there.

I think that’s the point.

That’s why the “stupidity is not random.” It isn’t stupidity. It is weariness. It is the fatigue that comes from living down in the swamp, with the rest of the riff-raff.

When they know well they’re more evolved. It just isn’t right, you know.

Internet Grew 20% More Hateful in 2009

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Alan Colmes Liberaland:

A report by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance shows that terrorists and hate groups are turning to Facebook and Twitter in greater numbers, and that the Internet got 20% nastier last year.

The report, based on some 11,500 problematic Web sites, social networks , chat forums, twitter posts, other Internet postings, found that hate-filled language is increasingly filling social networks. In compiling it, researchers for the Wiesenthal center found such disturbing online content as video footage showing bomb-making instructions and hate games — including one about bombing Haitian earthquake victims.

The report found a 20% increase to 11,500 in hate-filled social networks, Web sites, forums, blogs, Twitter feeds, and so on (up from 10,000 last year). It notes that beyond its role in our social lives, the Internet often acts as the incubator and validator of dangerous conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and organ theft.

The FBI, Homeland Security, the military and joint terrorism task forces use this report worldwide.

Fellow Right Wing News contributor William Teach, from Pirate’s Cove, challenges Alan in the comments, to help out the campaign to pull Islamic fundamentalist videos off of YouTube and other spots…which might help pull that troubling metric down toward pre-Obama levels.

Wonder if he’ll get a response?

Just Stop Having Problems, Stupid!

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

I saw this somewhere in Gerard‘s pages. I forgot to make a note of the date or to make a link to his archives. It might be in Evernote somewhere but I’m just too lazy to look, and a search of his archives has netted me butkus.

This is exactly the kind of counterproductive sniveling that the free e-book is all about: Just Stop Having Problems, Stupid! The Anti-Self-Help Guide.

Sally was a single mother with three children, all of them under ten. If that wasn’t bad enough, each of those children was from a different father, and each of those fathers was in jail or had been in jail. She was seriously overweight and had diabetes. She had a steady job, but she was underpaid and passed over for promotion again and again.

Now, when I met Sally and heard all this, I wanted to give her a big slap across the face. But because I am a professional, I decided to try a different approach.

I said to her, “Sally, look at all these problems around you. You’ve got to stop having them! Stop it, right now! Bad!”

Sally looked hurt…Sally got mad at me, insisting that it wasn’t easy to just stop having problems, that everything always happened to her, and it wasn’t her fault. Now, there’s a phrase I coined called “playing the victim.” Sally felt she was a victim of everything around her, so she was not responsible for her problems.

You know you want to crack this puppy open, and now. Because you know you know a Sally. Or two, or three, or six…and deep down, you’ve always suspected most of the problems we have in life, we decide we should have them without realizing we’re making that decision.

Avatar Inspired Look

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Memo For File CVII

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve decided the time has come to honor the advice of The Bastidge, and follow it. There is certainly a valid point to be made that the world, and therefore the populace that inhabits it, straddles a chasmatic divide separating two unacknowledged communities, and that each of these communities in perfect isolation would enjoy a harmony that must elude us as we co-exist with each other as a monolith. The divide has something to do with order versus chaos, clarity versus obfuscation, substance versus packaging, individual rights versus community obligations, opportunity versus security, pulling your weight versus fitting-in, logic versus emotion.

We’re seeing it right now with the health care debate. And it substantiates the point all the more when we observe that much of the controversy and dissention swirls around this ramshackle, oxymoronic thing called a “public option.”

I called this “Yin and Yang” out of a desire to get to the bottom of what causes people to pursue, throughout their entire lives, one way of thinking over another. The Yin work within boundaries; the Yang do not. The concept is centuries old, and dates back to periods in different world cultures in which femininity itself was a concept synonymous with the stewardship of quiet, contemplative female chores. In societies like this, it naturally follows that men think of things the way women do in ours, and women must think of things the way men do in ours. Here’s a litmus test: Friend of a friend buys a new car. Or, gets carjacked. It’s a great story to tell for sure, but who is to spend time talking about it?

In an agricultural setting, what happens to one has at least the likelihood of impacting everybody else. And so it makes good sense for people to get together somewhere and swap stories. But these are “Shut Your Girl Mouth Men Are Talking” societies. To whatever extent checking-this-out evolves to become a necessary household chore, it is a manly chore. A railroad’s coming to town, maybe (how does this change things?). Farmer Brown’s crops got wiped out by the cold weather (are ours next?). Who goes down to the saloon to find out about this stuff. It’s not the Mama; there are meals to be cooked, a floor to be swept.

Now, we have the automobile. The printing press. The Internet. Womens’ Lib. And when the time comes to swap tidbits of useful news, who does that? Here is what a lot of people are missing: This is a perfect reversal. We do not have mead halls where the men go to drink beer out of steins and compare prices of bushels of corn. It would be awesome if we did, for sure. But it’s not happening, because the gender roles in our society have flipped around in a perfect one-eighty. Men retreat into their own little worlds, not unlike the kitchens that enveloped their great-grandmothers. Their “kitchens” may be just about anything: A computer with a stubborn virus on it; a classic car that’s being rebuilt; a ham radio or a model train set down in the basement; but there is always a project, it always has a border around it, and that’s what men do.

This awesome Art of Manliness article offers a chronicling of what happened to our mead halls. It began, irony of ironies, with us guys being decent and kind enough to give the ladies the right to vote. Prohibition followed that, and…

For centuries, a man could visit a bar and be in the exclusive presence of other men. Because drinking was seen as a corrupting influence on the “purity and innocence” of women, bars were completely off limits to ladies (exceptions were made for prostitutes, of course). Out of the presence of women and children, men could open up more and revel in their masculinity over a mug of cold ale. However, the bar as a men’s only hangout would quickly see its demise during the dry years of Prohibition.

By banning alcohol, Prohibition forced drinking underground. Speakeasy owners, desperate to make a buck, accepted all drinkers into their establishments, regardless of gender. Moreover, the economic and political empowerment women experienced during the 1920s and 30s made drinking by women more acceptable. By the time Prohibition was repealed, the female presence at the local watering hole had become a common appearance.

World War II only further eroded the male exclusivity of bars and pubs. As more women entered the workforce, it became acceptable to socialize with their male co-workers in taverns and lounges after work.

Today, there aren’t many bars around that cater only to men (gay bars being an obvious exception). Instead, bars have become a place where the sexes come together to mingle and look for a special someone.

Note the article’s title: “The Decline of Male Space.” Men used to own the world. Now, we don’t. We have relinquished the privilege and obligation of socializing, turned it over to the gals, and toddled off to the basement to go play with our train sets. The women do what we used to do — they hold court and they compare their notes with each other, try to see if there’s some hidden meaning of everyday events that might affect the family.

This is precisely what their great-great-grandfathers did. The very same thing.

And so I grow weary of having to explain this. Yes, “Yin” is traditionally female, although I use it to describe a personality attribute that predominantly is to be found in our males. Yang, likewise, is traditionally male, although it describes things our women usually do and that our men, typically, don’t. The concept didn’t flip around, the gender roles did. And so, I have to concede that The Bastidge is accurate in his critique:

Your theory’s alright, if a bit vague and rambling. But Yin and Yang have a specific meaning, and you’re using them more or less backwards.

Yin is a concept roughly aligned with the female, but the concepts covered in your theory- group consciousness, socializing, consensus, softness, weakness, emotion, passivity, are all associated with it.

Yang is roughly male, but also strong, factual, direct, resolute, hard, aggresiive, etc.

In their crudest, most basic form, yin and yang refer to the female and male sexual organs.

My use of these names was arbitrary anyway, and that was on purpose. For the last five years I have seen these as placeholders for something more descriptive that would, and should, come later. After I’d given it another think. Well, with this morass of a health care “debate” that has been taking place, and will surely flare up again later this year, I’ve been forced to give it another think. Besides of which, I’ve met lots and lots of manly-male guys who do their thinking in a much “Yangy-er” way than a lot of the females…so the genders don’t fit well in any case.

And I think the terms are these:

Architects and Medicators.

The word “Architect” is chosen with care. Way back in our history, when written language was a novel idea, architects were “master builders” (which is the etymology of the term). These things they labored to construct, with every little piece of it not put in place properly, could very likely collapse and wipe out an entire family in a heartbeat. And so laws were passed condemning failed architects to a death by stoning (Code of Hammurabi, Law 229). That’s a little gruesome, but it had the effect of galvanizing their chosen profession into a noble discipline.

In their own little community, a “Climategate” e-mail scandal would not, could not, have been tolerated even for an instant. Things were the way they were — period. An angle was ninety degrees, or it wasn’t — period. Up was up and down was down — period. There was no room for bastardizing the peer review process into some mutation of what it was intended to be, to ostracize and excoriate colleagues who spoke measurable truth. The architect, hundreds of years before Christ, lived in an object-oriented world and thought about that world in an object-oriented way.

Okay, now let’s look at what I’ve set up as the polar opposite.

“Medicator,” similarly, is chosen with deliberate thought and intent. “Physician” doesn’t work because physicians are supposed to adhere to the Hypocratic Oath and First Do No Harm. The verb “medicate” is applied to addictions, primary among those being mind-altering substances. It speaks to a process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority. Medicators do not heal. Nor do they seek to do harm. The long-term welfare of the body is simply outside of their concern. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that there is an emotional well-being that they prize more highly.

To recognize reality as it really is, and to adjust one’s emotional profile in response to the reality so that it is unconditionally cheery, are two mutually-exclusive goals. It may not seem to be the case when reality happens to be pleasant. But when reality is unpleasant you can choose to wrestle with it to whatever extent is required to fix a problem, or you can choose to ignore it in order to keep your emotions on a high and even keel. The sacrifice of long-term satisfaction in order to achieve a short-term high is, of course, a defining hallmark of medicating.

One Revolution AwayNow, these people trying to shove this fustercluck of a health care bill down our throats: It’s no mystery at all where they come down. They are medicators. It is not a primary goal of theirs to actually treat illnesses, heal the sick, bring “healthcare” or “access to healthcare” to “the uninsured.” Nor are they trying — architect-style — to solve any kind of a problem, President Obama’s unceasing speechifying notwithstanding. Think on it: When is the last time you heard anyone in Washington use those phrases above? Been awhile, hasn’t it? No, lately it’s about “getting this done.” Beating the opposition. Winning. Make things the way they/we want them to be. But wait just a second…we’re half way through an election cycle, one that began with their decisive victory. They already beat the opposition. Their victory is forgotten, however, just like a druggie’s high, and they find themselves incomplete, hungry, after-buzzed, struck with a raging case of Delerium Tremens if they don’t score another victory. And after they get that done, of course, they’ll need another and another and another. They live out their lives on a hairpin turn, just like a druggie. Time loses all meaning for them. Bliss is constantly one hit away.

It’s not about health care, of course. It’s about how we think about the world around us. The medicator lives in a gilded cage, waiting passively for someone to come along and fix the latest problem. He does not solve real problems, he does not support anyone who would solve real problems, he does not live in reality. He considers reality itself to be an inimical force. This, ironically, provides a liberating effect. Of course it’s all about the way one does one’s thinking to perceive the world around him, and with someone else assuming the burden of actually fixing the problem, the thinker enjoys the luxury of thinking about things as a non-architect. In a non-object-oriented way. With every little thing on God’s creation, melted together into a sloppy mess. And this overly-medicated “thinker” does not think, in turn, about the resulting mess; instead, he picks up an emotional vibe from it, and shares it with other self-medicated thinkers. That’s the model of reality as perceived by the medicator: A great big ball of warm, gooey wax that’s all melted together, and is now giving off vibes. Hopefully good ones, but if they’re bad ones then someone else needs to fix something — or it’s time for another “hit” of something via one-more-revolution.

Disciplining a child provides a similar contrast. To the architect, everything is cause and effect: The child engaged in undesirable behavior, therefore something needs to be modified about what the child perceives as proper or improper. The solution is to teach the child a new taboo. This can be done through direct communication if the child shares the desire that his behavior should be proper, or through punishment if he does not. First of all the transgression has to be properly categorized — bad attitude, or simple misunderstanding? Then we assess what the child understands about etiquette and go from there. In the Architect’s world, that’s what we do.

In the Medicator’s world, the exercise really is one of medication! Concentrating on something is not a task that was, for one reason or another, failed in this case; it is an ability that has gone missing because the child’s “brain isn’t wired quite right.” Of course the solution is to put the child on a prescription for some goop that will alter his emotional state, and make the process “easier for him.” (It’s nearly always a him.)

Another acid test is when a complex system of any kind starts producing the wrong output, because some unit within it starts to go all wonky — with all the other units in good order. To the Architect and Medicator alike, this is a no-brainer, but they come up with polar-opposite solutions. The Medicator wants to chuck the whole thing and start from scratch, whereas the Architect sees a puzzle to be solved in separating what’s good from what’s busted. Think of Blondie and Dagwood getting in one of their matrimonial melees about whether to call the plumber.

I commented last month that I had finally expunged the malware from my HP Mini notebook. My victory announcement was premature, it turned out. The beastie lived on, downloading other crap onto my platform. It shames me to say it, but if I were to act purely on logic and reasonable cost-benefit analyses, I would have taken the “scorched earth” approach much, much earlier than I did, and lost a lot less time. It became an Ahab/whale thing; I lost sight of fixing the problem, and concentrated instead on figuring out entirely useless trivia about it. Where’d I pick up this thing? What exactly does it contaminate? How come these packages over here can detect it and fool themselves into thinking they’re cleaning it, when they’re not? How come that package over there seems to have “wounded” it (toward the end, it locked up the netbook instead of popping up an ad, which is what it was clearly trying to do)…but can’t quite get all of it?

See, neither Architects or Medicators enjoy a monopoly on always having the right idea. Medicators throw things away in bulk — they are much more inclined to announce “this entire thing is bolluxed!” That is often the right approach, and I have to make a confession…my second one, now…that I’ve often missed out on this advantage when it comes up. Medicators seem to think life has no puzzles in it, none whatsoever. And they probably think this because, in the world they construct around themselves by accepting some responsibilities and simply walking away from some other ones, they’re absolutely right. Choices confront them — choices in which the wrong answer results in some kind of personal suffering — and they become petulant, unpleasant, and then someone else swoops in and solves it for them.

In their world, the question of who gets the “rep” as a problem solver, is completely isolated from the record of who did or didn’t actually solve problems. At no time has this been more evident, than this first year of watching our new President struggle with the demands of His new job. He is a dedicated Medicator. He fixes nothing. The only responsibility He takes is to refine the emotional buzz that comes from this thing or that one…and having failed even at that, He has a ready finger-of-blame to point somewhere else so He can give Himself a good report card. Which He did, actually. That one single act speaks volumes not only to how He thinks about the world and the challenges within it; it is a tip-off to how medicators think as well. You’ll notice this about them if you know some really dedicated ones personally. They enter into conflict with others, because they tend to demand the final word about their own work. It was up to par, the other guy just has a mistaken interpretation of “par.” They followed the instructions they were given, it’s the other guy’s fault for not giving them the right ones.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally. Buying a car: Any salesman will tell you, some people turn their thoughts to the TCO with considerations such as gas mileage, service records, availability of parts. Others worry overly much about how they look when they’re tooling around in the car, what strangers will think of them.

Homeowners’ Association bylaws can be written to accommodate one of these halves of humanity, or the other, or both. This is a rather interesting situation, because the bylaws represent an attempt to “architect” a successful neighborhood, through the “medication” of the emotions of the people who observe it. Here and there, though, we see stories in the news surrounding HOA bylaws that are, to turn a rustic phrase, just plain stupid. They don’t do anything to make people feel good and it seems extravagant and far-fetched to suppose they could have anything to do with preserving the value of the property. Banning the American flag is the one example that springs immediately to mind, since those stories have a way of jumping onto the front page.

The last time we linked one of these, the story in question showcased a persistent trait among the Medicators: proxy offense.

[M]anagement told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

The controlling curmudgeon lays down the curmudgeonly rule, and the curmudgeon is silent on whether he or she personally finds the emblem, the e-mail, the cologne, the pin-up calendar, et al, offensive. It’s much more often proxy: Some third party is offended. Or some third party could be offended. The impossible-to-meet “Could Be Interpreted As” standard of cleanliness. It is conceivably possible, therefore the contraband has to go. The curmudgeon will oversee the removal. But it’s business and not personal, see? Just like something out of The Godfather: “Tell Michael I always liked him, it was business, not personal.” Some nameless faceless anonymous person complained, or could complain.

This dedicated Architect says — Medicators really shouldn’t be running anything. They don’t want to. They don’t want the responsibility. This is why these columns are now coming out, some serious and some satirical, that speculate openly that President Obama is perhaps bored and disenchanted with His own job. I no longer consider it to be commentary outside my sphere of knowledge, to proffer that President Obama had some serious misgivings the first time He made a decision about something that had little-or-nothing to do with winning an election, saw that His decision had a direct bearing upon the outcome, and emotionally recoiled. I have seen this happen too many times, up close. In the months since then, the country has been buried in this “awkward stage” in which He tries to confront each and every single challenge with a vision that, as this-or-that chapter reaches the final page, the emotional buzz of those watching has been fine-tuned and frothed up into a desirable state of bliss. This is, I’m sure, why we’ve seen so many speeches out of Him during His first year, and will doubtless see about that many out of Him during His second.

We live in a society in which our every want and need is met, with resistance or inconvenience that is at best negligible. It may not seem like that to us at the time because we’re spoiled; we tend to mistake a temporary slow-down, or wrong turn, or setback, for a real possibility of failure in acquiring what we’re trying to acquire. Deep down, we all know we’re not really being challenged by much of anything; we will get what we are trying to get, one way or the other, so long as some minimal quantity of our peers are also trying to get the same thing. If all else fails we’ll band together and our populist rage will force someone to give it to us. We’re supposed to be so worried about “the economy” but we have our beer, our coffee, our big teevee screens. The only things that are really in jeopardy are the self-respect and dignity that come from having a job, and the same for our children. All other things are guaranteed, in one way or another. They don’t face any real jeopardy.

This state of hyper-safe hyper-civilization has aggravated the divide between — whate’er you wanna callzem, Yin and Yang, or Architects and Medicators — as I’ve pointed out before. It creates a bigger divide on such fundamental questions as: What is a good speech, anyway? What is a convincing argument? Is it thinky-thinky or feelie-feelie? In other words, do you progress systematically among the first three pillars, basing your opinions/inferences upon available fact and things-to-do upong the opinions/inferences. Or, do you just stir up a whole lot of motivating emotions in your audience, get them all outraged against some straw-man Snidely Whiplash, anti-logical exuberance for your “ideas,” Obama-style?

And the fact is, Architects have a definite idea in mind about the answer to such rudimentary questions.

Another fact is, Medicators have a definite idea about the answer as well. These ideas are not the same. They are opposites.

Another fact is, neither side is willing to budge on such issues. If you have a pulse, and a brain, and you’ve been using your brain to solve problems that confront you here and there…each day you stay alive further enmeshes you in the answer you chose, way back, before you were five years old.

And the least inconvenient fact of all is that if we cannot agree on questions like those, we aren’t going to agree on anything else.

We are engaged in a discourse between people who understand how to make real decisions, and those who do not understand this and do not seek to understand this. They don’t see the need. But since they’ve “won,” for the time being it is their job…even if they continue to find ways to weasel out of it, and blame others when the job goes undone.

They Already Know What They Want to Know

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Ann Coulter puts the big reveal on the flawed extreme-leftists’ mind, as only she can:

On Jan. 8, just 11 days before the election, The New York Times reported: “A Brown win remains improbable, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1 in the state and that Ms. Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has far more name recognition, money and organizational support.”

It was in that article that the Times said a narrow Coakley win would be an augury for the entire Democratic Party. But now she’s being hung out to dry so that Democrats don’t have to face the possibility that Obama’s left-wing policies are to blame.

Alternatively, Democrats are trying to write off Brown’s colossal victory as the standard seesawing of public sentiment that hits both Republicans and Democrats from time to time. As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews explained, it was just the voters saying “no” generally, but not to anything in particular.

Except when Republicans win political power, they hold onto it long enough to govern. The Democrats keep being smacked down by the voters immediately after being elected and revealing their heinous agenda.

This is the trouble: Liberals never, ever learn anything because they never, ever lose elections. When they win, of course The People Have Spoken — when they lose, it must have been Diebold tampering with the machines. Fear. Bigotry. Latent traces of racism. Angry voters having a temper tantrum.

When a liberal is wealthier than a conservative it’s the just reward of the liberal’s superior worldview; it just goes to show the conservative cannot make it in the “real world,” anywhere outside his dilapidated single-wide. When it’s the conservative who is better off, it means he’s greedy and surely he must have cheated it out of someone who was better entitled to it.

Because of this, they end up with this natural hostility toward truth, logic and fact, and it hangs around them like a bad smell from one year to the next because they are (seemingly) ignorant of it. Some “convenient” truth comes along, and they get to act scholarly: Aha! George W. Bush unemployment rate never went below five-point-something! And don’t you say a word about it soaring to twice that much under Obama…because it went way up in the early 1980’s under Reagan! And the year 1998 was the warmest on record! Iraq didn’t attack us! Great Depression ended after FDR got the New Deal going…post hoc ergo propter hoc. NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. See, I can quote fact, I are smart.

Ignorance is BlissThings like this are just embarrassing to follow. They think they’re keeping up with the big boys. Tighty-righty guy supplies some statistics friendly to his argument, lefty-loosey guy does the same; it’s all finished except the cherry-picking, you just shout the lefty-fact from the highest hilltop, and put your hands over your ears and go “la la la!” when someone alludes to the righty-fact. Trouble is, this reveals that they live in a special universe, one in which cause-and-effect do not apply. They can’t see the tighty-righty guy, reciting his facts, is also able to supply solid reasons why things are this way. Let’s see…Obama is making it generally a pain-in-the-ass to live, for anyone who starts a business…or hires anyone…or for that matter, buys something requiring a long-term financial commitment, out in plain view, out of the black markets. Result: Nobody wants to do it, and the economic indicators demonstrate the eventual results of this business-hostile climate. Gee! Who’d a-thought it? So that is why, when you get a hardcore-lefty type in a seat of power, the job climate suffers…because those who create jobs, really don’t know what the next best move is, if they want their businesses to survive. Cause, effect. Now then, Mister Lefty arguer guy…you say raising the minimum wage brings unemployment down? America will become more prosperous, if we can make it really expensive to run a business and create jobs? We’ll all end up with more money in our pockets if the regulations are made thicker, less workable, more cumbersome? Health care will become more abundant when the government makes decisions about rationing it? Gasoline and drugs will become cheaper after your favored candidates have made it much more expensive for businesses to bring these products to us? And this works how?

Woopsie! Time for a subject change! So whoddaya thinks gonna get thrown off American Idol?

We’ve got quite a few people walking around, as free as you & me, who can’t see this because they think the “fact” is where an argument ends, rather than where it begins. They learn very little because the need for genuine learning, as we see in the case of the Brown-Coakley match-up, just isn’t there. You just blame Martha Coakley. Stupid girl. Hey, let’s all take a break from bashing Palin for the next week or two, we have a new outlet for our misogynist energies — a new lightning rod for our vitriol, since nothing bad can happen to anyone due to Barack Obama’s liberal policies. He’s still the change we’ve been waiting for, isn’t He?

You see, they just aren’t very curious, because there is no necessity for curiosity. They already know what they want to know. They don’t believe things that happen cause other things to happen; they’ve somehow managed to get through life without having to become aware that this is how the laws of the universe work. And this is proof, in their warped little minds, that they exist as superior Darwinist genomes. Everything’s just easier for them because they are stronger — “fittest.” The hardcore cases really do seem to see themselves as the next evolutionary step, and say so out loud.

One cannot help but wonder how many of them cling to precisely the same self-image and are quiet about it.

Which would mean, necessarily, that humanity’s evolutionary destiny is for us to believe the very first thing we hear out of the public school system and the alphabet-soup “news” networks, and never question any of it. Just scan the horizon of whatever reality manages to present itself to us, looking for little nuggets that validate what we have been told, rejecting whatever might challenge it even a little bit.

So you see, the whole Massachusetts thing is “overrated.” It never actually happened. It is to be bowdlerized from reality itself according to our new-age, East Anglia way of thinking about things. Certainly, there’s no need to inspect it any further, we already know what we want to know.

Best Sentence LXXX

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

The eightieth award for the Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) goes to Vanessa Grigoriadis for this tiny nugget of artwork in the February issue of Vanity Fair.

Money quote:

And because Twitter uses simple technology, it’s a utilitarian vehicle for ambitious extroverts, without any previous distinction, to become digital superstars. [emphasis mine]


How and why is there such a thing as an ambitious extrovert? Being an extrovert is an aspect of one’s personality; ambitiously extroverted makes as much sense as being ambitiously brown-eyed, double-jointed or six-toed. Right?

Wrong. It’s viewed by many as a competitive exercise. Competitive, as in: Placing second is equivalent to placing dead-last.

Ever have to work in an environment bogged down with a plurality of these types? Egad. What a mess.

The Year of Living in Everybody’s Face

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I was just thinking exactly the same thing Deb Saunders was thinking. It seems lately that no one — no one — can do anything without advertising that the thing is being done. Every little deed, every little thought, every little act of charity, every little benevolent wish, every little desire to “Be A Part Of This Thing”…as in, the election of our first black President…every little derogatory snippet about Sarah Palin (Item #13 on my list)…must…absolutely must…be advertised.

2009 started with Octomom, a single 33-year-old mother of six who, thanks to an unfettered fertility industry, gave birth to octuplets.
2009 also was the year that reality TV wannabes discovered that there is such a thing as going too far to get on TV — at least in the eyes of the law. On Oct. 15, Colorado parents Richard and Mayumi Heene falsely claimed that their son Falcon, 6, had floated away in a homemade balloon.
It’s not clear if Michaele and Tareq Salahi broke any criminal laws when they crashed President Obama’s first state dinner in November.

At the time, they were trying to break into Bravo’s “Real Housewives of D.C.,” but their prank — lawful or prosecutable — upheld the law of unintended consequences: When you excel at attracting attention, it’s not always wanted attention.

Three or four attention-starved twits doth not a dysfunctional society make.

But still, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion something’s bollywonkers here. That we’re slipping off the rails. If you’re the praying kind, it’s a good prayer to have for 2010. Generally speaking, people are healthiest when their actions in private don’t differ too much from their actions when zillions of their peers and neighbors are watching. That’s what used to be called “character.” Lately, we’re none too healthy and we haven’t got too much character. Too many of us need to know who exactly is watching, before they know what to do.

That’s the first thing I’d like to see changed next year. Just do what’s right, regardless of who’s watching. And quit putting so much work into getting more people to watch.

The Dithering is Over?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Thirty-four thousand. Okay, now maybe we have a President, Mr.Sullivan.

President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he’s called “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.

Pffft…democrats worried about the strain on the Treasury. They. Really. Do. Think. We. Are. That. Stupid. Tell me another one, guys.

Anyway, nice job Mr. President. Now why in the world did that take so long? Are you any more certain this is the right move now, than you would’ve been several weeks months ago? What’s that? You are? Really? That’s good enough for that “Really?” segment on Saturday Night Live…not that I’ll be holding my breath for it.

Maybe now you can start growing into the job. Make some decisions. Vote on things in some other way besides “present.” Believe it or not, millions of the people over whom you “rule” have to do that kind of thing every damn day. Some of them even might have voted for you…although most did not and will not. They just live in that kind of world. No “good” choices available, and yet a decision has to be made anyhow.

That’s life, Mr. President.

Anyway — let’s stop picking on Mister Wonderful for a minute or two. This is my biggest concern about people in general, walking around, calling themselves grown-ups, when they have yet to grow up. Some decision comes up and they are OH! SO! DECISIVE! about it…because there’s some option available that makes them look like good people if they happen to choose it.

And then a real carbuncle of a leadership decision comes along. A classic adulthood-test decision. All options available, suck big green eggs. Any decision you make will make you look like a creep. Do we buy a new engine for the family car, or junk it and buy another? Do we spend more money at the vet, or do we put the dog down? More tough choices come from the movies. Do you throw your little brother in the blast furnace now that aliens have taken over his body? Do you unlock the door and let the guy in when zombies are chasing him?

And faced with classic avoidance-avoidance conflict, these grown-up children do what President Obama did. LOOK FOR A CHOICE THAT MAKES YOU LOOK GOOD. IF THERE IS ONE, MAKE THAT. IF NOT, STALL FOR TIME AND GO BACK TO STEP ONE. That is not leadership. And if that is not the situation — you know what? Your “leadership,” however you define it, hasn’t really been tested. Leadership is only tested when the leader faces a plurality of options, and each one sucks.

Obama has faced His first real test of leadership as President.

Hopefully, He’ll do better next time.

The Dog Gets Better Treatment

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Dr. Helen notices that when the time comes to ration Christmas presents to accommodate the lean times that have fallen upon us, the hubby-of-the-home seems to have taken a back seat to Fido:

In a separate Consumer Reports survey, 22% of women who expected to reduce their holiday spending said they would be cutting back on gifts for their spouse. Only 14% said they would cut back on gifts for their pets.

Who loses when men are disrespected? Who loses when dogs become replacement husbands?

We all do. Gals, especially, lose out when the figurine at the top of the wedding cake has four legs.

It’s a loss to everyone because men are human and dogs are not. If some of us can be simply re-defined out of human-hood, then we all can be so re-defined out of human-hood.

Because it requires considerably greater skill to form a relationship with a human being than it does to form a relationship with a dog. The magical, wonderful thing about dogs is that they think you’re wonderful all the time. That’s because dogs are stupid. You’re not really that wonderful, and you’re certainly not wonderful that often.

And also, because in spite of appearances and feelings, they pay about the same amount of attention to the woman who accompanies them. In fact, the two-legged companion is slightly more attentive. Few things assault the eardrum more cruelly than a “mistress” going through the motions of taking command of her canine. “Leonardo! Heel! Leonardo! Sit! Heel! Leonardo, didn’t you hear me!?!?” While Leonardo sniffs whatever other dog’s butt he wants to sniff, and pisses wherever he wants to piss. It’s an endless loop. Men and dogs have evolved into a natural partnership, but the dog’s ear just isn’t attuned to a female voice. Dogs appreciate an authoritative master’s voice, in a booming baritone, and a one-syllable name.

And, finally, because it is a departure from reality. Dogs are not capable of things that are within a human’s capacity. And as a result of this inability, they cannot participate in human things. You cannot lend money to a dog to buy a house. A dog can’t even co-sign on your loan. A dog cannot calculate interest payments and a dog cannot sub-let an apartment.

Also, using a dog as a fashion accessory is a form of animal abuse. A dog deserves a master who sees the dog as an animal, which is what the dog is. A domesticated animal, molded and shaped by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution into a perfect companion for work and play…one that is capable of a limited spectrum of tasks. Certainly, a broader spectrum than a lot of people appreciate. That is absolutely true. But still a limited spectrum. They aren’t humans and they aren’t replacements for humans. And they aren’t toys either.

Your Latest Attention Whoring Episode: A 14-Foot Snake

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Reuters – Oddly Enough:

A man who caught a 14-foot (4.2-meter) python in a Florida drain pipe was charged with perpetrating a hoax after wildlife officers discovered he owned the snake and put it in the pipe in order to stage the capture.

Justin Matthews, a professional animal trapper, later admitted that he had “staged the event to call attention to a growing problem of irresponsible pet ownership,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on Thursday.

Matthews was charged with misusing the 911 emergency system and maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe manner.

He summoned news media to witness the snake’s capture from the drain in the city of Bradenton in July, telling them that he was performing a public service because it threatened nearby school children. He said neighbors had reported seeing the large snake in the area over several months.

I wonder how much they craved attention in Gomorrah, in the final days before the fire fell.

What is Cowardice?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Sippican Cottage begins a chapter with a deep thought:

What is cowardice? I dunno. My father said it was a kind of vanity. Every coward thinks they’re special. That they’re the very first one to feel afraid. They think that if brave people felt the way they did, they’d never do anything heroic. They figure intrepid people are simply too dumb to be as frightened as they should be. It’s a great way to claim to be superior while cringing in the corner.

C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one!
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

Stopping the “Pledge” Echo

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Blogger friend Buck has just caught wind of the “I Pledge” video, and he’s not too fond of the smell.

Well, the video itself is just the leafy part of the weed. The root of it has to do with this absurd notion that, under the right set of rules and under some Really Swell Guys elected and appointed as our leaders, we suddenly become a better people. Our friend in New Mexico didn’t ask for any advice here, but I think I’ve got an idea or two about how to stop an echo when you run into this…this…let’s call it “used food.”

First, forget the damn video. Remember, leafy part of weed, root part of weed. You’re much more likely to run into other manifestations of this errant mindset. Maybe not quite so much now as you were last winter, but here and there you can still encounter the starry-eyed Obama fan. Even as they recover from their stupor they can still be heard to utter a few words of nonsense about “being led” by someone who will “inspire us to do better.”

Here is how you stop that echo.

Agree. Agree with every single word. After all, all they’re saying is that people should try to be the best they can be; you’re only disagreeing about the gimmick used. So let them drone on about all the things they can do, kind of nudge them away from the “trim down my carbon footprint,” and toward things that make sense like “be a better parent,” “write to my teevee network to put on more wholesome and educational shows when kids get home from school,” et al.

And then you lay the smack down.

Just get that number-eleven between your eyebrows, frown just ever so slightly, as if you’re thinking really hard about something; if you have a beard, maybe run your fingers through it ever so thoughtfully. And then interject that bit of wisdom “Hey, you know, these things are so wonderful we can probably put some thought into doing them no matter who happens to be President, right?”

It’s just freakin’ glorious. Fun to do, and fun to watch.

As an added benefit, if they choose to find a way to argue with you on this point — they’ll fail on all counts. They won’t find a way to do it, and they’ll give away the fact that they’re trying to. Which, in turn, tells you something very useful about the real motivations of your “opponent”…whether he really does want to do good things, or whether he has something else in mind. And that’s always a good thing to know early on.

House for Purse Dogs

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

A purse-dog-house. A house-dog-purse. A purse-sized-dog-house. A dog-sized-purse-house.


Thousands of years from now, archeologists will come together and agree…that great country known as America, began her downfall with those damnable rodent-sized dogs and their damnable stupid accessories. Gladiator games for the Romans, softball-sized canines for us.

One other thing — the English language leaves me ill-equipped to express what a terrible photographer is you-know-who. Can’t she afford a better camera?

More here.

On an offline from loyal and frequent commenter Rob.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Cassy blames the parents who do the purchasing rather than the designer who does the designing of clothes that make your toddler look sexy. Let me say that again: Toddler.

You have to think on it awhile to see her logic, but it’s there and I agree.

I’m of the mindset that when a minor, even someone who is barely a minor, leaves gum on the sidewalk and you step on it and end up sawing away at your sneaker over the kitchen sink with bleach and a toothbrush…that is a poor reflection on the parents. Most parents would say waitaminnit, he’s almost eighteen and I’m still responsible for where he leaves his gum? You’re loco, Freeberg.

Well, the idea is mine and I’m not going to say it’s anybody else’s. But I stand by it. How did s/he learn to discard gum? How did s/he learn to chew it? Where did this human get the idea that leaving it along a pedestrian thoroughfare is proper…and where were you?

Once you see my logic there, the reality becomes clear and it’s not a cheerful reality by any means. There is a whole range of behaviors, one that could be explored and listed into an exploding, encyclopedic tome, for which parents took responsibility in generations past…and no longer are. Kids are being left to define aspects to their own existence and the purpose of it, for themselves. This is not the makeup of independent thinking, but rather of a breakdown of social order. I would compare it to opening the dryer door after a cycle, throwing away all the clothes, and knitting yourself something to wear out of all the shit you find in the lint trap. That’s what we’re doing.

Where was I going with this?

Ah yes, the slut clothes for toddlers…

The designer makes this feeble defense, saying she’s doing it “in protest” of the slutty chic reigning in children’s fashions these days:

“The Nipple Tassel t-shirt was designed as a response to my own distaste at seeing mini versions of sexy clothes on young children,” she wrote. “Five-year-olds wearing slashed mini skirts and boob tubes, little thumb-sucking Britneys.

“There is nothing very sexy about a baggy, lap neck, long sleeved t- shirt for a 6-month-old. So by embellishing this style of garment with printed nipple tassels, the result is not that the baby becomes sexualized by the tassels, but that the tassels are made benign and silly by the baby. In fact the more inert, innocent and unaware the infant is, the more ludicrous the contrast becomes.”

… “I totally agree with critics who feel that young girls are put under enormous pressure by the media, the fashion industry and the content of many TV programs, to be aware of their appearance, and then dissatisfied with it,” she added. “The trap set to ensnare girls into a life-time of preoccupation with their looks is a subtle one.”

Ugh, she used that horrible word too. This designer lady is like a pinball that bumps into every single bumper in the machine that’s connected to my “Get Pissed Off” light.

But hard as it is to see at the moment, I’m sure the world will find a way to keep spinning.

Woman Eats Everything

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

It reads like a story out of The Onion…but it isn’t.

An Indianola woman is taking on a big challenge at the Iowa State Fair and it’s put her on a feeding frenzy.

Lindsay Grooters wants to sample every item at the fair that’s sold on a stick. There are 55 such items sold at the fair this year.

“If I see it and it looks good, I eat it,” she said.

She said her selections have ranged from traditional caramel apples to fried Twinkies.

“I’ve had 30,” she said. “(There’s) 25 to go.”

Grooters said she’s been pacing herself, eating five per day, every day.

“I love candy bars and chicken lips,” she said. “Doughnuts are my favorite, so far.”

On Wednesday, she sampled honey in a stick and a caramel pretzel stick.

“I keep all my sticks,” she said.

Someone’s In Trouble…

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

…just as soon as someone else figures out who that first someone is. Don Stott at Musketballs has an interesting entry

New York Residents With Disabilities Outraged by ‘Retard’ Comment

Are we not at the point of absurdity about this sensitivity thing?

NOWHERE TO HIDE: The Monroe County Legislature in Upstate New York is a place where the politics are partisan and the 29 county legislators scrap fiercely. But some say that last month, during a roll call vote, someone in the room went too far — using the painful and socially unacceptable word “retard.”

Video from the meeting suggests the utterance was aimed at Democrat Steve Eckel, but it isn’t clear who said it. [source]

Said source continues with some stuff that makes things just a little bit sillier; I can see why Stott evidently felt this was not entirely necessary.

Area residents with disabilities are outraged — stunned that anyone would use such a term in that way. This week, led by Bruce Darling of the Rochester Center for Disability Rights, they converged upon the county legislature.

“If you think someone is being an ass, just call them an ass,” Darling said. “Don’t bring us into the discussion.”

For 90 minutes, members of Darling’s group stood before the political body to explain how they had been hurt by the comment.

“All I want is respect,” Deborah Duminuco said.

They came looking for an apology from the person who made the comment.

“Whoever said it, I would like it to be stopped,” Jason Belicove said. “Please stop.”

So far, they have yet to find out who made the comment, let alone receive an apology.

No one’s going to fess up? No? Okay, wise guys, we’ll all just stand here until someone comes forward, even if it takes ALL day. Let’s just see how you all like that. We’ll just stand here. That oughtta show ya. Tell you what, I’m going to turn around for a whole minute, and if someone wants to put an anonymous written apology on this desk in front of me, there’ll be no questions asked. Not as long as we get our apology. I’m turning around now…dum de dum de dum…

Okay, now if you’ve been reading the pages of this blog for awhile, you know I’m fond of the parable of the dispassionate but reasonable space alien. We don’t think about this very often now, but awhile ago there was a whole genre of teevee shows devoted to this situational trope, and the space alien wasn’t always a space alien. The idea is that some naturally curious non-human being is placed in a situation where he has to live in our society and figure it out, and hijinks and hilarity ensue. The “alien” understands logic, but is foreign to the cultural idiosyncrasies we’ve been accumulating incrementally. The point is that our cultural idiosyncrasies make sense only to those who have been present to watch them accumulate incrementally…

The TV Tropes page, one of my favorite spots on the whole innerwebs, calls this The Alien Among Us.

So here’s a question the alien, who knows common sense but doesn’t know a damn thing about conservatives or liberals or oppressed minorities, would have to ask his homeowner one evening as he emerges from the laundry room or kitchen cupboard in which he lives:

If people show this righteous indignation to get favors out of people who otherwise would not be remitting the favor — how can they know what they’re trying to get, if they don’t even know who would be giving them the apology? Doesn’t that make it kind of a “grab bag” arrangement, so to speak? The laws of probability confer a high likelihood on the outcome that, presuming the offender is ever identified, it turns out he doesn’t have anything to say about anything. How is that worth ninety minutes?

Also, if you think such an exercise is worth the ninety minutes but you don’t have an answer for the above…this can’t be a productive exercise for anyone who’s concerned about having his intelligence insulted, can it? Kinda like dousing a house fire with a bucket of gasoline.

You know, I’m not familiar with this particular legislative hall. I got me a gut feel that if its walls could talk, they’d have a lot of stories to tell about people, disabled & otherwise, fully fit for having their various aptitudinal gifts fairly slighted in inglorious ways. And the ninety-minute demonstration didn’t do much to help scrub that unflattering history.

Perhaps the Alien Among Us would have so many questions from this one event, he’d give up on finding out about it. Write off this planet; no intelligent life here.

The Seating Arrangements for Next Week’s Dinner Party…

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

…don’t put blogsister Cassy Fiano side-by-side with Levi Johnson.


Saturday, August 15th, 2009

I leave it to the readers to flesh out whatever metaphors they see fit. Sound off in the comments below if you feel the need…

Memo For File XCII

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

I had this horrible nightmare in which I was becoming a good friend of mine, an older gentleman who drank himself to death. It got me to thinking some more about Meghan McCain’s idiotic comments, and how they connect together with what I had to say in response to one of Mahatma Ghandi’s most famous quotes. These two things connect together.

This is the biggest of all the reasons McCain is embarrassing herself when she opens her mouth. There are many of those, of course; but this is the great-grandpappy of ’em, and as decent and as thorough a job as Cassy did eviscerating her, nobody’s mentioned this one that I can see.

Let’s walk through some littler ones though. First, Meghan suffers from the delusion that she’s found a “gotcha” on Michelle…

Michelle Malkin, the conservative pundit and author of the recent book Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies, was asked during a live chat on Politico’s The Arena on Friday which conservative political figure or commentator needs to shut up. Guess who her answer was? Yeah, that’s right — yours truly.

So Michelle Malkin successfully rounds out the trifecta of extreme female conservative pundits, following Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, who believe that I, and Republicans like me, need to shut up and get out of the party…But what confuses me is this: Malkin recently posted an item on her blog about how “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

It’s worthy of note, even if you don’t think so Miss McCain, that Michelle Malkin was asked the question — she didn’t offer up the idea that you should be gagged. No contradiction here sweetie. I, too, think it’s un-American to drown out opposing views. And if I’m asked a question similar to what was asked of Michelle, well…

FailThere’s another thing you’ve overlooked on that point, I think. “Needs to shut up” implies the shutting-up is for that person’s own good; it certainly implies that, much more strongly than it implies it’s worth Malkin’s time to break into someone’s bedroom in the middle of the night and surgically implant a gag-ball over that person’s pie-hole. So with that in mind, how does Malkin’s comment about you shutting up correlate to drowning out opposition? It seems as the matter receives greater study, whatever correlation there seemed to be before, starts to soften up and melt away. I think the crucial focus you missed was aptly summarized by me in my Ten Commandments For Liberals Who Want to Argue About Politics (#4):

If there are some contrary facts, then, it is to your benefit for you to be told about them. Your conservative colleague/opponent just might [be] involved an effort, as any true friend would, to stop you from making an enormous ass out of yourself.

Malkin might have been involved in a desire to see you stop hurting yourself.

Or perhaps Cassy Fiano speaks for Michelle as aptly as she speaks for me. She’s as clear as clear gets: “…I’m pretty sure [McCain will] just continue on acting like she’s being crucified in the GOP, when frankly, no one in the GOP even gives a damn about her. We just wish she would stop making idiotic, asinine remarks in our name.”

Now for the big kahuna, the thing that I said as I shamelessly ripped off India’s savior: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the resolve with which it ensures that good guys win and bad guys lose.”

McCain wants the Republicans to be more positive and more accepting. That is her central thesis, and it shows many signs of being not quite all that well thought-out…

It’s true that Democrats make being a member appealing in a much different way than the Republican Party does. The Democrats seem to have mastered inclusiveness — whereas Republicans, like a country club, seem to require a litmus test. But if people like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter think they can bully me into giving up this fight and what I am doing, they are going to be severely disappointed. And I can assure them that unless they start being realistic about the cultural and generational differences between the two sides of the party, there will not be a new generation of Republicans.

The democrat party seems, to a weak mind, to have “mastered inclusiveness.” Those of us capable of paying attention to things have figured out long ago, that what the democrat party has mastered is inclusiveness’ opposite. Just name an issue — any issue you want — and as that issue bubbles up to the surface of a conversation between democrats and non-democrats, each and every time you’ll see a discussion about some “villain” group that has been carefully defined alongside that issue. Whites, Christians, straights, “teabaggers,” those awful corporate chieftan people, “the rich,” stay-at-home Moms, Boy Scouts, anybody who doesn’t want Obamacare, Oil companies, Health insurance companies, lobbyists, bloggers, talk show hosts…I could add on to such a list all day long. Inclusive?

You kiddin’?

What democrats have mastered, is the construction of a barbaric society. Barbaric, the way I’ve described it: Apathy toward the matter that is supposed to be weighing most heavily on our minds, which is the day-to-day assurance that good guys win and bad guys lose. It happens every single time we put democrats in charge of things and it’s happening now. Photo ops with tinpot dictators as we “sit down and talk about our differences with” them. Which are meaningless to us…but mean everything to the tinpot dictator. Next thing you know, they’re emboldened, acting like they’re emboldened, negotiating concessions out of us they wouldn’t be able to negotiate if they weren’t emboldened. First little ones, then big ones.

Back at home, it becomes unprofitable and pointless to try to build a business. Why bother? If you’re profitable, the new regime will just take all your money. And so people sit on their asses some more. The democrats rationalize this because the poor, poor pitiful poor who can’t get jobs, are in a different economic layer than the folks who would’ve opened a new business and decided not to. So it’s not like the same malaise is hitting everyone, right? But it is. It’s exactly that way. An entire civilization is being incentivized to sit on its ass. Ass-sitting is the new hard-work. Crime is the new law-abiding. Capitalists are the new bums. Mean is the new nice.

Everything’s upside-down.

Meghan doesn’t see this kind of world, because frankly she’s too young and thick. As Cassy’s commenter MLH says,

I follow Meghan on Twitter (just wanted to see what all the hype was about) and I can’t disagree with anything you say about her…I’ve been following Ms. McCain for three months. In that time frame all I’ve discovered is that: #1 She’s managed to get around four or five speeding tickets in the past few months(no clue how she still has a license other than her last name). #2 Gone to L.A. for a “No H8TE” photo-shoot. #3 Gone to NYC for some kind of photoshoot. #4 Out somewhere at parties & clubs in L.A., and NYC. #5 Learned all the complaints about her apartment and how shopping is such a hassle at various stores. #6 Going to Sturgis to be cool with all the bikers (Daddy told her to “be careful.” #7 Four hours one day of hysterics because she fell for some weirdo’s suicide note to the point where she actually got her PR person to contact Twitter and the police to get the man help — turns out he “wasn’t serious and will seek intensive help” after she gave him the attention he needed (she got a kudos from Alan Colmes on that one with the gracious statement that her actions “only show how much she cares.” #8 And finally, One time she asked all her followers what she should write about in her next column at The Daily Beast. This girl is indeed vapid beyond belief and one glaringly obvious reason why influential people’s children should be rarely seen, and even rarer heard.

People who fit this profile, seem to rise up to outvote the rest of us every sixteen years. Meghan is older than sixteen, but not much, and her comments about politics generally indicate someone who only started paying attention to things over the last year or two, perhaps less than that. She isn’t even up to par with the average voter, who’s already seen it happen a few times: We put liberals in charge when we get sick of conservatives, and conservatives in charge when we get sick of the liberals. And we get sick of liberals about three or four times quicker. It’s their solutions, you see. They don’t work.

They encourage sloth, dysfunction, anarchy and crime.

Meghan McCain is “pro sex.” Good for you, Meghan. Sex, sometimes, is not a vice…sometimes, on the other hand, it is. Evidently you haven’t been around long enough to hurt someone by having sex, so it’s a good thing overall that you’re blind to this. But maybe if you spent a little bit less time Twittering, and a little bit more time actually talking to these people you think want to apply these litmus tests that you yourself are far too decent to apply to someone — hah! — you’d find out what so many others understand they’re really all about.

It’s not about excluding people from things.

It’s about doing what leads to good things, and staying away from what leads to bad things. For our own sakes, and for the sake of those closest to us. FOR the PEOPLE. I had a nightmare in which I hurt people close to me by drinking a lot, something I actually saw someone else do. The hurting people by having sex, I’ve already done. The essence of Christian behavior is to say “Let’s just try to stop doing that stuff okay?” The essence of democrat behavior, and Meghan McCain behavior, seems to be: Don’t you dare say a word against any of that, someone might feel excluded.

When we forget about Morgan’s definition of a decent society, nine times out of ten I notice we do it by starting out on the path you’re on right now. By being “accepting” of this or that. Ghandi also said “hate the sin, love the sinner” — it’s such a great summation of Christian attitude that it’s often mistakenly attributed to Christ Himself. This denotes a distinction requiring an observing mind sharper and more capable than yours, I think. This is the problem you represent, Miss McCain. You’re so anxious to show off that you’re universally accepting of people…when you really aren’t, but that’s a whole other story…that you end up setting yourself up as a champion of just-plain-bad ideas. Drinking yourself to death, dropping out of school, having kids before you can afford to raise them, adopting a kid without both a mother and father in the home, smoking crack, voting for Obama, robbing liquor stores, rioting, calling a motorcycle gang a bunch of pussies…just pointing out these are bad ideas, doesn’t automatically mean you’re “excluding” the people who have been doing them. Failing to regard them as bad ideas, doesn’t mean you’re an accepting person. You don’t have the brainpower to understand this. You’re in some great company there.

But your ignorance isn’t a way out of the wilderness, for Republicans or for anybody else. No matter how much smugness you toss into the stewpot with it.

Michelle Malkin answered the question that was put to her very, very capably. Anybody who thought otherwise for whatever reason, only had to read the comments you had in response. It’s almost as if you read what she said, and thought “Hey, someone who isn’t familiar with me might be confused about what Michelle said there…I’d better throw something out where people will see it, so it will all come together and make sense.”

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Mangum’s Book

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Russ from Winterset at Ace of Spades, via Locomotive Breath

I know what you’re saying. “Russ, doesn’t the world need another book written by a self promoting skank* with mental health issues?” I say YES! – and since Courtney Love and Joe Biden are currently busy with other engagements, why not offer the alleged victim in the Great Alleged Duke Lacrosse Rape Cluster-frack and Mongolian Media Goat Rodeo a book deal?

Exciting times. Lots of attention paid to people who can’t think straight. The result is lots of resonance for ideas that don’t make any sense, and an immediate muffling effect upon any ideas that do. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it.

You know, historically we’ve shown a capacity for growing weary of these little societal eons of irony, just as we become bored with our chapters of common sense. In fact, we get tired of the irony much more quickly. Orders of magnitude more quickly. By a factor of three-to-one or four-to-one.

That factor, I think, is going to be going up. We’re going to get sick and tired and ready to move on from our latest “up is down, in is out, wet is dry” midsummer daydream in record time.

In the meantime…Duke Whore, you are welcome to make whatever profit you possibly can. Enjoy it while it lasts sweetie.

Heckler Wins

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


Hat tip to Duffy.

Richard Corliss Hates Netflix

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Richard Corliss, Time magazine crony and whiny-butt who hates Netflix:

It’s Friday night, and you want to watch a movie at home with that special someone. You could go to a video store and rent a film, and instantly it’s yours; popcorn extra. Or you could go to Netflix, and the movie will arrive, earliest, on Tuesday. Here’s hoping you had a Plan B for your big date.

What a putz. Uh…it’s called…planning ahead? You’re a stranger to it?

Ah, but you love Netflix, the online rental service that delivers movies and TV shows to your mailbox. Since its start in 1999, the company has sent more than 2 billion discs to its 10.6 million subscribers, who return them in the familiar red envelopes for more titles. (Think of but as a DVD-lending library instead of a bookstore.) Wall Street generally likes Netflix, whose Nasdaq stock price has more than doubled since last fall, and so does the public; the company has the No. 1 customer-satisfaction rating among online retailers.
A Netflix ad has one contented couple purring, “We don’t miss the video store at all.” Well, I do. Specifically, I miss Kim’s Video, a lower-Manhattan movie-rental landmark that housed 55,000 DVDs and cassettes of the vastest and most eccentric variety–until it closed early this year and shipped the whole stash to Sicily. Admittedly, Kim’s was one of the gems, but cities large and small used to have video stores with all manner of movies that you could see right away. With Netflix, you surrender those basic American rights: impulse choice and instant gratification. You must cool your jets for two to four days, dependent as you are on both the skill of Netflix employees to put the correct movie in your envelope (sometimes they don’t) and the speed of the U.S. Postal Service. By the time a video arrives, you may have forgotten why you rented it.

Yes, where humans are involved there is going to be some error. Some Presidents try to revive the economy and succeed only in converting the world’s champion capitalist nation into just another filthy socialist mudpuddle…that’s an error. And, several levels beneath that, a Netflix guy might stick the wrong disc in the envelope, or program a robot arm to make that mistake. I’m not quite so sure. To the best I can recall, I’m a charter Netflix subscriber or something close to charter…perhaps on-again off-again. I’m trying to think back — have I ever fished the wrong movie out of a Netflix envelope? I think perhaps two or three discs out of all those hundreds of orders might’ve been unreadable.

You have to wait, and sometimes the hired help screws things up — as if those never happen at Blockbuster! Mr. Corliss, of all the articles I’ve ever read, yours ranks high on the “phony” list. And believe me, you did not stick your review into the wrong envelope there. You got a bulls-eye on that one. Now if I could just figure out your motive. Do you own stock in BB?

Most online retailers try to interest customers in items similar to ones they’ve bought. Netflix offers “Movies Most Like …,” but the similarities can be baffling. Rent the Indian drama Fiza and you’ll be pointed to Season 1 of Scrubs and the Bakker biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye. This is when I yearn for the guys behind the old Kim’s counter. Not that every video-store clerk is a budding Quentin Tarantino, eager to point renters toward some arcane masterpiece from Italy or Hong Kong, but you do miss out on a face-to-face with a knowledgeable cinephile.

Beyond the mail delays and the botched orders, the lack of human interaction is the big problem with Netflix and its cyber-ilk. Thanks to the Internet, we can now do nearly everything–working, shopping, moviegoing, social networking, having sex–on one machine at home. We’re becoming a society of shut-ins. We deprive ourselves of exercise, even if it’s just a stroll around the mall, until we’re the shape of those blobby people in WALL•E. And we deny ourselves the random epiphanies of human contact.

Getting movies by mail is, Netflix hopes, just a stage between the Blockbuster era of video stores and the imminent streaming of movies. You can already get 12,000 Netflix titles on your TV (if you have a Blu-ray player or spring for a $100 Netflix box). So, O.K., soon there will be no more waiting for DVDs. But it’ll come at a price. You’ll be what the online corporate culture wants you to be: a passive, inert receptacle for its products.

Me, I’d rather go out to the movies. Or to a video store, even if it is in Sicily.

I have a lot of sympathy with this part of it, really I do. You’ll not find too many people more worried about the egg-ifying of the human race than yours truly. But…if we’re worried about hanging on to the everyday talents of yesteryear, aren’t there some other talents more to our liking than becoming bosom buddies with random strangers behind the counter at a video store? What about making venison jerky? Putting five shots in a target in a tight grouping? Washing and waxing a car? Covering a hundred miles in a day on a bicycle? Using leather tools to make something out of cowhide?

There are a lot of talents we can keep cultivated. All the worthy ones don’t necessarily have to do with socializing with people.

To be blunt about it, I am really quite shell-shocked at the low quality threshold in publishing a Time article here. A pet peeve, a poorly qualified one at that, fills the bill? Really? How much do Time columnists make in a year? I’ve got lots of pet peeves; I could keep a gravy train like that rolling for quite some time.