Dé Céadaoin, Nollaig 24, 2008

My Sleep Schedule's Fucked Up

Thank you Cinemax, for reminding me that people who make millions before the age of thirty as photographers/models/nude photographers have nothing better to do when vacationing in Latin resorts then have mechanical by-the-numbers sex with old high school aquantinces they happen to run into.

I would also like to remind the History Channel that the architecture and military technology of 1500 BC has been well documented by historians and archeologists, and the fact that the bible mentions these things in passing does not make them "biblical." And what was up with the stage lightning during the reenactment of the Garfield assassination?

Dé Máirt, Nollaig 23, 2008

More Notes From The Den

Ham and stuffing were being served out of a crockpot by the bathrooms. I don't know if it was for anybody who wanted some or if it was just for the children of the barmaid (barmatron rather) that were hanging out at a corner table. She had a slightly overweight boy dressed in camo overalls watching Youtube on what appeared to be a 98 model Pentium. There was something about the boy that made him more repellent then he should have been, a fat face. The face made him look fatter then he was.

Also in attendence was a man dressed in a Dallas Cowboys Starter Jacket accentuated by a Starter ball cap covered in spider webbing and flames. He was hanging out with Ricki Mercia. Ricki has a teardrop tatoo under his right eye, but it's just for style. One would do well to avoid coming to blows with Ricki, but he hadn't killed anybody at the time I last spoke to him three years ago.

Saliva has a new album called "Five Devil" coming out which was being heavily advertised on the jukebox.

Dé Luain, Nollaig 22, 2008

Tales From North Platte

I went to the Den tonight, . Imagine what The Watering Hole would be like without the drink specials and with the smell of urinal cake permiating the entire bar instead of half of it, and there you go. There was a woman's pool league on. Fiftysomething broads with flatops, pancake blush, Husker pulleys, and a taste for Old Gold 100 lights. The woman who nearly got in a physical fight with her daughter when I was home for the Fourth was there and seemed to be in good spirits. I made eyes with her daughter and she seemed to appreciate my attention. But then I have observed her enough to know that her attention would not be at all enjoyible, and certainly not important enough to go through any trouble persuing. Still it was fun.

My own mother could be accurately described as a broad but it wouldn't tell half the story of the woman. She is the indisputible leader of a family of lunatics, a center of stability for several dozen friends and family members whose pride won't allow them to accept that they are as bad off as they are. She is able to perceive people as they are without allowing presupposition to distort what is there before her, and act accordingly, while all around her the men of the ostentatiously masculine west deal with each other according to the nearest availible cartoon type instead of what is truly there. I try to seek my mother's advice when my father isn't around to add his earnest and confused word salad. My own intelligence comes from my her, without question. It was left up to me to sink into my own brain until it did me no good.

I ran into a dear old friend of mine at The Den, Aaron "Boz" Bozfield. He was sporting two black eyes from the forty ounce that his wife smashed in his face. He was with this fellow I remembered only as "guy who used to be in jail all of the time." His biggest adventure involved getting caught burglerizing a Pizza Hut in broad daylight some Sunday morning. He called me "Josh Buchowski" which I appreciated. It's a terribly inacurate label, but not completely so, the truth is that I had a way with marginilized women while I was here. Women who had given up on life at twenty and needed someone just as I did. But oh never mind, I've already said too much.

My mother said she found movers who can take my possesions to Chicago for eight hundred dollars. I'm currently in the slow process of talking her into simply loaning me the money in a lump sum. I will drive there in my Pontiac with my coffee potmy microwave and my wardrobe organized into trash bags. That's where my mature life awaits me. That's where the Beran family name will be raised out of the corn fields and the auto shops Ma. I know it just sounds like another delusion from your Bohemian son. It goes completely against your own practical way but you must trust me. This is what is right. My desk, my TV, my dresser, my couch, my card table, the hell with it all. The truth is that I've never felt any particular affinity with any of my physical possesions, never associated with some memory or common experience with someone else for which they were part of the scene. That's what Craigslist is for these days Ma. Firewood for hobos Ma, firewood for hobos.

Find three roomates and I can live a good life for a time in some nice corner of a flat for a few months. The truth is that I've found a new courage and clarity of purpose that wasn't there before. I do not believe or wishfully think that this is the right thing to do, I logically know it and believe it and wishfully think it.

The truth is that another cycle of Winter and Spring spent entirely in Lincoln, with no job, no Dan, no Becky, would leave me with too much weight on my back to advance in life. How long have I coasted along in the company of people impressed with my cleverness on its own terms. How strange it is to have true peers, to have my own ambitions tied into my loyalty to them and the trust they have put into me, this sense that our important thoughts and intimate thoughts were one and the same.

Becky, take care of yourself darling, and be brave. Live for yourself for awhile and accept love when it is offered to you. I will do the same, I promise you that. This time, this place, these words, these looks, these understandings and aceptances shall not be betrayed. They will be made into something, and the world will know.

Dé Sathairn, Nollaig 20, 2008

The Week In Sports

It's bowl season. The time of year when denizens of America's heartland turn to football to distract ourselves from slashing our wrists with shards of ice; warm blood melting the snow symbolizing our sweet release from this Arctic Hellscape.
The New Mexico Bowl is on now; Colorado State and Fresno State. I watch because oxygen is frozen and I am unemployed; what's your excuse?

I've long been in favor of an eight-team playoff for the national championship. This would have the practical effect of limiting contestants to major-conference champions and mid-major undefeateds, thus preserving the primacy of the regular season. But as I watch the television camera scan the exotic vistas of Albuquerque, I realize that a sixteen-team tournament wouldn't be so bad. The New Mexico Bowl, the Independence Bowl, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the Motor City Bowl,(Yes, that's right. The Mid-American champion is rewarded with a free ticket to Detroit.) the Humanitarian Bowl, (Welfare Bowl would have been too obvious) would all go bankrupt overnight, and this would be a very good thing.

Yet many people who coach or are otherwise intimately involved with college football, such as Graham Harell's dad, strenuously defend the traditional clusterfuck of bowls.
The argument basically states that in a playoff, every team save for one is doomed to lose their final game, leaving teams that had outstanding seasons traumatized at the end; while in the bowl system, thirty four teams win their final games and feel at peace with themselves and the universe.

This is a very strange argument; coming as it does from the same sort of people who go ballistic if they hear about a children's soccer league somewhere that isn't keeping score. And at any rate it's wrong. The sting that comes from losing the national championship game may carry somewhat of an extra sting than a loss in the middle of the season; but surely Florida, the eventual loser of this game, can eventually take solace in the fact that they are indisputably better than the winner between Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech. Which middle-aged college football veteran will feel better about his playing days as he berates his teenage sons; the winner of the Boise Bowl, or the loser of the Rose Bowl? Does the Nebraska volleyball team feel worse about themselves right now than the Texas A&M Lady Aggies, who upended Missouri in its final match to improve to 16-14?

In other gridiron business; Tecmo Bo Jackson is widely considered to be the greatest video football drone of all time, but I personally would take Tecmo Jerry Rice over Jackson any day of the week. While Tecmo Jackson's ability to run at fifty eight miles an hour is most impressive, Tecmo Rice clocks in at a not-too-shaby forty five, and what really sets him apart is his ability to teleport the football through the body of any cornerback that does manage to cover him. Tecmo Jackson is utterly helpless against the magical superblitz that comes when an opponent correctly guesses
the play on defense, while Tecmo Rice is a reliable hot receiver in the same situation. When it's fourth and thirty eight, and my lead is in danger of falling to six touchdowns, I know what pixelated ubermensch I want on my side.

If you are playing "NFL Blitz" on arcade, do whatever you possibly can to get touchdowns instead of field goals. The computer offense will always score on its last possession of the game, no matter what you do. This is designed to frustrate you with a close loss and induce you to choke up another four dollars in quarters. So you need to make sure that you're ahead by at least two scores going into the fourth.
You've probably noticed this long ago, and I don't mean to insult your intelligence. Mostly I wrote this note so I can recite what to say to my own son when his day to blitz comes upon him. The Bitch Goddess shall not deceive two generations of Beran.

Arabian Gay Porn

It's out there, just so you know. All I'm trying to do is bridge the cultural divide.

Dé Domhnaigh, Nollaig 14, 2008

Human Wrecking Balls, a Review.

I just discovered this show yesterday, but it's quickly building a cult following, and it's easy to see why. Two big ol cracker thugs, the Pumphrey brothers, find some iconic piece of modern human construction and, like, completely tear the fuck out of it with their own bodies. (Examples include a prefabricated house, a small commuter plane, and, after cockteasing us by introducing the show outside of a large hotel, the destruction of only a single suite.)

It's doubtful that the Pumphrey's understand just how or why their show is so brilliant. "Human Wrecking Balls" is decadent, depraved, and irresistible in the same way that a teenaged babysitter is to a successful middle-aged businessman. Any reasonably intelligent viewer of this program knows they are doing something terribly wrong. The comparison to "Ow My Balls" is obvious and unavoidable. But watch it we do, and unless we are sociopaths we must find some rationalization for doing so. The middle aged businessman will probably remind himself of his contributions to charity or generous gifts to his employees before moving his hands down to those Rainbow-Brite panties. What is it that you and I tell ourselves, fellow viewer? What exemplary thing have we done to deserve this? What is it that makes me too good for the basic laws of decency, just this once?

Do we even try to think of anything specific, or do we just assure ourselves that it must be something, or do we even do as much as that anymore? Has American society itself become sociopathic?

The death of all of the old justifications for social stratification; God, race, and sex, should have paved the way for a new enlightenment and true meritocracy. Instead it has left in its wake an aristocracy of dullards, a universal sense of entitlement within American society that is too stupid to even know that it should be trying to justify itself.

People of all political persuasions generally agree that the biggest current threat to civilization comes from fanatical believers of some stripe or another. But perhaps the more serious threat comes from the Pumphrey's of the world; barbaric nihilists who don't know what barbarians are or what nihilism means.

For all of its many faults, Palahniuk's "Fight Club" does a good job of portraying what happens to men who embrace a masculine ethos that is wholly inapplicable to modern civilization. They are filled with an undifferentiated, semi-conscious rage, towards everything and nothing. Some deal with this rage by directing it at those they blame for taking away the superman's world they were promised; feminists, lawyers, vegetarians, professors, anyone they feel is responsible for creating a world built on anything more than force and will. Others face this rage more honestly, and realize that the conflict between the old masculine ideal and modern society can be settled only by destroying either the ideal or the society. How then will you choose brother? How will I?

Again, it is highly doubtful that the Pumphrey boys grasp any of this. Still it is highly evocative to see them tear away at the mundane superstructures of modern life.
Their chosen targets; the prefab house, the nice but not quite glamorous plane, and the upper-middle brow hotel, are all ingrained symbols of bourgeois banality. One quickly realizes that either of the Pumphrey's could kill a respectable middle-aged businessman in five seconds flat. A Navy SEAL would last maybe twenty.

I am a college graduate; physically unassuming, cultured, well-read, and wholly scornful of all the old entitlements granted to me for being a white male. I've already bought my ticket to ride along with modern society; a society which, notable exceptions aside, I generally like. Why then do I watch? Because I deserve it. I'm a college graduate; cultured, well-read, and wholly scornful of all the old entitlements granted to me for being a white male. So now that the kids are in bed why don't you stay up and have your first glass of wine with me, sweetheart?


Dé Céadaoin, Nollaig 10, 2008


I don't feel remotely sorry for the man, but am I the only one getting Cambodian torture chamber vibes from this sketch?

Blagojevich vs. Al Swearingen vs. Blake

"I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself." Blagojevich described the Senate seat as "a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing."

"That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave."

"Tell me who you want in the election.
Dolly: Star for Mayor and Harry Manning for Sheriff.
Star for Mayor and Bullock for fucking Sheriff.
Dolly: Bullock yells at you.
Get out. Shut up and get out."

"I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there."

"A-I-D-A. Get out there - you got the prospects coming in. You think the came in to get out of the rain? A guy don't walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?"

"We're *illegal*. Our whole goal is to get annexed to the United fucking States. We start holding trials, what's to keep the United States fucking Congress from saying, "Oh, excuse us! We didn't realize you were a fucking sovereign community and nation out there! Where's your cocksucker's flag? Where's your fucking navy, or the like? Maybe when we make our treaty with the Sioux, we should treat you people like renegade fucking Indians - deny your fucking gold and property claims, and hand everything over instead to our ne'er-do-well cousins and brothers-in-law."

Blagojevich said advisers are telling him he has to "suck it up" for two years and give this motherfucker (Obama) his senator. "Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him."

"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize?
Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

"Lie the fuck back, and listen. I need your truthful reply - lie, I will know it... and death will be no respite.
E.B. Farnum: I told Hearst nothing of Bullock and the widow.
I will profane your fucking remains, E.B.!
Not my remains, Al...
Gabriel's trumpet will produce you from the ass of a pig."

"Our recommendation is fire all those fucking people, get ’em the fuck out of there and get us some editorial support."

"And to answer you question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to. They asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser."

Seth Bullock: You and I know how it is, Mr. Swearingen.
"How what is?"
Seth Bullock: She gets a square shake... or I come for you.
"What if I come for you? You ready for that?"
Seth Bullock: I guess I'd better be.
"Then close your fuckin' store, 'cause being ready for me'll take care of your wakin' hours, and you'd better have someone to hand the task off to when you close your fuckin' eyes."

Déardaoin, Nollaig 04, 2008

Five Greatest Songs Ever Written

1. Marvin Gaye, "Gotta Give it Up."

2. Beatles(Harrison,) "Something in the Way"

3. Wilco "Jesus etc."

4. Bob Dylan, "It's All Right Ma I'm Only Bleeding."

5. James Brown, "Sex Machine"

That is, just my opinion, for now.

Dé Sathairn, Samhain 22, 2008

And Michelle Malkin Thinks You're a Newborn Hamster Blind Subretard

A gay man sued e-harmony for discrimination. Michelle Malkin is upset about it, and was kind enough to name him so that her minions may subject him to righteous Christian harassment.

"New Jersey plaintiff Eric McKinley can now crown himself the new Rosa Parks -- heroically breaking down inhumane barriers to Internet matchmaking by forcing a law-abiding private company to provide services it was never created to provide."

To be clear: eHarmony never, ever refused to do business with anyone. The company broke no laws.

It is typical for conservatives to throw in the "private, law-abiding" adverb when defending corporate behavior. The thing is that this is demonstrably false in this case. It is illegal to discriminate against potential customers based on sexuality in California and New Jersey. Malkin's villain of the week wouldn't have had a case if E-Harmony was completely "law-abiding". Nor would Malkin have anything to be outraged about.

"Neil Warren, eHarmony's founder, is a gentle, grandfatherly businessman who launched his popular dating site to support heterosexual marriage. A "Focus on the Family" author with a divinity degree, Warren encourages healthy, lasting unions between men and women of all faiths, mixed faiths or no faith at all."

This paragraph is pure stroke-inducing absurdity. Why does Malkin go through so much trouble to convince us that Warren is a good, "grandfatherly" man. That is of no relevance to anything. He either discriminated against gays or he did not. His level of grandfatherlyness is worth precisely two wet shits to the issue at hand. It is terribly sad to know that this was written by a grown, educated woman, using the argument tactics of a weeping ten year old girl caught wearing lipstick. 'But I'm a good girl mommy!! I love you so much!!'

I also loved the assertion that trolling an online dating site is a perfectly natural and healthy way to find the love of ones life. (As long as it's straight) One wonders what Malkin has to say about the Christian grandfatherly wholesomeness of Russian bride dealers, or this guy from Denver:


This case is akin to a meat-eater suing a vegetarian restaurant for not offering him a rib-eye, or a female patient suing a vasectomy doctor for not providing her hysterectomy services.

Um. No. While straight sex and gay sex may be fundamentally different from each other (Though not necessarily so. 'Hitting it from the back' is, after all, a perfectly common practice among straight couples.) the shell game of finding a date is fundamentally the same no matter what one is looking for. A better metaphor would be a grocery store that sells nothing but meat because the store owner has an imaginary friend in the sky that tells him not to cater to vegetarians.

"The company agreed not only to offer same-sex dating services on a new site, but also to offer six-month subscriptions for free to 10,000 gay users, pay McKinley $5,000 and fork over $50,000 to New Jersey's Civil Rights division "to cover investigation-related administrative costs." Oh, and that's not all. Yield, yield to the grievance-mongers:"

The woman who sees thinks wearing a checkered scarf is a show of support for terrorism complains about 'grievance-mongers'. Too easy, let's move on.

I have enormous sympathy for eHarmony, whose attorney explained that they gave in to the unfair settlement because "litigation outcomes can be unpredictable." The recent mob response to the passage of Proposition 8, the traditional marriage measure in California, must have also weighed on eHarmony management's minds. But capitulation will only yield a worse, entirely predictable outcome: more shakedowns of private businesses that hold views deemed unacceptable by the Equality-at-All-Costs Brigade.

Perhaps heterosexual men and women should start filing lawsuits against gay dating websites and undermine their businesses. Coerced tolerance and diversity-by-fiat cut both ways.

'If you continue to force straight dating sites to expand their customer base and increase their profits we just might force you to do the same. Just you wait.' You know, I do remember a time when I was somewhat scared of these folk. Seems a thousand centuries ago.


Dé hAoine, Samhain 21, 2008

Thomas Sowell Thinks You're Stupid

A longtime supply-side economist and esteemed member of the eternal right-wing think tank circle jerk, Sowell spent much of the presidential campaign stating the common circle-jerk line that Barrack Obama had no major accomplishments in his life. While the old canard that you're nobody unless you're giving orders to somebody else is a foundational tenet of conservatism, the "no accomplishments" line seemed especiallyodd coming from Sowell, who, like the pre-political Obama, accomplished most of his life's work in the academic realm, with its modicum of sycophants and mere six-figure salary. If being president of the Harvard Law Review is "accomplishing nothing" than surely being a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution (Dedicated to making right-wing academics stop whining since 1919) at that pitiful cow college Stanford is accomplishing less than nothing.

In his latest column, Sowell turns to another old righty mainstay; the idea that government entitlements and decadent pop culture has made Americans less mentally tough than we used to be. Specifically, Sowell bemoans a "right to win" and a supposed increase in sore-loserhood, and while he certainly should know all about that he somehow fails to make a convincing argument. Let's look at some of the highlights.

"Hillary Clinton's supporters were not merely disappointed, but outraged, when she lost the Democrats' nomination to Barack Obama. Some took it as a sign that, while racial barriers had come down, the "glass ceiling" holding down women was still in place.
Apparently, if you don't win, somebody has put up a barrier or a ceiling. The more obvious explanation of the nomination outcome was that Obama ran a better campaign than Hillary. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that she would have been the nominee if the votes in the primaries had come out her way."

True. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that Hillary Clinton would have won if she would have won, and as for Clinton supporters being outraged; well, maybe at first, for a little while. But it does seem as if the unbridgeable gulf between Obama Democrats and Clinton Democrats that right-wing pundits (and a reality-show era media unable to explain anything in terms other than conflict) assured us was there in a great orgy of wishful thinking was in fact bunk. That Sowell is still able to believe that there are fuming Clinton supporters somewhere, waiting with the most extreme patience to enact their revenge, shows the true power of the think tank bubble. Not even electoral reality gets through.

"As the election approached, pundits warned that, if Obama lost, there would be riots in the ghetto. We will never know. But since when does any candidate have a right to win any office, much less the White House?"

And other pundits pointed out that the pundits who warned of chaos if Obama lost were prissy morons whose knowledge of the "hood" was wholly derived from early 90's action films. This is just the first third of the column, and so far Sowell has set up his premise by citing an angry electoral faction that does not exist and unprovable fear-mongering by unnamed pundits. It's a true wonder why he dignifies the nonsense with the written word. Just give him a radio mike and let him duke it out with his schizophrenic strawmen along with the rest of that crowd.

"The worst of all the reactions from people who act as if they have a right to win have come from gay activists in the wake of voter rejection of so-called "gay marriage," which is to say, redefining what marriage has meant for centuries."

That's Sowell's photo up top. You surely noticed that he is a black man, as did I; and I much say it is rather strange to see him insinuate that a human institution that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years must be good, and well, that's all I'll say about that. Also note the use of the old "redefining" shell game in regards to gay marriage. How it is that a monogamous gay union is more of a radical departure from the imaginary norm of a monogamous hetero union than, say, hetero polygamy is never explained.

"Blacks who just happened to be driving through Westwood, near UCLA, were accosted in their cars and, in addition to being denounced, were warned, 'You better watch your back.'

Even blacks who were carrying signs in favor of gay marriage were denounced with racial epithets."

Sowell leaves a great deal of information missing here. How many epithets? What percentage of the protesters were engaging in such abhorrent behavior? Is there some sort of black vs. gay West Side Story about to go down? Or was it a tiny number of jackasses letting off stream? Afterwards to be passed through the right-wing echo chamber until the amen chorus was convinced that this was the typical behavior of all of the anti prop-8 protesters.

"In Michigan, an evangelical church service was invaded and disrupted by gay activists, who also set off a fire alarm, because evangelicals had dared to exercise their right to express their opinions at the polls."

Puerile and childish. But pulling a fire alarm is something less than a menacing threat to speech, don't you think?

"In Oakland, California, a mob gathered outside a Mormon temple in such numbers that officials shut down a nearby freeway exit for more than three hours."

Sowell reaches a moral low with his emotionally loaded language here. It is in fact perfectly normal for police to temporarily close streets (Yes, that's right. Even on-ramps!) whenever "mobs" are exercising their First Amendment rights.

In their midst was a San Francisco Supervisor who said 'The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs." He added, "This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons.'
Apparently Mormons don't have the same rights as other Americans, at least not if they don't vote the way gay activists want them to vote.

Well as a matter of fact, the Mormon Church (Which I assert speaks for itself and not its followers) has more rights than we do. They are able to spend money advocating for a political measure in a state hundreds of miles from its power base without having to save a dime for taxes as the rest of us do. They are a religion, after all, and thus extra-political.

As for the quote above; where, exactly, is the threat? Has Sowell learned nothing about Bay Area history at Stanford? In 1845 a group of New York Mormons decided so sail around the Americas in a ship called "Brooklyn" in order to take the shorter route to Utah from the West Coast, and guess what major West Coast port is roughly parallel to Salt Lake City? The emigrants of the Brooklyn were treated kindly by San Franciscans, they met none of the violent discrimination of the east. They were fed, rested, and treated for any sea-related maladies.

Now we have the Mormon Church's support of prop. 8, which is a slap in the face of a famously large amounts of San Franciscans. The tolerance of San Francisco has indeed been betrayed. Though I suppose it isn't the first time that this wonderful city has been vilified and spat upon, simply for living the American ideal, by those who have no clue what the freedom they spout about actually is.

"In the past, gay activists have disrupted Catholic services and their "gay pride" parades in San Francisco have crudely mocked nuns."

There's a good chance that these are the fellows that Sowell has in mind; the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Simply shocking, isn't it? A room full of felons joking about prom night could not possibly be as crude or disgusting as men dressed as nuns.
My God the depravity has driven me blind.

"How did we get to this kind of situation?
With all the various groups who act as if they have a right to win, we got to the present situation over the years, going back to the 1960s, where the idea started gaining acceptance that people who felt aggrieved don't have to follow the rules or even the law.
"No justice, no peace!" was a slogan that found resonance.

One more old right-wing standby for road. America's social problems are rooted in the protests of the sixties. Except no, Tommy, that's utter nonsense. The practice of people breaking the law out of a sense of aggrievement is much older than the nineteen sixties, and is hardly confined to those on the left or those trying to change the status quo. When I think of the sort of behavior that Sowell describes, my thoughts turn towars murderous union-busting, pogroms and race riots, corporations disregarding environmental rules, churches covering up sexual abuse, and presidents exaggerating threats to start dynastic wars.

But that's just me.

When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.

I don't believe that Thomas Sowell is a homophobe, I really don't. No, what he is is a conservative in the most honest sense of the word; a man who lacks the emotional strength to accept that his own society is neither his God or his Daddy, but simply human. As a human society it is inevitably flawed, not by the powerless and outcast at the bottom, but from the rarefied list of surrogate fathers (for those addicted to surrogate fathers) who reign at the top.

So no, Sowell is not a homophobe, at least not primarily. His main prejudice is against the rebel, the boat rocker, in a word, the essential American, who dares to fill his mind with insufferable doubt. Sowell's final paragraph, in which he derides the majority of his countrymen as "sheep" and insinuates that we must "make a fuss" to prevent the boat rockers from doing unspeakable things, is far more menacing than any of the incidents he lists in his column. To look the status quo in the eye and say "fuck you" is the most human and vivacious thing that a person can experience, and to Thomas Sowell this is the way to madness.

Pathetic. A dried husk, willfully drained of his vitality by an assuring Levathian, feebly swats at the demons of his mind.


Dé Céadaoin, Samhain 19, 2008

Kill Bill is The Defining Movie of The Decade (Bear With Me on This)

There have been some who have dismissed the philosophical elements of "Kill Bill" as mere gimmick and flash, and there is in fact some truth to this. It is clear in watching the film that that director Quintin Tarantino spent most of his energy on making sure that the fight scenes and the backgrounds looked cool, and just how morally ambiguous could this movie be; considering that once Beatrix Kiddo has finished her mission of slaughtering a hundred people or so she is every bit as self-satisfied as Rambo or Colonel Braddock?

But though the ambiguity is often shoved to the background there are many key points in the film where it bubbles hotly to the surface, and though Tarantino has always been about flash and style above all else, his understanding of humanity is just as keen as any more sober auteur.

Who is Beatrix Kiddo? At the beginning of the story she is simply "The Bride"(Though the name 'Kiddo' is cleverly hidden in plain sight) a woman with no family and seemingly no history, marrying an average man, (with the overtly average name of Tommy Plympton) she doesn't love chiefly to provide stability to her unborn child, whom she has deluded Plympton into thinking was his.

Towards the end of the film, Kiddo admits to Bill that she had no hope that the marriage would work. It is only through blood sacrifice that Plympton is able to fulfill the main social role of a spouse, i.e. to provide a common identity and base for interacting with the wider world.

It is only after "The Bride" is savaged and the wedding party butchered that she gets a name. She awakens from a coma in some anonymous hospital after four years of being the victim of periodic rape, without even as much human interaction that comes with screaming or begging for mercy. Kiddo awakens lost, confused, atrophied, completely driftless. It is only after she defends herself from another would be rapist and long time tormentor "Chuck" that Kiddo gains some sense of direction. She gradually trains herself to use her own legs again, commanders Chucks "Pussy Wagon" and draws up the hit list of her former lover and colleagues, the only people who know her to be Beatrix Kiddo.

Who is Beatrix Kiddo? She is, both to herself and the world, the enemy of her enemies, and nothing else. When "Kill Bill" does delve into ethics it is typically to observe how hollow such an identity is. Observe the scene between Budd and Elle Driver when he asks her if she is now disappointed without her arch-enemy.

It is significant that the two volumes of "Kill Bill" came out in 2003 and 2004, when American society was beginning to show faint signs of recovering form it's post-9/11 shock. It was not yet enough to prevent the re-election of poor George Bush. Bush (or at least his handlers) is very much like Terantino's Bill; the Dark Father, one who uses his powers of emotional perception to command loyalty and love by inspiring his followers to lose themselves and submit to his personal ambition.
Such is the condition of the ultimate follower, the subject. The battered wife, the man willfully oppressed by some dictatorial regime, and the terrorist fanatic are all one in the same. The subject will suffer anything rather than return to the weakness and mortality of the self.

It's easy to see how a Bill or any number of real life Dark Fathers could flourish in the criminal underground. The Dark Father thrives in any environment where blood is routine. But human will is stronger than outward signs would suggest, and a routinely violent world is the only one in which the Dark Father flourishes. The power of European kings gradually began to wilt as war and chaos became gradually more occasional. As 9/11 continued to pass into the distance,and the failures of the Bush administration became more undeniable, it was only a matter of time before the absurd cult of Dark Father Bush, Dark Father as common man* began to fall apart.

(*As opposed to the more typical Dark Father, one who is refined and somewhat otherworldly, a Bill type.)

As the shock and trauma continued to dissipate, Americans became horribly aware that we were being cheated of the country that had been promised us. The nation that invented airflight, perfected spaceflight, cured polio, harnessed electricity, resurrected democracy, and became the arbiter of culture for the whole developed world; was now the enemy of its enemies, and nothing else. The right wing's vision of America was composed chiefly of the grim pseudo-morality of Manichaeism. America was good because it fought evil. Evil was evil because it fought America.
Stem cells, clean burning cars, college education for the general populace. All these were distractions at best and Satanic voodoo at worst. There is time only to steal ourselves for the eternal fight.

There will always be thugs and fools in any society that see nothing wrong with this. Incapable of understanding the glory that comes with passing new medicines, technologies, or new ideas to future generations of total strangers, they understand only the glory of using brute force to crush the Other. They sit in their glass and metal box churches, freed from thought by the VH1 theatrics of the stage, praying God to never forget his children, exhorting him to always send more enemies.

Their day is done. They were never anything more than a tool for the Dark Father, and now he is dead. What better metaphor could there be for a Sarah Palin rally than the defeated Elle Driver, flailing about a ravaged trailer, sustained only by blind rage.

Those who wonder how the supposedly unelaborated slogans of hope and change could have inspired so many need only watch the closing credits of "Kill Bill" as a radiant Beatrix Kiddo rides with her daughter, free from the identity of enemies, free to create herself, free to create her life, to create, love, and live. Life is what most people will always choose whenever death is not the default, and I will never abide those who say that the fact that the latter is more typical is proof that it is our eternal destiny.

Dé Domhnaigh, Samhain 16, 2008

Random Thought For the Day

There are those who think that a hatred for evil is a natural extension of a love for good, and that to lack a visceral reaction to human malevolence betrays a lack of appreciation for what is good.

The truth is exactly opposite. Love for good and hatred for evil are wholly independent of and unrelated to each other. Indeed, those who pride themselves on hating murderers or terrorists more than other people usually do so out of fear that a true love of virtue would make them appear weak or effeminate.

In order to know that murder is wrong, one must first know why life is good. Life is not good because of the perceived glory that comes with fighting and punishing evil, it is good precisely because of the amoral pleasures and vulnerabilities that fearless defenders typically scorn.

The only justice is to act kindly towards those around you without regard for who they are and what they do or do not deserve. The virtue of my actions are determined only by themselves. Who I act upon is of no consequence. I will defend myself when necessary but I will always remember that there is no more virtue or value in self-defense than there is in any other biological process.

The man who howls for the blood of a murderer or terrorist "out of respect for the victims" is a nihilist and a thug. Negative morality does not exist, period. If the essence of good is opposition to evil, than there is no difference between good and evil. There are only different jersey colors, justified by nothing.

And this is why I will take care to be perfectly civil towards murderers, rapists, nihilists, and thugs.

Déardaoin, Samhain 13, 2008

Tasty Inn

Would I be so terribly out of line to suggest that a local institution is actually inferior to a national fast-food chain? Tasty Inn is cute and all, what with the drive through window on the wrong side of the car and the smell of two day old unmopped grease in the interior, it's just that it has nothing to recommend it. Even their trademark, the Tastee chips, are nothing you couldn't get with Tostedos and onion dip. Beyond the chips the menu offers a chicken sandwich that tastes like grease, a fish sandwich that tastes like grease, a hot dog that tastes like grease, and a steak sandwich that tastes like grease.

The later took quite a bit of work. I like steak sandwiches. There's something about taking a medium-well steak, and putting it between bread that just works. Plus I'm a big condiment man, living in a part of the country where a taste for meat is equated with masculinity in a wholly rational and not at all homoerotic way. Putting A1 or what have you on a piece of steak is generally frowned upon; as real men are perfectly satisfied with the taste of pure beef flavor exploding in their mouths. So take a steak and make it a steak sandwich and suddenly it becomes socially acceptable to put a little sauce on it.

The hunk of meat I got at the Tastee Inn tasted vaguely beefish but could have been most anything. It had the look of generic fried flesh. It was not chicken fried steak, that has some flavor to it. No, I believe they simply take cuts of steak and throw them into a deep-fat fryer. Scandalous. The first bite of one of these sandwiches makes one feel like one has been up for three days turning favors in a truck stop bathroom.

A man next to me is checking his Myspace under the handle "Texas Vampire."

Dé Céadaoin, Samhain 12, 2008

You Must be Joking.

"They always said, ‘You think race relations are bad here in France, check out the U.S.,’ said Mohamed Hamidi, former editor of the Bondy Blog, founded after the 2005 riots in the heavily immigrant suburbs of Paris."
New York Times; 11/12/08

As regular readers of this blog may know, I am a dyed-in-the-wool left-wing bohemian drug-addled wretch. I am what professional wordsmith Dan Fuerbach has dubbed Amerotrash, and it goes without saying that there are many things I admire about Europe; relaxed sexual mores, tolerance for midday drinking, Dante, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kafka, Bergman, Bunuel, Goya, Magritte, Joyce, Herzog, Vinnie Jones, Rasputin, Ravaillac, etc.

Nonetheless I am still fundamentally American at heart,so I know cultural arrogance when I see it, and am rarely surprised by it, especially when it comes from the French. But I couldn't help but to be floored by the quote above. I have no problem conceding that American race relations have been as bad as France's or Europe's in general, but WORSE?

You're kidding right?

Dé Luain, Samhain 10, 2008

Too Late In The Day For Coffee

I'll have to take my Sailor Jerry's with hot tea. I also found some opium that I had been missing. God but I love early winter nihilism. Give me the glint of neon Santa Claus over black ice mixed with the police lights arresting a drug fiend outside of mother's house. Make it someone my cousin knows but not me. Make my uncles angrier, fatter and dumber, make the seventy-year-old chain smokers at the North Platte VFW more invincible, make the mid-afternoon sky duller and more sullen on cold sunny days, make the neighborhood unlivable, make a gallon of gas last a week and a bottle of Sailor Jerry's last a day.

I bought the LP of the "Purple Rain" soundtrack for seventy five cents at the thrift store today along with a pair of generic thrift store gloves that match nothing I own.
A record player is something else I don't own. The coffee pot is relatively new.

Dé Luain, Samhain 03, 2008

Hello There

G. Gordon Liddy here, posing with a machine gun in front of a bikini-clad woman to remind you that the entire conservative movement is built upon middle-aged white men with the sort of masculine insecurities that a twelve-year-old boy would be ashamed to admit to. Don't you think it's high time to put us to bed?

Déardaoin, Deireadh Fómhair 23, 2008

You're a Dim Bulb Herbie

The God-Fearing Real Americans of Nebraska surely hate terrorism more than the urban elites who are the most likely victims of terrorism, and will certainly not tolerate the anti-American argument that there are degrees of terrorism, regardless of the fact that this is true. Bill Ayers and the Rainy Day Bombers have never been proven to have killed anyone, which makes them more like ambitious vandals than terrorists in the way we understand them. Terrorism as a means of committing MASS murder is actually something quite new. One or two corpses and a dozen film cameras has been the more traditional historical goal.

But of course Real Americans couldn't care less about the varying shades of terrorism, and indeed don't seem all that concerned about the victims of terrorism. They're pretty up front about their contempt for New York and Washington D.C. after all, and the Real Americans' reaction to Hurricane Katrina reveals a mindset that is quite proudly indifferent to the suffering of non-real Americans. It may seem obvious that the trouble with terrorism is its tendency to kill and maim people, but when Queen Tracy Flick Palin of Real America referred to terrorists in the vice-presidential debate, she made a point to emphasize their hatred of America in that folksy fakecent of hers. (i.e. Obama would sit with terroists, who HATE AMERICA.) The real Americans' hatred of terrorism has little to do with the pain and suffering caused by terrorism, and the country that the Real American loves more than you is most certainly not a love for his compatriots, who have such a frustrating tendency to turn out as non-real Americans. No, the America that they love more than us is an ancestral father-god, a totem, and their hatred of terrorism lies in its symbolic show of contempt for that totem.

There is also the fact that the Real American is not terribly bright. He is in fact a bit too stupid to understand human existence very well, and so he needs a eternal river of enemies to keep his badger brain occupied. If life is nothing but defending the women and children from this endless stream of enemies, then it suddenly becomes okay to not know all of the things you don't know.

And so the Real American will hate whoever some talking pile of diarrhea on Real American radio tells them to hate, and Bill Ayers is the hot Other of the moment. Barrack Obama, you see, lives in the same neighborhood as Ayers. Indeed they have been in the same room and yes even spoken to each other. Their relationship goes so deep that they have served on the same educational board. Senator Obama, elitist that he is, dares to be more concerned about helping children than he is about keeping himself pure from totem-hating taint.

The right-wing's attempt to paint this relationship as anything more than a business acquaintance has been comedy gold. Michelle Malkin has produced a blurb from one of Ayers' books in which he states that Obama lives down the block; the same shocking expose that one can find in the Chicago phone book. Phyllis Schlafly has suggested that a President Obama would appoint Ayers as his education secretary; a position from which he would surely implement the long-dreaded mandatory unisex restrooms. The Real American quite naturally believes every bit of it. He is, after all, finally receiving the richly deserved kick in the ass from a society that is becoming ever more urbanized, educated, and accustomed to interacting with people from different backgrounds; and since Real Americans are spoiled children who will never blame themselves for their own failures, they have little choice but to faithfully believe in dark conspiracies at the highest level of the Liberal Elite.

And so the public reaction to Ayers invite to speak at dear old Nebraska U. was utterly predictable. You might think that an invitation to speak is something less than proof of agreement with whatever may be said, but you can just keep your damned elitist logic away from the Real American. He is the one who decides what truth is and he will dictate his truth to you. It is inarguable (or else) that universities are polluting pure young minds with liberal bias. It is inarguable (or else) that liberal reformers are all secretly violent revolutionaries in disguise. So here you have a former terrorist, (though of course there is certainly no such thing as a FORMER terrorist. Once you have defiled the totem you are forever cursed.) speaking at the liberal university, and that's all there is to that. There is no context, there is no detail, there is most certainly never any allegedly or maybe, or else. It was only a matter of time before this university, like every university, would prove itself to be insufficiently anti-terrorist. They have left the Real American no choice but to show his hatred of terrorism by threatening to murder a man with politically intolerable ideas.

There was never any doubt that Dave Heineman, Jon Bruning, and every other shat out pile from the state GOP machine that dreams of playing Senator someday as long as they stick to party talking points would condemn the invite*. There was never any doubt that once the heat was on the university would fold like, well, like the University of Nebraska. For their acquiescence Perlman and the gang will surely be rewarded by the Unicameral with a twenty percent cut in their budget to make room for tax cuts and nifty meth-fighting gear for the state patrol.

(* Though I should be careful to exempt Ben Nelson, who is a GOP shit pile already in the Senate.)

While the rest of the United States is showing a sudden and welcome loathness to allow the Real American to shrivel this country into the third world, it's heartwarming to know that the Real American will always have Nebraska, but wait. It goes without saying that any young professional with the slightest ember of intelligence or morality is getting the hell out, but we're being replaced by those damned Mexicans aren't we? A blessing in disguise I say. Not only will the real American be rid of all the people who are smarter than him and make him feel so very, very, small and weak, but now he can gorge himself on an endless supply of funny-speaking boogeymen.

And as he cowers in the corner of the village bar in his sleeveless Trace Adkins shirt futilely trying to wash down a lifetime of hatred, ignorance, and cowardice with a pitcher of warm Bud Light, the Real American can look back upon the time when he chased some damned hippy out of Nebraska, and feel something like the happiness that has always eluded him. Congratulations real America. You have, at the latest possible hour, in the last possible place, won the day. One small victory to keep you warm in the unmarked grave of history's discarded lies.

Dé Domhnaigh, Deireadh Fómhair 12, 2008

Purity of Essense

It seems that Ted Nugent has written a new book. This may seem strange to you, but it is something I can believe easily enough. The Prince of Artificial Penis has written several books before, and at any rate if someone were to tell me that a five year-old had written a book titled "Mommy and Buster Kill the Space Dragons" I would be inclined top believe that the book had indeed been penned by a child. So when I hear about a book titled "Ted, White, & Blue" and quoted as follows, it is clear that nobody but The Nuge could have possibly written it.

"War: “[I’d] instruct the US military warriors to do their job — win the global war on terror right now and eliminate all threats from all sources by any means necessary.”

Peace: “Each morning I bow down on bended knee in reverence to the Almighty and pray for good bombing weather. The history of mankind is one of war, not peace…’Give peace a chance’ will get you killed. John Lennon was wrong. Imagine that.”


"Imagine that?" Damn but you're a clever devil Teddy. All the same the second statement is a half-truth. While it's true that, throughout history, there has always been somebody fighting somebody else, and that large empires such as our own invariably find themselves involved in incessant low-level military housecleaning somewhere, the fact is that most societies are in a state of peace for a slight majority of the time, or at least long enough to do things like invent books and bombers. Any history book worth its salt will tell you whatever you need to know about Gutenberg or Tycho Brahe or Goethe or Kirkegaard or any other human being who did some pretty cool non war-related things. But it's quite clear that Ted was one of those kids in school who skipped all the faggy shit between The Crusades and The Black Plague.

Joking Aside, I might to be able to accept the gist of Nugent's "peace" quote as reflecting an intellectually valid conservative worldview; that the savage history of humanity is proof that there is a universal human nature that seeks to compete and dominate. That societies cannot possibly change this nature, in fact can only make things worse by trying to do so, and that the only thing to be done is to put societies in the hands of a ruling elite wise enough to recognize it's own will to power, and to channel both the social and the individual need to dominate into acquiring more material resources; either by inventing them yourselves, or taking them from somebody else.

But I really don't think that this is what Teddy is talking about. What really interests me is what he had to say about war: "eliminate all threats from all sources by any means necessary.” All threats? From all sources? Here we see the childishness of the right wing in its essential form, the difference between the old economics professor with a sour view of human nature and the modern Christmas Warrior who holds this bleak view of everyone else while seeking some cultural merit badge; Americanism, Christianity, what have you, to exclude himself from it.

What Nugent and his ilk (such as the executive branch of the United States government) seek to do is nothing less than to separate the inseparable, existance from vulnerability. If you are alive, than every other living thing is a potential threat. There are the obvious enemies, of course, and there is nothing wrong with direct self-defense; no more virtue in it, mind you, then there is in eating, shitting, or any other biological imperative, but certainly nothing wrong with it.

But that's not what "all threats from all sources" means. Your best friend might kill you one day for your car or your wife. Your mother could have easily tired of your whining one day while she happened to have a pair of scissors nearby. Whether Nugent is consciously aware of it or not, this is the meaning of "all threats from all sources."

I imagine that Nugent is familiar with the bonged-out hovel version of the Yin-Yang
concept, and so am I. There is bright, substantial, "masculine" life and strength, and there is dark, insubstantial, "feminine" weakness and death. Keep in mind that I'm only the messenger here, but the prevalence of witches, hags, and evil mother goddesses across different cultures is no accident. Man surrenders himself completely only in orgasm and when the strain of taking another breathe becomes too much. Death is perceived as female. She who gives birth gives death. Man perceives himself as creating life within the safety of his own private utopia, while the woman exposes life to the world of decay, her screams reminding him of the pain his child has to look forward to.

Become immortal. Tear yourself away from the woman inside you. Inoculate yourself from all threats from all sources, be they physical or emotional, or medical. But no, that won't do. Emotional threats are too insubstantial, medical threats too uncertain and you must become a perfect wall of substance and certainty. Turn everything you fear, everything you secretly desire, everyone who has ever denied you some sort of happiness, into The Enemy. Al Queda is not just one of the endless number of things that can and eventually will kill you. It is death itself. So is the man who raped and killed a child on the other side of the state, so are the boogeymen who would take your guns away and deny you the cheapest means of establishing yourself as complete master of your environment, affecting but unaffected.

("But you said death was female Josh." So I did, and I direct you to read up on The Lavender Scare, or the blatantly erotic description of Baligant in "The Song of Roland")

There has been a very successful rhetorical attempt by the right to frame differing views of morality into "clear standards of right and wrong" and "moral relativism."
That is, believing in something or not. But the real conflict between right and left here is the different understandings for what right and wrong are. Does the essence of good lie in being good towards others, or does it lie in hatred of and willingness to punish wickedness?

The latter view has obvious appeal for all aspiring immortal rocks. Evil is not some insubstantial malevolence or indifference towards others. If that were the case one would have to become vulnerable and womanly to recognize this dark shade and perceive it in himself. No. Evil is simply those who do evil. To destroy the murderer is to destroy murder. To destroy the terrorist is to destroy terrorism. When a right-winger says that those oppose the death penalty are not properly offended by murder, he is not making a cheap ad-hominem. This is what he truly believes. To support the existence of a murderer is to support the existence of murder.

It all makes perfect sense now. Billions of dollars wasted on SDI; well, would you rather just lay back and receive Russian missiles? Now we can blow them to bits with our lasers! The invasion of Iraq, the howls for Iranian or North Korean or Syrian or Venezuelan blood. Anyone who has the minutest chance of ever being a real enemy must be annihilated. All threats from all sources. Anything less is to accept mortality and uncertainty, to accept feminine death. Callousness towards poverty is absolutely essential. The poor simply haven't learned to unchain themselves from their yin (Think of all the stereotypes of the hedonistic minority or poor person) and become wholly invulnerable. At any rate, the most important step to becoming pure Yang is to never admit to any imperfection in "your" society. Physical invulnerability is worthless if you accept that there is any such thing as valid social criticism. What, after all, could be more insubstantial and womanly than the very concept of society? This so-called society is nothing but an extension of you own impenetrable
self. This is why you have every right to be offended by a department store that doesn't celebrate YOUR holidays, YOUR God, or YOUR perfect, impenetrable heritage as slavishly as you do. It is your society. You control it. You command it. Affecting but unaffected. To criticize society is to criticize you, to remind you of your own fallibility as a human, to remind you that you can not, after all, inoculate yourself from the world. Yin, woman, death, etc.

Needless to say, the ability to cling (Yeah that's right) to such a worldview requires such lacerating mental and emotional self-deception as to leave one functionally insane, and not the cute sort of insane, not Ted Nugent's loin cloth and longbow act. The constant stream of enemies that the perfect yang absolutely needs is the quiet, lurking malevolence of a sociopath who one day slashes his neighbor to death because she reminds him of the banshees who laugh at him in his dreams.

Dé Máirt, Deireadh Fómhair 07, 2008

Some Qutes From The Palin Visit

"Palin thrilled her Nebraska and western Iowa fans on Sunday with a 24-minute speech at the Civic Auditorium Music Hall. She led a familiar 'Drill, Baby, Drill!' chant, took a few shots at Obama and tried to portray her running mate, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, as the real candidate for change."

An attractive woman leads a crowd into a frenzy over "drilling." I would only be insulting the reader if I elaborated on this wouldn't I?

"The pundits were saying, 'Check out where she's going. She's going to Nebraska.' The pundits were saying, 'The only reason she would be going there is because they're scared. They have to shore up votes,' " Palin said.

I so wanted to reach into that TV and say 'no.' I'm going to Nebraska because I want to go to Nebraska," Palin said."

Sooo, what exactly are you saying here governor? I must admit that I don't have cable and I'm not entirely sure what just what "the pundits" were saying, but I do know it really wasn't very much at all, perhaps a passing reference to the fact (yes) that Obama could conceivably win the Omaha metro district. It's a long shot, but who knows? There may be a brown man wondering around Millard on election day, forcing the locals to barricade themselves inside of their homes and never getting around to voting. "I'm going to Nebraska because I want to go to Nebraska" Okay then. Did a political rally in the middle of your political campaign just happen to come up while you were on the way to "The Waiting Room"?

"Cheryl Martinez of Omaha called Palin 'down to earth.'

'She believes in things that basic Americans - normal Americans - believe in,' said Martinez, 41, a marketing manager and a Republican.

Let me be polite and civil here. If you are of the mindset that "normal=good", you are fucking trash and you can spend an eternity in hell getting fondled by demons with poor conversational skills, covered head-to-toe in tattoos of Ingmar Bergman characters and singing Armenian hip-hop at the top of their lungs. To take pride in imagining oneself to be "the norm" is the absolute lowest state of being that a so-called human can possibly "exist" in. It is perfect weakness, perfect treason to humanity, and the very essence of all that is wretched and disgusting, to be unable to justify ones' life without imagining a non-existent norm that all are beholden to and that "I" am that norm. Cheryl Martinez, 41, can bite my drug-addled borderline schizophrenic ass.

"Palin told the crowd that Obama's association with Bill Ayers showed that he is a man who does not "see America" as former President Ronald Reagan and others do as a force for good."

Well you see governor, "good" is an abstract ideal, while "America" is a tangible human institution. As humans we are free to create ourselves. There is neither any individual human nor any institution that human societies create that have any inherent nature or "force"; good, bad, or otherwise. The idea that one is morally obligated to consider one's own society to be "good" may seem like simple patriotism, but in fact it is the basest sort of nihilism. If we are inherently good, then anything, absolutely anything we choose to do, such as invading Middle Eastern countries at random, allowing strategically vital and culturally revered cities to drown, or denying access to medical care for the children of riff-raff, (You know, all those people who aren't "basic Americans")is automatically the right thing to do, no because of the nature of these actions and the suffering they bring, but because it is we, the magical "force for good." who do them. The moral cowardice of such an attitude should be obvious to any reasonably intelligent...

Oh right, I'm supposed to be pretending to address Sarah Palin. They hate us for our freedom governor.


Dé Sathairn, Meán Fómhair 27, 2008

Sarah Palin Vs. Thomas Pynchon

“Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans who get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.”

"Who has sent this new serpent into our ruinous garden, already too fouled, too crowded to qualify as any locus of innocence -- unless innocence be our age's neutral, our silent passing into the machineries of indifference -- something that Kekulé's Serpent had come to -- not to destroy, but to define to us the loss of . . . we had been given certain molecules, certain combinations and not others . . . we used what we found in Nature, unquestioning, shamefully perhaps -- but the Serpent whispered, 'They can be changed, and new molecules assembled from the debris of the given. . . . ' Can anyone tell me what else he whispered to us? Come -- who knows?"

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border."

"Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, 'The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning,' is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle."

"I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."

"M-maybe there is a Machine to take us away, take us completely, suck us through the electrodes out of the skull 'n' into the Machine and live there forever with all the other souls it's got stored there. It could decide who it would suck out, a-and when. Dope never gave you immoratality. You hadda come back, every time, into a dying hunk of smelly meat! But We can live forever, in a clean, honest, purified, Electroworld"

GIBSON: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don't think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

GIBSON: So if we wouldn't second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

PALIN: I don't think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Proverbs for Paranoids:
1. You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.
2. The innocence of the creatures is in inverse proportion to the immorality of the Master.
3. If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
4. You hide, they seek.
5. Paranoids are not paranoid because they're paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.

"But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.
That's what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing. It's an unfortunate thing, because war is hell and I hate war, and, Charlie, today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son overseas with his Stryker brigade, 4,000 other wonderful American men and women, to fight for our country, for democracy, for our freedoms."

"Facts are but the Play-things of lawyers, -- Tops and Hoops, forever a-spin.... Alas, the Historian may indulge no such idle Rotating. History is not Chronology, for that is left to lawyers, -- nor is Remembrance, for Remembrance belongs to the People. History can as little pretend to the Veracity of the one, as claim the Power of the other, -- her Practitioners, to survive, must soon learn the arts of the quidnunc, spy and Taproom Wit, -- that there may ever continue more than one life-line back into a Past we risk, each day, losing our forbears in forever, -- not a Chain of single Links, for one broken Link could lose us All, -- rather, a great disorderly Tangle of Lines, long and short, weak and strong, vanishing into the Mnemonick Deep, with only their Destination in common."

"where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh -- it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing,"

"Who claims Truth, Truth abandons. History is hir'd, or coerc'd, only in Interests that must ever prove base. She is too innocent, to be left within the reach of anyone in Power, -- who need but touch her, and all her Credit is in the instant vanish'd, as if it had never been. She needs rather to be tended lovingly and honorably by fabulists and counterfeiters, Ballad-Mongers and Cranks of ev'ry Radius, Masters of Disguise to provide her the Costume, Toilette, and Bearing, and Speech nimble enough to keep her beyond the Desires, or even the Curiosity, of Government."

Dé Luain, Meán Fómhair 22, 2008

So the Subject of "Star Trek" Came Up Yesterday.

There are of course many logical absurdities in the Star Trek universe. (e.g. Every intelligent species except for humans has always lived under a single culture and language.) and though I'm sure that many others have covered this before I can't help but be intrigued by his carousing. Am I the only one who wonders how it can be that all alien species are divided into "male" and "female" in ways that human beings can easily recognize? What are the odds that a single alien species would evolve something approximating a vagina well enough to accommodate the human penis, let alone all of them? Why does the "Enterprise" never run into intelligent beings who reproduce asexually? Or exchange genetic information in ways wholly different from sex as we know it?

"Star Trek's" paper thin metaphors calling for racial harmony may be admirable, but I'm afraid I simply can't stand behind such egregious anthropocentricism. They have simply paved the way for a "new" order in which, instead of the European man raping the world, mankind comes together in locker-room brotherhood to rape the universe. Tragic folly indeed.

Dé Máirt, Meán Fómhair 02, 2008

The U.S. Constitution is a gaseous self-Imploding star (Part 1. Red State Pagan.)

It is well known that only a handful of blinkered fools believe that "conservative" and "liberal" are objective terms. The standards for what is conservative and what is liberal changes as one moves from age to age and place to place. The most famous example of this would be the meaning of the word "pagan." In Roman days the word was roughly equivalent to our "rube" or "redneck". Those who adhered to the old gods were considered too unsophisticated to groove with the new monotheistic cryptoerotic death cult. So we see that the ancient meaning of "pagan" was completely different from the modern definition, i.e. "lesbian book store owner."

When one looks at the whole of recorded history, the terms "conservative" and "liberal" become wholly inadequate. A somewhat better general division would be between traditionalists who view their native society as a father or a god, something to obey and submit to, and reformists or innovationalists who view their native society as an enterprise that they are entitled to influence. This is, admittedly, still grossly simplistic, but it's the best I can do for now. If I were getting paid to write this than perhaps I would take the time to think up more developed classifications.

If one again looks at the whole of recorded history, it becomes obvious that the countryside of any civilization is always more "conservative", while the cities are always more "liberal." It is as predictable as the despised minority group and lamely justified male dominion. The reasons for this are not, I think, really that abstract or obtuse; nothing that a person of average intelligence couldn't get a basic grasp on if they took the time to think about it. But I've been tumbling my own ideas for how and why for the past few hours now. At any rate this is my blog. This is the age for the narcissist to gorge himself and I shall have my fill.

The countryside is, of course, closer to nature, and the tyrannical dictates thereof, in ways that are both important and superficial. The human tendency to equate the harvest cycle with our own life and reproduction cycles is universal. The rural mind is less inclined to be bothered by the notion that it exists chiefly to spawn somebody else than the city mind is. The old gender roles don't appear to be anywhere near as baffling or insane as they do to the modern urbanite. Now that I think about it, there have been many people, myself included, who have unfairly supposed that the adherence to these roles is born out of a desperate and cowardly attempt to impose predetermined meaning on a life that appears to be empty and chaotic. It would be more accurate to say that the rustic mind is simply trying to interpret the meaning that seems self-apparent to him.

But than there are darker reasons for traditionalism in the country. One is economic force. If we go back to traditional gender roles, we see that they tend to hold in areas where physical labor, and thus brute physical strength, is still of central importance to the local economy. (Indeed, traditional manliness is held in higher value in medium-sized industrial cities like Akron or Toledo than in some smaller college towns.) The fact that I am bigger than the lass sitting across from me, than, is not just a cute evolutionary accident, (There are reasons why country-dwellers are loathe to believe that there is any such thing.) but my means to provide for myself, gain resources, and attract a mate, and it simply must be a purpose ordained to me by a higher power, because that's the only way that spending fourteen hours dragging a plow through a shit-inseminated barley field would be more appealing than suicide.

Beyond this are the psychological effects of living in the country. Life in a small community of people discourages personal distinction, sharpening of individual thought. To be in a human settlement dwarfed by the surrounding countryside creates a sense of intangibility, a heightened awareness of mortality. The desire to reproduce becomes intense, and it won't do to merely pass on the length of your nose or the color of your eyes. My son must inherit my personality, otherwise I never rose from this earth at all. To truly reproduce myself I must destroy time. To destroy time I must make all other ways of life deviant, I must make every figure of authority a father, and I must make every tradition sacred and unchangeable. Than let me smoke and gorge and drink and work until my spine is twisted like the windbreaks that have been dead for fifty years, yet still stand because they too understand the rules of the land. Than let me have an early rest and let my son become me.

Dé hAoine, Lúnasa 29, 2008

It's a Pity

Call it a Catholic upbringing or what have you, but I'm afraid I will always see something fetid, something false, in normal human conversation. The game of human beings reacting and feeding off of each others cues, living in the moment, imagining ourselves to lose ourselves. It is a lie. It is a foulness. Or simple bitterness on my part more than likely. Yet I can not help but feel slightly nauseous when I see people lost in conversation with each other. Can't help but feel ashamed of myself when a familiar face makes me feel happy. Utterly baffled when a friend shares something about himself to me with matter-of-fact ease. Several years ago I told an older woman that I lived alone and she was shocked. She said that she couldn't imagine spending an hour of her day without having someone to talk to. Her statement filled me with a white rage that terrifies me to this day.

It is often said that writers are supposed to be filled with uncontrollable passions? Well who the hell taught you that? That rapist Bryon? That drunken thug Hemingway? Is there, at any rate, nothing we can possibly feel passionate about besides the fellow shaved monkeys around us?

I write because my interior dialogue is the only one that is unshielded, and this cannot change. This is who a human being really is, the swirling yokes of feeling and thought and sensation that cannot be released to another through speech or touch or look. Our true selves can only be found by staring within ourselves and giving shapes to these half-comprehended shades. It is then and only then that we can know who we love and who we hate and who simply amuses us and why. But we can never know them. We can only know what we are to us. The world and everyone in it but you will always be objects to you. If we cannot know each other than the best we can do is to love and emphasize, to realize that the isolation we have all been damned to will ultimately hit the extroverts the hardest. Their light hearts will surely beat longer than others, and so to them goes the honor of burying lovers and friends until they see, until they know, and than there will be no one to talk to.

Dé hAoine, Lúnasa 22, 2008

And so it goes.

Oh, the usual boilerplate. Futile struggle against a hostile nature and indifferent universe. etc. etc

Dé Luain, Lúnasa 18, 2008

There Was a Time When I Loved The Spark of a Warm Afternoon

And now the sun of through the window of my old apartment
Now the smell of mowed grass is a mockery
Everything I've Failed to Appreciate
The Afternoons when I was twenty four, long ago
the Fridays when I would feel the electricity
Freshly broken up, Perfectly Contented to Spend Whole Days alone
A feeling Gone forever, How Strange
The Grocery Shopping on Friday Afternoons,
The Walk Down To South Street and back, the first time
The first Halloween, Hunter S. Thompson
Still Thrilled at the Sight of the O Street Crowds
The Happiness of Weekends alone
Trips to the bars, perhaps to find a woman, perhaps not.
The love of the smell of dried grass in the air
The feel in the apartment on afternoons that is still there, still the same,
but stining now, Not embracing and alive, as it was
Under This sky and Under These Trees, so long, so long,
Watching the Games with the low-rent people in the union.
Driving to work on the last day of the spring break blizzard,
seeing the sun appear out of the clouds for the first time
The Mopac Trail on my First New Years Day here
I Could tolerate the cold than, oh how I could tolerate the quiet
Always the same calm in my apartment that unified Summer and winter but no more
Now I must Embrace them. I will embrace Chicago when the time comes,
Let me morn now.
The Starship, Hustle and Flow.
Introducing Dan to Shoemaker's, collaborating on the Laurus Story
The nights on the HOA porch
Drinking to bitter hangover and loving it
Let me mourn for what it took me too long to value.
The wisdom that I never asked to bare.
The one love I truly wanted and can't have
The same mourning we all feel
The same weaknesses we brothers all share
And so of so little help to each other
Just the same mirrors showing our own growth and Decay
The beauty that kills all who value it
We can never have this again
We have but to rue the happiness of our children.

Déardaoin, Lúnasa 14, 2008

I've Had a Vision

Not a dream but a waking vision. Naked Iron Age women circled around a primitive farm field offering their vaginae to the sky in order to summon rain. And I feel a certainty that something like this has happened, perhaps in my own ancestral line.

Dé Máirt, Lúnasa 12, 2008

So My Mom Called me Last Friday

And asked if I would be available to pick up my cousin Wendy at Eppley Airport and drive her to North Platte through the night. It seems that she had run into money trouble while her husband Richard was visiting the people in Nebraska, and her ex boyfriend kindly offered to drive her from Lake Havasu City Az. to her parents in Las Vegas. He ended up sort of kidnapping her instead. Putting her and her children on a plane from Havasu to Reno and leaving her to escape at the Reno airport by telling him that she and the kids were going to the bathroom. She got a hold of her in-laws, my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tim, and managed to secure airfare from Reno to Omaha via, oddly, Tucson. My mom called at about one o'clock on Friday and asked if I would be able to pick her up at 9:55 and drive her to her husband in North Platte. Of course I would be. So there's that.

I drove to Omaha at about seven P.M. and had a dinner of boiled beef and sourkraut at the Bohemian Cafe with a meatball soup appetizer. The entree had too much dill in it and the gigantic portions left me stuffed for five hours. But overall it was nice. The waitress was great, and at any rate the presence of a Bohemian cafe in Nebraska's chief market is fraught with significance. It the only way it would be better is if the place were on Center Street, the road into Omaha from the Polish/Bohemian/whatever Alps. But on second thought nah fuck that street.

I bought coffee from a place on thirteenth and wondered along the riverfront for a short while before arriving at the airport at round 9:30. In the lounges by the gates middle-aged men were watching the Olympic opening ceremonies as if it were a funeral. I made a crack about knowing that the nation of Comoros existed now and was completely ignored.

The plane was on time from Tucson, but the jet-way was busted, so Wendy and her brood emerged from the plane half an hour behind schedule. Said brood consists of Jade, age six, and the twins Jeremiah and Jacob, eighteen months. In addition to her very small and very loud children Wendy had brought eight bags of luggage and toys, along with a crib and stroller for two. I drive a 95 Buick Grand Prix, and I had brought my own laundry with me out of pure reflex.

She made arrangements to leave the stroller in the care of an attendant on the oddball Arizona-Nebraska route. Several bags of clothes were ripped open for the sake of fitting in the trunk along with the crib, which fell out of it's cover and onto my foot in the process of figuring out how to fit everything in. While Wendy was in the airport making the deal with an attendant, a airport cop stepped out and asked us how much longer we would be. We had been parked by the terminal doors for fifteen minutes or so at that point. I told him he would have to ask the redhead inside at the Jet Express desk. This he proceeded to do after making small talk with the kids and expressing sympathy at the distance we would have to drive.

We eventually got everything into the trunk save for Wendy's suitcase, which she would sit on unbelted. The trunk closed with a small, disconcerting click and I knew that I would do well to avoid a rear-end crash of any magnitude.

The drive was pleasant enough. Wendy spoke of her ordeal and her days as a Vegas stripper and pointed out that she was worried about the cop I had directed towards her because of the high-grade marijuana she had towed across four different airport security checkpoints in a single day. This was good to know. The children fell asleep almost as soon as we started driving. She passed out in Lincoln. If Metallica's "One" hadn't come onto the radio around York I would have gone mad and/or killed everyone in the car.

A stop at Grand Island for more coffee, arrived at my parents house just after four.
My parents are having their bedroom and bathroom renovated. My old room upstairs is being taken by my cousins and their kids. I slept on an air mattress in the computer room five feet from where my father snored in his recliner.

The next day I was high on the high-grade pot and walking the dogs for relaxation when my Dad casually had Jade follow me since she wanted to walk the dogs too. And this was too much. She's a sweetheart most of the time but she's still six. The casual assumption that I would help in watching the kids after all I had done was... my God but that house was loud, and I need my twelve hours of solitude a day just like any reasonable man. So I called my mom at work and informed her that I would be coming back to Lincoln that night.

And now I feel guilty about it. My mom always cooks a big breakfast after church on Sundays for her parents and any extended family that wants to show up, and I know she was looking forward to feeding me. We were only together for a couple of hours out of the whole event. But my God, I cannot sleep five feet away from my parents while infants squeal at random points in the night. I'm just weak that way. I felt like some dipshit tourist taken in by a local peasant family while hiking Ecuador. And I'll be back on Labor Day when surely there will be some space carved out for me somewhere in the house, surely it will get back to resembling my house, our house.
Oh but Fuck it all, I suppose I'll have to tolerate my own infants someday, but damned if I'll tolerate anyone else's.

Dé hAoine, Lúnasa 08, 2008

Last Night

I was in the immaculate garden where Payton Farquhar found refuge.

Déardaoin, Lúnasa 07, 2008

I Was in Omaha Some Days Back

I wondered by the riverfront for awhile until I was past the point that has recently been developed for tourists and was back to where there is just the railroad tracks, cement factories, death trap streets,gravel paths to nowhere. It is somehow a great comfort to know that Nebraska's gateway to the East is still a profoundly ugly one. Railroads and cement factories are necessary, but old hat, not superficially progressive enough.

I wondered upon the Amtrak station at 9th and Pacific. It would be closed for several more hours before they started taking tickets for the one train from Chicago to the Bay Area. I used the stations parking lot as a portal to trespass onto the track that cross the river immediately to the east and gradually loop through town to Ralston and Sarpy and eventually Lincoln to the west. Here one will find the original three-block long boarding platform for the old Burlington station. The side of the station that faces the street has been kept up and still looks impressive. The side facing the tracks consists of windows broken decades ago and unwashed graffiti. The interior consists of nothing but dust, odd junk, and one can imagine more than a few rats. There is an awning at the rear of the platform leading to a long rotted-out staircase into the building. Still the place looks better than the glass box Amtrak station, and I see it's being developed into condos. "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burlington_Station" Well, good luck with that. They're definitely going to have to do something about the railroad front.

The platform was covered with rusted metal and glass. It was humid and I was dressed in shorts and sandals. I was a bit concerned for myself. But I was looking for a quick way into downtown and was a bit curious as to what was along this track in the southern midtown area, so I continued to walk southwest. I was looking for a break in the fences to get back to the street grid and there were none. Eventually I came to the overpass over 13th street. There was something of a foot path leading down to the street, presumably made by hobos and random weirdos like myself. By grabbing the branches of a strategic tree I was able to overcome my sandals' lack of traction and make it down to the pavement without tumbling onto it. Than I had lunch at a gyro place a few blocks further south.

It seems that higher gas prices are driving many to lower themselves to the decadent European level and ride the train cross-country "http://omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10397453" Of course the problems with Amtrak are well-known. Trains are typically obscenely late, still contacted to ride along meandering Burlington/Santa Fe routes despite B/SF being bought out by Union Pacific some years ago, still forced to yield to freight trains, still carrying standard engines so that they cross the landscape at about the same speed as a modern car retracing a 1920's auto-trail.

But I am a naive and hedonistic leftest, and the truth is that I am so out of touch with my own Godly culture that I really despise driving for more than an hour at a time. Amtrak is shit. This is perfectly clear. But the fact of the matter is that there is no way to travel long-distance that isn't painful. Only Americans would believe that there's something magical or ecstatic about stuffing oneself in some manner of moving box and traveling two thousand miles in one day. Only Americans would think that we are supposed to believe such a thing. The thrill of the open road. Utter horse shit.

So I'm not willing to give up on shoveling tax money into Amtrak. I've ridden the Zephyr and could see with my own eyes that it clearly isn't that much. Let's get faster trains, like they have ion the coastal strips, nationwide. Or how about a north/south line for the Red and Missouri valleys? Fargo to Sioux Falls to Omaha to Kansas City and than on to the cities of Texas. Light rails to Lincoln and Fremont and Blair. You hate your car. Admit it. It's okay. None of your friends can see you now. You can trust the silence of your confessor.

I remember seeing a video once in which Joseph Alioto, mayor of San Francisco in the early seventies, was testifying before a Senate committee and getting berated by Roman Hruska, our own late, great, proudly ignorant, Bohunk jackass, for having the audacity to not cover his city with freeways. Those of us who have been to Frisco, who have seen how beautiful, delicate, and densely packed of a city it is, should know that a full American-style freeway system would ruin the place. Never mind. Spending half a billion tax dollars on a freeway is the American capitalist way of doing things. Spending half a billion tax dollars on public transportation is socialist.
This is the American way. We are God's children and we decide what is and is not normal. That which is normal is good because what is good is normal. The private automobile is the symbol or one's worth and value. The fact that my car is bigger than yours is proof that I am more willing to feed my children than you are. I can't count the number of times when grown men, of reasonable intelligence, and with total sincerity, equated the modern automobile with a cowboy's horse, implying a sacred bond between you and your collection of glass and metal tubes. I cannot count the number of times when I was walking and mocked by random passerby for walking. I might as well have been sitting on the corner with my cardboard sign. It's always the people and the shittiest rusted-bondo cars who mock with the most relish, just as poor whites tend to be more virulently racist than the rich and educated.

And a car-based culture does serve its uses. The core of Omaha, the part that facces the Missouri, is nearly as densely populated as the largest cities, and as beautiful in many parts as well, particularly in Little Italy. But real Americans aspire to be aristocrats, measuring our worth by the size of our steed and our amount of land, and sometimes this takes some encouragement. Build a freeway through the densest part of Omaha. Build the 480 and the North Freeway to continue the long-term work of choking off North Omaha from downtown. Do everything you can to make living in the city core as undesirable as possible. Than we can become a city for the worthy ones, the real Americans, the Red Robin's, and the Von Muir's and the streets named after John Galt. Anyone who tries to walk through the neighborhoods of the worthies is bound to get killed. So much the better.

The truth is that our society achieved hegemony too young, while we were still filled with juvenile delusions and our ideal of liberty was restricted to the right to gain the material, the physical, the easy to grasp, the easy to think about. Now we carry on like Ludwig II, using our power to legitimize the nonsense and lunacy that drowns us. I'm not fond of denigrating my own country in particular, we are not at all unusual in this. But it is damned depressing, how stupid the whole lot of us are.