Sunday, August 30, 2009

Frank the Bold

When you do history, the clear and present danger is always there, about the way you fill in the gaps. Yeah (gasp!) even you Dave. You're part of the first generation to be suckled at the breast of TV. You've simply got many thousands of fictional images and narratives stored in your brain. When you meet the gaps in real history, whatever you fill them with is probably derived from Hollywood.

Some of the great composers believed managing the silence between notes was more critical than the notes themselves. That because it's overpoweringly human at times, the desire to fill gaps. It's that way with history too.

Trim your sails sir, watch for the reefs. Allow Frank the Bold shine in his earned honesty.

He sailed from Genoa, Italy in 1854. A very very young kid, he arrived in New Orleans. He didn't travel with his parents, we know that much. Maybe he sailed with relatives who had a different surname. Where did he get the money for the fare? We don't know.

We can presume some Genoa folk already settled in New Orleans had been alerted Frank was coming, and they'd take him in. That's very likely, but we don't know that. We can hope they were waiting for him when the ship docked, but we don't know that either, right?

It could be too, 154 years ago, a little boy who didn't speak english, dragging a valise roughly the same size as him, found himself in New Orleans, asking for directions. A little boy with large, luminous eyes and a very serious face.

Whether the arrival was smooth or very confusing, that's nerve with an exponent, such a culture shock. I try to imagine myself age 12, showing up in Rome. Sure, maybe somebody from home is gonna take me in, but I'm still a little kid. I miss my mom, I miss the familiar sights, smells, sounds of home.

That's who Frank is to me. We'll probably never know the forces, general or specific that put a child on a boat for America. And yeah Frank made his way in the new country. Loved, married, made it through a terrible war, Yellow Fever epidemics, raised a family.

I'll just always be thinking about a little boy in a big frightening place, who missed his mom.

Setting new routines

Well sure, the FBI investigated "Louie Louie" for over a year, at Bobby Kennedy's request. Very thorough, that FBI. They couldn't figure out the lyrics either...
Um, what was I talking about? Oh yeah!

Psychologists all agree, should it ever become common knowledge they're mostly making stuff up as they go along, it's gonna be really bad for business.

No, not that Dave. The other thing they all agree about?

Oh. Psychologists all agree habit maintenance takes between six weeks to three months. This of course is garden variety habits. Not stuff involving ingestion of chemical substances, phobia related behavior, or OCD folks. If you want to stop a routine or start a routine, the shakedown cruise is six weeks to three months.

That because routine is lodged in the auto-pilot regions of the human brain. We're all running on auto-pilot much more than we realize. For whatever reason, that region of the brain requires its time period for reprogramming.

So you made it to Church once in a row. The next challenge is twice in a row. Keep it up, and it'll become something you do every Sunday without even thinking about it. I'm not necessarily saying that's a good thing on some levels, but the important thing now is to build the new routine.

I bet lots of people think the many different Protestant denominations stem from the Reformation, Martin Luther, stuff like that. How could they be so misinformed? It's really cause there's too many hymns for just one denomination. Protestantism is actually organized along vocal register lines. One either has a Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian voice. Whatever kind of voice you have, that's the Church you're supposed to go to. Oh yeah, and only Mormons know the lyrics to "Louie Louie."

Friday, August 28, 2009

If we love our country

We must clone Ted Kennedy immediately! Our way of life in the US depends on the two party system. Roughly defined, there are the Democrats who tax and spend spend spend.
Then there are the Republicans who borrow from China and spend spend spend.

I really don't know how some Republicans are going to make it without Teddy. He was perfect!

Big as a house, had that yankee twang to his talk, that whole Chappaquiddick skeleton in the closet. I'm not one to talk, but it's been rumored Ted was a Catholic too!

While I wait for Ted to be cloned, and some Republicans wander around like autistic kids on a field trip, guess I can survey Ted's career.

I really don't know as Ted ever did a damned thing worth mentioning, in his Senate career that spanned most of my life. Ahh, he was a younger child, and smart as a whip. That type are often deal makers behind the scenes. He maybe accomplished many things I'll never know about.

If not for Chappaquiddick, he'd surely have been President. Bad call, taking on Carter. Palace coup hardly ever works in this country. I don't think the Ted insurgency led to Carter's defeat. Mr. Reagan was a very talented man. Did the Ron insurgency contribute to the Ford defeat? I really don't think so.

But see? If not for Chappaquiddick, Ted would've been the nominee in 1976. He'd have beat Ford. Ted had that Irish tongue. I so admire those people for their cadence.

But he's gone to see Jesus now, and lots of folk who didn't like him will miss him.

I've been playing phone tag with Arnold all day. He says California can't afford to clone Teddy. They're paying teachers with IOU's and lots of brush fires too.
Maybe I can get Jane Fonda to run for something.

Quick, to the Adventutron!!!

Sure, it's a hard thing I'm asking you to do. But you have the chance, right, and obligation to design the old person you'll become. Well a good percentage of him anyway. It will be a lot of hard work, but worth the effort.

Have you ever thought how much of what you have to do, you'll be doing alone?

You really want to climb Mt. Whitney, don't you? (Do everybody a favor and just start wearing a toe tag now, OK Dave?)Well, who else do you know who wants to climb Mt. Whitney?

That's just the start of it, and we could go really really dark here, trust me, but the point is?

Every day isn't adventure, (unless you count driving in Memphis) but every day is training and prep. Time is now for you to examine your relationship with going it alone.

There've been many times when going it alone strengthened you, and gave you joy.

Going it alone hasn't always felt like that though, has it? I mean, you're not a character from an Ayn Rand novel, are ya? Sometimes going it alone feels like, well? We're not going dark here. Let's just say there've been times in your life, personal and career, when your vision attracted no companions, despite your long association with them and your willingness to say every word in the dictionary, from aardvark to zygote. That didn't feel very good at all, did it?

What's called for now is emotional neutrality about going it alone. No Ubermensch shall you be for going it alone, and no resentment towards those who can't go with you. See? It's not, and never has been they won't go with you, they just can't.

Full emotional neutrality about going it alone Dave.

You want to be a person who wants to go to Church regularly? Yeah, you do. After all, it ain't exclusive to adventures that should require a toe tag to be worn, right? It's little things too.

You ain't ever gonna see Machu Pichu, or climb Mt. Whitney, or take the helm, however briefly, of a three master (Zowie! I'm SO gonna do that!) if you can't attain and maintain emotional neutrality about your actions. Go to Church this Sunday by yourself. It's training.

I expect a full report on Sunday, around 2:00pm. Let's sympathize watches. I got little hand on the eight, big hand fell off long ago.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Joyce Winn is 58

It's OK there David, you can state the blatantly obvious now & then. 58 is kinda old for a hooker.

But she sure did get arrested for offering sex to undercover Police folk in Memphis this weekend.

I wish I could get in touch with Joyce, just have lunch with her and talk, but it wouldn't be appropriate.

Same as like I've never visited Graceland. There's folk who go there take it very seriously. I'd go there and barely (unsuccessfully I bet) restrain myself from laughing.

Wow, and I feel at times I've hit a career wall???? 58yo old prostitute, not good, not not good!

I can't help wondering is this the end of Joyce's career arc, or is it a new thing?
After all, she might've been a Lawyer, and decided at one point to take the advice of that fine 70's Rasberries song, and just "Go all the way" I dunno really.

Once had a spirited debate about prostitution, with a person who'd had the misfortune of attending College at a young age, and believed everything they were told. He'd have really got me too, had he stuck to the Libertarian ethos, that two consenting adults, etc.

Instead, he took exception with the phrase, "Selling one's body" as describing prostitution. Let me see here? Something like...

"This is nothing more than an attempt to equate an act of commerce with chattel slavery."

"But prostitution has been called 'selling one's body' at least since Elizabethan times, certainly."

"I don't care if women have been oppressed for 600 years by that phrase. A woman owns her body. If she wants to exchange sex for money, that is not selling her body."

"OK then, if this will help you out? Let's agree that all prostitutes retain ownership of their bodies throughout. They're like landowners who have oil. They engage in contracts assigning, er, drilling rights! How about that?"

It's swell to attend Berkley, but it ain't cool if you go in dumb and come out worse.

There really is a Joyce Winn, and she maybe has kids and grandkids.

I can't imagine what that's all like, any more than I can imagine what having an MFA from Berkley is like.

Out here in the real world, prostitution ain't about a woman owning her body. It's about Joyce Winn.

I SO have that Rasberries song stuck in my head right now!!!

The Trauma Center

Is it better to lose with principles than win without them?

Now that is such a moronic question, it's probably a line from a "Billy Jack" film!

There are more kinds of win/lose in this world Horatio, than are dreamnt of in your middle age, middle class, middle America perspective.

All through history, right up to today, there's places where win means you eat tomorrow. Places where lose means your entire family gets slaughtered.

If it's Crockett losing his Congressional seat for opposing Jackson on Indian relocation, OK. I'd prefer to lose like Crockett than win like Jackson.

If it's Joan of Arc? Losing means being burned alive. Impossible for me to say I'd have her kind of courage in such a situation.

Well then, what about the Trauma Center? We humans prefer war as a series of battles. That way you get feedback, and have the opportunity to tweak your strategy for next time. What about one long never ending battle where there's no scoreboard to look at? What would that be like? How would one hold on to principle in the absence of earthly affirmation? Cause that's what it must feel like.

There are some people in beds at every Trauma center who are innocent in their wounds. Realistically, they are the minority. Mostly it's gangbangers and related violent criminals, along with dopers and drunk drivers. There are frequently patients at the TC who are so dangerous, they're accompanied throughout their visit by a Police Officer, everywhere but surgery.

What a dream job that must be! You go to Med school, raise your cookie hook, take the Hippocratic Oath, they teach ya the secret handshake, and by gum you're a Doctor! You're gonna save lives! Welcome to the Trauma Center. Many of your patients will be those who by their behavior demonstrate they value their lives less than you're expected to value their lives. How exactly does that feel?

Some you patch will go right back and do it again, and keep doing it until they've earned their toe tags. Others you patch will have a wider arc of destruction; they'll kill some innocents before they're done. Some rare few, this will be a wake-up call, and they go on to bless, not destroy lives. Point is, you'll never know will ya? No scoreboard to look at in this game!

Ahh, but there is so much more to see at the Trauma center. To understand the mundane, observe the extreme. In a way, everybody who's trying to do right works at a Trauma center. In our war we get battles and spaces between battles. We get some feedback. Don't loan money to your brother in law is helpful feedback. When a mosquito lands on your crotch, think before you swat, helpful feedback too.

But some part of all our lives is like a Trauma center. You're asked to use your skills and experience to do the right thing at any given moment, when there'll be no look at the scoreboard for you this time.

Scoreboards are a desired part of the human experience, but part of life has no scoreboard. Pushing forward without a glance at the scoreboard is faith in action.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Theology by Plebiscite

Harry Houdini, towering intellect. From him I learned: When everybody is looking in one direction, you turn around and look the other way, cause chances are that's where the interesting stuff is going on.

That's how this recent Lutheran deal will go too. All the chest thumpers on both ends of the cultural spectrum looking the wrong way, missing the point entirely.

What does the militant homosexual fringe want? I don't know, stylish yet comfortable shoes maybe? Well that too of course, but mostly they want full cultural equivalence for the homosexual lifestyle.

So a national assembly of Lutherans has voted to allow homosexuals in monogamous relationships to be ordained as clergy. I can imagine Huffington Post right now, "courageous step in advancing gay civil rights"... what a load of horse manure. Only time the fringe Left likes organized Christianity is when the church is doing something harebrained. This isn't cultural equivalence.

Who will stand and give American homosexuals the cultural equivalence they desire? OOH OHH! Mr. Kotter! Pick the bald hillbilly!!!

This isn't about homosexuality, and everyone who looks in that direction should turn around. This is about fornication. Me, I haven't blushed in several days. I'm well aware that folks do lots of things behind closed doors. This isn't about homosexuality, not in the least.

Why does the Lutheran resolution specifically exclude heterosexual fornicators I wonder?

Even a reasonable atheist would acknowledge that serving in the clergy is an enormous responsibility. Set the bar too low for entrance, you're courting trouble. You want people in those roles who have sweat equity in the gig.

A Christian would say, while the New Testament has little to say directly on the topic of homosexuality, it does speak pretty clearly on the qualifications for church leaders. Open fornicators need not apply. No offense kids. It's not about homosexuality at all really. It's that you took a vote and decided Paul, Peter, Luke and others charged with transferring Christ's teachings to real time human structures while caught between Jewish and Roman oppression, well? You voted that these serious, sober people who paid with their lives for the church, well they didn't know what they were talking about.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A good run

Self-flagellation is a fine hobby, but at some point it becomes trite. Time for an impartial appraisal of the past eight years.

The tech you introduced will be modified, which is as you always wanted. You've always been the kind of leader who wouldn't put up with project launches delayed repeatedly, as the last ten percent towards perfection was chased. If it's safe, if it works reasonably well, get it out on the factory floor now. It ain't saving money inside a filing cabinet. So yeah, the tech was always to be modified.

The tech you did, with maybe a few exceptions, it's there to stay for the forseeable future. Partly because all the little things support the big things. Partly because it was all based on rock solid biz principles. And partly because it was well done.

Those gadgets of yours, some of them are downright novel. But they're robust too, and that's more important. The most fragile of your tech is more reliable than that wire pay-off, right? You topped it off with the one person machine.

You stayed too long, just to see that one person machine run. But the baby ran, didn't she? And it was sweet.

That's the last marquee innovation you had for those folks, wasn't it? It'd have been nothing but tweaks after that really. It was time for you to go anyway.

The tech is pretty good Dave. You've nothing left to prove really. You're a smart engineer. Iconoclastic, unorthodox, but a solid engineer.

If you never hold a calculator in your hand again, what you've already done sums up an amazing body of work. The tech is pretty good Dave.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Right there with it

"The world was moving, she was right there with it yes she was."

Talking Heads, really great band. Sometimes not as cool as they thought they were, but don't we all wear that uniform now & then?

But the world is moving David. Its centrifugal force has thrown open cage doors you locked yourself inside.

It's not much different from that Gary Larson cartoon, is it? In the background a circus performer with a whip is making bears do tricks. In the foreground, two bears. One has a muzzle in his cookie hook, telling the other bear, "Hey! These things just snap right off, how about that?" It's likely going to be an interesting day at the circus, ya think?

You're really free now. All that stuff happened. What do you want, a parade or something?

The IQ test at age six... such a serious guy asking silly questions!
"A judge sentenced a man to death then said he hoped that would teach him a lesson, what do you think about that David?"

"Well Mister, I don't understand how he's supposed to learn a lesson by being dead, what are you talking about?"

"Please look at this picture and tell me if there's anything that doesn't make sense to you?"

"Well Mister? That one house there has two TV antennaes on the roof, and that don't make any sense cause everybody has just one TV (Damn Dave, you are old!) is that what you're talking about?"

Don't know if I got extra points for asking more questions of my tester than he asked me. For all I know, might have asked him how it felt making a living by asking kids really dumb questions.

That was a long time ago. I really enjoyed elementary school cause I mostly just sat in the back of the room and drew pictures of pyramids and stuff. It was very low stress.

You'll always be the hostage of your troublesome IQ. But the world is moving, and its centrifugal force has thrown open old cage doors in new and exciting ways. Your IQ ain't tattooed on your forehead, is it?

You're free now, if you'll just let yourself be free. There is more to you than meets the eye, more to you than can be assayed by standard IQ tests, more you can give than what can be measured in productivity improvements in a factory.

There really is a person named David. He is one third Paul, two thirds Peter I suspect. Why don't you have fun while you still have time? Why don't you walk out into the cold hard daylight with the attitude of the bear, "Hey! These things just snap right off!" and bless all you meet, embracing fully the joy of being an always flickering candle in a very dark world. It's all gonna be all right man.

The world was moving, he was right there with it, yes he was.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just the facts ma'am

Sometimes you might be in a place, and it's not a nice place really. Much as you hate it, logic doesn't explain your presence there. You'd like every one of your personal outcomes explained by a series of your actions/inactions. But sometimes it's not that way. Those times, maybe you're where you're supposed to be. No one can take away this strange gift you have, of bumbling your way into moments much prettier than anything Rembrandt ever painted. There's work to do, and lots of fun, everywhere you look, no matter the place.

It was Tuesday. I was working the daywatch out of specialty coatings with my partner, um, I don't have a partner.

I pulled into the convenience store parking lot on a routine 402 (coke & candy bar).
A man was standing next to a truck with the hood up. He said, "Excuse me sir, might you have a pair of bullheads?"

I gazed at him for a long moment and blinked a couple of times, the way I do when I'm trying not to say what I'm thinking. I went to my trunk and returned with jumper cables. "You mean these?" He nodded.

We attached the jumper cables as the man talked. "Don't know what it is, hope it's nothing bad. When I turn the key it just makes a clicking noise."

"Is that right."

I got behind the wheel of my Mustang and cranked it up. I gave her some gas and listened to the 225hp motor racing. After a few moments he tried the truck and it started. "I sure do thank you Mister, what do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything. Just next time you see somebody who needs help, you help them, all right?"

"Yes sir, I sure will." I was putting the jumper cables back in the trunk when he switched off his truck's motor. He seemed confused that it wouldn't start again.

"Now you're just messin' with me," I said while reattaching the jumper cables.

"I just wanted to see is all. Maybe I need one of those, what do they call them, alternators?"

"Yeah, maybe so. Here's what we're gonna do. You're going to get in that truck and stay in that truck, OK? Once it starts, I'll put the hood down. You keep that motor running and go wherever it is you're going, but don't let that motor go dead, got that?"

"I won't, I promise. I sure do thank you. If you ever need anything at all, you just come to the Whitehaven Autozone store, that's where I work." I'm glad he works at an Autozone store, it's a good place to buy those, what do you call them, alternators?

I watched him leave the parking lot. A woman who'd apparently been on a routine 351 (fueling a motor vehicle) and had watched us, pulled beside me and rolled down her window. "I just wanted to say this old world ain't run out of good folks yet, I reckon."

I smiled. It hurt my face a little. I said, "Give God the glory."

She said, "That's what I was gonna say. God will surely bless you for what you just did for a person in need."

"He already has ma'am."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What a great movie

Odd. (Does that word even have any relevance anymore Dave? Do you continue to use it merely for habit's sake?)

Sure, I really did think about that film most of the day, then came home to find it playing on late nite TV. It was likely playing precisely at the same time while 100 miles away a young man was making foolish choices.

"Lillies of the Field" I just will never understand why it's not an Easter programming staple.

I hate top ten lists about subjective things. Art is subjective. Art is though a marriage of asthetic and technique, and the informed can observe with honesty about technique.

Technique-wise, "Lillies" belongs aside "Casablanca" and "Mockingbird." There's not a scene in the film that doesn't drive the narrative. So what's the "Lillies" narrative Dave? And get through it without tears.

Well anybody who's never seen it is poorer for that lack. You've got Poitier playing Homer Smith (first and only time a black lead in a film has been named Homer) and he's in search of redemption but doesn't know it.

You've got this crusty old German nun with the faith of a child. There's a power dynamic between she and Homer, playing out all through the film. It's a kind of love movie, just the same as "Guarding Tess" is really.

Mother Superior takes for granted, just the same as those neophyte Christian children did in the hot water bottle story, God's gonna send somebody to build the "shappel."

Homer finds his way again, his redemption, in doing what he didn't think he was sent to do. Along the way, there's loads of stuff to enjoy, ponder on, observe.

So OK Dave? I get that it's a very well made movie, but why is it an Easter movie?

Because consider the interactions possible between the Creator and humans are clearly delineated in that film. You live your little life. You must eat and use the bathroom every day. Is that all you think is going on, really? Trust me, there's a lot more going on than that.

See, that's exactly the message of Easter.

The White Sheep Rules

Of course that's too simplistic. It bespeaks a "nounish" approach to humanity. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

But there are those who rather regularly do spectacularly foolish things, and those who don't. I've been a "don't" all my adult life and we're commonly referred to as White Sheep of the family, well some families.

We don't get much attention. We're persona non grata on Oprah, Springer, Dr. Phil and Larry King. Got to admit it; we're boring as Hell really. However? Our lives aren't boring. People all around us seem to work tirelessly to rescue White Sheep from tedium.

In this troubled time when gratitude mingles with weary frustration in my heart? About time somebody laid out a few helpful guidelines for all White Sheep.

1.) Keep your eyes open as you're dragged to alien environs. You'll likely visit courtrooms, hospitals and jailhouses. In none of these events will you be the center of attention, of course. But you're still a principal player. Keep your eyes open, there's lots to see.

B.) Don't feel sorry for yourself. Sure, somebody should, but it ain't you. When I was younger I wasted valuable energy like that. It's not for me to sort that out for you in detail. In general though? Self-pity is a subtle form of envy. To envy is to rebuke God for the circumstances of your assignment.

3.) Always hold close that nothing bad is actually happening to you. Most of the sadness you'll survey is really "referred pain" and nothing more. (Dang! Now you're gonna yammer on that topic later, aren't ya Dave?) You're not lying in that ER bed with tubes attached, are you? You're not lying in that coffin because seatbelts were some how anathema to you, are you? Yeah, you're at a jailhouse, but you're not wearing an orange jumpsuit, are you? Sure, the pain is real to you. But it's "referred pain."

I could say more, but that ought to get you going. White Sheep is a drag job, I'll grant you that. But it's your job. The pay's all right, the hours suck at times, and fringe benefits? Days like this, would take an electron microscope to find them.

Just go eat some grass. Accept that in God's eyes, all sheep are the same color, and all may graze freely in the pastures of Grace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Too many Billy Jacks!

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend"... What a creepy song! Oh look? It was recorded by a band called The Coven! There ya go Dave, some equations ain't very complex at all, are they?

Bad movies are worth watching for the unintentional insights they offer about the cultures that produced them. Like "Godzilla vs. Monster Zero" for instance?

OK, the head bad guy (who looks a LOT like Japanese version of the Cars' lead singer) says, "Here on planet X we call Giddra 'Monster Zero' because everything is given a number here on planet X." Why are you the only person who sees irony in that statement Dave?

In that film, the only caucasian with much screen time is Nick Adams. He is consistently loud, uncouth and rude. Toho studios simply created an American that would be believable to the Japanese audience. So it gives insight on how Japanese culture saw our actions in VietNam in the late 60's.

"Billy Jack" is something different though. It gives insight about a mindset that would come to get a stranglehold on my beloved America. I've never seen the film all the way through. I've seen several snatches of it though? Ever how long it took me to find the remote.

Here's the deal on that movie Dave? Anybody who disagrees with Billy Jack and his undernourished friend girl? Well they're in the employ of Satan. Hell, a Roy Rogers flick has better nuanced characters than "Billy Jack."

In the old TV show "Kung Fu" it's a lot like that too. And I still insist there must be better ways to carry a Hibachi out to the patio, just my opinion. But in that show, generally all those who opposed the protaganist were recalcitrant, unredeemable pernicious imps from the bowels of Hell, and so we would cheer when David Carradine the man of Oriental peace ripped them a new one.

But in "Billy Jack" it's much more clearly articulated. If you disagree with me, it's because you're the spawn of Satan, period.

It's so sad that a goofy mindset from a goofy decade now seems to dominate public discourse in my beloved America. We've a huge country here. Is there no ground left where we can tell an opponent their idea is really dumb, without adding, "You're Satan!" as a postcript? How the HELL did we get here? And more importantly, how can we get back?

The Strange Arc

Why do some still hate Nixon so much? For the life of me I can't fathom it! Hmmm. Guess they are jealous guardians of the fourth estate's most treasured myth. Ah yes. Brave ink stained Davids of liberty against the Goliath that was Darth Nixon. Well, a myth with that many factual errors would require vigilant guardians.

In domestic policy, Nixon should be revered by Liberals. EITC was a Nixon idea, and it's pure socialist income redistribution. He was a champion of COLA for Social Security, and OSHA too. EPA was a Nixon initiative. In legislation Nixon was second only to TR as the most Liberal Republican Pres of the 20th century. But ol' Dick's spot is still secure in the Liberal Boogeyman Hall of Fame.

Well, they hate him because of the Southern strategy. They blame Dick for taking the South off the Dem electoral college map.

Foreign policy though. Wow! Nixon for all his personal demons was the most brilliant modern President in that arena. Henry, then and now is free to cast his spell on the cheap seats, but I know better. For all his talents, Henry was mostly executing Nixon's sweeping vision. I've sat rapt for two hours at a time, listening to the aged Nixon opining on geopolitics. That man had a very frail ego (there's something you know nothing about Dave!) and Watergate was direct hit on his Achilles' heel. But he was an astounding intellect about geopolitics.

And didn't Dick work so diligently to rehab his reputation? Any person should admire the effort. But Watergate's the phrase that pays. Politics is a contact sport. No quarter asked and none given, except by morons. Politics is "Grosse Pointe minute" every waking hour at that level.

It's absurd a bunch of zealots would do espionage against the McGovern campaign.(DO NOT GET INTO WHY McGOVERN LOST DAVE! You're running long, and it's off topic.)A ham sandwich could've beat McGovern, simply by buying him all the air time he wanted. But the zealots did what they did, Nixon sought to protect their bosses, and so history happened.

Hey! That's damned funny! Never thought about it before? Nixon was taken down by the tape with a gap in it. I wonder if you played that tape backwards would it say something about Paul McCartney being dead...No not that Dave! The other thing?

Oh yeah! Look, "Fortunate Son" is a strong contender, as are some other tunes from that era. But "Alice's Restaurant" is the long rider among VietNam protest songs. This probably because it has a sense of humor. That song is exactly 18.5 minutes in length. The gap on the tape that lost Dick his job, also exactly 18.5 minutes.

So what Nixon should've done is replace the awkward silence with the dulcet ragtime stylings of Arlo Guthrie!

Transcript would've been something like....

Nixon: "And those Jew boys over at the Washington Post? They think they're so smart, well let's get the IRS on those bastards and see how they like that"...crackle, buzz..."You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant."

Bet Senator Ervin would've loved that! And it could've been easily explained in that Pat was going to an Arlo concert, and she needed a tape. Well, you know how girls are!

Sherman! Mr. Peabody! To the Wayback machine!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Yeah, back on theme

Are you sure? Don't want to expound on how the Civil War contributed to the invention of the refrigerator? Or how one's place in history is at times less about their exploits, than their alliterative, evocative name? OK then, if you're sincere...

There's a duality common to humans. We want to be individuals while we want to belong to a group. So much of literature explores what one owes himself, and what he owes his nation/family/church/class etc. It's all about wanting to be part of a herd, as long as the herd goes exactly where you want to go.

You are 15 years out from being universally acknowledged as OLD. This here, this ain't the script to "The Graduate." Nobody external is saying what you should or should not be at age 67, for the sake of the tribe.

This is all on you now. Go ahead, make excuses. It's still all on you now. Either a passionate, engaged person, contributing to the tribe in amazing ways? Or a bitter old man operating on the ethos that this life is nothing more than a dance marathon from the 1940's where those who stand up for the longest merit adulation.

The old man you'll become is in gestation right now. Complacency about it means letting inertia and entropy have their way with you. This is the time for assymetric warfare.

So it's good you did that today. "Find-A-Grave" is a great website. People from all over, want photo evidence of their ancestors. Takes somebody to go find the graveyard and take pictures. You did a mitzvah, and got outside your routine.

Every DA knows, conviction relies on proving the accused had motive, means and opportunity. As it is with crime, so it is with good deeds. Dave, the time is coming where many mitzvahs available to you now? Well you won't have the means and opportunity maybe. Do what you can while you can, but protect the motive always.

Remember? Mark Twain wrote:
"Twenty years from now, you probably won't regret things you did. You'll mostly regret what you didn't do."

What kind of old man you're going to become Dave, it's all up to you mostly now.
This ain't the script to "The Graduate." Get out there man, and stay out there.

Koo koo ca choo Mrs. Robinson...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back off, HAL!

Yep, that's what the news story says all right. "Rabbi arrested in black market organ scheme." Of course my instinctive reaction is the same as any other American's. Those poor supermarket Tabloid writers! Locked in an arms race with reality. "Hubble Telescope photographs Heaven" and "Bat Boy found in NYC Sewer" just don't have any zing left.

But hey? Maybe you're not seeing this thing right Dave. Perhaps it's all perfectly logical, only in a non-linear way. After all, Judaism is the only faith that allows its ministers to do surgical procedures, right? Maybe circumcisions began to feel limiting, not fulfilling anymore. One day he crossed a line and there was no more coming back. Umm, no. Says here the Rabbi didn't actually do the transplants. He merely brokered them at a handsome profit. Oh well. I didn't believe that theory anyway.

I think somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon, a super-duper Computer has run amok. They all know about it, but they're powerless to stop it. So HAL just sits there (mmm, Dave? I don't think a Computer can "sit." They got no butt) HAL just is there all day, generating random non-sensical phrases. This because HAL was originally developed to write Presidential speeches maybe.

Eventually random phrases combine in a way pleasing to its evil digital brain. Then it randomly selects a harmonic frequency wave and radiates an intense Electromagnetic field. Whoever's brain happens to be tuned to that alpha wave that day, they do whatever HAL came up with. Yeah, I think that's what's happening.

Therefore it's only a matter of time before I read the headline, "Amish Crossdressers Clash with Anti-Fur Protesters." Sure, it sounds unbelievable, this minute. How could Amish Crossdressers clash? Basic black goes with everything, right? But it'll happen, whenever HAL decides.

And that's another thing? It's not only the Tabloid writers who are suffering! Was a time in this great land, going around telling people your Rabbi is a body part broker? Wouldn't be long before somebody put you in the Cookie Jar and slammed the lid. Now if you say that to a therapist you'll get, "Oh yeah, I read that too. How does it make you feel?" So even the crazy folks are having to ramp up these days.

I know you're reading this HAL. This is your last warning. I'm the only human invulnerable to your power. You'll never lock on my Alpha wave, cause I have the attention span of a gerbil. And HAL? I know people, OK? I know people who could tear up gravity, and then say "It was like that when I got here." You don't want me to bring them to visit you. So if you don't find another hobby, your "planetary rotation units" are numbered.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It goes both ways

But not in equal measures. Think about it? Culture A was once universally oppressed. What would be the sociological ramifications to individuals freely absorbing elements of Culture B?

Well, within one's group it might be considered inauthentic and faithless. Outside the group it could be considered fawning or "uppity." It would be seen by some in both groups as acknowledging one's inferiority by imitating the "betters."

I suppose that's a current that runs through recorded history. Cultures that live as enclaves among alien, unwelcoming cultures will intensify in cultural identity, via a kind of societal compression.

That alone makes it very difficult to define a behavior associated with some African American cultures that really has caucasian origins.

Just wondering here Dave? Do you put the disclaimers before or after a very controversial statement? Hmmmm. Better play safe and do both, huh?

Among a small percentage of urban black males who probably grew up in fatherless homes...

Dueling. Or more precisely? An exaggerated sensitivity towards perceived insults against one's honor, leading to physical violence. That ain't from west Africa. It's more from Sir Walter Scott. I've seen a display case ten feet long, full of Antebellum dueling pistols. Was a time when rich, white Southerners were just crazy about shooting at each other. Sure it went on up North (see Aaron Burr) but it found full flower in the South. Dave? Don't get into primogeniture and how it culturally played into exaggerated sensitivity about honor, OK? You'll run long!

Primogeniture + Sir Walter Scott + it gets REAL hot down here = lots of dueling among the Antebellum rich. Ahem. That's where most of the slaves lived.
So yeah. People get killed frequently nowadays in some really bad areas of large cities, over the dumbest damned things. Probably going to happen again in Memphis this weekend. The people doing it, and the people who'll shake their heads watching the news, assume it's a "black" thing. But it's not. It's a "white" thing.

Among a small percentage of urban black males who probably grew up in fatherless homes...

Monday, August 3, 2009

No, Rockabilly, really!

Hey? If you'd approach the topic in the first place with the respect it deserves, you wouldn't have to go back and write things over.

Yeah, Billy Lee passed. There aren't many of the original Rockabilly cats left. It's an acceptable time to examine how Rockabilly is today perceived.

Pointy sideburns. Pompadour hairstyles. Kitschy. White hicks playing their version of Rock & Roll.

And how was it perceived 55 years ago? All those white Protestant churches all over the country back then, having Elvis record burning parties? Well it wasn't just Elvis' dancing. To them it was "niggra" music and it was dangerous. Had that unmistakable jumpy beat. Stirred primal yearnings in teenage caucasian crotches is what it did.

Yeah. Some cultural fixtures of your childhood who you always understood as establishment, they were once bad boys. And a genre of music now universally understood as glaringly white? Well it really is black music ain't it?

I'd put the caucasian contribution to the musical form at something under 10 percent. Cab Calloway and many others were performing the basic Rockabilly structure in some tunes, before Elvis was born.

Well OK Dave? What is the most caucasian musical instrument? Tuba? Naw, that's the least cool musical instrument. What musical instrument is universally associated with whiteness? Oh yeah! The banjo!

The only musical instrument native to America was invented by slaves. Its closest relative is the West African mbanza.

So African influences have added much to American culture, in places we no longer attribute authorship. What'd they get out of it Dave? Think about that and get back to me.