Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hurt feelings and miracle sugar

Livy (my 5 year old daughter) and I were having a tea party today with, Kayla (one of Livy's best friends) and Kayla's mom, Julie (one of my best friends), at Tea Leaves & Thyme in Woodstock, GA. Livy and Kayla were in paradise, donning floral and chic hats and dresses. At one point, Livy paused to sip her hot chocolate milk (which had been sitting for the half-hour of them trying on outfits). It was, she said, too hot, so she added a cube of sugar and stirred. At which point, she pronounced, "It's not hot anymore. Sugar makes things not hot." Julie and I did our darnedest to acknowledge the remark with an appropriately serious mien.

Livy is at that exciting time of life where virtually every experience seems to necessitate some generalization about reality. It is truly fascinating to watch. Much of the time her generalizations are spot on, and other times, if necessary, I give gentle advice on other possible cause and effects closer to the truth, which we eventually agree on. Yesterday, she and I found many worms under a stone in the yard. The worms began running (well, crawling) for cover upon seeing light. Livy announced, "They're going to find something to eat. Probably flies." I said, "You think they can catch flies?" Long pause. "No, probably not. They're going to eat some other bugs." I said I didn't know what worms ate, so we decided it was time to look it up on the Internet.

Some nice things about the worm story are that she quickly reformed her theory, and she understood what it means for daddy to honestly not know something and that facts can be discovered objectively when curiosity is strong enough. Her original remark showed that she was applying her generalization about the fact that animals usually go in search of food to survive and that many bugs and animals eat flies. She may have learned that you can't leap to generalizations too quickly. Maybe that will come later.

Once she gets that one down, she'll be a step ahead of the predominance of humanity.

All of the above was fun, but yesterday one of her best friends said flatly, "Livy isn't my friend." Ethan and Livy and I were in the car heading to an xmas-tree farm to cut down a small tree along with Ethan's family in another car. Ethan and Livy had played for 8 straight hours the day before and are constant companions many days each week. We were talking about friends and Livy said Ethan was her friend. That's when he said she wasn't. He wasn't being mean. He said that his little guy friend, Jason, played with robots with him, but Livy didn't. Livy started crying and said, "That makes me sad." My heart broke and I began to tear up in the front seat.

I didn't know whether to say anything, but I finally asked Ethan if Livy might be his friend because they swung on swings together, played with cars together, played house together, ran together, rode bikes together, watched cartoons together, played music together, shot nerf guns at each other and more. I thought the list of fun stuff would sway him. It did not. He said with equal verve, "Livy isn't my friend."

Livy was even more devastated, and I was more so because I thought surely Ethan would change his mind and that my ploy ended up causing Livy even more distress. Luckily, she seemed to understand and popped out of her misery fairly quickly after we all had a discussion about what friends are and after I told her that she was my friend.

But her mind was still on Ethan today. While she and I were decorating the xmas tree and putting lights around the house, she spontaneously said, "Ethan sometimes cries a lot."

She didn't mention the friend thing, but her mind was on her friend.

And my mind was on my sweet, lovely daughter, her kindness and our friendship.

Shoes, whiskey, panties, dictionaries and sperm

Journalists could learn a lot from the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush the other day: When a politician is speaking, throw something and don't grovel. Make a stand. Be somebody. Get creative. Have fun. Get some gonads. Treat the Oval Office with the (dis)respect it deserves in modern America. Give prime-time ratings a boost. Think "Reality TV."

That said, the whole projectile strategy should be taken a step further. It should be metaphorical. The Iraqi should have thrown a dictionary at the man who has mutilated (along with his father) the English language. With that in mind, here are some recommendations of projectiles that should have been thrown at presidents going back to Kennedy during their press conferences (which would have made watching required).

1) John Kennedy (who stole the election and was a womanizer) -- wadded-up ballot forms and soiled panties.
2) Lyndon Johnson (who stole his Senate seat and escalated in Vietnam) -- wadded-up ballot forms and human guts.
3) Richard Nixon (who enacted minimum wage rules and killed off the gold standard) -- blue-collar midgets (who must be tossed, not thrown) and fake gold nuggets.
4) Jimmy Carter (peanut farmer cum laude who had lust in his heart) -- boiled peanuts and sticky copies of Hustler Magazine.
5) Ronald Reagan -- exempt from Projectile Rule for making fun of Walter Mondale and making the media look like the mindless dolts they are and for being the best president of the 20th century.
6) George H.W. Bush (whose eloquence rivaled that of a non-English-speaking retard during his entire presidency and especially when the Soviet bloc collapsed) -- unexpurgated Oxford English Dictionaries and giant pieces of the Berlin Wall.
7) Bill Clinton (who wedded "sperm" and "presidency" in news accounts and bent his forefinger when talking down to the American people) -- giant, stiff dildoes lathering in, well, you know what.
8) George W. Bush (former clueless party boy cum clueless president and rabid Christian) -- King James bibles with carved-out centers containing tiny bottles of whiskey.

Of course, the one projectile good for all presidential speaking occasions is the pinocchio nose. That should be standard fair upon the opening remarks, and will come in especially handy when Barack Obama begins his four-year farce. Of course, the nose will need to be color appropriate, which can be accomplished by mixing feces and some of Bill Clinton's -- well, you get the idea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Extraordinary talent

Here are four extraordinary videos:

12-year-old Brit girl

Car-phone warehouse worker sings Nessun Dorma

The divine Freddie Mercury

Little astounding Mozart six-year-old girl composer and pianist

Freedom's, uh, a good thing, a-yuck, a-yuck

If President Bush bails out the Big Three automakers, that act will finally make him one of the worst presidents of the last 100 years -- and seal his "legacy" as one of the most clueless simpletons who ever occupied the Oval Office and compromised freedom.

Since taking office in 2001, he has shown himself no friend of free markets or liberty with the following: 1) the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2002; 2) the Medicare Act of 2003 on prescription drugs (called “the greatest expansion in America’s welfare state in 40 years”); 3) failure to partially privatize Social Security when he had the chance in 2004; 4) failure to relieve massive regulation on oil drilling; 5) veto of fundamental stem cell research in July 2006; 6) building a monstrous wall between the U.S. and our friends in Mexico; 7) enhancement of the abysmal “drug war”; 8) beginning of a trillion-dollar war in Iraq instead of strategically annihilating the military-industrial complex of terrorist nations such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan; 9) approval of tens of billions in aid to foreign countries; 10) failure to protect U.S. company assets that were confiscated in Venezuela and elsewhere; 11) approval of a giant, reprehensible bailout of Wall Street.

President Bush’s equivocation on freedom belies a muddled intellect, whose expression wrought its finest (lowest) hour on Sept. 14, 2001, when he referred to the 9-11 murderers as “the people who knocked these buildings down.” What! Did he think they were bad boys playing with Tinker Toys? Any true lover of freedom winced at the hokey inanity and wistfully wished for a Ronald Reagan eloquence at such a perilous moment – perhaps something along the lines of “these demented assassins who destroyed two towering beacons of free America and murdered thousands of hard-working citizens.” Bush isn't a cowboy; he's a boy-cow.

If the president revives the Big Three from their much-deserved death rattle, then he will have sealed his fate as one of this country’s most ineloquent and preposterously befuddled leaders. That won't prevent him from doing yuck-yuck speaking tours at $50,000 a pop after he rides his ass into the sunset. But at least the smirking dimwit will no longer be that guy who is knocking this freedom-thing down.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No schooling means lots of learning

"I have gone through a lot in my life. I have the stability but not the worry. I found that all the skills necessary for me to live a life and learn things did not come from the formal school. If I wanted to do something, I could learn it and do it myself. So, I believe humans have a great potential in learning, but the school system is destroying such potential. If we instead allow the children to grow naturally, they would not have any fear and will learn to be confident and respectful of themselves."

Those are the words of a Thai man who unschooled himself (no formal education) and his son. The man is not completely objective about all things, but he understands that children need their volition honored, and that a formal schooling system does not do that. To read the rest of the article in which the above quote came, read this.

I have written about unschooling on Objectivist lists and forums for quite some time (including a long letter in The Objective Standard earlier this year), but most Objectivists still maintain that formal schooling is a sine qua non of the good life. That is unfortunate -- especially for their children, but also for others looking at Objectivism and seeing that some of its adherents violate the laws of volition and values when it comes to children.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Outback or the Outhouse?

If you want a taste of the Outback, may I suggest you make a run to the restaurant or catch an Imax documentary?

But don't see the new "epic" Australia at the theater.

Yes, there are the wonderful images (that you could see at the Imax). Yes there's the aboriginal viewpoint (with horrid voice-over, which is almost always a good indicator of bad movie-making). Yes, there is Hugh Jackman, a silly, stewing, over-the-top cowherd called, of course, "Drover." Yes, there is Nicole Kidman, mugging it up and mucking up her cliched lines.

To be fair, I can only attest to half the epic. I walked out midway through the awful tale -- run off finally when the aboriginal boy somehow stops a herd of cows stampeding toward him at a cliff's precipice after the boy stares at them with ghostly mien and points mystical fingers while his ancestral grandfather witch-doctor watches proudly from atop nearby mountain with fire blazing. "I'm outta here!" The mysticism pervades the movie, which couldn't even muster sympathy from me for its two main stick figures (see above).

The filmmaker, Baz Luhrmann, uses mysticism for sympathetic effect and deus ex machina. Cheap and insulting. He exaggerates the image of the country's unique animals (In one scene, he's got a group of kangaroos jumping in formation next to a moving vehicle.) and then plays farce by having one of the aborginees shoot the lead animal, causing me and my fellow moviegoers to gasp and then laugh. (Great for comedic farce, not for epics.) At another point, he has a female friend of Drover run at a humanly impossible speed next to Drover's clunky pick-up to have a casual conversation with the blithe Drover, much to the feigned horror of the Kidman character. Such meaningless farce seemed an attempt to show Australians' reputation for being laid back in the Outback. There are other, more sincere and even funny ways to achieve character description.

Luhrmann has had the audacity to say that he's learned from the masters: David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai) and the directors of Gone With the Wind, Ben-Hur, Giant, Braveheart, Lonesome Dove and The Searchers. No, he hasn't. If you want to test his "learning," try to sit through Australia and then rent Lawrence of Arabia, and bask in bigger-than-life characters, magnificent acting, real drama and tremendous cinematography in what may be the best movie in the history of filmmaking (except for the ending). A true epic.

Usually in reviewing a movie that disappoints me, I like to poke a lot of fun. But after reading reviews of Australia, I had my hopes up for seeing another good rendition of my favorite movie format: the epic.

Instead, after the little boy stopped the cows, all I could think of was getting some relief in the bathroom. If there'd been an outhouse nearby, I would've found that a more appropriate place for a purge.

Goodbye, Uncle Tom

One happy side-effect of the election of our new, fascist, mixed-race commander-in-chief is that it seems to have virtually ended diatribes about how America is allegedly racist. Even the terrible toad Jesse Jackson has morphed into an exultant Grim Weeper. I've noticed an extra hop in the step of black friends, acquaintances and workers. A warmer smile. A little better service, even. I don't think it's my imagination.

Even better than a possible death knell of imaginary racism is an ostensive contempt for Uncle Tom-ism. So-called black leaders are pronouncing with greater confidence the need to move up and be proud of moving up, doing business and being proud of doing business, dressing for success instead of parading in underwear. To give the wonderful Bill Cosby credit, he was doing this before it became cool in the last month, but the chorus has followed. Newspaper columnists are no longer tight-lipped about their agreement with Mr. Cosby. One of the high officials at Morehouse College in Atlanta (historically black college) publicly announced yesterday that he wants students to get "in the zone": no cursing, no sagging pants, no use of the word "niggas." He wants a "Renaissance man" who is "well-read, well-traveled, well-spoken, well-dressed and well-balanced."

Renaissance man!! Imagine hearing such a wonderful and noble phrase from the leader of a black college just one year ago, ante-Obama. Imagine a brave man having said it one year ago and the backlash of contempt that would've followed, as if black men and women needed to be allegedly like their white counterparts.

No. Not anymore. If I'm not being too optimistic, we seem to finally be past our past in this country. Not completely, of course, but pretty damned close. Obversely, perhaps the whites who have lived under "white guilt" will move along as well. The gates are open. All bets are off. Let the tide roll in and remain high.

As we Objectivists know, career is the life-blood of self-esteem. Work is one's connection to the world, the thing that provides tangible, palpable reality to one's self, to one's values, to one's identity, to one's self-esteem. Now, blacks can have that identity without qualms, without worrying that they will be maligned with the sobrequet of "Uncle Tom." What a liberation! They can feel the full pride of their chosen profession and walk proudly in the knowledge that what they do is what they are. Those of us who are of races that have not lived under such psychological oppression will benefit from the concomitant good will of our fellow humans with black skin.

I loathe Mr. Obama's politics, and so I may generalize and say that I loathe his ethics, his morality -- him. I wish his obvious "stature" were well-placed in liberty. It is not. But I thank him for finally giving eulogy to Harriet Beecher Stowe's obsequious slave and what he has ironically come to represent.

I so I say, "Goodbye, Uncle Tom." May you rest in history.

Poor health equals poor self-esteem

Between the ages of 25 and 41, I jogged at least 20 miles a week. Health was a major value for me. But I wasn't completely healthy, and I evaded the fact. I was too thin and looked older than my age. I saw this in the mirror, and I felt it in my bowels. I had diarrhea after every long run. I had perennial gas problems. I had poor digestion and constant issues on the toilet. I had convinced myself that my exercise made me healthy automatically, and that I could eat anything I wanted, as long as I got enough protein. I even convinced myself that my diarrhea was a regular "cleansing" -- something my sympathetic ex-wife, Kelly, used to laugh at (rightly so, I came to find out).

I thought I had pretty high self-esteem. I was right -- and the accent was on "pretty." I didn't have full self-esteem. I wasn't completely objective about my life and my values. I hadn't dealt with my own dissatisfaction with my journalistic job and my own desire to do work that was much more satisfying. That evasion and earlier evasions about other aspects of my life got me used to evasions in general. If you allow one evasion, then that irrationality will breed it to construct ever-more clever subconscious evasions. It lives like a tape-worm in your subconscious until you consciously go in search of it and kill it.

I had started working on my evasions and being completely rational at the age of 31, when I discovered Objectivism. I worked through perhaps 90% of my irrationality but had not done the mental work necessary to complete the task of living a totally rational life and killing the tape-worm. At 41, I'd gotten to where I was virtually totally conscious of and in control of all my thoughts (a final step in working through one's issues and being totally honest) and had begun to wonder at my digestive and health issues. I finally felt like I was worthy to have a body that reflected the new me, the new full-bodied self-esteem.

That was when Kelly approached me about her discoveries on the importance of a healthy diet (see my previous post on that). The facts were incontrovertible. I could not (would not) evade them. I began to eat right. Within months, I was looking healthier and my digestion actually started working properly. The toilet was no longer a quarter-hour foe. My digestion hadn't been that good since I was 15. By the time I was 44, I looked younger than I did at 36. In fact, Kelly and I would see a photo of me in my mid-30s and were blown away at how bad I looked.

At 41, I also quit my journalism job and got a job that was more fulfilling for my personality. And I did my writing on the side, with the thought that I would one day do it much more when my financial situation allowed it.

I have now fine-tuned what Kelly taught me and have a diet that is simply amazing and has me feeling like I did in my early 20s. When I reflect on the days of evasion, I realize that what caused me to evade all those years in front of the mirror and on the toilet was a poor self-esteem, caused by evasion of values. My poor self-esteem was reflected in my body. I simply didn't WANT to change anything because I didn't DESERVE to change anything. I didn't deserve to be healthy. It's an insidious thing, really. And when I see or hear of the same scenario in friends or family now, I realize the same thing is happening with them. And it pains me, especially when they won't listen to me.

I try to be diplomatic about it, but inside I'm wanting to scream, "Friend, focus on the values. Get your self-esteem back. Get your health back. Live life to its fullest. Live long. Get off the toilet. Have fun looking in the mirror."

I want my friends to feel as happy about their health as I now do mine. I want to share in the exuberance of a life well-lived and well felt. Perhaps, if they read this, they will see themselves in me and what I was, and decide, as I finally did, that NOW is the time to change their diet and change their life.

Godspeed, if you do, my friends!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

99 & 44/100s percent pure love -- er, health

I’m no expert on diet, though I’ve been doing regular research for 5 years now. What I’ve found through my own experimentation and through reading is that supplements (including vitamins) are unnecessary as a general rule, and that they are needed only in special circumstances.
Here’s what I’ve found:

1) Eat fruits and legumes and nuts and vegetables (mostly uncooked, except for those few that release their nutrients more easily cooked, like broccoli and tomatoes).
2) Eat meat (high in loads of necessary vitamins, like B-12, Iron, etc.)
3) Get at least 1.5 hours of direct sunlight each week (may need Vitamin D supplement or get more dairy, if you don’t)
4) Consume VERY small amounts (or none at all) of sugar, refined flour, preservative-laced foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners.
5) Do vigorous exercise at least 3 times a week, and stretch after each exercise for 15 minutes.

I think the above 5 apply to every human on the planet, but there are exceptions to “kind” and quantity. People with allergies obviously have to be careful about which foods from the above categories to choose from since some are allergic to shellfish, peanuts, gluten, etc. Also, people can be going through a particular experience that requires an “additive,” such as possibly a need for more folic acid during pregnancy. I’ve come to believe that a vegan diet is detrimental to good health, requiring large amounts of “additives” to attain nearly normal health.
Also, as we age, our bodies may become a little less efficient at processing (though I’m not sure about this, if one keeps a good diet and exercise program). It may be necessary to get supplements of good bacteria.

The main thing I’d been struggling with five years ago is what is the perfect (or near-perfect) measure of good health. What I’ve found is the following: good bowel movements; good quality sleep; erect posture; muscle and tendon elasticity; strong bones and teeth; good gums; clear skin; fluid mental activity; no achy joints; almost no sickness; quick healing. If one of these areas is compromised, then I think a person should look closely at their diet and exercise programs with an objective eye and do good research and then commit to trial and error to make sure they get it fixed properly. This can take time and dedication. I’ve found that just one pigging out on pizza or Ramen noodles or burritos affects my sleep, my mood, my energy, my digestion, my bowel movements. That isn’t a coincidence.

I’ve come to believe that diet and exercise are directly linked to virtually every physical and mental health problem in humankind, including ADD, Alzheimer’s, strokes, cancer, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, etc. I do believe some of us may be more prone genetically to certain health problems, but I think that diet and exercise can offset that tendency to some degree or completely.

For myself, I don’t feel like I get quite enough enzymes because I cook some of my food, so I supplement with Green Vibrance (acidophilus, “green” food). I also take Omega 3 fish oil in liquid form. And I take pure amino acid pills (called MAP from occasionally if I’m planning a very hard workout (they are good at rebuilding worked muscles). I take these few supplements because I don’t eat enough fish and cook some of my food, thereby compromising my body to a small degree and forcing me to replenish.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shaken ... Not Stirred

If one needs a metaphor for the new James Bond, one need look no further than his new martini, which he orders with sweet juice -- and even gets downright "When Harry Met Sally" over it in Casino Royale as he tells the waiter the ingredients to put in it. It's a funny scene, but one grimaces at the overplay of a man who is supposed to be black, white, bold, clean, concise, terse, dismissive.

What the world-in-crisis needs are three words. Shaken, not stirred. Bold ... James Bold. If the writers wanted to get clever, they could've had Bond say to the waiter, "Shaken, not ..." And then have the waiter finish the line with "Stirred." And have Bond look into the eyes of his evil opponent at the poker table and smile, "Indeed."

The new martini is no accident for the new, modern Bond. He is primpy, not peremptive. He is bulk, not brains. He is sweat, not suave. He is action, not acumen. He is Jason Bourne in a tux, with a sweet tooth. The new flick, Quantum of Solace (which makes no sense in the movie), is no different.

We need a return to the old writing, directing and acting. And we need a man who can deliver. There has been only one man fit for a Bond: Sean Connery. Elegant, suave beyond suave, menacingly astute, dapper, bold, confident. In a word: aplomb. He is a man who saves the world and finds time for women and wit along his merry way. His entire demeanor shouts "evil is impotent, and I am not." He is the perfect character for an Ayn Rand hero. And the writing in the first Bond movies extolled these virtues. Here are a few quotes:

In From Russia with Love, a beautiful woman says: "I think my mouth is too big."
Bond says dryly: "It's just the right size."

After electrocuting a bad guy in a bathtub in Goldfinger, Bond says breezily: "Shocking. Positively shocking."

In Goldfinger, Bond meets a gorgeous woman. He says with raised eyebrow and suave grin: "Who are you?"
She says: "Pussy Galore."
He says: "I must be dreaming."

After getting picked up on the side of the road by a beautiful woman driving extremely fast in Thunderball, Bond says, "Do you fly here often?"
She says: "Some men just don't like being driven."
He says: "Some men just don't like being taken for a ride."

From Dr. No, Bond says: "That's a Smith & Wesson, and you've had your six."

Connery pulls off these lines with perfect aplomb. The lines can get a bit kitsch, no doubt, but that's part of the charm, because Bond is so impervious to danger, he gets a bit over-the-top with his fun.

In contrast to the clever, blithe era of Connery, we get a new Bond who runs for a quarter of the movie, chasing bad guys or getting out of jams. He takes his shirt off to reveal a man who spends too much time in the gym and not enough with the women. He delivers one-liners as if aloof, not amused. Women confuse him or do not appeal to him, instead of enthrall him. He is always one step behind the bad guys, instead of so far ahead that he allows himself to fall into danger, knowing he will devise a clever strategy of escape.

No Bond has been perfect. The old ones are sometimes cardboard. The new ones are angst-ridden.

But, if we're to have a man to save the world, let's not have Mr. Blanding Orders His Sugar. Let's have a Bond basking in his pungent vodka and vermouth and giving orders.

"Shaken, not stirred."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bloody Friday

Black Friday became Bloody Friday at a New York Wal-Mart yesterday.

2,000 shoppers had lined up outside the store's doors by opening hour at 5 a.m. And then, as some poor Wal-Mart fool began to open the doors, the impatient, ravenous crowd broke through and rampaged over the stricken man, trampling him to death like a thundering pack of wildebeasts.

The man's co-workers vainly tried to help him, but they learned quickly that you do not rush headlong into a bargain-discount stampede. No shopper stopped to help. The animals dispersed throughout the store, leaving behind the bloody pulp that used to be a man.

If the sordid tale ended here, would that not be enough to turn your stomach at what America has become? There's more.

When the store announced that it would close down because of the employee's death, shoppers shouted in angry defiance and continued to shop. Oh, what inhumanity!

Police finally arrived and cleared out the store. But if I were police chief, every last one of the villains would be made to sit on the floor silently as I reviewed the store's video to find the exact culprits who stomped on the poor man and all those who witnessed the fatal beating and did nothing about it. I would play the video for them all to see, so that I might seek out one shred of shame. And then I would post the video to YouTube, so the world could testify to the identities of the murderers, who, if they ever got out of prison, would find no employer willing to employ them. Social ostracism.

Those animals would, at this very moment, be wearing stripes in a six-by-eight and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Perhaps that might be a lesson to the legions of other wildebeasts who inhabit our once-proud country.

The braggart bandit

As Ronald Reagan would say, "Here we go again."

George W(ZZZZZZZ) Bush is at that inevitable endpoint of lame-ducktitude when presidents begin recounting their atrocities. Whoops, "accomplishments." The self-congratulatory lists are inevitably a long soliloquy of criminal behavior -- grand larceny at gunpoint of the American people.

The current Ogre in the Oval lauds his "liberating of 50 million people" in Iraq -- while looting Americans of $1 trillion. (To call Americans "taxpayers" would be like calling the businesses that mafiosos rob "clients").

Mr. ZZZZZZZ also crows about his focus on helping Africa with its AIDS and malaria crises, at the expense of Joe America of billions more dollars.

He seems most proud of his theft of tens of billions from free people so that irresponsible Americans can have cheaper prescription drugs.

In proclaiming the above, he states with misty eyes "I've kept my values." Indeed, he'll get no argument here about his steadfast, destructive altruism. But the tears belong to us: hard-working Americans who wish to spend our money on ourselves and our beloved instead of strangers in foreign lands or hapless pathetics within our own boundaries -- but who get no say in what should be a private matter.

To see this reprehensible bandit yammer on is to watch a Mafia kingpin brag of his "protection" for his community. To see the media blithely report such recounting of atrocities is to feel oneself living in a surreal world of the macabre.

Where have you gone, dear Thomas Paine? We need your wise words in our time of the braggart bandit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before you swallow ...

I’ve been doing research on diet now for a couple of years and trying out lots of things, some good, some bunk. What I’ve discovered is that virtually all health issues, good and bad, start the moment you swallow. Good diet equals good living, and vice versa. Here’s what I’ve found:

1) Raw food diet. I was on this diet for six months. It meant not eating cooked food. I was about 80% raw food overall. I found that I had more energy for three months and could jog better and was more alert. But after the three months, I found my energy waning a bit and my gums starting getting sore and my ligaments had less elasticity. I was simply not getting enough quality protein. I gradually reintroduced meats cooked rare or medium rare and fish, and my gums stopped being sore and my ligaments regained elasticity. I’m still probably about 40% raw. This seems to be a good balance for me. My digestion is the best in my life, including childhood. I had intestinal gas problems my whole life up until Kelly got me on more natural foods five years ago, but still had slight problems with that. I now have zero gas problems, which means that my body is now properly digesting all of my proteins. I can even drink milk or eat rice and have no gas issues. This has had the added benefit of making me stronger and providing more endurance and making me capable of shaking disease faster or not getting sick when I would have formally. I’ve noticed that my posture is better, too. Also, I now NEVER have any issues in the bathroom. That’s mind-blowing to me because it had been commonplace before.

2) With rare exception, I don’t eat processed foods, empty carbs and diet drinks. This means no potato chips, crackers, white bread, sugar, canned food, frozen food, deli meat, mayonnaise, hot dogs, pastries, etc. Almost all diet-research sites blast these “foods,” and rightly so. They are simply man-made junk. Worse, they are toxic to the human body. Whenever I eat any of them, I feel the difference in my body within 30 minutes to an hour: lethargy, fuzziness, queasiness, digestion issues. Eating them on a daily basis is, I think, what causes almost all illnesses known to mankind, including cancer, achy joints, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, consistent digestion issues, etc.

3) Supplements. If you’re eating right, I think supplements are generally just a waste of time. The exceptions to this rule are when a person’s body doesn’t produce or digest certain minerals very well. How do you discover that? Mostly trial and error and paying attention to your body. All that said, I think our bodies become a little less efficient at digestion as we age, so I recommend the following on No. 4.

4) The one great thing about a raw food diet is that you get all of the digestion enzymes that you need to digest ALL of the food you eat, thereby cleansing your intestines and preventing toxins from leaking into your body. (sounds pretty yucky, and it IS). Since we cook much of our food (something our primitive ancestors largely didn’t do), we have to get the probiotics (good bacteria) and healthy fatty acids and enzymes from another source. After much testing on different products, I recommend Green Vibrance, which Marita recommended to me a year ago. It is nothing short of miraculous for good digestion and dietary well-being. You can find it at some health food stores or at places like . It’s a bit expensive but will last for two months. Keep it frozen to ensure quality. I also recommend taking a spoonful of cold-water fish oil (I take cod liver oil) for Omega 3 acids, which help with arterial and joint health ( ). Flaxseed oil is another great source of Omega fatty acids. Here’s a good site on its benefits: . Because most of us don’t get high-enough quality protein (there IS a difference in protein), we usually need some amino acid supplement, especially if we’re working out. I highly recommend MAP (Master Amino Acid Pattern), which is the highest quality protein on the planet. Since I started taking MAP five months ago, my muscles have gained strength and bulk, and my energy has increased, and my soreness after working out has decreased. Here’s an article on protein quality at the Bodyhealth site that sells MAP: . These four things (Green Vibrance, fish oil, flax oil, MAP) I consider to be objectively good, after doing research and conducting tests on my own body. The one test I’m still conducting is on organic wheat grass. It allegedly provides pure chlorophyll, enzymes and more. I’ve been taking it for 4 months, but because my other four things mentioned above have put my body in a good place, it’s hard for me to know whether the wheat grass is helping or not. There’s not enough scientific evidence on it yet, and no confined experiments have been conducted. I like the IDEA behind wheat grass, so I will continue to use it for a while and see if I can notice any difference. One last thing on supplements. I don’t think most of us get enough Vitamin D in winter because we aren’t exposed to the sun nearly enough, so you can do one of two things: expose yourself to the sun every day for 15 minutes (in a bedroom by a window while reading) or take Vitamin D supplements. This will help prevent sickness and promote bone strength.

I went through my life with the mistaken impression that my strenuous exercise would always keep me in good health. It was a horrible misconception. It was Kelly that woke me up on diet, so I’ll always thank her for that. What has impressed me about my research in the last couple of years is the objectivity concerning what the body needs. No two bodies are exactly alike, but by and large, the above holds true for everyone, as far as I can tell. The minute a person starts eliminating the poisons from his/her diet, the body and mind start responding. It may take a couple of weeks to start feeling the difference, but it will come. Once you get it in a good place, then the splurges of tacos or pizzas are no big deal. If a person adds exercise to the above, then health and longevity should be the consequence.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank people - not gods - for Thanksgiving's abundance

Should people pray to gods at the Thanksgiving meal or thank those who have best used the human mind? The following column makes the answer eloquently clear:

Op-ed from The Objective Standard

Don’t Say Grace, Say Justice
by Craig Biddle

The religious tradition of saying grace before meals becomes especially popular around the holidays, when we all are reminded of how fortunate we are to have an abundance of life-sustaining goods and services at our disposal. But there is a grave injustice involved in this tradition. It is the injustice of thanking an alleged God for the productive accomplishments of actual men.

Where do the ideas, principles, constitutions, governments, and laws that protect our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness come from? What is the source of the meals, medicines, homes, automobiles, and fighter jets that keep us alive and enable us to flourish? Who is responsible for our freedom, prosperity, and well-being?

Is freedom a gift from God? It is not. Freedom, the absence of physical coercion, is a political condition resulting from the rational, principled thought and action of men—men such as Aristotle, John Locke, the Founding Fathers, Frederick Douglass, and American soldiers.

Did God make the ambrosia that melts in your mouth, or the asthma medicine that keeps your child alive, or the plush recliner in which you relax, or the big-screen TV on which you watch your favorite show? Did God create the jetliners that bring friends and family from afar, or the stealth bombers that keep the barbarians at bay, or the music that warms your heart and fuels your soul?

Since God is responsible for none of the goods on which human life and happiness depend, why thank him for any such goods? More to the point: Why not thank those who actually are responsible for them? What would a just man do?

Justice is the virtue of judging people rationally—according to what they say, do, and produce—and treating them accordingly, granting to each man that which he deserves. If someone spends the day preparing a wonderful meal, justice demands that he, not God, be thanked for doing so. If someone provides his family with a warm, safe, comfortable home, justice demands that he, not God, be thanked for providing it. If a policeman or fireman or doctor saves someone’s life, justice demands that he, not God, be thanked. If a loving spouse or child or parent or friend provides you with great joy, justice demands that he, not God, be acknowledged accordingly. If a philosopher discovers the principles on which freedom depends—and if others put those principles into practice—justice demands that they, not God, be given credit.

To say grace is to give credit where none is due—and, worse, it is to withhold credit where it is due. To say grace is to commit an act of injustice.

Rational, productive people—whether philosophers, scientists, inventors, artists, businessmen, military strategists, friends, family, or yourself—are who deserve to be thanked for the goods on which your life, liberty, and happiness depend. This holiday season—and from now on—don’t say grace; say justice. Thank or acknowledge the people who actually provide the goods. Some of them may be sitting right there at the table with you. And if you find yourself at a table where people insist on saying grace, politely insist on saying justice when they’re through. It’s the right thing to do.

Craig Biddle is the editor and publisher of The Objective Standard and the author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It.

Guns, freedom, money and "change"

I saw a terrific Vent in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution that made delicious fun of Obama's alleged "change" campaign.

"I'll keep my guns, my freedom and my money. You can keep the change."

Man after my own heart!

Now, if we could just find about 100 million more just like him ...

O-Ba-Ma, O-Ba-Ma, O-Ba-Ma!!!

If you seek insight into the delusion, willful ignorance, Marxism and robotic presumption of the O-Ba-Ma deadbeats, this video is a must-see. It shows how the media have been perfect in their biased dispersal of political material to the masses, as well as the masses' appetite for it.

Be sure to have your vomit bag handy!

Let Citigroup eat bread

When I was a poor boy with low amounts in my banking account, I got charged fees very month by my bank for allegedly not having enough in my account to make the bank money. I also got charged if I used too many checks. I also, occasionally, had an overdraft when I wasn't managing my account closely enough. Pow! Huge overdraft fee that equaled four hours of work.

When ATMs came along, I was charged $1.00 to get cash, even though the machines were actually saving banks money by allowing them to reduce counter personnel.

But what probably rankled me even more was the bank's hours of operation: 9-4. Outside of banks, who the hell operates their business from 9-4? What those hours meant was that I had to somehow get to the bank during lunch (when it was crowded with desperate people like me) or attempt to speed to the bank during its "extended hours" on Friday.

Being in the real estate business, I've bought a lot of homes in the last 6 years, which has meant, yes, dealing with BANKS. These banks have tried six times to make me pay a prepayment penalty on homes I was selling, even though my contract with the bank/lender stipulated that I shouldn't pay a penalty. I spent hours and days being run through a phalanx of bank grunts and officers each time to get the penalty removed, oft-times having to back up my closings on the homes and nearly losing my buyers a couple of times. I often wondered how many un-savvy sellers of homes never noticed the penalties when they sold their houses and could never understand why they didn't make more from the sale.

Outside of the penalty rant above, the banks had a right to do all they did, and I accepted the rules. But it is bad business. When people who want to give you cash get nickle and dimed and dollared by you in return, it creates resentment. Poorer people are between a rock and a hard place. The banks know this and take advantage of it, making those penalties and fees a major contributor to their bottom lines. The banks could treat these people well and make them longtime customers, but instead the banks have been irrationally pragmatic.

And many of these depositors will not always be poor. They will eventually try to find a decent bank to work with and give their increasing cash to. When I finally got money, I didn't give a dime of my money to the banks that squandered my good opinion, and I found a few whose policies were not parasitic of folks like I used to be.

So, ask me (a free-market capitalist) if I'm happy that I'm now being robbed by the U.S. government to bail out Citigroup and the rest of the upper legion of filth who have shit upon millions of people like me over the years. Go ahead, ask me!

Charge the bastards a trillion-dollar overdraft fee!

Then kick the sons-a-bitches to the streets and let them eat bread!

Friday, November 21, 2008

May you rest in peace, Nicolaus Copernicus

Many of you probably know that the name of this blog, The Sidereal Messenger, is based upon the world-shaking publication by Galileo Galilei, in which he made it clear to the Christian world that Earth was not the center of the universe, much less the center of our own solar system, among other inisights.

Galileo may have never been fascinated with the new invention called the telescope had it not been for one extraordinary man: Nicolaus Copernicus, who first expounded a scientific explanation for heliocentrism and began, arguably, the scientific revolution. Copernicus' efforts also gave legitimacy to the scientific method, causing a sort-of big bang in scientific discovery after his death in 1543.

When Copernicus died 500 years ago, his grave was left unmarked (Imagine Einstein's grave going unmarked in modern times!). But yesterday, researchers confirmed that the identity of remains in a Catholic cathedral in Frombork, Poland, are indeed Copernicus'. Interestingly, geneticists gave the final confirmation by taking bone and teeth specimens from the remains and comparing them to hair found in a book in Copernicus' library. Match! How's that for modern science and sleuthing?!

At long last, we know where resides the man who started a mental revolution, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln's greeting of Harriet Beecher Stowe during the Civil Way.

May the genial, hard-working, brilliant Nicolaus Copernicus rest in peace.

In the Wall Street Journal again

I had a short letter to the editor printed in yesterday's Wall Stree Journal:

What goes around ... Part III (Christians)

For centuries, Christians have been telling society, through legislation (when it wasn't outright murdering people), what it can and cannot do.

In America, the Christians have accomplished the following list of rights violations:
(1) Stopped women from having hegemony over their bodies via abortion legislation
(2) Stopped blacks from having full rights
(3) Forced companies to stop "lewd" behavior in books, cinema, artwork, music, etc.
(4) Stopped contractual unions between homosexuals
(5) Given tax-free status to their mystic dwellings (they call them "churches")

The principle behind this assault on freedom is that individuals and companies do not own their own lives and property and are subject to coercive legislation. But occasionally this principle comes back to bite the religious in their self-righteous asses.

The private heterosexual Internet dating site eHarmony, which was started by an evangelical Christian, settled a lawsuit Wednesday in New Jersey and agreed to pay a fine and start letting homosexuals join its site. The suit was filed under the so-called Law Against Discrimination, and the gay plaintiff won.

Objectively, such sites should be allowed to pick and choose their members without any government intervention or coercion. But this onlooker has little sympathy for a man who is part of a group that daily oppresses millions of Americans through his corrupt and skeptical philosophy. Maybe the recent ironic justice will wipe the smug smile off the Christian's face.

Whatever goes around ... comes around.

What goes around ... Part II (UAW)

The deadly parasite that goes by the name United Automobile Workers union has almost killed its hosts, the Detroit car makers. Like any mindless host, it continues eating and plundering until the grisly moment of death, as the UAW has done for 61 tyrannical years.

With the aid of its associates in Congress, the UAW has gotten legislation passed since 1935 that has:
(1) forced car companies to recognize unions
(2) forced car companies to bargain with unions and abide by arbiter's decision
(3) forced car companies to desist from dissuading union activity or non-union voting
(4) rejected car companies' right to threaten to shut down plant
(5) rejected car companies' right to fire union activists

The above restrictions have put GM, Ford and Chrysler at the mercy of strikes, sit downs and intimidation, resulting in a current labor cost of more than $70 an hour for workers (Toyota pays around $45 at its American plants), delayed labor-saving technology, prolonged employee incompetence, allowed thousands of workers to play dominoes all day at full pay because robotics have assumed their jobs and unions don't allow them to be fired, skyrocketed healthcare costs to over $1,600 per car, created a catastrophic pension program, restricted "variety" jobs by insisting on "specialists" to do each job, and much more.

Take away all of the above cushie "rights" of union workers, and GM would then make almost the $2,000 per car that Toyota currently makes with its non-union workers and high technology, instead of the $1,250 that GM currently loses on each car. For a good read on much of the above see this web site posting:

And so the hosts take to bed and wobble to Congress for an emergency injection. Whether the ilk in Congress provide the injection or not, sooner or later the parasites will die a horrible death at the hands of economic justice in the bodies of their deceased hosts. None too soon for me.

Whatever comes around ... goes around.

What goes around ... Part I (Journalism)

For decades, newspapers have considered the low rate of home ownership among the poor (and minorities) to be a travesty. Their front-page headlines have berated lenders for their "overly strict" standards and have implied that one of the reasons for loan denial has been racism, which has never been proved.

The Fourth Estate has been one of the primary movers in the current economic collapse, putting constant pressure on Congress to force lenders to hand out mortgages to the "underclass." And so Congress complied in the late 1970s and escalated their charge in the last six years.

The result is our current harrowing collapse. But you won't see any mea culpa on the front pages (or any pages) of a single newspaper in America, that I'm aware of.

You will, however, see far fewer full-page ads by car dealers, who are going out of business at record rates. There are noticeably thinner Sunday ad sections. And newspapers around the country are hurting in a big way as they watch revenues plummet. The jaundiced dream of a house over every poor head has brought the economic roof down upon the newspaper industry.

Some of this was occurring before the recent collapse, as the younger generations get more of their news and entertainment from the Internet, but the collapse has thrown more water onto the advertising fire of print journalism.

The justice of the above is refreshing and long overdue. Newspapers are having to lay off some of the socialists who fill their newsrooms and cutting back on raises for many of those remaining behind. (Perhaps they'll go get real jobs.) The Che Guevara-istas are left bemoaning allegedly corrupt corporate America while begging daily for more of corporate America's advertising dollars. Delicious irony that! Just the thought of the sturm und drang filling newsrooms delivers me to my kitchen for a bottle of red.

What goes around ... comes around.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Atheists fight back

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the rise and vocalism of atheists in America today:
It's nice to see. My friend Aquinas sat down and penned the following terrific letter and sent it in to the WSJ for publication. Here's hoping it gets printed!

"With many more people realizing that America was not founded on Christian principles, it was encouraging to read Atheist Reach Out by Stephanie Simon (Currents A14,11/18/2008). Although many of the Founders were religious, several were also deist. Their Enlightement influence, via John Locke, led to a very secular declaration of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Thomas Jefferson famously said, 'Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.'

"If there is a current increase of atheism, it is unlikely to be sustained without an explicit and consistent moral component. People want answers, a guide to moral living, and religion gives this to them. Unfortunately the new atheists graft religious morality onto their metaphysical views (The Mystical Ethics of the New Atheists, The Objective Standard, Fall 2008, Vol.3, To my knowledge there has been only one fully integrated atheistic worldview that has been compatible with the original foundation of this country. That philosophy is Objectivism, by Ayn Rand. Her morality of rational self-interest melds nicely with Jefferson’s homage to reason and liberty, and would give lasting fuel for a resurging atheism."

The transsexual transvestite from Transylvania

A recent survey published in the WSJ showed that Americans are blissfully unaware of what's actually in the book that they believe to be the most important in their lives.

Here's what the survey found about Bible followers:
1) 60% can't name five of the Ten Commandments. (Little wonder since 5 of them were all about God himself getting his panties in an uproar about competitors.)
2) Only 50% could name a single gospel.
3) 60% thought Jesus was born in Jerusalem.
4) Few could distinguish between epistles, prophecy and history.
5) Most didn't know difference between inerrancy and literalism (much less what those terms mean)

In light of the above, I thought it my humble duty to educate Christians.

1) The Last Supper was a homosexual orgy (Come on, 12 non-related guys get together for food and wine and gossip!)
2) The epistles were the thorns that Jesus and his gay entourage got in their backs while having rollicking fun. (Moral of story: Always use a public restroom.)
3) Jesus was a transsexual transvestite from Transylvania, and his real name was Rocky, which was not revealed until 1975.
4) Martin Luther's 95 theses were actually 95 web sites, of which this semi-family blog will not list.
5) The city of Sodom was built and named so that later Christians could show themselves to be a blighted, ignorant, provincial, prejudiced people by uttering loudly the term "sodomite."
6) After raping Mary, God was heard to pronounce, "Myself, I'm SO glad I made Jesus a homo, so he would NEVER have to smell THAT kind of fish, though I shall make him a fishermen of men. Heh heh."
7) The term for "water" in Hebrew actually means "semen" if pronounced with a lisp, and so the ritualistic "baptism" takes on a whole new meaning. Jesus had a lisp.
8) The crucifixion is a metaphorical "crossing of swords." ... Get it? You know, when two penises collide or "cross" during lovemaking. Come on, people! It's SOOO obvious.
9) "Inerrancy" means NEVER entering the wrong, ahem, hole. "Literalism" means never EVER using the term "literally" because you always fuck it up if you're a Christian.
10) The 10th Commandment (least important) allegedly says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." What it really says is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's 'wife'." There is also a wink next to this commandment.
11) God created the world in six days. Yes, true. But he finished on Friday, not Saturday. Even he knew that gay bars suck on Sunday -- not LITERALLY, of course

Who's guarding the guards?

One of the biggest rationales for big government is that we Americans need somebody guarding us against corporate malfeasance -- or even perfectly moral actions such as setting prices. But, as throughout history, government is replete with criminal behavior.

Note the sweetheart deals that both Sen. Dodd and Postmaster General John Potter secretly received from Countrywide on loans. Note the criminal actions of Barney Frank concerning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Note the enormous campaign contributions to every single politician in America. Note the gross intimidation of companies by former NY Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Note the legions of stories in recent decades of handout bribes to regulators and inspectors in the airline industry, the meat-production industry, the agricultural industry and virtually every other industry in America.

Imagine if GM or Proctor & Gamble or Bed Bath & Beyond gave huge contributions to the wonderfully objective Consumer Reports. Imagine the uproar and loss of integrity to CR, which, by the way, is the most-effective private "regulator" and overseer of corporate America in the history of this country, IMO. I get a hundred times more relevant info on products and practices of companies from CR than all of the regulators in American history combined -- and all for less than $25 a year.

So where are the guards guarding the guards who are guarding the guards of the guards? Or, more important, why do we NEED such government guards in the first place?

We don't. We can do the research (via our own primary research or publications such as CR's) ourselves. Morever, it is immoral for government to oversee private organizations. It presumes guilt in a country that was founded upon the presumption of innocence, and it places government in a role of intrusive, coercive agent, when its job is, instead, supposed to be one of reacting to coercion or the explicit intent of coercion or fraud.

Let's fire the "guards" and become our own guardians. We are, after all, adults.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way ...

A funny thing happened on the way to success with my new company, Ignite.

Not ONE of my closest friends has switched service over to my new company. I'm doing well at it with neighbors, family and acquaintances and have already exceeded quotas ahead of what's expected. But nary a longtime friend has changed their natural gas service with me.

Moreover, several of them haven't even emailed or phoned me about it when I've contacted them, out of respect for our relationship. I'm trying to save them hundreds of dollars each year on their gas bills - and, of course, make a few bucks myself. Zip. Zilch.

To be fair, one of my dear friends will be switching when she gets her next gas bill, so she can get the proper AGLC number off of it, so thank you, dear lady (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, DARLING :) ). And two friends got back with me to say they can't switch because they don't have gas service or are in an apartment complex that doesn't allow it. Thank you!

Besides the ones who have disappeared into the void, there are a few who didn't come on board because what I'm doing is a PYRAMID! In case you couldn't read that last word, I said PYRAMID!!!!! (Please read earlier post to get full David flavor on PYRAMIDS!)

While talking with another lady friend last night (whom I've known only a few months and is a customer), we tried speculating on the issue of why longtime friends don't help out friends who are trying to help them and make a few bucks. We had hypotheses, but I'm afraid it's still a puzzle wrapped in a riddle.

Perhaps one of those friends will enlighten me one day.

Heroes -- The good, the bad and the ugly

In David Bowie's song "Heroes," I listen to these plaintively courageous lines, "I ... I will be king ... and you ... you will be QUEEN! ... Though nothing will drive them away, we can be heroes ... just for one day! We can be US ... just for one day!"

Two people are fighting to be themselves, to be with each other against "them," as Bowie says in the song. Though we don't know who "them" is, we don't need to. It's part of the genuis and beauty of the song. "Them" is almost everybody and everything we experience in our modern lives. We fight to be ourselves, to pursue what we know is right, to think for ourselves, to find a partner of crimson compatability. Bowie talks of just one day, but you get a sense he sanguinely means "each day," this day and then the next day. Maybe it's just my reading, but I hear sublime optimism.

I listen to that song often when I'm running, and my pace inevitably quickens as my heart bursts with joy and freedom. Bowie's anthem, tinged with the lusty optimism and occasional ominousness of Beethoven, steels my spirit. I have it now on repeat on my iTunes and have heard it three times already. It bears me up as I think on the next segement of this blog: the anti-heroes of today.

We used to be a culture of unapologetic men of wealth and right: Rockefeller, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Paine. Men of substance and will, fighting to the death (Jackson) or in print (Paine) or against competitors (Rockefeller). Life was tip of the sword, with the better man standing upright in defense of the good and noble.

Now we have Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Clint Eastwood. Men of mediocrity and malevolence, fighting for opinion (Clinton) for altruism (Gates) for realism and nihilism (Eastwood).

The most disappointing of these "new" men is Eastwood, a former hero. He road tall in the saddle as Rowdy Yates on "Rawhide." He was the independent man of the High Plains, the "good" in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," the Dirty Harry who was clean of soul and pursued evil with a moral sword, the wry leader of "Kelly's Heroes."

Now we have Clint of "Millionaire Dollar Baby," in which the hero is a quadrapalegic at movie's end, or "The Unforgiven," in which the hero is an angst-ridden cowboy whose "redemption" is a dead but allegedly moral wife, or "Mystic River" with its characters "caught" in life's allegedly inevitable cycles of despair, or "Letters from Iwo Jima," with its unrelenting realism and sympathy of men who obeyed an emperor.

Just listening to the adjectives of Eastwood's adoring modern crowd is enough to put off any lover of optimism and humor: "fated characters," "noir," "realistic," "harsh," "morally complex," "humorless," "soul-searching." These worshippers praise Eastwood for his nihilism, for his relativism, for his altruism -- all the things he used to not be. Eastwood himself has called his sympathetic and lovable character of Rowdy Yates "an idiot of the plains." Eastwood has "grown up," as the like to say, become more "complex."

No, he's just become bad and ugly. He no longer believes in kings and queens of the spirit. He has sullied himself with the mildew of praise. I wish he could be good just for one day.

"I ... I will be king ... and you ... you will be QUEEN! ... Though nothing will drive them away, we can be heroes ... just for one day! We can be US ... just for one day!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Of "Pyramids" and "Schemes" and Objectivists

In the last week of working my MLM (multi-level marketing) business with Ignite Inc (the marketing arm for Stream Energy in Texas and Georgia), I've received feedback from Objectivists that has floored me, for lack of a better term. Two Objectivists expressly stated their contempt for "pyramids" and "schemes" and two others expressed veiled contempt in their wording.

The first occurrence surprised me, so I explained why I thought MLMs were legitimate and moral marketing techniques (more on that later). The second occurrence floored me. And by the fourth occurrence, I'm thinking, "What the hell is going on here?!" I'm genuinely upset now, aghast, disbelieving. These are, after all, capitalists I'm talking about here -- and they won't explain themselves, as if they've got false presumptions that they don't wish to revisit.

The only meaning for "contempt" is that you feel something is immoral. Yet, only one of them has explained in some detail why he thinks MLMs are wrong (they dupe people, he said), and after I explained how there is no duping going on, he again equated MLMs to ponzi schemes, wherein investors ARE duped. I explained why MLMs are not ponzi schemes and got no reply from him, except that he decided to use another energy provider other than my company. I guess that is his reply.

And, so, I'm left shaking my head and asking again, "What the hell is going on here?"

Here's why MLMs are perfectly moral and one can feel proud about working within their structure. You must acquire customers and you must build your own team to expand your customer base. This requires lots of hard work and persuasion and constant training of downline people. Here are the 4 things you should consider before joining an MLM:

1) Is the company product of high quality?
2) Are you getting involved early enough to make the kind of money you wish?
3) Will the company expand either its product base or territory base to allow even further earnings?
4) Does the company seem to have a high degree of viability in the long term?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then it can be a magnificent earnings opportunity and, also, lots of fun because you are working with dynamic people who are constantly brainstorming on new presentations and procedures to be effective and wealthy.

One knock I've heard about MLM is that people don't know what they're getting into. I can hardly believe I'm hearing THIS from Objectivists, who allegedly believe that people must do discovery on every aspect of their lives before jumping. Some people's willful ignorance is not a slam against any business idea.

Another knock I've heard several times is, "Well, it'll eventually max out, and then nobody can make money anymore." That's pretty close to true. Amway and others have proven that it's not totally true, but MLMs do get to a point where the newest reps have less of a chance of making extraordinary money as fast as those higher up -- though there are exceptions to this rule when you consider a super high-achiever. All of that said, this market reality does not make it immoral. It simply means that it has a lifespan. That is the context in which you come on. Where are you going to be in the lifespan of the business? Every job has its context: bad bosses, low pay, stifling working conditions, irrational co-workers, lifepans, etc. I, by the way, have to put up with little of the above. A lifespan on a job does not make it irrational. It might be irrational if the business owners somehow hid a short lifespan from a prospective employee, which happens all the time in the business world. But in MLMs, we know the lifespan could be short, and that's one reason why many of us look at Nos. 3 and 4 above before coming on board.

If you wish to call all the above a scheme, then please pardon me while I call your job a scheme. Your employer pays you a set salary every year. Egads! My income is relative to my hard work and virtually open-ended. You must answer to your boss. I am my own boss. You are required to go work in a building with incompetents. I work from home and eschew incompetents.

Of course, I jest. You job is not a scheme. And neither is mine. It's time for those who have knee-jerk responses to "pyramids" rethink them, if they wish to be fair to their friends who are conducting their business life within that context. If you have a distaste for such "hard selling," then I understand. Don't do it. I like it. It fits my personality, though I'm soft about my hard selling. I couldn't be successful, otherwise.

(One thing that has disturbed me about the contempt I've been hearing is that if my friends care so much about me, why aren't they trying to convince me to NOT be immoral? If they are so confident I'm wrong in this, then they should be pow-wowing on the subject to enlighten me. It makes me question either their confidence on their knowledge of the subject or their love of me.)

Whatever your reason for disliking MLMs, please read the above carefully. If you still disagree with me, then I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this post. If I am wrong, please tell me so. If I am wrong, I will quit my job. Meanwhile, I've got calls to make.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dam salmon

PB (I can't bring myself to utter the phrase "President Bush," so please indulge me) has declared that four dams in California and Oregon need to be destroyed to save the ... well, you've guessed by now.

Evidently the salmon aren't able to spawn as PB and his animal-rights brethren feel necessary, so the rights of humans will soon be flushed -- and California (gotta love this irony) is now squirming at the $250 million expense of destruction. I don't think the Left Coast elite expected Bush to say "you betcha," and with the California economy destroyed by its own tax-theft system and wrecked real estate market, the lefties are in a pickle.

What a delicious pickle it is!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The time to fight is now!

With the news of my previous post moments ago on Ayn Rand speakers on the G. Gordon Liddy show and the big leap in numbers of articles and letters to the editor in major newspapers and magazines across the country, it appears that many Americans are rattled and trying to find answers for the meltdown in the marketplace -- and many are turning to Ayn Rand's books for answers.

Too much of what has happened eerily resembles a chapter from Atlas Shrugged. It is too obvious to ignore. Each day brings fresh news of another seedy or corrupt figure who personifies a James Taggert or a Wesley Mouch. Each new company failure and tawdry story revives a page of poignant fiction and shuddering memory of Orren Boyle. Each brazen denouncement by a corpulent, venal Barney Frank makes one believe that he will soon state, as Mr. Thompson does, "I hereby declare Rearden MicroSystems and Steel Imports, Inc., to be the property of the state!" Each greasy pronouncement by Alan Greenspan reveals beneath a Dr. Robert Stadler, a sellout for fame and stolen fortune.

I won't say that Ayn Rand was prophetic or prescient. That would give her critics too much grist for the "Objectivism is a religion" mill. Rand knew what happens when the freedom of the individual becomes secondary to the "needs of the many" and the will of concomitant government. She didn't just extrapolate rationally. She also saw it first-hand in the Soviet Union. She then became sickened when she saw her beloved adopted country of America head down the same murderous path. And we are now farther along that path.

The dear lady has been dead 26 years now, so the fight is no longer hers. It is ours. There is much more to life than fighting, so it is not an enjoyable task. But to see what once-proud America has become and to know that the next knock on the door may bring men of unknown origin taking you from hearth to unknown destination stirs men of principle to action. This may not happen tonight or tomorrow, but how many tomorrows before the inevitable?

You think I exaggerate? You think you are safe? You say, "There's no way that could happen in America." You believe that if you just keep your mouth shut and maintain a low profile, you, at least, will be safe?

Perhaps. Maybe. For now. But monsters get bigger and hungrier. And the only thing that slays a political behemoth is rational ideas backed by men and women of action. Our enemies, as Rand so effectively illustrated, are cowards who take command by the forces of massive ignorance. They slink together on the heaps of the mentally dead. It is that ignorance that must be blunted, swept back, destroyed. Ideas do that. Ideas forcefully and eloquently expressed do that. That is where our battle lies. Ideas.

You may be relatively free now, but what about tomorrow? Next year? In 2017? Knock knock!

The time to fight is now. The time to speak is now. The time to fight is now!

Ayn Rand Institute guests to be on G. Gordon Liddy Show

A momentous event in talk show history will happen this Monday. Here's the news from the Ayn Rand Institute:



RadioAmerica's G. Gordon Liddy is devoting a special broadcast of his nationally syndicated three-hour talk radio show to Ayn Rand, her philosophy, and understanding the current state of events through the lens of Objectivism.

The broadcast will air live on Monday, November 17, 2008, beginning at 10 AM., Eastern Standard Time.

The Ayn Rand Center's Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, Elan Journo, Thomas Bowden and Eric Daniels will be the exclusive guests for this extended broadcast. They will discuss the financial crisis, Bush's claimed defense of capitalism, today's challenges to free speech, and the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other topics.

Yaron Brook:
Onkar Ghate:
Elan Journo:
Thomas A. Bowden:
Eric Daniels:

The broadcast will air on 200 radio stations across the country as well as on XM satellite radio (on a delayed basis). Live streaming audio will be available at the RadioAmerica Web site:

G. Gordon Liddy encourages call-in questions from listeners across the country.

Lincoln The Impaler

There's been a lot of positive discussion in political circles recently about Abraham Lincoln, so I thought I'd give a digest of just how bad a president this man was.

Lincoln violated the Constitution on many points for the first time, setting a precedent that later presidents followed, thus starting the U.S. down a path of rights violations, government intrusion, free-market destruction and a welfare state. These are some of the direct violations, in which he was the first in history to do so:

1) Suspended habeas corpus, allowing police to hold thousands of people without those people getting to see a judge
2) Initiated conscription, forcing northerners to be in the military, whether they liked it or not
3) Levied an income tax (strictly prohibited in the Constitution)
4) Formed an army to invade the South without Congressional approval – an abuse that George Bush has used
5) Closed down hundreds of newspapers in the North for opposing his ideas
6) Had elected officials arrested (including former congressmen) for opposing his ideas
7) Censored the comments of a former vice president and many others
8) Created government banking that churned out “greenbacks” and devastated American currency
9) Gave the big railroad companies carte blanche on buying up farm land, and had the government fund the railroads
10) Consistently refused in public to denounce slavery, so that he could allegedly save the union (His “Emancipation” also emancipated no blacks in the North or border states)
11) Started a civil war that continued the oppression and terrorism of blacks for another century when economic realities were already starting to make slavery untenable in the South as the North’s industrialization was out-competing the South’s slave-based economy.

I could go on but won’t. The only reason I think Lincoln worse than FDR is that FDR wouldn’t have been possible without Lincoln blazing a fascist trail first. Btw, I’m not an admirer of the South, with its abominable institution of slavery. My point in the above is that Lincoln violated the very essence of the constitution in his attempt to keep the country together, ripping up the fabric of liberty.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A "gasp" and then a "gasp"

While watching the 8th episode (I think) in the first season of Mad Men (and name given to the ad men of Madison Avenue in mid-20th century America), the boss of the advertising firm (his name is Cooper) gives to the main character (top ad guy named Draper) a check for $2,500 for seemingly no reason, other than he is good at what he does. In the middle of the conversation, Cooper says to Draper:

Cooper: Look over there at that book.
(Camera pans to a 1950s copy of Atlas Shrugged on end of bookshelf)
Cooper: Have you read her? Rand. Atlas Shrugged. That's the one.
Draper: [Hesitantly] Yes . . . it is.
Cooper: See, I know you haven't read it. When you hit 40, you realize you've met or seen every kind of person there is. And I know what kind you are, because I believe we are alike.
Draper: I assume that's flattering.
Cooper: By that I mean you are a productive and reasonable man, and in the end, completely self-interested. It's strength. We are different. Unsentimental about all the people who depend on our hard work. Take $1.99 out of that $2,500 and buy yourself a copy.

I gasped. Was riveted. Shook my head in disbelief and ecstacy. Felt proud.

And then I gasped again. None of the characters in Mad Men is the least bit sympathetic, including Draper, who is a nihilistic, inscrutable riddle of contradictions and, often, outright meanness. He mistreats colleagues and family, to the point of horror in the viewer. He is portrayed as a dour Roark (who, though utterly without wit and panache, was at least optimistic). He hasn't a humorous bone in his body. The writers' attempts at wry wit come across as clanky self-aggrandizement.

Draper is hiding his past from everyone, including his wife, who, though obedient (in 1950s style) is sometimes miffed at his lockdown. She, at least, seems real. The writers are beginning to hint at the locus for Draper's stoicism (childhood, as usual -- yawn) and may eventually take this secret into interesting areas, but I won't be around to see it. I am already hitting the "two-minute advance" on my portable DVD player to get past the eternal home scenes with Draper and other characters as they mill about and drool on about something that, I assume, is supposed to add "layers" to a generalized ennui de vivre. The writing is simply horrible, excruciating, painful, stodgy. And the only character who elicits even the least bit of sympathy (a pixie secretary) turns on her own principles in a second in this 8th episode.

If this turgid drama (dreamed up by atheists, I've learned) is supposed to represent objective values, it does not. It is not about happiness. If it is meant as an introduction into Ayn Rand's ideas, it is embarrassingly contradictory and misleading. It perpetuates the idea that Objectivism is synonymous with stoicism and a promethian creativity that finds its fountainhead only in societal exclusion above the hoi polloi. It has the "objectivish" slant of being utterly devoid of good, benevolent humor and a bouncy optimism. It has, unfortunately, many of the personal traits of Objectivism's founder, her literary protagonists and the philosophy's first generation of acolytes, who seem trapped in "the revolution" and a ostensive sense that the philosophy is an end and not a means to an end.

So, back to NetFlix with ya, Mad Men. Go be mad on somebody else's time and dime. I've got parties to go to with my second-gen Objectivist friends, who know how to tickle my funny bone.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thank you, Congress, for being mother-fuckers

In the last three weeks, I've seen no less than a half-dozen terrific letters to the editor in the Wall Street Journal and Atlanta Journal-Constitution explaining how we need Ayn Rand's ideas to make things right in America. (One of those great letters was mine, but I digress.)

And several prominent opinistas have written entire columns blasting Rand (via Alan Irrational Exuberism Greenspan) and the so-called failure of laissez-faire capitalism.

So I just want to take a moment to thank the 535 decadents that go by the name of Congressmen. "Thank you for fucking up our great country. Thank you for regulating business into destitution. Thank you for taxing us into devastation. Thank you for taking no responsibility for all of the above."

Without all of your fascism/socialism, we wouldn't finally be talking about Ayn Rand.

Peace, motherfuckers.

The monster's out of the closet

There's something more terrifying about the unseen monster when you're a child. If the bastard would just come out of the fricking closet already, then at least you could jump from under the covers and confront him with your Star Wars light sabre. If he laughs at your Scooby Do underwear, he's gonna get a stab to the gut. Touche!

And so election night is over. The monster is here. He's real. He has a name: Barack Obama. And so let the destruction begin. The dread is over. Smaller paychecks and fewer rights, we must endure and pronounce against. Now we KNOW what is here and to come. We know who to fight.

We've got the monster right where we want him: on TV -- right where we can poke him in one of those elephant ears with our light sabres.

"People say I love to laugh"

The woman's dating profile beings with, "People say I love to laugh."

If ever that phrase had been patented, the owner would be a billionaire many times over. I mean, who the hell doesn't like to LAUGH? What?! Are these women laughing at the sun, at the moon, at the traffic light, at grampa picking his nose? (OK, THAT is funny.) Is their first thought of themselves that they laugh? Are they wanting to convince us guys that, "Hey, I'm fun. I'm so fun that I laugh, just for the hell of it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! ... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! See? Told ya. I LOVE to laugh. In fact, people always say I love to laugh."

OK! OK! I'm laughing already! I think I just got diabetes.

These chicks aren't content to just say, "I love to laugh." (bad enough) They've got to attribute it, adding humility to saccharine. Ick. My Type 2 diabetes just became Type 1.

Remember, ladies, to show, not tell. Always show us fellas your boobs and NEVER tells us you love to laugh.

Here's lookin' at ya (them).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Bad Ass Bird of Retribution (Babor)

A 13-year-old girl who had been raped in Somalia was dragged into a stadium of 1,000 chanting people and stoned to death on Oct. 27. The girl had reported the rape by three men and, subsequently, the Islamic militia accused her of adultery. Dozens of fanatics then stoned her until she lay a bloody, lifeless pulp.

Since I am the notorious Mr. Retributive Justice (a name I gladly gained from my friend Dan Puckett many years ago), and since I am a big fan of happy (or at least just) endings, I offer the following climax after the innocent girl's murder, in which the Bad Ass Bird of Retribution (Babor) enters the stadium with his 20-foot wingspan, talons of steel, giant ripping beak of death and piercing eyes of justice?

As he flies into the stadium from an iron-gray sky and lets out a deafening squawk, the 1,000 spectators look up in fright with mouths open, and Babor shits upon them as he circles round in menacing glide. His cold black eyes turn to the murderers, who drop their remaining stones and scamper about pissing themselves, running into each and watching in terror as Babor picks them up one-by-one and rips their throats out over the audience, sending a shower of blood onto horrified, cowering mystics. After each of the dozens of eviscerated murderers is flung onto the mob, Babor perches atop a light pole and gazes proudly at the mayhem.

When the stadium has emptied and all is calm, Babor swoops down and lifts the young girl gently in his great beak. He flies her home to her mourning father, who had first notified Amnesty International of the abominable crime. Babor remains until the little girl is buried. He flies off and returns with dozens of blood-caked throats and places them beside the grave -- a warning to grave-robbing Koraniacs. The clouds lift.

Babor squawks and flies into the clear, blue sky.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Oh where, oh where are our Founders

In our current climate of "general welfare" madness, wouldn't it be nice to have a few of Founders present. Read what they had to say the subject below.

The Founding Fathers On Redistribution

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” — Thomas Jefferson

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” — James Madison in a letter to James Robertson

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” — James Madison, 4 Annals of Congress 179, 1794

“[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” — James Madison

Amen to my two favorite Founders.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 young Objectivists get letters in Wall Street Journal

They are Ryan Krause of Bloomington, IN, who was a finalist in the 2007 Atlas Shrugged essay contest, and friend Daniel Rathbone of Seattle.

Ryan's ran on Oct 20:
Dan's ran on Oct. 17:

Ryan gave mention to Atlas and to John Galt, and Dan got a long letter printed on the morality of capitalism.

Congratulations to both young men!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's just so Religulous!

I went and saw Bill Maher's new film "Religulous" the other day and got what I wanted: lots of chuckles at the ridiculous religious. Actually, I laughed out loud several times, as did the sympathetic audience of about 100 people I watched it with in the theater.

Mayer is a smirking slug of a dimwit in real life, but has a knack for ambush and employs it here to great effect. He napalms the smugistas in the film. And he's an equal-opportunity mystic smasher, going after the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, etc.

One of the best scenes is when he cites the Bible, and a "traveling trailer reverend" says, "That's not in the Bible." And Mayer says, "Oh, yes it is." And the reverend stands there with a dumbfounded look on his face. The camera eats it up and the audience thrills. Mayer also goes after an Arkansas congressman who doesn't believe in evolution. The congressman was told by Mayer's reps that someone would be coming by to talk about how religion is a part of the congressman's life and decisions. The congressman didn't know the reps were Mayer's. If you want to see discomfort, wait till you see the squirming official answer Mayer's queries.

Mayer is a self-proclaimed agnostic, so don't expect much from him. He's often too sympathetic of his subjects, backing off when he's got 'em by the throats and could squeeze another five minutes of hilarity out of them.

But if you need a laugh at the people who enslave mankind and find solace on their knees (in not a sexual way), gives this movie a try. It's a hoot.

Big Brother is Weight-Watching You

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (aka The Diet Luftwaffe) issued a proclamation that Americans need to get at least 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise every week to stay healthy. All of which prompted the obvious questions: "Does foreplay count as vigorous exercise? Sprints to the frig? Jumping up and down on liberals' tiny little heads whilst singing the national anthem? Running naked through churches while curling a six pack and sporting a tattoo that says 'horndogs for Jesus'?"

I know you asked yourself those exact questions.

The DHHSS (please pardon the extra "S"; just came out) didn't specify, so I'll have to presume Yes to all of the above, and so I have planned my coming week accordingly. Stay tuned.

Speaking of staying tuned, the evening news (I dangle my participles, but never during foreplay) pronounced the new exercise rules from The Diet Luftwaffe's Hermann Goering (a Mr. Leavitt) with such serious mien that had the volume been muted on the TV, I must have believed the U.S. to be at DefCom 5 and Russian missiles close at hand. Luckily, I got so caught up in the news reader's ("anchors" are for boats) tilting and swaying of her pretty little head that I completely lost track of what was being said and became, I think, hypnotized. That may explain why I missed the guidelines about foreplay et al. Damn it!

Anyway, you might be asking yourself, "Why is the U.S. government telling me how much exercise I must get and who the f-ck's business is it anyway and are my tax dollars not only going to obese parasites on the dole but also to fascist curmudgeons with nothing to do but state the obvious in a threatening manner?" If you did, you have earned the dark-chocolate Coin of Self-Respect award from this blog. No, I haven't yet minted the coins. Well, that's not exactly true. They have disappeared of late, along with my best Cabernet.

I vow to mint faster in the future, as part of my new exercise regimen.

The invisible hand slaps Alan Greenspan

My following letter to the editor was printed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 27
"Alan Greenspan was the midwife to our economic collapse. He was the free-market trophy wife of Congress.

And now he has been properly slapped by Adam Smith’s invisible hand for violating Smith’s tenets and those of Greenspan’s alleged mentor, Ayn Rand, who herself would’ve been appalled at Greenspan’s big-government matriculation.

Greenspan’s own admission that a good regulator can only be successful 60% of the time should undermine any utilitarian argument for regulators, but his pathetic figure will soon be forgotten, and Congress will return to tinker, tailor, soldier, pry.

What is needed in this perfect storm is a perfect philosophical girding and moral solution: A reading of Rand’s “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” by all members of Congress and all businesspeople and then the backbone to implement a complete and utterly free market, wherein the invisible hand KO’s the irrational and high-fives the rational.

Carpe diem."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The wretch and the warrior

OK, I decided on Friday to learn how to program computers, so I could build my own web pages. So I bought a book for "Dummies" (that's me) on and grabbed some chow and went home to my computer. As I turned the music low and opened the book and laptop and began the first sentence, a loud wretched animal gutteral sound came from outside, over and over again every five seconds or so.

I thought it was a dying wild beast, but I was VERY comfortably ensconced in my cushy chair, so I resisted going for a peek. Plus, I figured the poor thing wished to die in solitary dignity, you know. Anyway, after a couple minutes of the agony, my curiosity pulled my butt off the chair. (My curiosity usually gets the best of my butt.)

Just like when you take your broken car to the mechanic and as soon as you get to the shop, the car stops being broken, I opened the door and the sound stopped. I figured I spooked the animal and turned to go inside, and then the noise broke again. But it came from the open window upstairs in the house across the street (the only house in a nice neighborhood in which the people are beasts, as luck would have it). As I listened from my porch, the rhythmic bellowings were obviously the sounds of some drunken or drug-laden man probably wallowing in his own vomitous dystopia. I stood silently, wondering if I would see an ambulance (there are five people living there and all the lights were on in the house, so I assumed someone would come to his aid, but evidently this is a common occurrence in chez bete).

I finally went back inside and put on my computer-programming warrior look and plowed into my new field, but my mind strode back to that moment when I was excited about my new, complex endeavor and pondered on the contrast in ideals between wretch and warrior.

A poem to the one I may love

Where does one start with describing himself,
With encapsulating his way, his life?
Do I begin with the books on my shelf,
With loves, hates, do's, don'ts, victories or strife?

Here I will say that I am a man whose
Eyes are always open and his gaze straight.
The sight of my goals I will never lose,
But I'll lose myself in goofy and great.

I'll offer up a sturdy rejoinder
And equal-honor yours in return.
Moreover, I've health in my funny bone,
So if you do, too, we'll tickle in turn.

My brow will raise for any unkind phrase
'Gainst Beethoven or silky Sinatra,
But my tears you'll see in jubilant praise
Of Spencer's Mountain or Austen's Emma.

Not that I am high-brow in all things art,
'Cause I love Ten Things I Hate About You,
And I'll tell bad jokes from evening's start,
So if you laugh not, I'll laugh for us two.

I would say I'm a man who loves to love,
And what man or woman would deny same,
But one should, indeed, love oneself above
To love another 'bove reproaching blame.

If I'm to show, not tell, on this demand,
Then I will give vent to things in my list:
Luxury cars, soft lips, eyes, beached sand,
Rain on tin, red skies, spangled heavens, mist.

And if I am, now, to name woman's way,
Please forgive an outline in brief details:
Eyes bold, lips soft, unshy, mirthful in play,
Hourglassed, believer that good prevails.

I'm no fool to think identical twain,
But my soul insists on a counterpart
Who adores Rand, Dumas, Austen, L.M.,
And that all good endings are good for art.

I will close this verse as singular man,
With the hope that one day a plural be,
My adoring eyes upon self-safe woman,
One-stepped for life and short eternity.

Sayonara, murderer

Didn’t O.J. learn anything from his first go-around? 1) Kill all the witnesses. 2) Hire high-powered liars (excuse me, “attorneys”). 3) Playfully try to squeeze into a glove. 4) Smile knowingly at sympathetic jurors.

Sayonara, murderer.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bailout (literally) -- and the ugly hydra of altruism

Congress bailed out on the Bailout. The reason is altruism. That is the belief that it is a moral imperative to help others. That belief gave birth to the so-called Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which mandated that banks focus more on "underdeveloped" areas of the country and make loans to more poor people or people with dubious credit and worth. I won't go into the particulars of this act, since the WSJ has done a terrific job of outlining it and its faults.

My main point is that nobody has talked about the philosophical reason for this act's presumptuous beginnings. Before I start on that, let me give a more accurate definition of "altruism." The only one I completely agree with is that of Ayn Rand: The belief that self-sacrifice is a moral ideal, that putting others before our own welfare is moral, that taking care of others' values before our own is the best way to live. It used to be in this country that many people thought this way, but they did not insist on government acting that way. It was still somewhat of a problem, but it didn't interfere wholesale in politics (outside of eminent domain, Interstate commerce clauses, etc.). Our Founders believed that altruistic tendencies were best kept personal and private, insisting that if someone wanted help, then he must approach others and ask for it via a charitable contribution or work.

The "progressive" movement in this country 150 years began the regression that we now see in all its government monstrosity -- the transferral of altruism into legislative and judicial action. One of the main additional problems with this is that the weight of the altruistic act has been transferred from the early-American personal sacrifice to an elite cadre of politicians who do not feel the pain of what is being sacrificed. It is now us, the people, who must pay on a grand scale for the altruistic bailouts and the hydra-headed welfare state.

The only cure for this is for Americans to feel their own eminent domain, their own hegemony of action, the self worth that they felt 200 years ago -- and even more, because our Founders were still enamored to some degree with altruism. The only means for that to happen is a rational understanding of human nature (i.e. that we are rational and can completely run our own lives and have an inalienable right to do so and that anyone who does not wish to exercise his rationality will feel the full brunt of that without any sympathy from the rest of us who are trying to live in wealth and happiness).

Ayn Rand was spot-on in this regard.