Am I the only person to grow weary of the ubiquitous usage of stacked stone in the building trades? I applauded the application in residential construction a dozen years ago, as it was evocative of the style of generations past, when local sourcing of building material was the standard. Now every convenience store, strip mall, vet's office, and fast food joint as far south as Florida uses it with mindless abandon.
Enough with this shite already. Building stone isn't even indigenous to Florida, and when every damned house in a neighborhood is pimped out with stacked stone the habit has jumped the shark from differentiation to slavish lockstep.
Worse, most of this stuff isn't even true stacked stone, it's veneer, cladding. A cosmetic affectation with the usual underlying least-common-denominator crap construction that will have people scratching their heads in fifty years. All that expense on window dressing when the building blocks themselves are matchstick?
Putzes. I'm looking for the ultimate in pedestrian social grasping: a stacked stone doghouse. There has to be one out there, somewheres.
This would only be "Funny, Queer," but the car horns make it "Funny, Ha, Ha."
And now to address the fever-swamp’s notion that what I said on “Hannity” last night was “blackmail.” Blackmail occurs when one party threatens to reveal an unsavory piece of information about another party, and demands money in exchange for silence. For obvious reasons, it is most often conducted in private. I, on the other hand, went on national television with a challenge to the Attorney General to do his job; unlike this administration and its justice department, what I did was fully open and transparent.
There will be consequences if there isn’t an investigation into ACORN. The videos will be shown and at a particular moment. There is nothing illegal about my proposed response to the continued inaction from this justice department, and there’s nothing I’d like more than to have my day in court and let a jury hear why I have gone to such extraordinary measures to tell a major story that the dying, partisan, leftist media has worked so hard to suppress.
The days of the Democrat-Media Complex controlling the narrative are in their end times. And if the AG wants to turn his focus on me instead of ACORN, then that day will be closer than many of them think.
I'm pretty happy, ensconced here in Velociman 6.0. My work could always be more rewarding, the compensation higher, but that is the immutable nature of toil anyway, ain't it? (I am beyond "careers" now. My daily grind is more or less the same as a street strumpet: I have some skills you desire; I desire to be remunerated for them at the highest level I can negotiate).
My personal life is excellent, although it is leavened with a yeast of depression: I do not see my daughters enough. This is a source of sorrow and vexation for me personally, however they are of an age now that this would be the case even if we still shared the same roof, grappled over the same toothpaste tube.
I sometimes think back on 5.0, at least from a professional standpoint, and wonder: where did the wheels slip the axle? Probably in '97, when I made a foolish decision to switch from operations to sales and marketing. I was good at operations: when I ran the Memphis facility I had one job, and it was quite binary. I had to run the trains on time. Literally. That may seem mundane, but there are a thousand variables conspiring to prevent that Mussolinic accomplishment. A good operator overcomes those obstacles: I ran my trains on time with enviable success.
I switched to the commercial side for the usual reasons. More money, a nice move to Jacksonville to be nearer my family in Savannah, the eternal beckoning of the ocean, the sweet intoxicating allure of the unlimited expense account.
There's this about Memphis, too: it isn't a Southern city. It claims to be, it aspires to be, but it is a midwestern city. It has more in common with St. Louis or Chicago than Nashville. Beyond Sun Records, and Elvis, and barbecue, it is just another pitstop on the Mighty Missipp. Minneapolis shares more with Memphis than Chattanooga does.
New Orleans is the only city in America that does not let the River rule it, by the way. It absorbs the floods, buries its dead in catacombs, goes back to its indolent ways. Once or twice a century. Memphis and St. Louis and everywhere else is afeared of the River. To New Orleans it is just a part of life. Like the yellow fever.
So to corporate headquarters, and those expense accounts. I do not mean to imply that I disliked marketing; I adored it. But at the end of the day your ideas become a concubine, like a Missipp town, to groupthink. To compromise. Implementation is a slog. You become trapped in project work. Today's strategies are tomorrow's boondoggles. Your brainchild, your baby, gets cancelled.
You don't get to run a train every day. When all is said and done, you don't get to run a fucking train every day. You don't get to walk a track, pretending your brogans are caked in coal cinders, even though you run electric diesels. You don't even get to call your hobo-thrashing policemen cinder dicks, because you are on the 27th floor of an ivory tower.
I drank a lot during 5.0. Certainly it was part of the mission, part of the lifestyle. But there has always been a moth-to-the-flame side of me. There's alway something to celebrate, eh? Most ignobly, sitting in a restaurant at a $2,000 dinner in New York or Chicago or Charleston or Dallas, with a belly full of grass-fed bison and a cranium full of 20 year old single malt Scotch, and hearing a colleague say, for the hundredth time, "I'm not a millionaire, I just live like one!"
I've cast a lot of detritus aside in the last two years. Waste product of the soul. I've lost a little bit more that was not detritus, but was lost to me anyway. I've embraced more, much more. It's a far better life; I feel intact. And that which was not detritus? Nothing is lost forever. I believe in the lost, found; the hipped, embraced; the encumbered, free.
It is a better world, I think. At least for me, macrosocietal implosions notwithstanding. But every now and then, when I awaken in the middle of the night, an hour before my alarms, I wish I could just run a damn train. Full of freight both corporeal and metaphysical.
And run it on time.
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
'Tis of the wave and not the rock;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee, -are all with thee!
With apologies to classical liberalism, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
H/T Destructoid for the Steampunk Mickey from Epic Mickey.
Barack Obama: I am the first Pacific President!
Harry Truman: Really? Ever do this?
Edward Woodward, 'Breaker' Morant, dead at 79. I was not a big fan of The Equalizer, but Woodward was the Man.
RIP, and be glad you weren't in Cocktail. I hear Bryan Brown's still trying to get FX/3 made.
"Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"
Barack Obama strikes me as a singularly passive-aggressive individual. He'll screw you over, but never to your face. Someone else will always do that dirty work. He'll merely sit back and enjoy his invidious handiwork.
Don't like the British? Give insulting gifts, and return cherished ones. They'll get the idea.
Don't have the intestinal fortitude to pull out of Afghanistan? Dilly-dally with your commander in the field until he throws up his hands in frustration.
Not politically expedient to proclaim your abiding allegiance to Islam? Castigate your countrymen for "jumping to conclusions" when one of your brethren commits jihad.
Pastor giving you the blues? This is not the man I knew.
Former employer ACORN getting their asses snapped in a scandal? It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.
Fearful the head gangster of the House of Saud will call you an apostate? Prostrate yourself before him.
I'll wager this conflict-avoiding lightweight has never even fired anyone face to face. Terminating another person is shitty, souring work, but adults have to do it now and then. Obama the Immaculate uses his hatchetmen and his magic bus instead. His is a sweet but impenetrable bubble, blessed with innoculation against consequence.
I believe if the buck ever stops at the Oval Office again, and Obama is finally forced into a situation where he cannot vote "present," when he can not pass that buck, he will swoon like a competitive eater with the meat sweats.
His pampered upbringing, his affirmative action history, his utterly empty portfolio, have not equipped the man to make the hard calls. One day soon he will have to make the hard call, and it will probably involve coming down on the side of the citizens of this nation or militant Islam.
If I'm in Vegas, and I have one benjamin to bet, and that decision is the only bet available, deduce for yourself which way I go. And sadly, once he is forced to decide, and is unconstrained, I don't think it will be that hard of a call for the man. He may even find it liberating.
I am constantly on the lookout for signs and omens; those little tells that signify one ain't right with the gods. For instance:
I lost a huge tree in a storm two nights ago. It fell across the street, blocking it, and severed two power lines, engulfing the area in darkness. Other than the loss of power I was okay with it, as my driveway leads out in the other direction. My neighbors on the other side were blocked in, however, and within minutes I heard the grinding of chainsaws. Several of my proximity-humans had their pickup truck lights trained on the fallen tree, and were clearing the road.
I stood on the porch in my bathrobe, sheltered from the driving rain, sipping a goblet of wine and observing their efforts. I would have thrown on some jeans and offered to help, but I sensed that they were in high dudgeon with me. They were also holding functional chainsaws. Why take a chance?
Then this morning on the way to work I hit a bull-sized buck. It's rutting season, and the deer are all over the roads, insane. Although I had both feet planted on the brake pedal I still hit the thing at about 35 miles per hour, and sent him flying across the other lane of traffic into the ditch. Two hundred pounds of antlered whirlygig. I don't want to appear callous, but it was pretty fucking awesome. Like a Pink Floyd concert or something.
I pulled over at the first side street and inspected the car. I was in the work ride, the old Lumina. The Beater. It didn't have a scratch on it. Not sure about the deer at that point. As I was in the county vehicle I didn't have my pistol to deliver a humanitarian coup de grace, nor was I in the mood to listen to plaintive bleating I could not assuage. I went back later and it was gone. Most people around here won't throw road kill in the back of the truck unless they hit it themselves, and are reasonably certain they haven't busted its gut, so I doubt it was the victim of an opportunity harvesting. And I'd knocked it into a deep ditch, where it wouldn't have been seen at that dark-thirty hour anyway. I think it just walked off the pain and went hunting some more ginch.
I'm not sure if that is a good omen, or if it bodes ill for me. But like the fallen tree, it augers something.
Oh, yes: I also hit two squirrels at lunch, and a skunk on the way home. At the very least my formerly simpatico relationship with Gaia is obviously on the ropes. I worry about the trees, mostly. You never see those bastards coming.
...who believed in Santa Claus. But in reality, Santa Claus was the Gas Man.
Death panels: they're not just for Semites anymore.
In Stanley Elkin's surrealistic 1967 novel A Bad Man, one Leo Feldman is sent to prison for a litany of crimes committed in the basement of his successful store. For years he has sold illegal drugs, provided abortion referral services, pandered prostitutes, sold guns to unstable nuts.
The novel actually details his stint in a Kafkaesque prison, with his crimes particularized in flashbacks. What evolves is the fact that Feldman is not a bad man because he has committed or enabled these crimes. He is a bad man because he performed them for no other reason than personal fulfillment. He did not need the money, he was not desperate, he understood the nature of his misdeeds. He did it because his crazed peddler father had taught him the simple, selfish joy of selling "the unsalable thing." In his self-absorbed world, he did it merely for the hell of it.
What qualities determine a "good" person versus a "bad" one? Obviously virtues would inform a "good" person, vices a "bad" one. Without getting bogged down in the eighty or so traditionally recognized virtues, let us view a few of the more commonly ascribed ones. A sampler, if you will. On the positive side of the ledger most would agree that honesty, courage, loyalty, trustworthiness, and that ephemeral quality we call benevolence or charity, constitute a few ideal qualities. On the negative side of the ledger most reasonable people, despite political inclinations, would consider mendacity, cruelty, self-absorption, and hubris to be signs of a "bad" person.
In reality, the absence of good virtues in a person is what many consider the character faults of the bad person.
Let us now look at Barack Obama, and his motives and aspirations. Is he a Bad Man? Setting aside my political and policy differences, indeed my existential differences with the man over how much power one small cadre of men should possess over another, is Barack Obama a bad man?
I'm no metaphysicist. None of us knows a person's soul, truly. We do have anecdotal evidence, however; an admittedly imperfect yardstick. I am free to make the following observations, and ask myself: are these the actions of a good man?
Insulting one's friends and allies by proffering deliberately insulting gifts, while returning gifts of immeasurable value.
Insulting one's friends and allies by gratuitously refusing to share moments of public acclamation.
Demonizing those who fairly disagree with one by the use of invective, ad hominem attacks, derogatory sexual slurs, and insinuations of mental incapacity.
Vilifying one's predecessor with accusations of malfeasance, criminal intent, bad faith, and lust for the spoils of war.
Diverting attention from one's own shortcomings, failures, and foibles by constantly laying the blame upon others.
Bearing false witness against one's political opponents with supererogatory insults, baseless accusations, and defamatory charges.
Belying one's record of accomplishment, while refusing to divulge relevant and pertinent facts.
Attempting to eradicate one's embarrassing previous actions by whitewashing, prevaricating, and denial.
Swearing an oath to exercise benevolent representation to all of one's constituents while simultaneously denouncing one half of them behind closed doors.
Ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of one's constituents with blithe, arrogant indifference.
Genuflecting before cruel and tyrannical satraps in humiliating and degrading fashion.
Denouncing one's constituents before foreigners and strangers as racist, ignoble people in craven attempts to curry favor with dissolute mountebanks.
Perpetually apologizing to said soi-disant culturati for imagined crimes supposedly committed by one's constituency.
Exercising reflexive cowardice in the face of existential enemies, while surreptitiously ingratiating oneself to said enemies.
The above represent a small sliver of Barack Obama's exploits. Do they represent the actions of a good man, or a bad man? To me they are indicative of a man enamored of boastfulness and puffery, with no grounding in true confidence; a spoiled narcissist who becomes irritable in the absence of doting affection; a man who will betray any colleague, friend, or acquaintance as convenience dictates; a man who would lie to three hundred million people with a sociopath's indifference.
Most importantly, like Leo Feldman, Obama commits his indecencies for what appears to be the mere indulgence of having his own way on an issue. That is the true crime; and if, as a far more humble man than Obama once said, By their fruits ye shall know them, I know but one thing:
This Obama fellow is a Bad Man.
1st Army officer: "I'm gay."
Promotions board: "You're dishonorably discharged!"
2nd Army officer: "I want to cut off your infidel head and pour boiling oil down your throat!"
Promotions board: "How'd you like to be a major?"
Exit question: Do they still frag officers?
While watching the Alabama-LSU game today:
Me: Look at that girl in the stands. She's wearing a Bear Bryant hat. Awesome.
Key: I don't know who that is.
Key: Did you say 'Bear?'
Me: Uh, he was a coaching legend at Alabama.
Key: The only coaching legend I know is Vince Dooley.
Me: With all due respect to our beloved Dawgs, Vince Dooley couldn't carry the Bear's jock strap. Didn't that teach you that in Sunday School?
Key: Never heard of him.
Me: Hey, here's that Wild Turkey I've been looking for!
I found this interesting. Perhaps you will, too.
(Safe For Work, pussies).
In an inspired moment our dear friend Baldilocks has saved us all a world of head-scritching for Christmas gifts and published a new novel, Tale of the Tigers. Looking for that special gift? Here it is! No brainer.
Juliette describes it as an interracial love story set at a southwestern university in the 1990's. I shall review it as soon as possible.
Go. Buy. The gift of literature is the gift that keeps on giving. And occasionally keeps us blodgers afloat.
Unlike that Twelve Months o' Candy Panties I gave Key last year. They tasted terrible. Especially after she made me wear them all day. She said it was a Pottery Barn rule, but between us I think she was just having sport with me.
I found this interesting. Perhaps you will, too.
Hat tip Belinda
As I was taking my coffee this morning, admiring the foliage on the back deck, I noticed a rare visitor: one Argiope aurantia, also known as the Writing Spider, or the Scribbler. This moniker is due not to the markings on the little beastie, but to the intricate, alphabetine quality of the old girl's webs.
I should take her appearance as a portent of Good Things, that I will find the ability to write something, anything, of value. I believe there is a direct relationship between the fullness of one's soul and the desire to put fingertips to keyboard. Even as the well of the soul is dry, so does the inkwell of ideas empty for me. And my inkwell of late has been as encrusted and moistureless as a sclerotic old artery.
However, when one's country is being sucked into a maelstrom from which it may never recover, scribbling mewling complaints about it seems about as utile as complaining that the Corealis effect in this hemisphere is sucking us down counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. And about as mythic.
I reminesce with rue upon my gripings during the Clinton years. (Buggery in the bunkers? Midnight basketball? What the hell is this guy thinking?) I still believe the man coarsened and cheapened the office, but in orders of magnitude he was merely a silver-tongued rapscallion with an errant pecker. What a fool I was.
What we have now is a different thing altogether. As different as that Scribbler and the dangersome Brown Recluse. I am free to impute ill will and bad faith to my opponents in this arena, as they are with me. I consider bad faith to be preferable to rank stupidity at any rate, so it's not that demeaning a charge.
Does Obama operate in bad faith? Well, that would presuppose the existence of some faith system on the man's part to begin with. I believe he has none. Whatever demeaning, racist, and accusatory brand of Christianity he pretends to ascribe to is nothing to me, as I do not recognize the tenets of Christianity in any of it. As for bowing to a Saudi potentate, I am at liberty to presume he was actually bowing beyond the man, from Riyadh towards the general direction of Mecca. I believe the man and his cohort ascribe the worst of male fides to those who think as I do, and I merely return the presumption.
It is a strange man, with a strange mindset, who strives to run a nation state he obviously abhors. Even the worst of tyrants operate within a framework that attempts to rectify supposed grievances visited upon their fiefdom, and endeavor to return some measure of glory to the Fatherland, or the Motherland. Not this fellow. I have never heard him utter a single sentence signifying pride in his homeland, or admiration in our many sublime accomplishments. Even his own amour-propre has the stink of shame to it. Ultimately, I do not think he is even capable of having true pride in himself.
What is to be done? Nothing I'm capable of. Scribbling, I suppose, like the spider, whose runes and hieroglyphics are incomprehensible even to itself, and thus of no intrinsic value. Bitching, and moaning, into the wind. The saddest part, and the part most fraught with the peril of my disengagement, is that so many of my fellow citizens seem impervious to the threat, to the fact that we have elected a provocateur, a man predisposed from youth to unwind the strong bonds lashing our myriad culture together, intent on fashioning metaphysical nooses from the remnant strands.
I don't believe in nooses. Or pitchforks. Or torches. There was enough of that in my corner of the country before I was whelped. Likewise, the time of feathers and tar is behind us, for that is a shame tactic, and we live in a world without shame. The loyal opposition is no help: they brought us to this tear in the fabric of our civilization in the first place with their free-whoring ways and glib repudiation of their constituents.
Perhaps I should have smashed that spider; not all omens are favorable, after all. And spinning a fabric of such unfathomable despondency is normally considered poor form, if not self-destructive. Fortunately, they haven't re-introduced Prohibition, so there's the John Barelycorn approach to the tip of Maslow's hierarchy. Perhaps I should just go self-actualize myself, two fingers at a time.