Monthly Archives: March 2011

ANTINATALISM

I have removed the original essay.  

I have no theory as to why, but, it is my impression that antinatalists have a strong predisposition to make more of their decision to not reproduce than normal people would.  OK, so you don’t want to have kids.  And, this is some kind of a “big deal” how?

 They kind of remind me of the guy who quits his job, BUT, insists on hanging around the workplace parking lot informing everyone he meets that “I quit”.  The people he tells will usually be polite about it, but, they inevitably will be thinking to themselves….. “This poor bastard needs to get a life.”

It takes no more than a quick glance at the population figures of our planet and its rapidly depleting resources to make clear the reality that a person choosing  NOT to reproduce is a “good thing” for those who do choose to reproduce.  

On behalf of myself and those of us who can happily accept life in matter on the only terms the universe provides….. I offer you our thanks for not reproducing.   Your choice is ANYTHING BUT a taboo.   Your choice is welcomed by all of us who appreciate the extra room.

 

……………………….

1/1/13… It amazes me just how many people seem to read this post.   I can’t, for the life of me, understand why anybody would find antinatalism interesting.  Just to show how generous I can be I have a gift for everybody on this first day of a brand new year.

The GREATEST TABOO in the world is growing a Hitler mustache.  If you don’t believe me tell people you don’t want to reproduce…. note what happens and how they react.  NOW, grow a Hitler mustache.  Don’t even bother getting back to me with regard to what happens.  I already know.

In truth, nobody gives a shit if you reproduce.  EVERYBODY will have something to say if you grow a Hitler mustache and very little of it will be nice.  [Happy New Year]

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LOONEY TUNES


Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to my formative years.  Perhaps it’s a sign of age, or indicative of another birthday looming just around the corner.  I don’t know.

There are a few things I do know.  One of them is the approximate date when America took a wrong turn down the road marked [Politically Correct].  It was 1968.  It began, innocently enough, with the concept that it just wasn’t “right” anymore to make fun of people who, prior to that time, were fair game.  “The War on Stereotypes” had begun and it was all for the sake of the children.

[Eleven cartoons that prominently featured stereotypical black characters (and a few passing jokes about Japanese people, as was the case with Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and Jungle Jitters) were withdrawn from distribution in 1968 and are known as the Censored Eleven.]

From that point on it’s been down hill all the way.  One by one all the really entertaining Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies shorts were no longer aired on American television, nor are they available for sale by Warner Bros.  It was suddenly very wrong to poke fun at fat people, or people who stuttered, or, for that matter, even looked funny.   None of us saw it coming at the time and today only some of us over a certain age can even remember where we got our basic training in wiseassery and sarcasm.  The real Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are no more.  They were replaced by stand-ins, surgically altered and politically correct shadows of their former selves.  The engineering of American children had begun and the first tender roots of what would grow to be known as the “Self-esteem Movement” slowly and resolutely sank themselves into fertile soil.  As tenacious as crab grass and as irritating to those of us who remember a less pampered childhood as poison ivy.

No doubt some will disagree, find fault with my conclusions.  So be it.

My thesis is a simple one.  We were a much tougher, more connected and honest nation when we permitted children to grow up as the offspring of ALL animals have since the beginning of time.  Like chickens in a yard.  Pecked at and picked upon for any and all apparent shortcomings and failures to be, or, act normally.  Hard and often cruel as it was it represented Nature and, try as we may, we will never surpass through artificial means what Nature achieves naturally.  The standards were set and it was up to everyone to live up to them or face the horrible consequences.  If you were fat you got called Porky and our school yards were not full of butterballs clutching their inhalers.  If you did poorly at schoolwork you got called Goofy and did your best to improve because Diplomas for just showing up had not been invented yet.  If you had a speech impediment you worked day and night to correct it or your life became more and more unbearable.  A little Bugs Bunny lived in the soul of us all in those days and I submit that the world was a far better place for it.

Just look at us now.  Shortcomings and infirmities instead of being something to overcome or be ashamed of are Free Passes to services and praise for just having something to overcome, whether you ever do or not.  Kids who never once in a season get even a piece of a pitched ball or catch one, for that matter, are guaranteed trophies.  Children, instead of picking each other apart as Nature clearly intended, have in sheer desperation been forced to turn on their teachers who themselves have been rendered defenseless.  By removing what was “Naturally” funny from a child’s universe we have inadvertently turned education into a joke.  We have weakened our stock by creating a wholly artificial and inhuman world for our children.  Is it any wonder so many are utterly incapable of ever truly growing up?

I watched TV last night and I was particularly struck by the ubiquitous pharmaceutical commercials.  Ten percent of the commercial was good looking people smiling as a soothing voice told you how good the drug was.  90% was a list of the absolutely HORRIBLE things that could happen to you if you took it!  BUT, you were strongly advised to ask your doctor if you should.  Personally, I never ask the guy who sells shoes if he thinks I should buy some.

I wondered how it all came to this.  I wondered how everybody got to be so stupid.  I remembered when “Saturday Night Live” could have run one of those commercials with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd doing the talking and it would have been talked about and laughed about for weeks.  Today it passes for serious.  I submit to the gentle reader that it passes for serious for the same reason we tolerate lying, money grubbing politicians who send young foolhardy Americans to die in ridiculous wars for corporate profits.  For the same reason we accept phony tits and Presidential candidates with freshly planted plugs of corn-rowed hair.  For the same reason we crave the latest gossip of what pampered rich spoiled brat just checked into rehab…..

Because when they killed the real Bugs and Porky and Daffy and all the rest something inside of all of us died along with them.  The ability to spot the loser in the crowd, the societal “self-correction” apparatus that kept us all on the strait and narrow.  We knew who the “Maroons” were and “Get a load of THAT or HIM or HER” were not phrases alien to our ears.  We knew how to laugh then and instinctively we KNEW what was funny.

Today, it’s all gone and instead of watching Looney Tunes… we live it, without seeing it… and nobody is laughing much anymore.  Except, of course, those of us who can remember.

That’s All Folks


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…IS

…”It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.” –Bill Clinton
I have a suggestion.  When next you finish a roll of toilet paper, or a roll of paper towels, I want you to save that cardboard roll.  I want you to write the things that are important to you on the outside of that roll.  Write the very important things big and the things of lesser importance smaller.  Be sure to include your religious beliefs, political affiliation, sex, economic status, citizenship, race, age, health status, philosophy (optimist or pessimist), marital status, education and all the other individual peculiarities that make you uniquely you.  When you think of new ones, write them on there too.
You have just constructed an [IS TUBE]. It belongs to you and you alone because you constructed it out of all the neurologically relative colors, prejudices, feelings, emotions and certainties that make your perception of reality “different” from any other sentient being that ever lived, or will live.
Operating Instructions:
1. Read everything you wrote on your tube and come to grips with the reality that all those things determine what you call real.
2. Look through your tube and realize that only you can see the universe through your tube the way you see it.
3. Never, ever, use the word “IS” again unless you are looking through your tube with the full realization that only your tube makes it so.
4.  [WARNING] No one has the correct [IS TUBE].
5.  [WARNING] Normal does not exist and average represents but a mathematical abstraction.
OK campers you are almost ready to head out into the big bad world with your new [IS TUBE], never again to use the “you know what” word unless you are looking through your tube with the other eye closed.  Before you go I suggest you fill your pockets with as many (it seems to me)s, (the way I see it)s, (from my understanding)s and (it appears)s as you can fit.  You are going to need them.  You should also keep in mind that any person you interact with who uses the “you know what” word without simultaneously looking through “their” tube should never be taken entirely seriously.  They are not being honest with you.  Instead, you should wonder to yourself just how incredibly weird it would be to have a look through their tube.
You do understand, I hope, that this represents an exercise.
No, it won’t get rid of cellulite!
You won’t lose any weight.
It will not give you great pecks or a tighter butt.
BUT, it is unconditionally [GUARANTEED] to expand your consciousness in a way that remains legal in most (but not all) locations.

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TEACHERS

How can I avoid this subject?  Knowing, as we all do now, that it was greedy teachers that wrecked our economy and not bankers and Wall Street brokers, it’s time for me to throw some pennies in the jar marked [OPINION].

I think I have had personal and protracted experience with enough teachers in my time to form an opinion.  Between elementary school, secondary school, college, graduate school and enough post graduate courses to brake the bank of many a small nation I have had my share of teachers, professors and instructors.  As with most things in life the bulk of them fell in that big pile we call “average”.  Make no mistake, there were also stinkers.  There were also stars that changed my life and caused me to be a different person on the way out than I was coming in.  Before I tell you about them though I would like to say something about the “coming in” part.

As a child it was explained to me that your brain was a tool-box.  I was informed that you could lose, or have taken away from you, your money, property, good name, loved ones and even your self respect, but, not what you had learned.  Not the tools you made a point to put in that tool box we call a brain.  Teachers, I was told, handed out those tools to students anxious to acquire them.  Accent on the “anxious”.  Without that anxious part teachers might as well stay home.  This is something, I feel, that doesn’t get addressed quite enough when we talk about education.

Lets say you would like your child to be a concert pianist.  You can hire the best and most expensive piano teacher in the country.  You can purchase a $50,000 piano for your child to play.  If they are not willing and “anxious” to practice all you have the right to expect from the teacher and the piano is chop-sticks.  That pretty much describes the state of American education today… chop-sticks.  In short, I blame the students and the parents who failed to explain to their children the importance of filling that tool box with tools.  Lets just call them parents who take chop-sticks for an answer from their children, but, blame teachers and pianos for the acute lack of Beethoven’s piano concerto #3 and be done with it.  Case closed.

I grant the gentle reader that really good teachers have the ability to ratchet up the level of “anxious” on the part of the student.  I can remember two that really stand out in my mind who, in their time, did that for me.  One was a female algebra teacher in high school and the other was a professor of anatomy much later.  I don’t think either of them could get a job teaching today.  To put it bluntly, they were abusive.  To put it another way, concern for your self esteem was the farthest thing from their mind.  In point of fact there was only one possible way not to be orally abused and made to feel like something the cat dragged in and that was total mastery of the subject matter assigned.  Their classes were not for the  sensitive whose “feelings” could be hurt and not heal in moments.  They were feared by each and every one of their students because they were formidable scholars themselves that exuded competence and demanded nothing less than that from you.  In todays public schools they would be considered dangerous, insensitive brutes by the administrators and suicide generators by the school psychologists.  Most parents today would, no doubt, concur.  Lawyers would have a field day.

I think that is, mostly, why our schools have gone to crap.

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To Everyone, from Prison

“Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage.

For I have rubber dog-shit in my pocket

And the power to OUTRAGE!”

[forgive me: Richard Lovelace. 1618–1658]

The prison I refer to is the one we all inhabit, the one we are born and die in.  That maximum security facility at the end of our necks that incarcerates the “me”.  Our noggins… our minds… our brains, and in the end, every smidgen, speck and particle of that most important thing in this universe we call… our selves.  The guards have names like Mr. Sphenoid, Mr. Parietal and Mr. Ethmoid.  Eight guards to a shift in all.

At this point you are probably wondering where the rubber dog-shit comes in.  Well, that’s a bit of a journey and if you choose to continue reading we can take it together and both find out where we end up.  I make no promises.  I try never to make promises.

It all began innocently enough on a rainy sunday such as this, a few months ago.  Sunday mornings are when I water my collection of orchids.  It takes a full two and one half hours to do it properly.  They are epiphytes you see and they don’t grow in dirt.  Instead, they entangle their juicy roots around chunks of bark and are only truly happy in a feast or famine world of abundant water, followed by none at all.  I provide them that world by filling a large plastic container with five gallons of water and, one or two at a time, giving them a nice “tubby”.  In they go and out they come ten or fifteen minutes later presumably drunk as Lords on the universal solvent.  They love me for it I know and in return for my care they give me sex the only way they know how.  They expose their most private of private parts throughout the year in an orgy of floral shamelessness and perfume my humble abode in a manner usually reserved for the cheapest of cheap whore houses.  But I digress.

One Sunday, while we were all going tubby, my mind flew free of its bony jailhouse as it is want to do.  Why I cannot explain, but, it came to perch on the idea of rubber dog-shit.  I make no apology for where my mind goes, nor do I think should any of us, but, that’s besides the point.  The point is that someone invented rubber dog-shit and the very idea of that gave my mind wings.  I considered the implications and, yes, it changed my life.

The names Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Warren Buffet paled before me as I considered who the unknown heir to the, no doubt, vast rubber dog-shit fortune could be.  As is my way I did not let a lack of facts incumber my speculations.  I called him Afton Furwitch III, grandson and sole heir of the patriarch of the rubber dog-shit empire, Afton Furwitch the Elder.  I had no doubt that he attended Yale or that his envious classmates snickered behind his back as his Mercedes with the windshield wipers on the headlights drove by… “Will you look at him… that’s all rubber dog-shit money you know?”

I was certain he had a yacht anchored in the south of France with the words “POOP-DECK” written in bold gold letters across the back.  I knew that he summered at Squatsworth Manor the 5000 acre ancestral estate in Northumberland where he could be seen recklessly driving his Ferrari with its [DOO-DOO] license plate across the windswept moors.  How the tenant sheep herders would shake their fists at him, at the roar of his engine as he rounded a sharp curve that would scatter the sheep to the four corners of the compass.  Oh how they envied him… as, I confess, did I.

Right then and there, as I gently lifted a satiated Cattleya from its tubby, I made a vow to play some role in this noble tale.  Indeed I was no heir, nor could I claim any credible relationship to the “invention” of rubber dog-shit, BUT, I was steadfast in my determination to accomplish what the rightful heirs had neglected to do.  My place in history would be noted as….  The Developer.

I purchased a case, wholesale, of 100 life-like pieces of rubber dog-shit along with a small spiral notepad and a flair pen.  From that day onward I vowed to never leave home without dog-shit in my pocket.  As the weeks turned into months it has become as essential to my well being as air itself.  Never again have I found myself at a loss for words to express my outrage and what were the every day frustrations of inhabiting a dyeing Empire have been almost magically transformed into opportunities for laughter and rejoicing.  It works like this…..

Should I find myself the victim of rude or slipshod service at a restaurant, I write a short note detailing my complaint and tuck it into the convenient hollow core of my trusty rubber dog-shit.  I leave it, in lieu of a remuneration, half hidden beneath a napkin and exit the establishment with a smile on my face.  Should I receive inattentive service at the Office of Motor Vehicles, I neatly place my “opinion” on the floor at the foot of the counter and go on my merry way.  Should I be kept waiting for a scheduled appointment anywhere, lets say a doctor’s or dentist’s office, I quietly deposit my “deposit” in with the old copies of Good Housekeeping and National Geographic as I bid the receptionist farewell.

As of this writing I cannot say or claim that my activities have brought about any profound changes in the world.  Not yet at any rate, but, I do have hope.  Hope for a kinder, gentler world where yelling and cursing and angry words are replaced by a simple pile of life-like rubber dog-shit.  A world where unkind words are no longer flung from stranger to stranger and tempers no longer flare out of control.  A world where, thanks to me, rubber dog-shit takes its rightful place and, like oil poured upon an angry sea, some modicum of serenity and quiet dignity is restored to us all.

Should any of you, dear readers, ever come upon a pile of life-like rubber dog-shit with a note tucked inside I ask you to think of me and, perhaps, give some consideration to joining me in my quest to make this world a better place for us all.  Purchase your own case, a note pad and a flare pen and join me, won’t you, as we make this world a better one…. One pile of dog-shit at a time.

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A Hard Rain is Gunna Fall

I finished edging my perennial beds yesterday with my trusty long handled flat nosed shovel.  Should anyone need a close shave they are available.  Day lilly, siberian Iris and peony nubs, and the fat buds on my Japanese cherry trees all looked on as the last of winters disarray was removed to the mulch pile.  Just in time for the hard rain forecast for the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend.

Rainy weekends of my youth taught me everything I know about the science of economics.  We played marathon games of Monopoly on the screened porch and tested our wings in flights of capitalist fancy.  Moms made peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and we rolled the dice to see who made what and who owed who this time around.  We became experts on what was good property.  We built houses and hotels, owned railroads and utilities.  Fortunes were made and lost and lessons were almost, but not quite, learned.  Luck played a role and there were natural born cheaters in our midst.  That we did learn.  But, I think, the thing we missed, the thing we as children failed to fully comprehend was the inevitability of game itself.  The inescapable fact that the game always ended the same way.  One person ended up with it all!

I think the lesson of that cold fact escaped us because the winners gloating was always eclipsed by cries of “lets play again” or, “Look the sun is coming out, lets go fishing”.  We either forgot the game entirely and ran off to collect blue-gills and sunnies, or, we divided up the money again and played Monopoly one more time.  Nothing was final.  Not the weather, not our youth and certainly not the economic realities of an adulthood so far off it wasn’t even worth thinking about.  In the bottom of that old cardboard box, where the little pamphlet marked “Instructions” slept, amidst the clutter of unused wooden houses and hotels there was nothing in the way of a warning.  Nowhere on that little “Rules Book” was there any [Black Box] or BOLD LETTERING to indicate to us in the naive tenderness of our youth that there was something very serious to be considered about this so called game.  Something, in fact, almost sinister.  There were simply no indications that, one day, we would ALL be expected to play this game for real…. ONCE… and how ever it came out that was it.

I can’t help but think that should have been in there.  We SHOULD have been encouraged to, while we were still children, give some thought to what we would do to the first player who won it all and then insisted upon keeping the money, the playing pieces and the board.  We should have been pushed, somehow, to consider our options, to contemplate our strategies and list our possibilities.  But we weren’t I think because children usually aren’t that mean and even if they were there is a good chance they never would have had enough friends to make a game to begin with.  Even if they did the omnipotent overlord of all things good and righteous could be counted upon to put things right.  A cry would go out from the porch for MOM!… and she would calmly explain to everyone how selfishness was a sin and that if we all were going to remain friends we were going to have to learn to share.

I think what I am left wondering today is how we were smart enough to put [WARNING] labels on packs of cigarettes but not on games of Monopoly.  How it made sense to us collectively to inform people that taking the enjoyment of nicotine too seriously would inevitably be harmful when, after all, cigarettes only harmed one person at a time.  How we, somehow, missed the fact that taking the enjoyment of the game of Monopoly too seriously would lead to…. Well, you can see that for yourself, can’t you?

I heard this morning that John Candy died 17 years ago today.  The older I get the more things I just find hard to believe.

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