It's a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.
You know what that means. Read Ann Coulter's
Some Like it Hot
I was listening to the news yesterday and they were talking about how hot it is in various
places around the country. How hot was it? Uh . . . I can't tell you the actual temperature,
because they didn't tell me. My memory may be failing me, but I don't recall ever hearing
the weather reported in "heat index."
Remember the good old days when liars were clever?
Metaphor of the day
Lakers fans are funny people. The Lakers spend the entire night playing dirty basketball. Then when Kolbe Bryant
flagrantly fouls a Jazz player and starts acting like he's been mortally wounded, the Lakers fans go
berserk. "Did you see that?! The Jazz are evil!"
Neither I nor any of the Lakers fans has the least control over the outcome of the game. None. But I can
vigorously support the Jazz to make the Lakers fans crazy for my own entertainment.
It's just like sticking firecrackers in a frog's mouth—just getting my jollies by torturing God's inferior
creatures that have limited mental capacity.
In a completely unrelated story, a friend of a friend posted an article about the debt ceiling charade with
the comment that it's obvious the Republicans have always wanted America to be a third world country. This is
somewhat cheaper, but no less effective, than wearing a neon sign that says "I'm a blind, rabid partisan
nincompoop with no capacity to think for myself."
So I responded with a jab just to test the waters. Honest to Earnhardt, I swear I thought he was on my side.
The only reason a rational human being would say outrageous, ridiculous things like that would be to make
fun of the demorats.
But he immediately came back with his Lakers fan bon-fides. "Well, blah-blah-blah blobbety-blah Bush
I checked this morning and apparently he spent all night looking up and posting articles that "support"
his point of view.
My work is done here.
I had a moment of enlightenment. It occurred to me that the more momentous the topic I
cover the more boring my commentary is. I should resolve to only discuss light, entertaining
I should do a lot of things . . .
The Ninety and Nine
"You aren't acting very Christian." This is an accusation that comes in very handy if you're
trying to take advantage of someone.
Orson Scott Card and others have done the wording much better than I will, but people who
are trying to take advantage of me suddenly become experts in the constraints my Christian
faith puts on me.
This is a continuation of my rant about "I'm not going to apologize for being better than
scumbags." Here's the deal: Your whole life you've heard about how God loves everyone, how
we should turn the other cheek, how we should love our enemies and pray for those who
despitefully (sic) use us. That side is pretty well covered, so I'm here to discuss the
contrasting viewpoint you don't hear in Sunday School. That's just the kind of service I provide.
The way I understand it, the Gospel teaches that:
- You should strive for perfection in all things. You should obey the law, observe certain
standards of conduct, fulfill your obligations, abstain from certain things . . .
- If you do, you are inferior to the people that aren’t doing that.
My daughter pointed this out years ago when a little girl in her class got all the attention
because she was being bad. Whenever Abigayle did the least little thing right she got praised
up and down. My daughter felt somewhat less than motivated to be good, since all her efforts
to do a lot of great things got less praise than Abigayle's minuscule efforts to do
anything that wasn't pure evil.
This double standard is the same sort of concept as the disparity in who the law has the most
effect on. Think about it: The law has the least effect on the people that most need to be
governed by it. You know the deal: "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."
You have to have insurance on your car. That's the law. Then they add another law that says you
have to carry insurance to cover the people who are disobeying the law by not having insurance.
So by obeying the law you get punished twice because it's no use to go after someone who won't
obey the law.
So that's how it works. It's the same deal as "animal rights" activists that pick on rich ladies wearing
fur instead of bikers wearing leather. And you never see the producers of the Broadway play
"The Book of Mormon" poking fun at Muslims. That's because they know Mormons aren't going to
cut their head off.
To the person who's inclined to obey The Law, the idea that their violation of the societal
code will be a stain on their integrity is a motivation to behave. The person who has no
integrity doesn't give crap one. That's the kind of person the judge tells "I told you to do
something and you didn't do it. If you continue to disobey me I'll have no choice but to tell
To you or me the threat of prison is a great motivator. To the scumbag, prison is probably a
better place than where he's living, the landlord doesn't constantly harass him about paying
the rent, plus, all his friends are there.
It's a funny thing. Let's say, just to pull a random example out of thin air, that someone
has a rental property. The Law says that the renter should follow the contract. This
includes paying the rent on time, not allowing smoking or drinking, not moving your boyfriend
in with you or turning the garage into a commercial body shop.
That's what The Law says, but the renter figures she doesn't have to do that.
So then The Law says that she has three days to get into compliance or move out. Again, the
renter figures what's the law but just a bunch of words? It doesn't govern her behavior.
So then the judge issues an order that no, seriously, she has to move out. He tells her that
she has five days.
When the Landlord goes over to finalize everything, all of a sudden the renter becomes a big
believer in The Law. "The Law says that I can stay here until my five days are up!"
The new Harry Potter movie is coming out. When you put down the seventh book and walk out
of the eighth movie, the most valuable thing you take away from the whole experience may be
what the sorting hat told Harry:
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
This is a continuation of the topic in a previous last blog where I said that I don't want
kids that can do no wrong. I want kids that are capable of doing wrong, but choose not to.
I stole the wording from The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I read it years ago and have never forgotten his observations about dependency.
When a woman can't live without you that's not love—it's parasitism. You want a woman that is
perfectly capable of living without you, but chooses not to.
ADD Moment—queue theme music . . .
This concept of choice vs. nature is one that Hugh Nibley addressed. He talked about
the reward being related to the challenge. What virtue is there in being good if you have
no temptation?1 If you are not capable of doing wrong, what is the merit when you
Do you notice a pattern here? From everything I take away one and only one thing. From all of
Harry Potter I remember the line about choices. From the whole durn M. Scott Peck book I
remember the line about parasitism.
Maybe not entirely true—I can quote line after line from Fletch, Days of Thunder, and The
Great Santini . . .
Even before I heard the Nibley talk, the seeds of this concept were nurtured in my brain
when I read this excellent article by the always insightful Marianne Jennings.
Over the years I have referred to President Clinton as President Lite, a hoser, and a yahoo.
I offer my apologies to readers everywhere for my mischaracterizations. He is actually a
lying weasel with the libido of a bull elk.
(See? After all these years I remembered that one line, too.)
I laughed when I read that, and she makes a good point (as she always does). But as a man I was a little bit offended.
To say Bill Clinton has a very active libido is to give him way too much credit. A Millions of men have healthy libidos, but they choose to control it like men instead of letting it control them like animals.
Please don't confuse this with placing yourself in temptation's way. That's just stupid.
True story: I had a girlfriend who had a guy and take her out parking on a lonely road
late one night. He said—I couldn't make this stuff up—"We have to test ourselves,
Melinda. It's just like exercise, we have to take ourselves to the limit to make us strong."
Seriously . . . how farfetched can you . . . ?
Wait . . . come to think of it, although that line didn't entirely work that time, bless his
heart, he kept at it and ended up getting what he was after. That may be one reason she's not Mrs.
Leany and one reason I have a deep and abiding distrust of all humankind.
Every person is a unique combination of what he was born with and what he has developed.
Take some guy who has won the genetic lottery. He's been brimming with testosterone right
from the womb. He's got Adonis-like good looks, lightning reflexes, perfect eyesight,
and anything he eats immediately turns into muscle--you know, the guy by the pool at
Julia's mom's apartment complex. He's probably pretty proud of himself.
But why? What did he do to get what he's got? If anything he should be proud of God
and maybe a little bit grateful.
A CO once told me he'd rather have a Marine that drags himself over the finish line
dead last puking his guts out than the one who broke the course record without breaking
But what does the Marine have that caused him to drag himself puking over the finish
line? Is that character trait inherent quality not a choice?
When something happens to a person you sometimes say "Well, now we get to see what he's
made of." You see what's he's made of by the choices that he makes in response to what
happened. So he's making choices, but if those choices are based on "what he's made of . . . " Well, you can see where that goes . . . or doesn't go . . . or . . . whatever.
You know how your injured thumb is the one that always gets bumped? So I'm thinking on all
Sunday night I was reading a book on philosophy. Just an aside (inside an ADD moment wrapped in an enigma): Books on philosophy are not the best things to read when you're depressed. I would recommend something more like "The Midnight Disease." Anyway, this book got into pre-determination and philosophical regressus.
Atlas is holding the world, what is holding Atlas?
In a happenstance, that very Sunday the talks were on the Word of Wisdom. A couple of people talked about how some choices take away other choices. They talked about how drug addiction chemically alters the brain chemistry and changes our very ability to make choices. That's why drug addicts, who really truly honestly love their children with all their heart, will put their children in harm's way to get a fix.
He's standing on a turtle.
And what's holding up the turtle?
And that turtle?
It's turtles, turtles, turtles, all the way down.
So what is the substance of us and what is our choice? Where is that line? Body chemistry has effects on at least how easy it is to make certain choices; in some cases whether or not we're even capable of those choices. Depression is real. Sometimes a person may not be lazy, they may just be exhausted and the minimal things they do require much more exertion than the fantastic things you accomplish.
But now I'm just rambling . . .
And finally . . .
Choice is what makes America great, you get what you choose. We chatted about this . . . well, I did do most of the talking. But think about this:
Sharing is a beautiful thing in America because we choose to share. How much virtue is there in sharing when you have no choice?
Socialism forces you to share – and that's why it doesn't happen. America is probably the most generous country in the world.
The socialists would have you think that it's evil to not have the government compel the re-distribution of wealth. That is exactly the opposite of the truth. It's not only evil for the government to compel that, it actually results in less help ending up with those who are in need.
But that doesn't keep that side from braying about it. It just supports Bastiat's observation that the liberal says that when we oppose government doing something we oppose the thing itself.
You know the story about the Pre-existence where the two plans were presented.
One third of the hosts of Heaven chose Lucifer's plan of Socialism. One third of the group chose Free Agency.
The final third said "That Lucifer guy makes a lot of sense, but I'll bet we can make a buck off of these free agency morons."
And that's where you get your lawyers and democrats.
All are Equal in God's Sight
Democracy. Equality. What great ideals. What American ideals. No man is above another; no man is
Imagine your basic loser, covered in tattoos and body piercings, walking down the sidewalk prowling
for his next score of drugs or some slut stupid enough to bed him down. He's on the sidewalk 'cause
he's seven weeks behind on his rent and—you know the rules—if he can just make it to the first of
next month without making eye contact with the landlord he doesn't have to pay the rent. Any money
he does happen to come across he's saving for another huge tattoo of a skull on his back. What's this?
There's a cigarette butt on the sidewalk with another good 1/2" of smoke left on it. It's his lucky day!
You know, God loves him just as much as He loves you.
Love for the unlovable is a sentiment that flows very easily from the lips of people who have no skin
in the game. But what does that phrase mean, functionally? If you're trying to convince me that I should
love this guy, why don't you let him live rent free in your house? Why don't you give him the keys to your
car and your credit card? Why don't you let him date your daughter?
Functionally those words don't mean jack.
My concern, since I don't have to worry about God loving me, is behaving in a way that pleases people
whose good opinion I have to earn.
The losers have God's love going for them, so they don't need me to give a crap about whether they
live or die. And I don't.
I'd be happy to just ignore them like other insects that don't affect me. Until they do affect me.
Or until someone tries to tell me that I have to modify my life to accommodate these people's bad choices.
If you have to circle the thesis sentence of this piece, get your pencil ready. I will never apologize for
being superior to certain people.
Every day the news is dominated by moms who allow their boyfriends to abuse their children,
gang bangers who terrorize neighborhoods, drug addicts who resort to any means to get money for
their habit . . . If you are trying to convince me that these wastes of skin have any value
compared to people to love and support their families and make good choices, you are either stupid or evil.
Write it Right
Wording is important. Here's one: All accused are innocent until proven guilty. Bullcrap.
All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They don't suddenly become
guilty once the evidence is revealed. The presumption of innocence is a beautiful and fundamental
principle of our system, and mis-stating it screws it all up.
Equality is another of those terms. All men are not equal. The Declaration of Independence never talks
about the inalienable right to Happiness. It talks about the Pursuit of Happiness being a God-given right.
The beauty of America is equal opportunity. The fact that there are losers and winners is exactly
what makes the American system such a marvel.
If the system prevented anyone from losing it would also prevent anyone from winning.
People are rewarded based on their choices. That's how the system maintains itself. Were there no advantage
to making good choices, why would anyone go to the extra bother?
Wham! Did you see that? I just hit the wall. I never see it coming. I'll be pontificating along and all of a
sudden—bored! I hit this giant wall that says "If anybody cared they'd have already taken the trouble to work
it out. If they don't, all my bloviating won't change that."
"I've done some bad things in my life." It's a cliché. You always wonder if the person saying it is bragging or complaining.
God's honest truth, I've done less 'bad things' than most people. But I have done things I'm ashamed of. The one thing that keeps me awake at night is this:
I didn't spend enough time training my children--passing on to them the skills they need to succeed in life.
The Spartans raised their kids with no lenience and no tolerance for weakness. What they demanded of their children seemed to be cruel. But they did it because the Spartans understood that to be soft on their children early was to condemn them to death in battle later.
Have I adequately prepared my children for the battles they are about to face?
That's what tortures me every moment of my life.
Just rambling now
I heard an analogy on writing once that compared composition to cooking an important meal. (The analogy was talking about "for your husband's boss." The important meals I cook are done on a barbecue grill.) You work hard to get everything just right, but the peas turn out bad. You've worked so hard to prepare them and cook them that you can't stand to throw them out. So you serve them.
And they ruin the whole meal.
When you're writing you become emotionally attached to your phrases. You raise them from the kernel of an idea into actual sentences. So you hate to discard them. But if you don't they ruin the whole piece.
So I don't discard them, I just collect them in the next post so they don't distract from the impact of the earlier one. Here are the discarded scraps from the last post:
I suck at an astonishing variety of things. But the most important thing I suck at is being a parent.
Hold these two thoughts in your mind simultaneously: I suck at being a parent, but I'm not a bad parent. I'm a good dad. I love my kids. Never in the history of kids has a parent loved his kids more than I love my kids.
I have the underlying devotion, but I suck at the practice of being a parent because of execution--or lack of it. I understand on an intellectual level what the Spartans knew, but I seem to be incapable of translating it into practice.
My wife encapsulated the problem once when I was cleaning up after a camping trip. She pointed out that I always involve the kids in the fun part but I always do the work alone.
And on the topic of me not really doing that much bad stuff in my life . . . I'm proud that I haven't fallen into a lot of the traps people typically do. But I hope that I've done it because of foresight and wisdom. I would hate to think that I've done it because I'm timid and not an independent thinker. That would make me easily manipulated. "What? You say God says I'm not supposed to do that? Okay, I won't do that."
I have good kids. I have really good kids. They typically make really good choices. But I would never say "My child would never do that!" A child that doesn't have the creativity or boldness to do bad things doesn't have the wherewithal to do good things, either. I want children who are capable of doing bad things, but choose not to.
Reprieve for my Reader
I have two blogs in the works . . . well, more like a dozen or so, but two that might actually get posted. But
they are intensely boring, in spite of—or more likely because of—being heartfelt.
All bad poetry springs from true emotion.
So I figured I'd just post something actually entertaining.
This faux news story about Activists Missing after Declaring "War on Leather" at Motorcycle Rally ties into
Ann Coulter's latest column about what pansies (she might have used a different word) liberals are.
Yeah, I don't like her new format as much, either. In a kind of cosmic maneuver, I just got a new computer with Windows 7.
I do understand why programmers do it, but I'll always hate that every upgrade you ever get screws up the
things you liked the most about the last version of the software (which was a cluster brawl compared to the version previous to that).
I miss being able to print actual color on my expensive color printer . . .
General Obama Bashing on the Economy
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