The Richards of Rock

I feel no disrespect for Ringo Starr or Richard Carpenter. Quite the opposite! They are both competent craftsmen who have expressed a little artistry at times. Good for them! But seriously, if it weren’t for The Beatles and Karen, The Richards of Rock would likely never have been so widely known.

I imagine professionals and the cognocenti would have recognized them as serious studio musicians, and if you were looking for a playful drummer or a bright touch on the keys, you might ask for one of the Richards.

But they wouldna been famous.

What they did was luck out and step up to their very good deals; they measured up and they didn’t disgrace themselves. But I expect they never would have been headliners in their own right.

Well, maybe Ringo. How can ya not love Ringo? And as for Richard Carpenter? I think he never quite figured out whether he wanted to be The Beatles or The Ray Coniff Singers.

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A Puppies and Rainbow Act

American partisan politics has been replete with lies since its inception. America’s first political party consisted of centralist nationalists, and they called themselves “Federalists”. That left the actual federalists (including the authors of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions) to call themselves “Democratic Republicans” (surviving unto this day as the Democrat party, the oldest living political party on Earth).

Just as the names stuck, so too did the mendacious traditions of our partisan “Representatives.” They constantly flaunt their falsehoods, from the “PATRIOT ACT” to RomneyCare 2.0 (“If you like your policy, you can keep it!”) to “Net Neutrality”.

Rest assured, if the Congress were to pass a Puppies and Rainbows Act, a careful reading of it would reveal its true designs to incinerate enough puppies so as to pump enough particulate matter into the atmosphere as to render rainbows impossible.

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cover illustrations by Dick Giordano & Russ Heath.  Used without permission.  Piracy Press is a non-profit enterprise dedicated to the preservation and distribution of great art and ripping good yarns.  Digital Damage by Lethargy LadPrice per issue:  Ten Centigrams Gold.

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“Ya’ll take EBT?”

Which question is actually better than arrogantly assuming that we DO accept your Electric Biscuit Ticket, so thanks for asking.

The Quikk Stopp does NOT accept “food stamps” or honor your EBT card because it is already annoying enough to be paying for your groceries. Obliging me to participate in my own abuse and to witness your squandering of my stolen money on jerky, chips and “energy” drinks just makes it worse.

Buy your own candy. I know you have cash, I just sold you lottery tickets.

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Eulogy for a Drama Queen

preface from 24 July 2017: My heart breaks this morning. It breaks for Robyn, of course, but it also breaks for all who loved her. She was my friend, my foil, my wife, the mother of my daughter, and, briefly, my antagonist. Ultimately, she was a cherished friend and a phenomenal talent, and she left indelible marks on my heart.

I hope I’m in the right church…
I have to wonder…

Years ago, when people might enquire after our religion, or in what faith we were raising our daughter, Robyn would as likely as not beat me to the punch — thereby sparing the world yet another episode of didactic tedium — and brightly chirp, “We’re Thespians!”

How right she was.

I think we all build churches — the Sikhs, the Sunni, and the Secular alike. Most of us have some need to gather with those of like mind, so we build churches for fellowship, to share our lives and to mark our milestones, to promote our heritage, and to celebrate our community with pageantry and poetry. To tell stories of life, and struggle, and meaning.

We are also all flawed and unfinished, so we build churches for instruction, and we call them temples, or mosques, or libraries…

Or Theatres…

Robi loved the theatre. She loved the drama, she loved the language, she loved the costumes and the set design and even the set construction. She was never so happy as when she was spattered with paint.

She loved the camaraderie of the collective creation — taking the author’s words and giving them the actors’ voices and the director’s vision and bringing them to life in the minds of the audience.

In the faithful attendance of our religious duties (a.k.a. “rehearsals”) we always put the work before the fun, and we ALWAYS had a LOT of fun!

We made worlds together, night after night (plus Sunday matinees!), and it is as close to working magic as I’ve ever come.

So we build churches for fun, too!

We build churches for fellowship.
We build churches for instruction.
We build churches for fun, and we build churches to reaffirm our faith and to bolster our guiding principles —

Do your part.
Respect the persons and property of others.
Keep your promises.

Toward these ends, said Robyn, the theatre serves as well as any other proper church. Of course, in the House of Thespos, we say it a little differently, but the universal wisdom still shines through —

Learn your lines.
Keep your grubby mitts off the prop table!
And… The Show Must Go On!

Also, in OUR church, when God (a.k.a. “The Director”) speaks, we either obey, or we’re outta the show!

So… the right church?
I should think so!

This church isn’t the boards or the bricks.
It’s the gathering of celebrants confessing their creed.
The theatre isn’t the venue, it’s us!
The audience, the players, the ushers, the house…
The temple isn’t built with sticks or steel.

It’s a house of human hearts, and Robyn’s heart beats strong today, inside of all of us who’ve gathered here.

(presented 9 September 2017, Ashland, Oregon, usa)

update 180116: I am not the worst singer in the world. The odds are too steep against it, what with seven billions of us. However, I am accustomed to being the worst singer in the room. Nevertheless, after delivering the touching testimonial above, I led the gathering in a rendition of what Drama Queen once called “our church’s most sacred hymn,” There’s No Business like Show Business, by Saint Irving Berlin.

I should probably also point out that Busy Body was in attendance that day, too. My Former Arch-Nemeses were never rivals, never foes. Never pals, either, but they were respectful of and sympathetic towards each other, both understanding the trials of Life with Lehr
(the follow-up sitcom to I Loathe Larry).

 

 

The Privileged Poor

(Some very dear) Leftie friends of mine have been taking pains of late to school me on “White Privilege.” I still don’t buy it, but I guess I get it. You have to redefine it so that it no longer means “Private Law” (literally) or “Elite access” (generally) but rather “relative freedom from inconvenience or danger or suspicion.” Okeh, if that’s our metric, since the police rarely think that I resemble any suspects on their beats, then I’m “privileged.”

Who else is privileged? Well, everybody who still doesn’t require corrective lenses. I could go for some of that privilege. But I shouldn’t grouse, I still have both legs, arms, ears, eyes, kidneys, and testicles, so I guess I’m plenty privileged. Furthermore, if I make a lot of bad decisions for a couple of decades, I just might win me a Privileged Parking Pass, then I could park right up front at McGreaseTrap’s.

Such an inclusive definition of “Privilege” is so sophist and specious as to render it of little value in coherent discourse.

On the other hand, considering that some forty plus per cent (or more?) of Americans PAY NO INCOME TAX, the Lefties have given me a supportable argument (on THEIR alleged merits) to refer to them henceforth as The Privileged Poor.

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update 171205:  correspondent ML writes “No… you still don’t get it cause you don’t wanna get it. The fast and loose playing with statistics — like that forty per cent comment (why d’ya suppose they don’t pay income tax?) reveal a mind that is closed to new information and only being used for snarky debate tactics, so sad [bemoanji] — such a waste of a potentially first rate intelligence.”

I’ve addressed the personal insults on another forum (FascBuch). To the substantial portion of the response, and the only actual question: The Privileged Poor pay no income tax because the progressive income tax excludes the lowest echelons. The Privileged Poor DO pay taxes, as do we all — consumption, excise, and the corporate income tax component of just about every product that we buy. So of course, they definitely have cause not to FEEL particularly “privileged.“ Which is just what their civil masters want, as a large cadre of jealousy and resentment are the perfect clay to be molded into Gimmecrat voters. What keeps The Privileged Poor in those (income) tax brackets? Well, in addition to their own misbehavior (bears mentioning and dismissing, as bad choices are rife throughout the human spectrum) there is government action.
Minimum Wage legislation criminalizes apprenticeships and training wages. If a person can only bring fourteen bucks of value to an employer, a fifteen buck concrete barrier precludes many from taking that first step.
Licensing and regulation exist (contrary to their rhetoric) to protect entrenched contributors from competition, thereby denying The Privileged Poor their natural human right to pursue their own entrepreneurial aspirations.

update 171225:  correspondent and creative reader ML discerns other than blank space between the lines: “So forty per cent of the population is poor enough not to pay taxes because of their own misbehavior??”

To repeat and amplify, let’s DO make it personal. The reason that I remain generally among The Privileged Poor probably IS due to my own misbehavior, beginning in school with my inability to “play well with others” and culminating in my refusal to submit to the requirements to receive a Certificate of Approval from Spartan High. Once into the job market, I still usually failed. In addition to my unwillingness to give 110%, kick it up a notch, or take it to the next level, I was also nowhere near as good as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer at pretending to care about people nor as skillful as Charlie Manson or Jim Jones at inspiring subordinates. And, of course, I consistently failed to reach for the rectum during job interviews.

But that’s just me. I am hardly representative of The Privileged Poor. Nevertheless, that’s why it “bears mentioning”, because there ARE a few like me, and your adversaries WILL bring us up. And it is worth dismissing because we are anomalies. MOST of The Privileged Poor are blocked by minimum wages, licensing boards, arbitrary regulations designed to thwart would be competitors to your loving legislature’s corporate sponsors (Halliburton, Solyndra, et al) and a whole host of interfering bureaucrat buttinskies.

Tzelphisch, Tovarisch?

Is there a word in English that means, “prone to promote, protect, or enrich the interests of the self?”

Egocentric, rational, logical, or sane all fit, but are each too broad and insufficiently descriptive. Normal would work, too, but that’s completely trivial. Right-handed, heterosexual, and bipedal would also fit the definition of “normal” (go ahead and check my math) so that’s out.

According to my son, Michael Malice, and the stupid dictionary, Rand and I have gotten this one wrong, as it is also not “selfish.”

This comes as a bit of a surprise, considering what lofty thinkers we are, but English is vast, complex, and often confusing. In addition to the reasonable definition posited above, the word “selfish” contains the necessary caveat (and obvious contradiction) “without regard for the well-being of others.” That is perfectly stupid, because so often my interests subsume the interests of others, as do yours, I’d guess. If our primary allegiance is to ourselves (as it must be in order to survive) then by extension we love those things that enrich our lives. I may have been mistaken at the time, but I thought that my interests and those of the Air Force were consistent in re the Soviet Empire. I selfishly signed up. I also selfishly fed my children, paid my mortgage, and scratched my thespian itch. As I pursued my self-interests I served the self-interests of vendors and manufacturers world wide. But, according to the self-loathing scolds at Merriam Webster et al, I have to hate that part of myself that loves others in order to love and serve myself.

Look, if Lefties and their sympathizers can turn “privilege” on its head, reversing its definition from the exclusive “elite access” to the meaninglessly inclusive “majoritarian immunity”, I think ya’ll can bend a little on “selfish”. I might offer a compromise in the form of “selfious”, but that sounds more like “filled with poorly framed self-indulgent self-portraits”, or maybe offer to respell it as “celfiche” or “tselphisch”, but if I were to do that you terrorists would win.

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update 171225:
correspondent NT comments: “The whole point of words is to communicate…Keep in mind that people less familiar with your preferred meaning [of selfish] might tend to misunderstand.”

An excellent point, which is why I generally try to subvert their likely understanding with humor. I often proclaim that selfishness, laziness, and cowardice are my fundamental VIRTUES. This will often put them at ease, as it makes ME the butt of any potential insults. Once I introduce that turbulence into their heads, they are more amenable to considering the ramifications of my thesis, that self-preservation, self-service, and self-regard are GOOD THINGS, (leading to clever devices, more productive crops, and an easier and longer life for us all) and ought not to be scorned or denigrated. It usually works, except with the most hide-bound of literalists, and the inevitable creative listeners.

The Ups

As long as I can remember I’ve been beset by The Ups.

Because I am lazy and averse to confrontation, I tend to let small offenses slide. Since many nuisances are ephemeral, there’s often no practical benefit to correcting the thoughtless and the discourteous. Rather than SPEAKING UP about a small issue, I’ll blow it off. Unfortunately, to the commonest form of ignorant savage, such a demeanor is oft taken as approval of their misbehavior, so they “think” that “it don’t matter.”

Then, once I’ve reached my saturation point, I will elaborate over what I see as an accumulation of offenses, and what the malefactor feels is an isolated incident. So I’ll go on and on and on to the point of hectoring tedium. In short, I have a hard time, once I get started, with SHUTTING UP.

Finally, as a frequently stubborn monomaniac, I can immerse myself in a puzzle or problem or project, often to the point of oblivious unconcern for other pressing issues. Once I get my teeth into a problem I am disinclined to let it go. As an engineer or an accountant, I understand that we will reach an “optimum solution” to a problem, or a realization that said problem is not really worth pursuing, but as an up-challenged fellow, I still have a very hard time GIVING UP.

I rarely quit, and if it appears from the outside that I have, I would caution observers against mistaking giving up for chickening out. I’m no quitter, but I am a coward. And that explains my relationship with tobacco. I love tobacco. I love the smell, the taste, and the psychoactive effect. It’s a wonder drug! I did not love the rattle in my chest when, as a much younger man, I had simply trotted up two flights of stairs. I have not tasted it since 1989, and like Killer, what I miss most about it is blowing smoke in the faces of people who tell me I should quit. But I’m no longer a practicing butthead, so I don’t get to do that anymore.

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