The Old Red Con

The Old Red Con, the Green New Fail, and the Green Leap Forward are all too easy. They’re all good and they’re all apt, but Green Leap is best as it evokes Chairman Mao’s heroic efforts to centralize Chinese agriculture (modeled no doubt on Tovarishch Stalin’s Ukrainian Triumph) resulting in the deaths of tens of millions. In so doing, the Helmsman edged out Uncle Joe as America’s second favorite mass-murderer (“Honest” Abe stands second to none, even as his body count pales in comparison to such giants.)
190219

Poker Night

I like to imagine that some of my favorite Legionnaires, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Ultra Boy, Colossal Boy, and I (Lethargy Lad) get together every other Saturday night to play poker and pass the pipe. Sometimes the girls like to hang out too, which is great, because Kara can always quick chill our beers (Jo can‘t do it because when he drinks he forgets to switch powers and then he risks frostbiting his own fingers), and Yera usually manages to dig up some cousin or another for me who often looks amazingly like Bettie Page or Myrna Loy.

Playing poker with Brainy can be a mixed bag. The man knows his odds, but he can’t read anybody’s tells, and we can all read his. We generally clean him out.
190218

Natural Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is the inescapable confluence of bigotry and demography.

Most ignorant savages hate and fear smart people. They either “think” that we’re evil wizards, or at least that we’re up to no good. (“Alla time trine ta shove their safety and hygiene and prosperity down our throats!”) On the other hand, they seem to have no trouble at all with their cold beer, their TVs, or their “smart” phones. (“Oh look! Bright colors!“)

Decades of psychometric examinations on thousands of subjects have clearly shown that, Jews, taken as a cohort, often described as “crafty, cunning, clever, and conniving” (all ways of saying “smarter than me”) are indeed smarter than the rest of us, just edging out the East Asians in second place.

Can’t have that. Them smart people is up to something.
190213

update 190218:
At Matthew 6:6 Ministries, we are definitely Up to Know Good!
In addition to brains, poetry is also good, and I’d love to provide some. Instead, I’ll offer this collaboration from me and Elvis of Puna, with meter stolen from Hanna, Barbera, or one of their many minions:

Fundtsteins!
Meet the Fundtsteins!
They’re the modern Jewish family!
All their —
Sons are lawyers,
And their daughter has a PhD!
When it’s —
Time for you to pay your tax!
You can —
Be assured that you’ll relax,
With a —
Tax accountant,
Who knows all the hidden secrets,
You’ll never regret,
Your Jewish CPA!

Black History Month, part five

Jack Black(190217)
He eschews both “Thomas” and “Jacob” and answers to “Jack”. From the “Soup-Nazi-of-Record-Store-Clerks” in High Fidelity, to the befuddled music instructor in School of Rock (a Dead Poets Society for head bangers?) this one time “challenged” student has carved out a niche for himself in comic and musical film. Though not quite the Pick of Destiny, his financial security seems assured. With steady work in feature flics, television, you-tube, animation and video-games, the acclaim of his peers and his commitment to Tenacious D et al, Jack’s artistic and professional orbits rival those of his satellite engineer parents’ other high-flying issue.

Black History Month, part four

Hugo Lafayette Black (190213)
1886-1971
Democrat, Klansman, segregationist, imperialist aggressor, he served as a Captain in The Great War, and as Senator from Alabama from 1927 to 1937. He led the filibuster that ultimately exhausted and defeated an intended “anti-lynching” measure in 1935. His vigorous defense of FDR’s “New Deal” to overturn the Constitution’s contract protections (among other crimes), his support for the “court packing” bill designed as a democratic end run around judicial review, and his criticism of the “judicial excess[es]” of an antagonistic court all led to his appointment to the Supremes in 1937 after Justice Devanter‘s departure.

What’s a Nine Digit Word for Rubbish?

The nine digit ZIP Code is utter nonsense.
The original proposal for the Zone Identification Postal Code had merit. With just five digits, potentially a hundred thousand discrete locations, you can get a letter or a package to the nearest post office.

For decades, on the outsides of my correspondence, I have put only my name (or usually just my initials), my street address, and the five digits. Never a problem. For a couple of months in 1976 or ‘77 I sent it out with addressees’ explicit city and state lacking, as those data are supposedly subsumed by the ZIP Code. But, because the Post Office employs human beings (who are idiots) they couldn’t figure out how to read their own allegedly superior system, yet they somehow managed to get it back to me, marked “undeliverable”.

Insofar as the USPS can’t be relied on to take itself seriously, and those extra four digits only allow for ten thousand locations within each Zone, it is clearly inadequate to the urban scene, and irrelevant to the rural.
190208

If I Were So Wired

I’ve long coveted the assurance of religious conviction, but my skeptical nature denies me such comforts. I understand the temptations of disbelievers to be swayed by extraordinary coincidence, extreme emotional trauma, and sentiment. Often the birth of a child or a near death experience will do it.

Last Friday a colleague of mine suffered a great personal tragedy. Her granddaughter was killed in an auto accident which also took the life of the girl’s de facto stepmother and put her father and her brother into intensive care with grim prognoses. It constitutes a very tough time for said colleague, and while I know I cannot help with the most important work of hugging and crying and sitting quietly as needs be, I still want to help. Cash can paper over a lot of logistical difficulties in the middle of such stress because the crap part of life never lets up. Whether it’s rushing meals or missing work or making arrangements for relatives, cash can help smooth the way. My means are modest, but I can help a little. Mine is the easy part; I cannot even begin to imagine what a bereaved grandmother must be going through. My heart breaks hard enough at just the thought of it.

Last night (Saturday) at the Quikk Stopp by the Interstate, a regular friendly customer, a local Corrections Officer, concluded the transaction portion of his visit, and rather than bidding each other the cordial farewells we normally do, he paused and looked a little bit embarrassed.

“I don’t mean to be weird,” he said, “but the Holy Spirit told me to give you this.” He pushed a wad of bills across the counter.
I picked it up and stammered and managed to say, “Wow. Thanks, CO.”
He smiled and said, “Christ loves you,” and turned and began to walk out.
“I…” was all I could think to say as I watched him leave.

It’s not unprecedented for shop clerks to receive gratuities. It’s not common, either, certainly not the standard. Maybe around holidays sometimes, after establishing personal relationships. (And of course there’s that occasional bit of “keep the metal” from some customers.) Actual deliberate tips, though, are rare, and usually just a matter of a small bill or two, but this was a day’s wage. This was something special.

A day’s wage is pretty much what I had already resolved to kick over to Comrade First Shift but just hadn’t yet. I’m not procrastinating, I can read the schedule so I know when she’ll be back. Right now she doesn’t need me in her shit. When she returns to her lighter paycheck she’ll also find my little boost with CO’s extra helping backing me up.

What so moved CO to bestow so lavish a gift? Well, he told me already, didn‘t he? It was “the Holy Spirit.” I expect he believes it, and I think I might like to, but for about a half a century now I’ve made a pretty steady claim of atheist materialism — with a generous dollop of Rastafarian Agnostic Sybarite folded in for flavor. CO spends his time around people who are a lot worse off than me. If he wanted to help someone out, and witness the gospel at the same time, I expect he has plenty of opportunities. Of course, working for the state, he may be constrained from proselytizing his charges.

I’m an old dude who works at the Quikk Stopp by the Interstate to keep himself in groceries and electricity and other expensive indulgences. My lifestyle is not lavish, but I’m not particularly suffering. Maybe I’m his mission and he thinks I need the help. Sometimes there are holes in my clothing, and my shaves and haircuts are often haphazard and irregular (because I don‘t care), so maybe he thinks I’m hungry. I don’t complain (about that.) Was my vicarious grief in response to Comrade First’s loss apparent in my body language? Did CO already know about the tragedy and was relying on my presumed character to “do the right thing”? A calculated risk that, but not impossible.

So far I am unable to rule out subconscious reasoning, subterfuge, deceit, coincidence, or psychic manipulation. Or divine intervention. My (poor) understanding of the mathematics underpinning current physical theory opens me to many unprecedented phenomena, but because they are unprecedented, the burden of proof rests on the positive. Of course, I expect CO would remind me that history is replete with reports of miracles, so, so much for “unprecedented”, and I might point out that sometimes you’re dealt a pat hand. I do know that I was emotionally distraught. People who know me tell me I have some obvious tells, and CO has been acquainted with me for at least a couple of years. His trade (security and corrections) calls for a good ability to read people. With inmates specifically I guess he’s watching for violence, but in so doing he’s also learning the emotional language that overlaps with other venues.

I’m no Saul of Tarsus, and I have no conversion to report, but I have a better idea now of what rapture and agape mean. It was a unique emotional rush for me, that confluence of circumstances — sadness, compassion, resolve, amazement, delight. And fraternity! CO is a man whom I’ve grown to trust and respect, and he offered to enfold me in his and Christ’s love!

If I were so wired…
190210

Black History Month, part three

Eric Black, Jr. (190209)
While reportedly “only” the wheelman in the drive-by murder of Jazmine Barnes, Mr Black nevertheless had a profound impact not only on Miss Barnes’ immediate family, but also on Houston’s community overall. As happenstance put a “skinny white man in a red pick-up” near the scene, this also fueled an unfortunate and unnecessary narrative of alleged racist hate crime. For a week this phantom suspect was sought and discussed, to no purpose other than fanning the flames of discord and distrust.
Our hearts break for Miss Barnes and her family,
as our contempt for her killers knows no bounds.

Black History Month, part two

Clint Patrick Black (190205)
Though he affects the same demeanor as another “Singin’ Cowboy” and his resume does include the citation “actor” he has nowhere near the screen time as King Roy Himself nor likely even any individual “Trigger.” None of which means of course that one is or is not the Better Man. Nevertheless, with a string of contemporary country hits through the Nineties and the Noughties, and still churning them out, albeit at a more relaxed pace, Clint has not been Killin’ Time. Eschewing schooling in favor of education, he dropped out of Senior Juniorhigh in the early Eighties to pursue his musical career, once again demonstrating the superiority of higher education over government indoctrination.

* * * * * * Warning * * * * * *


If you’ve got no time for arrogant smug Grammar Nazis who think they’re better than you because they speak English, you might want to skip this section.  The emotions get the most raw here because the sense of betrayal is so deep.  Language was supposed to be a way of connecting and directing.  Instead, people spout outrageously contradictory nonsense, or, worse yet, use slang. Slang was created to disguise one’s meaning, so outsiders didn’t know you were talking about sodomy or heroin or some other proscribed pastime. 

Language includes.  Slang excludes.  Language reveals.  Slang conceals.

Like Andrew Jackson, I think it reflects poorly on an intellect if one can think of only a single way to spell a word.  Nevertheless, if you’re a brilliant engineer or administrator with gravy on your tie, people will not be focusing on your brilliance.



Workin’ at the Quikk Stopp by the Interstate is, I believe, a step up from livin’ in a van down by the river. A small step perhaps, but it is a step, and in the right direction.
181018