27 01 2009

Here’s another commentator who’s amazed that with all the suffering the last 8 years of Republican rule have caused so many of us, the Republicans in Congress still have the nerve to chant their mantra of “Tax cuts, tax cuts!” one more time.

I was amazed by this for a very long time. Then it occurred to me how simple the answer is: All Americans expect to get rich! It’s the American dream, after all.

And when you do end up rich, you sure won’t want high taxes!

Or, if an American (often an older, hence wiser, one) happens to be too realistic to believe that he’ll get rich in this life, he will think instead that he COULD have gotten rich, if he’d just played his cards right back in _______ [Fill in your pivotal date.]. This is America after all!

In short, the dream of wealth is our central national myth, as was the dream of heaven for Europe for most of the time since Christianity really took hold in the declining Roman empire in the 4th Century A. D.

You do not displace a fudamental national myth easily. In this case it would take a second Depression to do it.


26 01 2009

George W. Bush was a throwback. Think of the manner of being a man that was iconized by John Wayne back in the 1950s. I am 61, old enough to remember when almost all men were, or aspired to be, strong silent types. I tried to be one of those myself for a long time.

Lots of men in the West and Midwest and South most likely still try to be unfeeling icons of masculinity, as Bush did.

The problem with trying to be that kind of Man, as Bush was obviously doing, is that if you’re not rather unfeeling by nature, the struggle not to be emotional or voluble makes you rigid. The world you perceive has to be narrowed to remove from awareness all things that might make you become emotionally unstoic (or un-stuck!). If you aren’t smart, and so can’t compensate for this unconsciously-chosen narrowness of vision by analytical understanding — as, say, Nixon could, to a degree –, then you are bound to become stubborn and, as such, incompetent to run anything highly complex.

I think that is, at bottom, why Bush made so many mistakes.

Here are some revealing photos of Bush through the course of his presidency:


25 01 2009

(having had a sex life with more than my fair share of funny bits in it)

As such, I recommend THIS

As we say where I come from, “I laughed ’til I lahk to bust a gut!”


24 01 2009

As an enthusiastic Epicurean (see “I AM AN OYSTER”) to the right —>), I feel qualified to review cooking shows even though I don’t know how to cook. This ignorance on my part is due to my age (Old), which means that I grew up when cooking was “woman’s work”.

But many younger man also have never learned how to cook  — for such very good reasons as that they hate to have to wash more than one dish per meal, and they hate doing things that require standing up throughout the entire activity.

All men do like to eat, however. And most of us also would like, if at all possible, to do so by being served delicious meals by a highly attractive woman who is personally devoted to us. For those men who do not have such a person available, due to such of life’s vagaries as divorce, widowerhood, economic demands on a wife or girlfriend’s time, and being unusually shy, extremely short, or grossly overweight, there is the alternative of being taught how to cook on YouTube.

This is a very good alternative. YouTube, as is perhaps universally known by now, is the home, par excellence, of women who are really pretty or beautiful, and who are often also extremely charming and/or clever and/or very likable persons. For the man deprived of a wife or girlfriend who can cook, YouTube offers lots of opportunity to learn a full range of cooking skills from a hottie.

However, being MEN who face the grim necessity of cooking for ourselves, what many of us most specifically want  is to be taught how to make really good dishes that are EASY to cook. One presenter of such optimum fare (and also more elaborate dishes? I haven’t looked for those.) is to be found here:

Linda Lam is really cute and nice and she knows how to cook well. Her recipe videos are presented in a straightforward way that makes it easy to learn how to do it. She shows every step close-up.

Above all, Linda doesn’t season her lessons with ego. This is a classic no-bullshit woman. In a venue where some women give the impression that they’ve built a business plan around their beauty and are now coldly carrying it out, Linda is warm and unaffected.

Interestingly, it is such straightforward ladies who have often become stars on YouTube in other contexts than cooking, e.g.,

Linda’s not a star yet, but I think she could end up one. See what you think.


20 01 2009

In the sense that irritations sometimes do me good. They tend to cause me to bring forth pearls — if not of wisdom, at least of interest.

Today in his inaugural address Barack Obama (whom I admire) explicitly dissed “those who prefer leisure over labor”. My feelings were hurt! I most definitely prefer leisure over labor, so long, at least, as the leisure is leavened with learning.

Seeking learning, I looked up Epicurianism on Wikipedia. I expected to find that famous and ancient school of philosophy to be almost congruent with my basic attitude toward life, but incapable of justifying my love of quiet leisure, because I thought Epicureanism exalted sensual pleasures, most of which I never had a sufficiency of, due first to poverty, then illness.


Please stick around long enough to read this quote:

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. 341–c. 270 BC), founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. …Epicurus believed that the greatest good was to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquility and freedom from fear (ataraxia) as well as absence of bodily pain (aponia) through knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of our desires. The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form. Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism, insofar as it declares pleasure as the sole intrinsic good, its conception of absence of pain as the greatest pleasure and its advocacy of a simple life make it different from “hedonism” as it is commonly understood.”

OMG, said I, Mr. Epicurus you just described my lifelong philosophy to a “T”!

So I hereby declare myself to be an Epicurean. I might add that since I have never seen the slightest evidence that we survive death, at least as our own sweet selves, it makes sense to try to find a way to live pleasantly, while we live.



“Epicureanism emphasizes the neutrality of the gods, that they do not interfere with human lives. …

The Riddle of Epicurus or Epicurean paradox is the earliest known description of the Problem of evil, and is a famous argument against the existence of an all-powerful and providential God or gods. As recorded by Lactantius:

God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak — and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful — which is equally foreign to god’s nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?[1]”


19 01 2009

Here’s a cheery song.

I don’t believe I’d like it if it came. As a timid fellow, I need my boltholes, as the little monks of the Middle Ages needed their cells, provided by the nobles.


But it’s nice to hear it sung about.


18 01 2009

As I write this I’m listening on NPR to the musical beginning of the Obama inauguration celebration. I just heard “What’s Going on?” by Marvin Gaye.

For 28 years the answer to Marvin’s question has been “Nothing!”

28 years of ascendancy of an ideology that had nothing to offer me and my people (the meek and the weak).

28 years of bullshit designed to make it seem morally OK that the rich were getting ever richer and the poor were getting ever poorer (Look it up; it’s well known.*)

28 years of the young rushing to jobs that they hoped would make them rich, when all the jobs that would make the life of the people of this country morally and intellectually richer were scorned — teachers and NON-commercial artists,  above all.

28 years of ever-spreading corruption, because we all knew that money could buy any degree of status, and that it has no history.

28 years without hope, when no degree of cynicism about the motives and machinations of the Masters of this country was enough to do them and their tricks and greed justice.

— We are at the end of 28 years, in short, when the USA was artificially held in that ancient status that has always afflicted poor countries and should not be able  to reach rich modern ones like this one:

Oligarchs rule.

The first shall stay first.

And the last shall continue endlessly to suffer the crowd of afflictions that come with being last.

I’m crying.

*I found a cite for this assertion. It’s a liberal commentary. I doubt they
lied about the numbers, though, since to lie and ever be found out is to
lose credibility fast.