Search This Blog

Friday, November 29, 2013

There was an old lady who...


It's the day after Thanksgiving—11/29/2013. I'm at work—although as you can readily see by reading these words—not working all that hard. I'm still here though, not at home sleeping in. Not at home watching the kids play. Not at home doing what I'd rather be doing. It occurred to me that, in spite of being at work, nevertheless I'm happy, joyous, and free. Well maybe not free, but definitely happy and joyous. Obligations must be answered and responsibilities must be met. I'm needed in the way that a heart is needed, both at work and also to meet my family's obligations. That's a great thing, and yet a dreadful thing. To be needed completely and essentially, and unable to be done without, is wonderful and yet in a kind-of-sort-of-way it's slavery too. I have no choice. My chains are forged of faith hope and love, but they're no less unbreakable than if they were heavy links of cold steel.

A colleague at work told me this morning that her neck was sore. She'd spent half of Wednesday and Thursday cooking for her family. She was justifiably proud of her accomplishment and even more proud of that extra mile she went by finding a homeless man and taking him home with her and giving him the biggest meal he'd seen in a long-long time. Working like that for others...does that make her a slave? When I think about it I suppose that if we're doing what we choose to do even if we'd rather be doing something different we're still free. We make the choice to serve instead of being served and so yes we're servants but still free. Even so I'm not completely free. I'm held, captured, chained by rules, obligations, expectations, and finally by custom. That latter one is the hardest for me to bear. Free to fart and burp...maybe when I'm all by myself. Free to explain that there wouldn't be beggars if nobody ever gave them anything ... a message seldom understood and more rarely accepted. Freedom of speech ... it's not at all, all that it's cracked up to be. A truly free person would feel free to tell the fat woman in the motorized grocery-shopping cart that she is a rolling stereotype, that maybe I'm not a prophet, but nevertheless come on lady!—rise, take up thy bed, and just walk for Christ's sake!

It's when I find myself standing in line that I feel most like a slave. Standing in line is the most useless thing there is to do in this world. Who invented such a thing? Somebody standing in line isn't accomplishing anything for anybody. He's not working and yet he's not doing what he wants. He's a slave—in fact—standing there in that stupid pointless line. Shuffling forward a slow step at a time, unable to sit and rest, unable to eat, to sleep, to relieve himself, waiting only for the reason that somebody else has decided he's going to wait. Nevertheless even with that worst of all things—waiting in line—there's still hope...

Yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner, my father and another man—named Mike I think—were having a discussion about the gentleman's old business. He'd sold his bicycle shop in the nick of time. "There's just no reason to invest in everything a small shop requires anymore," Mike said. "There's no more middleman. People buy on-line straight from the factories." It was Amazon, Priceline, Ebay, and a host of other online retailers who understood that the future is "point-and-click" not "wait-in-line." Likewise, the number of people working from home is only going to get bigger. No more waiting in line to get on the expressway. No more waiting in line to get through the metal detector at work. No more waiting for a parking spot. Less waiting more living...that's what freedom is. When you're old and dying in your bed many years from now, what would you give for all those years you spent standing in line?

So how much time do you spend in line? Do you find ways to avoid those lines? If you deal with the government in any appreciable way you spend most of that time waiting in line. The government is still stuck in slavery mentality. You walk into a government office and they immediately start asserting their bureaucratic authority. Turn off your cell-phone. Take a number. Wait. Do you have all the asininely redundant paperwork properly completed? Do you have all the requisite proof of this and that? Did you forget to fill out form blah-blah-blah? Sorry—not!—you'll have to go get that missing thing and once you have it then you can come back to wait back at the end of the line, stupid slave.

It occurs to me that government is the opposite of freedom. Well, you say we need it, and I guess we do need some of it. But this much? I don't think so. There is a children's song that perfectly captures the concept of what government is and what it becomes:

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I dunno why she swallowed that fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly -
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird;
How absurd, to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly -
Perhaps she'll die

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Imagine that, she swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
What a hog! To swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat...
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a goat.
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog ...
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat...
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog...
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat...
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse -
She's dead, of course.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Occam's razor and Obama's incompetance

Nobody is this stupid. It has got to be some kind of conspiracy to completely destroy America. This hapless stumbling around in the Mid-East with regimes failing, new Islamic Brotherhood regimes starting and failing, drone strikes hitting everything but legitimate targets, letting Russia's Putin make a play for Egypt, pissing off all or our allies with asinine decisions about pipelines and deep-sea drilling, printing money hand over fist, infuriating our own citizens by ramming through an economy destroying socialist healthcare system, the Healthcare.gov website travesty, the NSA gone wild wire tapping boondoggle, the IRS bootheel crushing freedom of speech and assembly by selective targeting and auditing, the Benghazi tragedy, Fast and Furious ...

Nobody could possibly be this incredibly incompetent! It has got to be some kind of incredibly sophisticated international conspiracy designed to completely destroy America from within and without and from sea to shining sea.

If there were a conspiracy, why ... we could fight back! We could expose the backers, the money launderers, the kingpins. This would be a spy-thriller kind of story where the enemy agents of change would be neutralized in the nick of time and America would then get to live happily ever-after. If only...

Take some time to read the following short story, please. I promise it's quite entertaining and it's the quintessential epitome of the vast conspiracy theory that assumes our President is a maniacal genius mastermind bent on world destruction. It's called Breaking the Game. It's a story found in the short story collection by Orson Scott Card titled: Capitol. This link worked today. It may not tomorrow.

Sadly, or perhaps luckily, Obama is not Abner Doon, instead he's merely a buffoon. He's the poster-child for the word: Errorgance. That word—by Brandon Sanderson—is a portmanteau of the words 'error' and 'arrogance,' and it means "to be twice as certain as someone who is merely arrogant, while possessing only one-tenth the requisite facts."

Obama, an arrogant moron with an IQ of roughly 90, considers himself to be the worlds foremost authority on literally everything. You can't tell him shit. How I wish that phrase was actually his epitaph. Obama's towering undiminishable pride was never earned by any actual accomplishment. He skipped through life with a red-carpet rolling out before him and an escort of like-minded fools scattering rose-petals at his feet. There just has to be some kind of demonic force at work trying to destroy us all. The monumental disaster that is the Obama regime couldn't have happened by accident. It's just too diabolical. Ruin and destruction of this magnitude has to have some kind of super-intelligent malignant author.

But if Obama and his absurd cohort of fools are merely puppets of some sinister architect pulling the strings behind a curtain, then some people would have to conspire to keep this fact secret. They would have to have other people conspiring to whisper advise into our Fool-in-Chief's ear at every defining moment. It's just not possible to keep that many people quiet. You'd need more people to shut the talkers down, to make them have fatal accidents, to listen to their phone calls and hack their emails. You'd need a vast left-wing conspiracy! Occam's razor cuts this whole conspiracy theory to shreds.

No. It's just not possible. He's no genius! He's just a moron who has spitefully and fatefully found himself at the metaphorical bull's-eye of time and space where dynasties and destinies collide. He's like some Moronic Grand Marshall leading a retinue of diverse morons, a deaf dumb and blind pied piper leading a callithumpian parade of lemmings off of some proverbial cliff-top.

Is it a comedy or a tragedy? Would Shakespeare laugh or cry? Maybe a little of both. Eat, drink, and be merry, ladies and germs. I think the final act of this majestic tragic farce is probably about to start.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The sheer orgasmic thrill of no worries socialism!

Yes, I used an exclamation point in the title! I couldn't be more excited...about socialism that is! Gosh I feel just like Billy Mays! Hi One-Eyed Jack here, for Socialism! Good for me! And good for you! Now gimme some! Now gimme some! Mmm good! Mmm good! Real good! Real good!

Imagine that you never have to worry about rent. You never have to worry about the power bill. You don't have to worry about a car note, or retirement, or medical bills, food, entertainment! The list of things that you'll never have to worry about ever again just goes on and on and on!

You're probably thinking: "Well...sure Jack, that sounds great, but what's the catch?" That's just it folks! There is no catch! You get everything you need, and you don't have to pay one red cent for it. It's all absolutely free. You don't need a money back guarantee, because you don't spend a thing!

Okay, some of you probably think I'm overselling this product—socialism!—but it's so revolutionary so incredible that no praise no matter how effusive no matter how hyperbolic could ever in a million years in this ever expanding universe, even begin to do justice to the perfect collectivist awesomeness of this share and share alike concept! That's all there is to it, by the way. Share and share alike.

Some people point out that Socialism! has failed time after time. They mumble under their breath—as though suffering from some political form of Tourette's syndrome—this bizarre litany of names and nonsensical syllables, like: Khmer Rouge, Kulak, Joseph Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot.

Irrational fear and sour grapes is all that is, folks. If you're out on a picnic and you have a basket full of food, and a hungry child asks you for a sandwich, with my product—Socialism!—she gets that sandwich and you, well you just feel great about it. What could be more perfect than that?

Maybe you've found yourself in your home, just wandering aimlessly about. Walking around and around your mansion or six bedroom penthouse condo. You don't know what's wrong, but you darn sure know there's a problem. Your problem is that you've simply got way too much space! Socialism is gonna take care of that for you! There's no need for a small family of two or three people to bounce around in a big house with too many bedrooms, too many bathrooms, and all that empty space. Not to mention that every month you have to keep paying through the nose to keep it heated and air-conditioned. Share and share alike will solve every problem!

You say there's no room in the freezer to put any more food? You say you can't even wedge in one more grape, or a single ounce of caviar? This product—Socialism!—is absolutely guaranteed to restore some—if not all—of that refrigerator space you've been missing. You see, there's a whole country full of empty refrigerators and what we do—with Socialism!—is we spread all of that food around to the empty refrigerators. It's genius!

Now some people say, Jack, what about working conditions? What will I be expected to do to make a living in this new perfect utopia of share and share alike? Well folks, you'll just keep doing whatever you're already doing. Unless we decide that we need you to do something different. Then you'll do that instead. But don't worry; whatever we decide you'll enjoy doing, we promise you're going to enjoy doing it for as long as we decide!

It works like this. Suppose you design integrated circuits, and you've been doing that since you graduated from MIT. Every year there's this big hassle where they review what you've done and decide if you get to keep your job. Every year your blood pressure gets higher and the stress gets higher and the bills get higher and if it keeps on like this...yep you're gonna go pop! So what we do is put you in a position where all that thinking and decision-making aren't required. No more stress! Ah, the bliss of low expectations.

I haven't even gotten to the best part! Listen, don't pick up that phone. Not until you hear this...no more complaints! That's right, nobody will complain about your work performance. As long as you keep filling your quota you don't have to worry about a thing. If the parts don't fit together quite the way they should, that's not your problem. You just send it on down the line. No worries!

Are you getting excited yet? I know, I know. There's always a few people out there who wait for the catch. There's always these cynical few who look for the dark cloud wrapped around every silver lining. But this product—socialism!—couldn't be easier to get your hands on. All you have to do ... is nothing! It's so incredible that I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack just thinking about it. OMG! If you want—Socialism!—you do nothing! That's it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do you know Jack Schmidt?


Jack Schmidt is an American and a regular guy. He does regular things, makes a middle-class living and has a wife and a couple of kids. He likes bowling and paintball but hates watching sports on television. In fact he hates television...period. "Life's too short to spend it hypnotized in front of a glowing box that tells you lies," he's said on more than one occasion. Jack is very opinionated. So much so, that in his spare time he likes to read political op-eds, think about how the country could be better, and argue on-line with people about various political topics.

Unfortunately most of the topics which he's most opinionated about, he's not terribly knowledgeable in. Like most Americans, he knows less than he thinks he knows, and thinks he knows more than most Americans. What he doesn't know, what he's never imagined, is that he's living in a fantasy world. His world exists in a state of flux and it's so unstable, so transitory, that the slightest shove, perhaps even the merest careless breath, could cause his ephemeral house of cards to completely collapse, leaving him merely another messy statistic that some other regular American has to scrape off of the sidewalk, and then sandblast clean.

Jack Schmidt thinks he's free. That's a lie they started telling him way back in kindergarten. They—and by "they" I mean people who get a government paycheck—began teaching Jack that he had all of these "inalienable rights." He had the right to say whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to. That "free speech" right would guarantee that even if what he wanted to say made other people angry, still he had the right to say it. Jack was also taught that he had the right to peaceably assemble. To get together in a public place with like-minded friends, colleagues, and compatriots, to protest, discuss, teach, learn, meet, greet, or just have a picnic lunch. There were a whole bunch of rights he was told he had, but there are just too many to list here. If you're curious about what those rights were, they're still listed in an old dog-eared document called "The Constitution of the United States," and the attached "Bill of Rights."

What Jack hasn't figured out yet, what every regular American hasn't figured out yet, is that by hook or by crook, by stealth and artifice, by chicanery and malevolent intent, every one of those rights have each been stolen away, taken back, evaporated, and dismissed. The way they—and by "they" I mean people who get a government paycheck—did it, was to decide what right they wanted to take away from regular Americans, and then they passed a law, or reinterpreted a law, or just plain made something up that totally ignored that theoretical "right." Then they waited for some outraged regular guy to complain and say something stupid like: "Hey you can't do that! That's unconstitutional." Then they would laugh. Oh how they'd laugh! The arguing and bickering about the validity of the right would go on sometimes for years, but inevitably it would wind up in front of the SCOTUS—Supreme Court of the United States—where nine sober Justices would decide on narrowly partisan lines that Americans have no rights—inalienable or otherwise.

Poor Mr. Schmidt never saw that side of it unfortunately. He'd get all worked up about the latest SCOTUS decision but he never bothered to connect the dots. The dots unconnected were just dots, but a pencil and a little common sense would have quickly sketched a portrait that—had he seen it—would have horrified Jack Schmidt, or in fact the vast majority of regular Americans.

Governments aren't exactly like people. They're invented by people, composed of people, and designed to control people, and one day they die just like people, but they don't die the way people die. You see when governments die they take a whole bunch of people with them. The dying can happen overnight or it can stretch on for decades but one thing's for sure, no amateur theatre actor hamming it up and dying all over the stage ever came within a galaxy of depicting the gargantuan and gory death throes of a nation.

When Jack Schmidt makes financial decisions, his decisions never factor in the possibility of a King Kong-like demise with himself clutched like Faye Wray in an inescapable hairy grip. A line from a great American movie keeps asking a question of paramount significance in Jack's mind but he never answers the question, nor even realizes that it's been asked. The question that should consume every American regular or otherwise...
Phil: What if there were no tomorrow?
Gus: No tomorrow? That would mean there would be no consequences, there would be no hangovers. We could do whatever we wanted!
Phil: [thinking] That's true. We could do...whatever we wanted.
When a government is bankrupt, those who get a government paycheck begin to panic. Because they're the ones who make the rules, enforce the rules, and decide the penalties for disobedience, they logically conclude that during whatever kind of societal upheaval that might happen they're the ones in the best position to remain on top. Historically it has always been people like these who decide what rights if any the people are permitted to retain. Suddenly pesky little rights like owning a gun are found to be completely in the way of "progress." Likewise, having a fully stocked pantry when other people are starving is just completely selfish. When necessary work isn't being done because nobody's able to pay for the workers, suddenly that old 13th Amendment outlawing slavery will be reinterpreted.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
There you see? The 13th Amendment has a built in exception. If you need some slaves, all you have to do is quickly pass some new laws that people are unable to obey or perhaps don't even know about, then once people ineluctably do break these laws you will be able to acquire a ready made work force. It's called fascism and it's what happens when governments go bankrupt due to excessive borrowing, taxation, and money printing. But Jack Schmidt is still quietly putting his savings in his 401K. He's still quietly paying down that 30-year mortgage, he's even socking away everything he can spare in an IRA that will one day hopefully pay for his kids to go to college. If his world were real, if there were actually going to be a "tomorrow," then he would be all set.

One final thing to point out. We now live in a country where things like THIS happen. What do you think they'll do when things really go tits-up?