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Archive for July, 2012

Triflin’

I want this.

Hey! Coming off a long, fun weekend. Something was clarified for me at some point — perhaps while staying up till 3 in the morning playing poker and a new card game I hadn’t played before but thoroughly enjoyed — and that is this: it’s fine to feel kind of bad about having to get rid of those people who are so singularly focused on besting everyone around them all the time, but it’s morally repugnant not to get rid of them because you feel bad about it. I realized something while hanging out with people who have a lot in their lives that could allow them to really pull that “I have better things/circumstances/potentialities etc. than you. Or you. And you. Therefore, I am am better/I win/you lose” or whatever. You don’t have to be that way. And if you are that way, you have some pretty serious insecurity issues and, in the event you try to make people feel really bad about the things they have by comparison, you really kind of suck. Because being thankful for the good things in your life is something everyone should reflect on and, if you allow yourself to be around people who put down your good things as not good enough, it makes it difficult to feel thankful sometimes. So, morality dictates that in order to be free in spirit enough to be thankful, you have to remove the impediment. Sure, that can be sad if the impediment is a person from whom you expect better behavior. But it has to be done. Sad. But hopeful. Always hopeful. Anyway, I found something in this book — I always turn to Clive when I need help with this stuff — and I’ll put it below. It makes sense to me. But now, other things…

Okay, the Olympics opening ceremony kind of made me understand why Romney was slightly more critical than everyone thought he should be. It was like a light bulb went off. As for the controversy here, I’m just going to say it: this piece is beautiful. Unbelievable and haunting. It is my favorite kind of dance and hit me in the stomach. But I see nothing about memorializing the London dead. Rather, I see a celebration of ideology. You can dislike that assessment it you want but as someone who’s been dancing her whole life, I’m pretty well versed on where choreographers are going in their theme. So, I actually think NBC has played this one rather well.

Speaking of dance, thanks for the heads up on this Ali P. This is on the list. At the top.

Yes. Dana Vollmer, you made me go swim laps Sunday. You kick and I’ve never seen fly faster. Indeed, The Olympics has never seen it faster.

And, while they should have taken the relay, Lochte was just beautiful here. Look forward to seeing Phelps swim fly tomorrow…

Seriously Newsweek?
Look down. Shark.

I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved.” But my reason retorts ‘Without their will, or with it?’ If I say ‘Without their will’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntray act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies ‘How if they will not give in?’

The Dominical utterances about Hell, like all Dominical sayings, are addressed to the conscience and the will, not to our intellectual curiosity. When they have roused us into action by convincing us of a terrible possibility, they have done, probably, all they were intended to do; and if all the world were convinced Christians it would be unnecessary to say a word more on the subject. As things are, however, this doctrine is one of the chief grounds on which Christianity is attacked as barbarous, and the goodness of God impugned. We are told that it is a detestable doctrine-and indeed, I too detest it from the bottom of my heart-and are reminded of the tragedies in human life which have come from believing it. Of the other tragedies which come from not believing it we are told less. For these reasons, and these alone, it becomes necessary to discuss the matter.

The problem is not simply that of a God who consigns some of His creatures to final ruin. That would be the problem if we were Mahometans. Christianity, true, as always, to the complexity of the real, presents us with something knottier and more ambiguous–a God so full of mercy that He becomes man and dies by torture to avert that final ruin from His creatures, and who yet, where that heroic remedy fails, seems unwilling, or even unable, to arrest the ruin by an act of mere power. I said glibly a moment ago that I would pay ‘any price’ to remove this doctrine. I lied. I could not pay one-thousandth part of the price that God has. already paid to remove the fact. And here is the real problem: so much mercy, yet still there is Hell.

I am not going to try to prove the doctrine tolerable. Let us make no mistake; it is not tolerable. But I think the doctrine can be shown to be moral, by a critique of the objections ordinarily made, or felt, against it. First, there is an objection, in many minds, to the idea of retributive punishment as such. This has been partly dealt with in a previous chapter. It was there maintained that all punishment became unjust if the ideas of ill-desert and retribution were removed from it; and a core of righteousness was discovered within the vindictive passion itself, in the demand that the evil man must not be left perfectly satisfied with his own evil, that it must be made to appear to him what it rightly appears to others- evil. I said that Pain plants the flag of truth within a rebel fortress. We were then discussing pain which might still lead to repentance. How if it does not-if no further conquest than the planting of the flag ever takes place? Let us try to be honest with ourselves. Picture to yourself a man who has risen to wealth or power by a continued course of treachery and cruelty, by exploiting for purely selfish ends the noble motions of his victims, laughing the while at their simplicity; who, having thus attained success, uses it for the gratification of lust and hatred and finally parts
with the last rag of honour among thieves by betraying his own accomplices and jeering at their last moments of bewildered disillusionment. Suppose, further, that he does all this, not (as we like to imagine) tormented by remorse or even misgiving, but eating like a schoolboy and sleeping like a healthy infant-a jolly, ruddy-cheeked man, without a care in the world, unshakably confident to the very end that he alone has found the answer to the riddle of life, that God and man are fools whom he has got the better of, that his way of life is utterly successful, satisfactory, unassailable. We must be careful at this point. The leas~ indulgence of the passion for revenge is very deadly sin: Christian charity counsels us to make every effort for the conversion of such a man: to prefer his con-
version, at the peril of our own lives, perhaps of our own souls, to his punishment; to prefer it infinitely. But that is not the question. Supposing he will not be converted, what destiny in the eternal world can you regard as proper for him? Can you really desire that such a man, remaining what he is (and he must be able to do that if he has free will) should be confirmed forever in his present happiness–should continue, for all eternity, to be perfectly convinced that the laugh is on his side? And if you cannot regard this as tolerable, is it only your wickedness–only spite—that prevents you from doing so? Or do you find that conflict between Justice and
Mercy, which has sometimes seemed to you such an outmoded piece of theology, now actually at work in your own
mind, and feeling very much as if it came to you from above, not from below?

You are moved not by a desire for the wretched creature’s pain as such, but by a truly ethical demand that, soon or late, the right should be asserted, the flag planted in this horribly rebellious soul, even if no fuller and better conquest is to follow. In a sense, it is better for the creature itself, even if it never becomes good, that it should know itself a failure, a mistake. Even mercy can hardly wish to such a man his eternal, contented continuance in such ghastly illusion. Thomas Aquinas said of suffering, as Aristotle had said of shame, that it was a thing not good in itself; but a thing which might have a certain goodness in particular circumstances. That is to say, if evil is present, pain at recognition of the evil, being a kind of knowledge, is relatively good; for the alternative is that the soul should be ignorant of the evil, or ignorant that the evil is contrary to its nature, ‘either of which’, says the philosopher, ‘is manifestly bad’.’ And I think, though we tremble, we agree.

The demand that God should forgive such a man while he remains what he is, is based on a confusion between , condoning and forgiving. To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good. But forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete: and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness.

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I’m always astonished by how nasty women are to each other. I realize it’s a learned behavior but it never fails to surprise me. Just want to say thanks to Mom for not training me to suck that way. Sometimes it’s hard but I think ultimately it’s a more satisfying way to live, rising above the petty. Okay, moving on…

Charlie’s addition to today’s post. He texts me things for fun. Good friend, that.

Hey y’all. Just a few things before heading to the grocery store to get provisions to make red, white and blue velvet cupcakes for an Olympics party out in Virginia tonight with the Arlington crew. They’re good eggs those kids. The recipe, by the way, is a variation on this one. I’ve made these before and they are ridiculous. The cream cheese frosting is just…I can’t go into it. It’s too much. — apparently the secret to the blue velvet is you have to use both blue food coloring and violet food coloring. Not totally sure yet where I’m going to find violet but I bet I can do it. If not, I’ll stick with red velvet and have blue sprinkles. It’ll all be okay.

Alright, my only policy mention today, given the Olympics’ opening ceremonies this evening, is how weird I think it is that everyone’s mad at Mitt Romney for what he said about how well London has managed to prepare for the games. You can find his comments in the video here, along with a breakdown from some pundits I really respect but disagree with here. I mean look, he simply answered a question as someone with experience with the task at hand. Was it a softball question that was perhaps intended to allow him to show his diplomacy? Probably. But I think answering it honestly and assessing the actual work says something about Romney the man, and what it says I, for one, actually like. Will he be more than just political in his rhetoric and approach to the job? Looks like it to me. And I’m fine with that. Also, I find it absolutely fantastic that Hammer seems able to charm the unflappable Krauthammer. Kinda made my day. As for how the British are feeling about the Olympics, Nick Hornby has this to say. Fascinating piece. I like his writing. Which reminds me: I gave a book away to someone that I found on Hornby’s recommended reading list. That person seemed not too interested in reading it. So, um, can I get that back? It’d be a solid and, really, ya kinda owe me…

A few words on the Chick-fil-a flap: look, when Antoine Dodson — who admittedly is no dummy — has a more reasoned argument about the Chick-fil-a controversy than elected leaders in Chicago and Boston, we are voting for the wrong people my friends. I’ll let Dodson tell you himself how ridiculous he thinks this nonsense is; and then another interesting post on the subject from a new associate of mine, who I’m really starting to like.

My friend Connors is probably going to kill me but this just cracked me up. I’m one of the likes.:

Alright, other fun things for your Friday. There’s much to feel good about. My Pops keeps telling me to have a little faith that “not everything’s just running off the rails.” Will do Pops.

Excellent. I know this child several times over.

Possibly not even satire. I know this couple several times over.

Looks like I’m going to have to add this one to the list because holy cow the dancing…

Anyone that knows me knows I am a Dr. Pepper head. I just love the taste. I don’t know what it is. It’s almost sacrilegious being I come from Coca-Cola country. And I do enjoy a Coke. But me and the Dr. just go way back man. Way back. And now, his commercials are inspiring me, too. I mean, this made me feel kinda warm and fuzzy inside…

Holy cow, yes. I need some defenders of justice. I miss them. It’s been too, too long. Also, Russell Crowe’s voice is sexy as all get out.

Your music. You’d do well to never forget it.

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Yeah I don’t know — the Colorado shooter looks more drugged than crazy to me. The weirdest part is the video of him giving a presentation because he seems like a dude I might hang out with. And now, he just sucks beyond the telling of it. What happens to someone that makes killing people in a movie theater seem like a rational decision; or, if not rational, something worth doing? My sister and I were talking about the fact that he’s probably been on behavior modifying drugs — as so many kids are now — his whole life. I realize that a lot of people are and that you can’t show causation but I do think these kinds of drugs enhance feelings of paranoia in people already susceptible to that kind of problem. Got into a fight over that opinion this weekend. But I own it.

Better stories from the weekend? Okay, was involved in starting the Tomahawk Chop at Nats stadium Saturday as the Braves won two of the series games. Our crew met these awesome dudes (and cute, but I’m the only one that cared) from Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta and Dalton, Ga. Braves fans all. And we just decided to be obnoxious for our Bravos. The Nats fans are so funny — because they are new to this winning thing I think they’re taking it a little personally. Welcome to the show Nats fans. Relax.

Also, a friend of mine told me a hilarious story about pitching in a travel ball tournament against Brian McCann in High School. Apparently my friend — and I believe him because he plays on my softball team so I know what he can do — was a stellar pitcher and was at a tournament in Florida and some of his teammates had played on other teams with McCann and they knew who he was. He was on another team and they asked my friend if he had ever heard of the kid and my friend was like, um, no…And his teammates said, “Well, you can’t throw it past him.” And my friend, being who he is — which is awesome! — said, “Heh, whatever, I got this kid.” Then my friend said: “I pitched the tournament of my life. Complete no hitter for the whole tournament, except for two hits. Guess who got the two hits. I mean, I threw the ball 3 feet off the plate and he was like, ‘pop!'” Awesome.

I finally got to go to Founding Farmers and I had shrimp n grits. And, while the place was delicious and was a pretty nice stab at Southern food, it was not soul food as someone tried to suggest it was. Because look, soul food is not fancy. It’s literally some pork fat back thrown in a pot of green beans and a pound of cream and cheese in mac n cheese. It’s horrible and wonderful. And there’s nothing fussy or gourmet about it. Just sayin’.

Let’s see, what else…oh, want.

And this is my new favorite beer. I found it at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival. It’s delicious. You can find it around.

In the event you start feeling sorry for the Colorado dude, here. F*ck that guy. And here’s why: because other people in this world do stuff like this.

I like your style Romney.
Go get em buddy.

Heh. Excellent. “I whispered the second ‘so many good times.'”

I took this from my friend Charlie’s roof down on U. Street Saturday night. City livin’.

And this from the Red Loft at Nats Stadium. Just short of right behind home plate, this is my favorite place to watch the game. It’s like 50 yard line stuff. And there’s a bar. It’s like having the ball game in the bar with you. Also, hot dudes from Tennessee. Just sayin.

Seriously, I love this movie. So good.

Someone was listening to Martin Sexton on Spotify and it reminded me of his best song. I need to find the interview I did with him. Just for fits and giggles…

spotify:track:29oik5SDYEKiScoSHFsLyn

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Man, it’s been a hard day. That whole Colorado shooter thing has got the whole world just down man. And it should. I’ll just say this: I’m getting pretty sick of the entitled kids freaking out and shooting up the place. I mean, I know there are other people who pull these acts of violence as well but the killing everybody in the building thing seems to come from people who are otherwise fairly comfortable. Of course, maybe this kid had some real problems…yeah, no. You deserve to fry and I look forward to hearing of your imminent demise.

Anyway, bout to head to the last softball jam of the year before the tournament in August. Come on down to 15th and Constitution and hang out with us if you want. Last time Obama came. For real, Air Force one landed on the White House lawn and we watched. It was cool. Perk of living in DC. Also on tap for the weekend, a makeup Braves v. Nats game (we’ll be hanging out beforehand at the Fairgrounds so I’m cool if you’re there but only if you use your powers for good and not evil) and then U St. shenanigans with Ash that night. And then Sunday Ash and I have another Braves v. Nats matchup to attend. Baseball is a good folks. So, that’s all I’ve got save super special links as usual. If you see any lone gunmen lurking around punch them in the junk before they do any harm. Actually, that goes for anyone who causes harm to people. They should all be punched in the junk repeatedly and with purpose. This mean thing is liberating…


Fantastic article from my Pops fave journalist.
The whole thing about double-thinking who the freeloaders are is goddamn inspiring.

This is true and by God all you people who get in the way of people feeling thankful need to be punched in the junk.

This was interesting because these “libertarians” are treated as strange and wondrous creatures rarely seen in the wild…

Like it or not, this is all true. Proud ladies?

Bahahaha! I need to watch this this weekend. “Smell the Glove.”

Probably the all-time favorite song, for sentimental reasons and I just like to sing it. A friend of mine told me this made me a super cheese. Yes. And here it is for you to sing, too.

Want. All you people with grills will be bragging about how you’re not grill-less since you know this is what I want. Piss off. For real.

Pretty sure number 27 is a sugar glider and not a possum but still awesome.

Thanks Charlie. Made my day.

Marion Cotillard’s outfit is a dream to me. I shall have it.

This was just a fun read. The whole Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson entry cracked me up.

Seriously, everything about this dinner is perfect.

Some love for Gonzo.

Finally, best quote of the day:

12:39 PM So I got in trouble for leaving my classified hard drive in my computer overnight
Which is a no-no
I felt like an asshole
But then some guy in the building got fired for punching a cleaning lady on the elevator
So I feel like much less of an asshole
12:40 PM Who punches a cleaning lady?

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Okay hi there! Nice few days with the family. I’ve got some pics below so you can see how we do it in the mountains of Georgia. Now I just have to get to the beach and my summer will be complete. My Pops had a come to Jesus talk with me about grabbing on to the positives in my life and squeezing the good out of them. I think that happens only with an eradication of the negative. And if I’m unable to do that in thought, then I have to make it a physical effort. But I’m finding it fairly easy to avoid those things that, either by accident or with purpose, bring me down. And that’s a good. Also, some of my family has (finally) expressed an interest in coming to visit. Now that mom’s on the mend, Pops mentioned trying to come up; my sister Lou might try to come for my softball tournament in a few weeks (lots of cute guys, Lou. For serious.); and my nephew Jacob — while being recruited to play football by the likes of Auburn and UNC — is considering coming up to Annapolis to the Naval Academy. I was somewhat surprised to hear how hot he was but, as my Pops noted: “If you’re 250 + pounds and you play quick guard, people are going to be looking at you.” Way to go Jake. Aunt B is proud of ya. Anyway, here’s my take away from the weekend:

Georgia farmer’s market tomatoes, South Carolina roadside peaches, and blueberries from the family patch. Nothing like bringing the South back with you.

I have to say that I think it’s going to be hilarious when Romney finally does release his tax returns and there’s nothing there. Perhaps I’m wrong and there is something nefarious he’s hiding (doubt it seriously). But I almost lean toward feeling bad for the Obama administration for making such a big deal out of something that seems fairly innocuous to me. You may end up looking awfully silly in the long run. Also, Sununu isn’t playing man. I think using the word “felony” wasn’t such a wise idea, most of the high-level members of this administration being from Chicago and all…

So, here are the things currently freaking my parents out and they pretty much tell me this stuff so I can get right on it when I get back to DC. Heh. They think I have power…

Pops’ pet issue: “I bet Bill Clinton’s feeling real swift about this.”

Mom’s pet issue: “So, what? Does this mean the UN can disarm us?”

Sent to me this morning via facebook by the Trotter with the exclamation: “Alexander for Board of Education!”

Lots of info here. Avail yourselves.

Interested in reading this.

Part of a chat with the Coach this morning re: Obama’s statements on who small businesses actually owe for their success. Please forgive me for not getting the joke right away. I left my brain in the mountains.

Charles: Ha, so some caller on Rush was just like “If we owe success to the people who built roads and bridges, what do we owe to the caveman that invented the wheel?”
me: uh
respect for having a bigger brain than your dumb ass?
Charles: It was a joke
me: oh
well yeah
good point then
Charles: A friend of mine had a really good point
When a team wins the Super Bowl
They’re not like “Well, we wouldn’t have won if the grounds crew didn’t cut the grass and paint the lines…”
me: sure
i mean look
the way i figure it
it’s nothing more than a bonus that the gov provides roads etc
if they didn’t
business would still exist
roads would just be built with private money
Charles: Oh absolutely
me: gov is not essential to commerce
Charles: It’s a total confusion of cause and effect
me: yes
Charles: Businesses don’t exist because the roads were built
The roads were built as a means to expand business
me: yes
it’s really gov trying to get in on the action
not facilitating the action
Charles: Exactly
Same with the internet
Until people figured out that you could make money with the internet
It was just a DoD computer system
me: oh lord
don’t get me started
and now it must be regulated to protect us from evil businesses using the principles of supply and demand to gouge us and steal our money away
what
ev
er
Charles: Yeah
It’s really bumming me out that even Republican governors are getting in on the “we should tax internet purchases!” nonsense
me: well, politicians are, in fact, politicians
Charles: Oh I know
me: they have to have something to do
Charles: It’s just disappointing
me: sure
and they will figure out a way to regulate and tax it
that’s coming
Charles: We need another tax revolt
I mean seriously
They will stop at nothing to get to the teat
me: you know i’m probably going to post this
and you’re talking sedition
your file is growing
Charles: Ha
Yeah probably
me: for the record: we won’t start a tax revolt
right?
Charles: I didn’t say armed revolt
me: ha

Best song from the trip. Bout to go for a run and I’m sure I’ll just have it on repeat till I memorize it because music I CAN be obsessive about.

Now, pics. Truly a cool thing to be reminded that you come from simple people with great capacities for generosity, kindness, understanding, empathy and massive big brains that the world likes to think don’t exist. Heh. Keep dismissing. It helps us get the work done. The place we’re doing the reunion now is an old boys camp in Rabun County, Ga. that has also been a camp for the Braves and the Falcons and, most recently, was bought by my Uncle Rob’s neighborhood association, who hired a groundskeeper. They pay their dues and can use it with a reservation. It’s about 5 miles from the family homestead so is logistically perfect. And, as you can see, is big enough for our growing clan. And this is just one side. Mom’s side is pretty huge, too. I’m hoping to combine them…Anyway, the place is really cool and my sister Lou was bummed we didn’t go up for Friday the 13th and sleep in the old camp cabins. Like, she was truly bummed about that. Love that kid.

Always playing softball apparently…

A few of the paternal great great grandparents.

Porch sittin.

Me and brother John.

Cousins. *photo by Tammy Lee

Cousins again. *photo by Tammy Lee

This jackass loved him some peaches.

Nephew Carson. My brother Daniel calls him Shrek.

Pops and Uncle Rob watching the day cross the mountain. It’s how they came up and they like to remember when they’re together.

One of the covered bridges. I played in the creek a bit here.

It runs in the family. Jacob never had a chance.

The wooden gymnasium was built in 1917. Very cool place.

My brothers, nephews and I played basketball here for at least an hour. I swear I could feel all those boys from the past watching.

The under utilized fire pit. Lou and are I thinking we should camp out next year the day before…

Finally, a cool down at Uncle Rob’s. Good times.

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The Legal Department here at work has created a helpful chart for your information. Tell your friends. I’m sure they already know…

And, before you go any further:

Okay, I have a minute. I need to get an op-ed written before I leave for my softball game today — since it’s the Ellipse, we’re hoping that nothing crazy happens and we get to play. It is the President’s front yard after all. The upside is it’s not 106 degrees. So there’s that — but I did just want to say bye before heading back South for a few days. It’s not glamorous but I get to hang with the family in the mountains at a yearly reunion and that’s affirming. It’s nice to be reminded where you come from. Lately, I’ve been given to dangerous thoughts about what actually makes people valuable and what things are important in the long run. I’ve been having these Nick-from-The-Great-Gatsby moments and it’s been tearing at my soul because, like Nick, as attracted as I am to sophisticated (which I’m not sure is the right word because that’s evocative of something besides nouveau riche and I’m pretty sure the latter is what I’m dealing with here) thoughts and lifestyles, I, too, recognize the nagging truth behind the shimmer: that it’s hollow and shallow and ultimately leads to bad things. Carelessness always does. Just ask Daisy. In any event, my colleague — a brilliant lawyer who’s also a cool guy — tells me that it is actually morally erroneous to care about other people’s wants and needs and forget your own. It’s logically problematic because it assumes you don’t have as much right to life and health etc. So I’m chewing on that. And letting the ugly fall away. Amazing how you can just avoid it if you want…feels good.

So, here are some things in the vein of The Great Gatsby and other great works of fiction:

Speaking of Gatsby, this is fabulous. In a really sad and weird way.

I didn’t live in Athens, Ga. for a while because it sucked. The great chef Hugh Acheson gets it. And, seriously, if you’re ever down that way, you must try Peaches. And really any other place on this list. I’ve been to them all. Where do you think I got my affinity for a good Makers and Ginger? Duh.


Maybe my favorite dessert.
You can get the little ready made sponge cakes, some cool-whip and fresh strawberries and make a poor-man’s version pretty quickly. But the cornmeal thing is interesting. Very Southern.

Speaking of morality, here’s why free enterprise is a moral good.

This will be one of those things I go back and watch every time I’m in a bad mood. Just how he has to think about if he loves anyone is comedy gold.

When the irony turns against you, you have trouble. But it’s about g*ddamn time.

Heh. Yeah, the flashy rarely delivers.

I accidentally took this this morning standing on the metro platform. I kind of love it.

Now, have some music. This was a fave from my college years I happened to hear while watching some baseball at a place in my hood. I saw them play (at The Georgia Theatre in the Acheson piece) when this song came out in 1994. One of many great shows I saw in that town.

And God Bless you Muse for being awesome and loving The Olympics. Can’t wait…

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Hi — so, no worries. I’m actively cultivating the idea in my head that all things work toward the good. I think that’s right, too. We just get really arrogant trying to control everything all the time and so I’m just going to slowly extinguish some things and light some others up in my time, and trust that all will be well. I’ve forgotten how to have faith because it seems I’ve been preoccupied with how similar some things are to really shitty past experiences without realizing that they are, in fact, quite different. And that means one thing especially: I don’t have to care. Let me say that again: I don’t HAVE to care. And so, I don’t. I mean Christ Almighty, there is only so much sympathetic ear lending to really terrible ideas one person can afford before they start to lose their sanity. Not to mention silently bearing the temper tantrums of overgrown teenagers is pretty exhausting; and the dawning and horrifying realization that my ability to discern really quality human beings from — not quality? — is sometimes pretty sketchy and that’s on me and no one else. But there are reasons these lessons had to be learned. Again. And the upside is I’m never ashamed of trying with people and I never do anything hateful if I can help it. Well, except maybe write about it later (I suppose that can seem hateful if someone recognizes themselves here)…which will come as the realizations roll in. But I always write the truth as I see it. There may be some anger but the intent is never to harm. So, if you see yourself here and you don’t like it…I could care less. Because ultimately it means I tried to care and now my only recourse is to make sense of it in the way I can and that is here, filtered through my lens in my forum. As my dad is fond of telling me: self-defense is enough of an excuse to take a life so I guess it’s enough of an excuse to put someone in their place. So, while I await the moments of clarity, I’m avoiding all things related to the ugliness of people just trying to hurt for fun. I’m losing some acquaintances I guess. But I suppose if that’s all it takes to make you go, good riddance to you. I need to look in places where the light is clear, honest, and isn’t repurposed as some hack flashlight version of the real thing. Because anything less than that seems a giant waste of time going forward. Peace.

I feel like I should head to dance class tonight in Bethesda because I’ll miss it Thursday and Saturday of this week. But maybe a week off is okay if I just up the running schedule. It’s cooled off enough to start running in the evenings again, at least in the short term. Hmmm. I do love the religion of dance though…I’ll figure it out around 5 I guess. But speaking of dancing, after our game Friday we hit the Exchange and there was enough drinking happening for me to actually dance outside on their patio. Well, the drinking and partners in crime were both in abundance. We actually had a dance circle. Hilariously dumb. But at some point a very tipsy girl came up to me and slurred, “Hey–me and my friend were watching you dance and I just had to tell you your dance skills are amazing. Like, you are just naturally good at it.” Heh. I don’t know if it’s natural. I’ve been dancing since I was like 5, albeit with a few breaks of some length in my adult life. But it was nice to hear. And then Strok danced over my head. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Fun night. Pearly V for the win.

So, links and things.

The Coach sent this to me the other night and told me to pour myself a glass of wine, sit back, and savor the gloriousness. And so I did. And it was glorious. Which, of course, forced me to watch the following. (Also, Bill Maher is a total douche basket)

The Higgs boson announcement elicited the following from me upon first digestion.

“One thing that always makes me nervous about physics — or, really, physicists — is that they are constantly discovering things (data, consequences, in this case a particle) after manipulating the sacred scientific method to make their math work. I’m not foolish enough to think that this hasn’t led to some great discoveries; just that when you’re dealing with the theoretical you should remember that it is, indeed and by definition, theoretical. As my astronomy teacher in college told me, at some point in a black hole our math doesn’t work any more and so it’s okay to consult your guru or your priest or your spiritual guide for answers.”

Then I found this and felt better for not worshiping totally in the church of the large hadron collider. (And for good reason. But I love how science isn’t dogmatic…)

Because I tend to use my over the counter teeth whiteners too often…

Hitch on Orwell. Truth is important to others as well. I’ve missed that.

I hear it was in Farragut today.

Now, another cool conversation. We have it figured all out, it’s just no one asks us. But I’ll say this: I do enjoy finally having a friend I can talk to about this stuff that I don’t actually have to work to find the right words for fear of offending or weathering yet another outburst borne of the pathological need to never be questioned. Because holy hell that gets old. It helps that Charles tends to make rational sense in as much as his premises follow basic rules of logic. Also a nice change.

Charles: Oh for the love of God
me: ?
Charles: Obama’s little speech from the East Room
me: oh yeah
gold
Charles: Something like “We’re trying to get all the jobs back that we lost during the recession”
Yeah, and 80,000 a month isn’t cutting it
And then he was like “We’re trying to restore the security that so many Americans have lost over the last decade”
In other words “Not totally my fault!”
Although I’m curious
Was there 8% unemployment in 2002? Let’s check the tape…
Survey says: fuck and no
me: hahaha!
yeah i love the continual buck passing
that’s a dream he simply will not let go of
here’s my favorite quote:
“Let’s not hold the vast majority of all Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy,” Mr. Obama said.
Charles: Yeah
I hate that we lost the semantics debate on that one
It’s not extending a tax cut!
It’s extending the current tax rates
Which otherwise would be increasing
It’s preventing a tax increase
Not cutting them
me: exactly
i just love the rhetoric of holding people hostage
he finds comfort in scare mongering
genius
Charles: Yeah
It’s holding our entire economy hostage to debate the merits of raising taxes on the rich
But actually raising taxes on the rich isn’t holding anything hostage
Got it
me: you understand perfectly
debating — actually airing opinions = enslavement
asking people to pay more in taxes = sweet freedom
Charles: Ha
Jonah Goldberg had a post about this the other day
There’s no “asking” involved
If the rates go up
It’s a demand
And if you don’t follow the demand, you go to federal prison
So he’s not “asking” the rich to “pay their fair share”
He’s demanding the rich pay higher taxes under the penalty of law
me: yes, you are correct
and perhaps it’s time to start being a little harder when pointing that stuff out
i know when i try, people balk because they don’t like this idea that their government who loves them would ever hurt them like that
Charles: Yeah, no
If the government is only “asking” you to pay taxes
See what happens if you say no
As Dave Ramsey likes to say, if you don’t pay the IRS
You get a set of bracelets that connect
me: that’s right
i mean, i had this talk recently about obamacare
and [the other person] was all
i’ve been fortunate. i don’t mind paying an extra tax
if it means everyone can have health insurance
because he’s a good guy, you see
never mind that it will be crappier health coverage for more money
and some people can’t afford the extra tax
it’s off his conscience
Charles: Right
Penn Jilette has a good quote about that
“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral, self-righteous, bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate, we’ll help them. But you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”
me: f*ck yeah
i have never been able to articulate that and lo and behold, there it is
i was looking for something to make me feel good today
thanks for providing
Charles: Ha, sure

Now for your jam. Still grooving on Mr. Cooke.

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