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Archive for August, 2014

Keep cruisin’

hustle

Finally writing. I’ve been trying to get this out for about 2 weeks but it never really coalesced to the point it made any sense in my head. But, in light of the already infamous jet out to play golf upon expressing mild discomfort over the public 7 minutes of beheading, some coalescing has occurred. I’m about to get all Mr. Smith goes to Washington on you, so fair warning…

I knew when I moved to Washington, DC, in some far-off, detached way, that people here did things for reasons that were more self-serving than anything I’d likely seen before. And I’ll be straight up honest: you don’t have friends in this town if you’re unwilling to accept this reality. Recently I made a statement about loyalty to a group of friends and said something, in defense of a friend, that defending him was what you were supposed to do for your friends. The look I got was one similar to a shock back into a world where these concepts existed. It’s not that people are bad, just that they’ve adapted to their environment and it’s a very hard thing to stand outside of the group. Trust me, because I know. If you stand outside the group, you don’t get the things they can give you, or get pushed up the ladder, or belong to the club, or whatever it is you might need. There’s this weird fake elitism — fake because it’s not really born of excellence — that’s really all about fitting in. Seriously, DC is a giant high school. It’s very strange. A giant den of solipsistic teenagers that fret over what to wear and if so-and-so is going to be at the party, or if they’re going to get a bad grade at work tomorrow for showing up late and with a hangover. And anything real — like a man with a serious job getting his head sawed off — flits in for a minute and the requisite sad faces appear. But only until it’s time to hit the fundraiser after work. Then the smiles light the rooms again.

And all that’s okay when you’re talking social groups, drinking buddies, ladies’ day with the kids, or some other relatively innocuous event or group. But here’s the rub: it’s not okay when you’re talking about the advancement of an ideology that saws mens’ heads off and tells you there will be more where that came from. It’s not okay to give a frowny emoticon and then skip out on the golf cart for a long day on the links. It’s the behavior of a spoiled child living in a man’s world. And, while I am surrounded by people who share the brief outrage and nothing more, I suspect that, one a deeper fundamental level, people really are kind of sick of it. It’s exhausting having to play a game of charades all the time and act like you’re charmed when inside you’re sort of disgusted and annoyed (I think Morning Joe showed best what happens when you just can’t stand to act anymore). Because the deal is this, and I think I’ve been around long enough to say this: the false elitism fails every time. It fails in small ways and in very large and scary ways. The thing these guys (and girls) are best at is self-promotion. They spend most of their time doing that rather than actually accomplishing the things they run off at the mouth about, and they will flash shiny things in your face and talk about their accomplishments in perpetuity. Until the real results are examined, either by comparison to their peers (usually information not easily offered up) or just as a standalone result (Benghazi), the idea is to sell the narrative of excellence. But these are not the kind of people you want running things when times get tough because, as mentioned, their real skill is the art of self-promotion and, sorry to be hokey, razzle-dazzle. They will present their accomplishments as if they are the only ones capable of the feat, when in actuality, there are others — usually many — doing the same thing, and very often, a whole lot better. But these hucksters rely on the naive for their immediate ego boost and to then go tell the story far and wide in exaggerated terms. It’s a sad little game. And it often is the last refuge of those so desperate for power they misunderstand their limitations and fail to recognize the things they actually do excel at.

Since it’s all about Iowa leading into the midterms, that guy Braley seems to be an example of all this. Maybe there’s hope for him to get back to his humble beginnings — you can live well and wealthy and still be humble. You guys know that, right? — and if there is, good for him. Maybe someone can lead him that direction. But his prissy statements about law degrees and advanced degrees got me to thinking: Nearly all of my siblings have college degrees, several of us even have secondary degrees — I have a master’s for example. My younger brother is pursing a law degree as we speak. Does this mean that my father — who does not have an advanced degree — is no longer to be listened to? Because he’s a shitload smarter than either Daniel or myself when it comes to a great many things. That comes from 70 plus years of business and life experience. It’s this kind of thing on steroids, and I do believe, because this false superiority is such a failure, people have had it up their eyeballs with it. My Pops and I had a pretty good talk recently about a lot of different things and he said, “Let me tell you something, the next president we have is going to have to be extraordinarily strong because they will be making unbelievably difficult decisions about putting people in harm’s way. They’re not going to like the job.” And presumably that means they won’t be afforded the opportunity to hit the golf course at a moment’s notice because while we’re controlling the panic, the world has gotten a great deal more dangerous. And I don’t want someone leading who thinks that they know more about anything because they sucked up to their professors long enough to get the degree. And I speak with authority on that having witnessed it personally for three years. And this is what we face, like it or not. Also, which is it? Are they an imminent threat or aren’t they? Ollie North on the news right now talking about IS and their passports to the West…

Anyway, there’s a general feeling of being over it, to use the vernacular. Your stunning ability to talk about how great you are hasn’t really translated into you ACTUALLY being great.

Also, just for fun, there’s this. Because we’ve got the world’s respect right now. Clearly.  (Very likely because the Chinese also don’t care where you went to law school).

At some point I want to get back into this. Because it seems to me that Assad did some bad things and I’m not sure an “alliance” with him is a very good thing. But I get the strategy I guess. Strange bedfellows. Because I’m fairly certain we were arming who we thought were “good” Syrians to help fight Assad and ended up causing a huge problem in the process. Is that why we’re helping him now? Because we basically caused the problem? And are we sure these weapons are going to the Kurds? Because we don’t have the best track record with oversight.

And here might be the reasons why. Read the whole thing, it’s stunning.

Which brings us to the deepest level of Obama’s hell, which is his anti-American foreign policy. When Obama was re-elected in 2012, the very first thought I had was this: A lot of people are going to be dead because of this election. How disastrously right I was. Since their assault on George Bush and their sabotage of the war in Iraq, Obama and the Democrats have forged a power vacuum in Europe and even more dramatically in the Middle East, which nasty characters have predictably entered with ominous implications for the future security of all Americans.

Take one aspect of this epic default: Obama’s lack of response to the slaughter of Christians in Palestine, Egypt and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been slaughtered and driven from their homes in Iraq – over half a million by some counts. This is the oldest Christian community in the world dating back to the time of Christ. What was Obama’s response to this atrocity until a group of Yazvidi along with the Christians were trapped on a mountain side, and politics dictated he had to make some gesture. His response was to do and say nothing. Silence. Even his statement announcing minimal action to save the Yazvidi and the Christians mentioned the Christians once in passing while devoting a paragraph to the obscure Yazvidi.

What this unfeeling and cold response to the slaughter of Christians tells us is that Obama is a pretend Christian just the way he is a pretend American. What he is instead is a world class liar. That is because his real agendas are anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish, and obviously and consistently pro America’s third world adversaries to whom he is always apologizing and whom he is always appeasing. Obama lies about his intentions and policies because he couldn’t survive politically if he told the truth…

Speaking of, this is fairly easy to believe. The tragedy is that we in this country have afforded them the power to do this kind of thing. Why would you empower the vengeful?

Two related pieces from The Federalist. You can feel okay about it if that helps you sleep at night. But be very careful because if you rationlize long enough, you wind up here.

Yeah, I don’t see the magic either. They seem to be okay when deconstructing history — even though even that seems a bit revisionist — but they’re tragic at current events.

Okay, I my or may not have been listening to that new Taylor Swift song over and over again. It’s really good. And I have a free dance class tonight so I can take all my moves to the studio.

This looks very, very promising. I’m legitimately excited about a television show. That’s somewhat rare…

One of my favorite books as a child. Also shows promise.

And speaking of those tech skills, there are other lucrative applications for you out there gamers…

Okay, okay good then.

Reminds me of the twerp. Who I’m pretty sure I saw picture of recently, and he was wearing a neon yellow shirt, the same color my 7 year old nephews are crazy about. Because that’s entirely appropriate that he would pick up on the fashion trends of children.

Can get behind this.

This guys has an interesting, very sexy voice.

Heh, just made me laugh. Thanks Cat.

 

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Definitely too soon

[WARNING! bad language follows. Sometimes it’s just the most expressive language I have. Sometimes I just enjoy it. Sorry Mom.]

Good-Morning-Vietnam-robin-williams-7631159-2560-1691
Hi there! Sorry to be away so long but sometimes I just need a break. There are times when the things rolling around in my head aren’t quite cooked enough to put on the table. And the thoughts about to tumble may still be a little cold on the inside, but they’ve piled up so I need to release them. It is how I stay sane, in as much as I am, in fact, sane. So, without further ado…

Ah Robin Williams. I have nothing further to add except I loved him and am so very sorry that we’ll have nothing new from him. He seemed a genuinely sweet man. You can see it in the eyes, really. And it’s not a bad thing that people want to talk about the depression that was plaguing him at the end by his own admission. But this kind of silly judgment is foolish and should be avoided. Yes, he made a choice and it was selfish. It certainly was. And yes, he probably had a spiritual darkness he couldn’t fight. My guess is he would agree with that assessment. And without question there are those standing on the precipice that could be “inspired” to follow his path and just take the leap and we should be measured in what we say (although the genie tweet was lovely). But this bullshit right here?

I understand the inclination to be positive, but there is nothing positive to say about it. The cloud is infinitely dark, and there is no silver lining around it. That’s another tragic element to the evil of suicide — it robs your family of the solaces they naturally seek when a loved one passes away.

You want to help sad people? Don’t say there’s nothing positive to say about something. Ever. What the desperate lack is hope. And there is hope in everything. EVERYTHING. Because as my mother says almost every time I talk to her (and with apologies to Cicero for misquoting): “where there’s life, there’s hope.” Williams lost sight of that. You want to help others who are in his boat? Don’t try to convince them something lacks meaning and the spark of hope. Help them find those things instead. Sometimes the healing is in the journey and the mere act of seeking. Even when trying to find the silver lining in the tragic loss of such a sweet, hilarious, one-of-a-kind, gentle genius. If nothing else, don’t make it worse. Don’t ever do that…Just read this instead.

I have a lot more I want to talk about: ISIL, Hillary, that Hersh article again, arrogance, and the odd circumstance of agreeing with people you don’t like. And I will write all that later, after I get home and get the patchwork puppy out in the rain so I can be free to attend The Giver tonight at the Heritage Foundation. I’ll update for sure. One thing before I trek to metro: man, I realized recently how little patience I have with folks who give zero thought to how what they do might affect someone else. I’m dealing with it because I’m waiting on something in the mail but, thanks to a little thoughtlessness, I won’t be getting that till Saturday. Long story, won’t bore you. But I’m seeing it out there amongst the humans, too. And it’s affecting people I care about and it’s seriously pissing me off. I’m feeling very protective. Weird. I need to figure that one out. In the meantime, knock it off. I don’t care that it makes you look ugly. You gotta be you, sunshine. But I don’t want my friends to suffer for your insecurities. Okay, got it out. I’ll check back later…

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Hi guys! A few thoughts before I head out of the office for a weekend of — hopefully — adventures and shenanigans. But possibly just cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, and hanging out with the patchwork puppy. Which works, too. First some good news before laying out some of the bad. I’M GOING TO THE BEACH NEXT MONTH. Dear Lord, I’m going to the beach. With one of my oldest and best friends. And we’re going to one of my favorite spots in the Gulf of Mexico, Ft. Walton Beach. Well, Seagrove to be specific. Bob found a really affordable little condo we can cook and chill in and the beach looks like this:

seagrove

Additionally, I’ll be heading back to Camden Yards next month of a Friday to see the Yankees play the Orioles with my Baltimore partner in crime. That division looks a lot like the Braves division at present, with the games lost column playing the deciding role in standings. But I’m enjoying watching the Orioles win, and I’m looking for my Braves to step things up to edge out the Nats by the end of the season. It’s of course possible, but they need to gun it to get it.

Anyway, looking forward to September to some good things. A few other fun links before delving into the darker side of things…

My friend and colleague Mark came into town this week and we always try to get together for a cocktail. He’s a bit of a connoisseur of the traditional cocktail, back when men wore fedoras and women kept their skirts long. Last night he ordered an Aviation, and I got to try it. Pretty good, although gin is like poison to me. My body likes it, but doesn’t LIKE like it (the next day). Anyway, I’m so glad neighborhood suggestion (and my bartender friend Keith who lives in my neighborhood) actually knew how to make the drink. So proud.

Crockpot recipes are just a simple pleasure. I want to try the citrus chicken first…

So entitled…

This is all very true. Which is why Bob and I found a place with a kitchen at the beach. We’re both going to cook. She says she’s making shrimp and grits. I’m not sure yet what I’m going for…:

The table is the place Southerners turned to work out our own political and cultural strife long before food became the nation’s cultural currency. After all, barbecue and peach pie and butter beans are more than just shared dishes; they’re also the things that bind us together.

And there is no app for that.

~~ Random thought: maybe I’ll go see Guardians of the Galaxy AND The Giver this weekend. Such a rebel over here… ~~

I’m not a huge fan of this site and its snarky bitchfest, but stop with the coconut water thing. Just stop. It doesn’t hydrate better and it’s primarily just sugar water. If you want to get some coconut in your diet, go to GNC and get a jar of coconut oil and put it in your food. I slather it on my hair about once a week. It makes it so shiny!

See, this kind of seriousness about it runs fairly rampant and I feel like you just never know if someone’s telling you the truth that the word “commitment” actually means something to them. *sigh*

Fascinating idea, and I can see that the ability to think strategically when examining the larger picture — which coders and IT geeks are generally miserable at — has some real application here.

Because apparently we need to be thinking that way…

~~ Random thought: Ventura upsets me because he doesn’t seem well but I know it was about the money. Because I think if he just wanted a comeuppance, the guy’s death at the hands of a troubled kid probably did the trick. ~~

Air travel is just annoying anymore, right? All anyone ever does is complain. But maybe this will help.

Another fascinating read, to be read as a companion to this.

Just watched our President once again complain about the mean old Republicans not letting him have his way — he simply cannot fathom that it’s not about him but about the fact that they don’t like progressive policy — and so this came to mind. It does start to get harder and harder to claim that it’s about missteps and mistakes, and is more intentional and directed. Terribly sad.

Now for the final whammy. Gowdy wants the truth, whether or not you can handle it. Love it.

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