Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Let’s talk about karma for a second, shall we? I question all the great mysteries of life on a regular basis — and now, because I’m a little more involved with people that don’t see much mystery but are rather highly pragmatic — I’m questioning a lot of things again. I don’t believe I’ll ever give up a faith in the idea that life moves — is guided? — by mysterious and rational forces, but it’s interesting hearing people who don’t agree with that idea still pay great homage to things like ethics and benevolence. And that’s where I’d like to start with karma.

It seems to me that people that just bulldoze through life because they believe they are ENTITLED to, or because they DESERVE to, or because they have always been treated a certain way and, by God, they mean to always be treated like the precious flower or rare coin they’ve always been led to believe they are, don’t care much for the idea that you will reap what you sow. You plant those bitter little seeds, you’ll get some pretty sour fruit. Use whatever negative descriptor you like there. It works in the positive, too. Which is fantastic, although sometimes it feels like it takes so much longer to see the positive yield from being kind. But the nasty stuff? That’s pretty instant. John Lennon wrote a song about it.

Anyway, consider yourself lucky when it happens, because then you have the opportunity to start again (I do know from experience) and do better. And maybe listen this time. Stop thinking that just because someone joins you in whatever grumpy ass approach to life you need to feel comfortable it means they care. The best people will expect you to be be the best version of yourself. That’s hard, yes, because it means there’s an expectation. And sure, there are plenty of people that will just take that laptop to find a job, as it were. And that’s okay, if that path of least resistance floats your particular device. But know that all that stuff’s conditional in a way that’s less about wanting what’s best for hearts and minds of everybody involved, and more about control, and things, and image, and stuff. And you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re sleeping with the enemy who’s going to blast all your personal stuff all over social media and try to make you look like you’re an absolute monster. My point is: don’t put too much faith in the wrong stuff. Character matters.

Also, as an aside, what do you call it when someone enjoys being spoken to harshly and disrespectfully to the point that if someone is actually nice to them it freaks them out?

So that’s all I’ve got for the time being. I have a lot of things happening at the moment. I’m supposed to be in Southern California for the first time ever for several days next week. I’ll believe it when it actually happens. Because the flight man…I don’t want to talk about it.

I’ll write about the Iran deal, and religious freedom versus discrimination, and what I think China might be up to at a later date. Right now I just want to process all that stuff, and you can probably guess how I feel about most of it. So I’ll save it for later as things continue to develop. But I will say one thing: I fully expect Hillary’s email scandal to intersect with this kind of thing. Don’t underestimate her. She knows how to spin very, very well.

Also, I hope this is true.

Okay I’m out. I leave you with more from the former Beatle. I have a love hate relationship with John Lennon. He was a massive ass to the people in his life, and it’s hard for me to support that in general. But this song…

One other thing, because it’s been on my mind: hey Twerp, you’re still a ridiculous, pitiful egotist who actually doesn’t think much of himself and my mom and I laughed about that stupid email you sent last night on the phone for a while. Sad man. Really sad. Enjoy that karma.

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Little Monsters


Not too terribly long ago, someone asked me what I was afraid of. He was asking from a context of war — something I know about only academically, never having seen one, but have an interest in because, well, I think it matters — and the question, coupled with recent suggestions that I need to allow myself to “be more vulnerable” just got me to thinking: what am I afraid of? Because apparently this is holding me back in relationships and may be a fundamental problem for me, if recent events are to be believed. So, in the interest of trying to work that out, and with the understanding that I won’t be talking about the larger issues, like war and pandemics because everyone’s afraid of those things, here goes:

I’m afraid of liars. Because you don’t know what they think, what they believe, or what they’re capable of. And that makes them prone to be irrational actors who can, at any moment, throw a monkey wrench in any well-laid plan.

I’m afraid of cruelty. I don’t understand it. I separate it from what appears to be cruelty but is actually self-defense. Cruelty to me is unprovoked and happens because the person inflicting it simply enjoys it. It causes a lot of damage and is generally non-productive besides providing amusement to the sadist.

Even more than cruelty, however, I’m afraid of those who stand around and watch cruelty and do nothing. I hate the look in their eyes, rather helpless and ashamed, because while they don’t condone what’s happening, they prefer not to call it out as ugly and unnecessary. Those people are somehow both pitiable and infuriating. And they cause so much conflict within me personally that my heart just breaks to see them.

I’m afraid of people who feel so out of control that they attempt to control others by manipulating feelings or withholding affection (or even more basic needs) so that one becomes nearly dependent on them. They are dangerous people because they misunderstand a basic truth: there is no such thing as control. The best you can do is treat people well and hope they stick around. Anything else, even if it lasts, becomes a dark game of co-dependency. And people are broken by that kind of thing, either by becoming hard and controlling themselves, or by becoming controlled to the point of inertia.

I’m afraid of watching people I care about be hurt or put down because of something I may have done, or some influence I brought to their door. I’m afraid I can’t protect them when someone tries to hurt them. Worse, if that person is someone I let in the door.

That’s the short list. And here’s the secret: I’m not really afraid of any of those things. I’ve been negotiating all of that stuff my whole life, just like everyone else has. But I say it because if you need a reason why I don’t want to let you in or give you much time, you can call it my fear or my inability to be vulnerable if that’s what makes sense to you. The truth is, I’m vulnerable all the time. I let people wreck me, I give them the opportunity to do that, or not. And when — if — they do, I make a judgment and maybe close a door. That’s not fear of being vulnerable. That’s giving a chance, getting a result, and then acting accordingly. Basically, I can’t continue to think there’s something broken about me (fear of being vulnerable) because I opened up the emotional door and you didn’t do good things with trust.

In short, I’m not afraid. I just know how much I can let you in.

Okay, I have a thing later that I’m fighting not falling asleep to attend, so I need to get this wrapped up and get ready. Y’all have a good weekend, okay?

The 47 traitors letter is fascinating. I tend to agree with Steve Hayes — it has already been effective. Although, the argument that Obama will take it to the UN and have it ratified, thereby leading to a dropping of sanctions against Iran by European nations, thereby making the letter ineffective, is well taken. But I think it signals something greater to Iran and the world: the US Congress is not in the tank. You can misinterpret that for some political reason like they just don’t like Obama, but I think most understand that it’s more about national security. And I believe the world is listening. Because, look, this is true.

This is also true. We are a cynical nation, as we would be given the divisiveness of the last 7 years, but there’s hope out there. People are watching us. And there’s a reason that the bastions of liberal news are suffering under the weight of promoting failed policies and cynicism. So, good for Cotton and the 47 “Traitors” for still believing.

You guys know narcissism fascinates me, so this study was of course an interesting read. I’m not saying you shouldn’t encourage your kids and praise them for their accomplishments, but I think treating children like they are “better than” — indeed, requiring they think that about themselves — is generally creating some pretty nasty adults. It’s true that narcissists can become very successful. But they will also always be that asshole boss that breaks people’s spirits and makes creepy decisions that benefit themselves over the health of their business or relationships. Ebenezer Scrooge is an archetype for a reason. Why not raise people who have a healthy sense of accomplishment and encourage others in their own? Seems like even a stupid question to ask, frankly. But all this talk of self-love (which I think is what leads up to really crappy writing like 50 Shades of Grey) makes me want to read this.

For the trolls.

Sorry Netflix. You helped foist this crap law on us and you will suffer more than the rest of us. Your bottom line is going to hurt. I have little sympathy for you.

They’ve needed to get it together for a while.

Hillary and her emails. Seriously, I get why people are tripping. But it’s not surprising and she will get through it and run. Will it haunt her? Maybe. But here’s the thing: The Twerp taught me one very important thing about life and people — some people like weasels. They respect them. They want them at the top. That is Hillary’s base.

Americans trying Southern food for the first time goes pretty much as expected.

I made this. Pretty good, but probably needs a little more oil in the recipe. A little dry. Tasty, though.

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A post for Pops

My father doesn’t trust me it seems. I think it stems from a desire to be protective, but when I tell him, “I think I need to write about this stuff,” he gets nervous I’ll go too far or that I’m focusing on things that don’t require my attention because they’re not worthy things to ruminate on. It’s rather sweet, really. My Pops wants to protect me from myself. Always has.

And that’s why guys, even when you’re kinda rotten, I don’t have bad feelings for you. I’ve had the great, rare privilege of being raised by a complicated, brilliant guy who puts those he loves before himself and is still just a dude, in the best sense of the word. So I know what you’re capable of. And he defends you guys, when I cry and complain about how you’re being weird or not making any sense to me. He tells me that anything is possible — even when it looks like there’s been too much misunderstanding to repair. He says that time and a closed door do a lot of work on their own and that optimism is key. And I believe him over the other voices of well-meaning friends who say, “That person will never be nice to you again. And even if they try, after being that mean to you, why would you want them to be?”

I don’t have a good answer for that except I try to fix things if I can. And I don’t think life is best lived with an outlook of hopelessness or a feeling that the next time I see someone there’s no chance for a meeting of the minds, or even just a decision to cordially high-five and never cross paths again. Seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy and that feels like a silly thing to program. So Pops reaffirms that for me and reminds me that no one can control circumstance and you must deal with circumstances as they come.

I said all that to say this though: despite my Pops saying it’s unwise to write about these things in short form (Twitter) or long, I have to do it. I have to. I do my level best to be as cryptic as I can (something the Twerp found annoying, presumably because he knew I was writing about him in many cases and I think he wanted the attention, negative though it was. And that, my friends, is just weird as all hell and a completely crazy concept to me. Who wants attention for being a complete doofus in the eyes of someone? My God, man, do you need eyes on you that bad?…). But when I discover that someone who, for example, I rather admired (possibly still do for what I think actually lives inside him) but who wasn’t all that cool to me for whatever reason has said some pretty inflammatory things unfairly (albeit some time ago but I’m just hearing about them), I mean…damn…I don’t know what to do with that. There was some snotty little remark about “associations” that just resonated with snobbish mean-girlness that I’ve not really experienced to that degree since high school. I’m pretty sure I know where it came from but yikes, man…Trust me, there are people out there who are actually accomplishing pretty impressive stuff against great odds (which is to say they weren’t just handed a ready-made opportunity) who could easily look down a nose in contempt. But they don’t. Because they know, in the world where you have to get along with no one to catch your fall, it’s exceedingly unbecoming and tragically stupid to behave that way. But I digress…

Anyway, I’ve spent a great bulk of my life not standing up for myself. I was trained not to, to be the peacekeeper, not make things worse, be the bigger person, take people’s nastiness and rise above it. And I’m so sorry Pops if this is disappointing to you — I truly am — but I have to stop absorbing that stuff and letting it chew me up from the inside out. I have to have my quips and comments and thoughts because they help me not feel like a victim of the selfishness and bullying. Particularly in a case, for example, where my finer tendency — that one that tries to fix things — is used against me. Where my need to make things cool and friendly is allowed to continue until it’s a nice little weapon. In short, when I get played a little. Not sure why that was necessary exactly, but I think certain people are always looking for weapons. And they’ll make them if they have to. And that’s okay. I’m empathizing if not sympathizing. I just don’t want it to be the last word. I may not be able to control that, but I can control not just taking the hit without laughing about it and using that great intellect you’ve always said was my best asset. And I can control turning a nasty attempt to tell me what an absolute piece of sh*t I am in an email from someone I don’t know, and for no reason other than a desire to throw some weight around (which is to say, I had committed no crime against this person) into a hilarious joke (which I feel kind of bad about except it probably matched the nastiness of the email). All so I don’t get beaten down by the ugliness. Because if I’m beaten, I’m unable to move forward. And moving forward is the goal.

Which brings me to the other guy I’m not angry at but don’t quite know how to deal with. A very good man I care about a great deal. He’s a friend and I love him. And the best and greatest thing about him is that he would never use my finer instincts against me. If anything, he takes issue with the not-so-finer ones, the pettiness and gossip-girl stuff that’s pretty useless on the grand scale. He has always communicated with me, even when what he had to say was hard. And I listen to him and respect him for that. And he warns me about letting people craft weapons and has been legitimately proud of me for standing up for myself when he knows how difficult that is for me to do.

And yet…

I seem to have disappointed him as well. I can’t go into the specifics (which are actually hilarious and mom knows so ask her but be prepared to be slightly shocked) but suffice to say I didn’t understand the protocol of the place we were at and he called me out on it. And I got embarrassed and excused myself and went home. And now I don’t now if I should apologize or be indignant (and I have good reason to be the latter). And so the boys are confusing me again. And I don’t have that thing I see in so many of the young ladies these days, that ability to be snarky and ignore, and then take up the mantle when it suits me again. Or to be as cruel as possible and publicly embarrass the person you profess to care deeply for. I don’t have it because I don’t want it. It’s a silly game and a power trip and every — EVERY. Every single one.– relationship I’ve seen that employs it fails after a time. Because it sucks. It’s no way to relate to people.

And so my Pops, I wrote all of this — leaving off politics, about which I have many, many thoughts that I might actually address in this space tomorrow if I have time — so you wouldn’t be disappointed in me. So you wouldn’t think the chunky toddler you trained to be thoughtful and kind had become hateful and sarcastic as a general rule. I’m just negotiating harder people who think nothing of throwing their “loves” under the bus, and negotiating nicer people than I who expect me to be better than maybe I am.

But I’m still your chunky toddler and don’t worry about me. You gave me the right tools. I’m just figuring out how to use them.

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All the things

Just made me happy today so thought I'd share. Newman, car, Venice. Literally nothing bad about this.

Just made me happy today so thought I’d share. Newman, car, Venice. Literally nothing bad about this.

I know it’s been a little bit of a stretch since I’ve updated this space, and that makes me feel slightly guilty for opening with this silliness, but here goes:

Guys, I’m sorry for not being all jealous and weird when you acted like a jerk and tried to make me jealous over some other girl. I’m too old for all that nonsense. Let me say that again and embrace the hell out of it so there’s no mistake: I’m too OLD for that. You heard me sweetheart. Here’s the secret though: I’ve always been too old for it. Also, whatever it is that you find hot about it makes me question your judgment and your need for an ego boost. Why do you need that so badly? Do you think stirring up hurt feelings takes some kind of focus off yourself or something? Look, I don’t really care that much but I do feel a little bad about not being more accommodating in helping you make that other girl crazy. But you may want to consider if you’re having to do that because you don’t trust that her interest in you is strong enough, justifiably or not. So, ya know, just trying to help you out because I do feel a little bad about not being there for you to use to hit at the insecurities of some other woman. Honestly though, that kind of thing makes me feel stupid and boring so I avoid it if I can…Okay, moving forward so I don’t start to feel like I’ve lost several IQ points:

My English friend Matt is lovely. I got an email from him this weekend asking if I had found anyone to bear the costs of a trip to England so I could cover their upcoming election which, according to him, is going to be a big one what with the whole Independent Party stepping up. It’s not a horrible idea, and how marvelous that he suggested it. There’s a great deal going on over there, of course. And Matt tells me that France feels like their Republic is under attack — which is precisely why we should have shown solidarity with them because those things matter — but we have plans to talk at greater length later this week. I miss my friend, even though I’ve written England off for at least the next year, favoring a short trip to Charleston instead because that’s about what my finances allow, short trips once a year. But I haven’t written England off entirely. Not by a long shot. It’s just something I’m going to have to further negotiate. It’s okay. I’m not down about it. Working toward something, even struggling and gasping for air toward it, doesn’t dampen my spirits (well, not irretrievably). There are other things that do, though. And I feel compelled to talk about those for a minute because I let some of them get to me recently and I’m barely forgiving myself.

I’m kinda disappointed in men at the moment. I mean, not to sound like some feminist harpy (God forbid) but what has happened to you guys? Since when did you get so…afraid? That’s the right word. I struggled with that one for a second but damn if it isn’t exactly right. I’m going to tell a little story and try to be diplomatic — I really do try — but it’s just one story in a litany of many lately where I don’t recognize the male of the species and I’m trying to figure out if I’ve just never really known them or if something has indeed changed.

A female friend of mine and I went to a little New Year’s celebration and apparently my friend was something of a threat to a lady in attendance. Never mind that the majority of the group, mostly men, are legitimate friends of my friend, and never mind that the threat was an imagined one that lay mostly in the mind of the lady who was protecting the relationship she felt was threatened by the mere appearance of my friend; this young lady, who I’ve known in the past to be rather nice, was anything but on this evening. And I’ll be damned if those boys said nothing. I defended my friend, which is fine. I don’t have a problem letting someone know they’re being ridiculous, and I’m pretty good at it, too. Whatever I said stopped the squawk so the evening could continue on positively (although we caught shade the rest of the night, we managed to have a great time). But the silence from the boys was goddamn deafening. And that’s just been a pattern lately. Look, I’m not trying to say I expect men to be super human or anything, but for the love of pete, where has the courage gone? The ability to simply speak your mind, address your consequences, handle your business? I mean I felt like one of those boys should have addressed that girl’s rudeness directly and openly (ahem, HER BOYFRIEND), if quietly and without all the crazy drama she was trying to stir up. That girl needed to feel secure, and actually showing a spine that attempts to protect her from going too far in the passion of the moment is just generally chivalrous and shows you care. We ladies like that sort of thing. Or didn’t you know? When you disappear behind a skirt, eyes wide like a deer in headlights, you leave us out in the open to do the work of the man. We can step up, but it requires acting like a man, being aggressive, etc. There are women who lick their chops at such things. I am not one of them. But I’ve had to do it quite a bit lately. And I’ll say this and be done: I don’t ever want to be the lady to a man who needs his woman to speak for him. And it’s not because I’m a traditionalist — well, not totally. It’s because I believe in personal responsibility and the strength of the individual. We should protect our significant others, yes. But often that means protecting them from themselves by holding them accountable for their own bad behavior and expecting more of them, not jumping in front of them and being a shield to their consequences. I don’t know, maybe none of that makes sense. But I’ve been wanting to say it for a while. My father cautions me that a great deal of what I see happening is a man trying to placate a woman. Which made me ask him: “What is it with you guys? Why do you sign up with women like these?” To which he answered: “Well you women, you don’t always reveal who you are or what you think until much later… .” I don’t even know what to say about that (but I’m sure my mom is somewhere smirking) so I’ll just distill it all down to a phrase that sounds really horrible but I mean it and it makes me sad: man up, guys. Please. Related.

Okay, some of these pieces are old because it’s been a while but maybe I have a fresh take? We can dream…

To begin, let’s just remember that things are better and better every day. We have been encouraged for several years now that we are more divided, more hateful, more unlikely to succeed, have less respect, less opportunity, etc. etc. etc. Don’t buy. And don’t ever quit. These things are self-fulfilling.

Going to have to agree with this. Although I’ll stipulate that I’m not sure it’s all about a declaration that the threat isn’t as dire as we originally thought. There’s some placating going on here as well. I’m just not sure to whom.

And I really hope it’s not these freakin’ guys. But perhaps our current administration believes this kind of thing and think they hold some kind of leverage. I do not have that kind of optimism regarding a nation that has never seemed all that rational to me. And on that note, irrational and chaotic and a lot less black and white than anyone is comfortable with. A lot less.

On a related note, I think all the worry and consternation is only appropriate so long as we have Mr. Market Interferer in office. Which, of course, we still do. So, okay fine, worry a little. But ultimately, if left to its own devices, the market will sort itself out and the panic of the Sheiks because of fracking in the US will cause a run and ultimately a vacuum that we should be more than happy to fill.

Right, there’s a lot more heavy stuff I want to get into but my eyes are starting to get very bleary so I’ll leave you with the fun stuff and we’ll tackle all that other stuff later. I wish I didn’t care sometimes. Except this, which I think I want to actually write a heavier piece about. I’m trying to work it out in my head…

Hmmm…I’m not sure if I agree with all this.

Cheese. That is all.

It’s hard to give it up. There truly is nothing like performing on stage. But you must give everything else up to do it. And that’s a requirement few have the stomach for.

Huh, weird.

I’m pleased to not have a hateful atheist (and I distinguish between the hateful and normal) screaming in my ear all the time about happy biological accidents. If I didn’t physically want to vomit at the thought, I might send this along to the one I know. But it’s really not worth it. Pearls before swine and all that.

Yes, yes. There are so many I still need to see from this past year.

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Hear the bells

Welp I’m heading back South today. I always have a moment where I wonder if I’ll get back down there and just stay. Just never come back. I’ll send for my things and tell great stories of my time in the land of people who think connections = character and where the bull in the china shop approach to getting what you want is employed to an alarming degree. It’s hard up here for a Steel Magnolia.

Ah but of course, I love it, too. And I’m not done. Not nearly. I’m going for something and I’m about as stubborn as they come if I’ve decided to do something and succeed at it. Despite the careless, unkind and remarkably insecure bullies throwing up their little roadblocks here and there. And on that point…

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about this because I’m annoyed and my objectivity is compromised when I’m annoyed. But I need to get it out, for almost exactly the same reasons. I know some folks don’t get why that’s necessary, the release of thoughts on the page so to speak. Frankly, I don’t know how everyone doesn’t require it. It’s how I stay sane. So here goes, with as much diplomacy as possible (and I’ve written this like four times because the cursing was out of control and I should probably temper that…).

Not that I care really, because people choose their paths and adults can make their decisions and learn from them without any interference from me…okay wait. That’s all bullshit. Because I do actually care. Maybe it’s just because I got pulled in (against my wishes) and I was just trying to be encouraging so I care for my own sake, or maybe I care because there are people who just touch your heart in some way and you can’t help yourself, I don’t know. But I do care and so, cryptically and with metaphor as is my way, here goes:

I knew a guy back in Athens, a friend of an ex boyfriend, who dated a girl who did crazy things. I won’t go into the whole story but I remember the time she put breadsticks in the freezer to get them cold so she could use that in an argument about how late boyfriend was coming home and how cold the dinner was. Seriously. I was floored because holy cow girl, if you’re having to make stuff up perhaps your argument is weak. But dude ended up marrying her and I thought at the time how weird it was because he was fully aware of the games and would laugh about them with my boyfriend.

I’ve changed my mind. I still think that kind of manipulation is nuts, but the thing about this girl is that she really and truly LOVED that guy. And one way I know that is she would never, EVER, have done anything to expose him to ridicule or make him look a fool. (Although it would appear, after a quick check on Facebook, they are, in fact, now divorced. *shocked face*) There is a school of thought I guess — and I’m only mentioning it because I got dragged in — that exposure as a means to control is just the thing to keep your relationships listing pleasantly rather than making you seasick. But here’s the thing: people, unlike, say, animals, cannot really be controlled. They have thumbs and can open doors and get mobile and feed themselves, if you take my point. And I say all that to say this:

I am not your problem. You’re chasing a red herring there and you seem to be confused about — well let’s just call them technicalities. And I’d help you out there if you hadn’t come at me like some deranged, jealous Queen of “Do What I Say!” Heh. Yeah, no.

And dudes, again, I get that you have these little games you play with ladies to keep them in line or make them jealous in some weird dance for control. I have four brothers. I’ve seen a lot of that over the years. And recently, I got pulled into that dance where a man fighting with his wife allowed her to believe she needed to worry about me (she really, REALLY didn’t. Dude knew it, I was explicit about it. But hey, what’s a little character assassination among friends?). Thank God there were witnesses to that little fabrication because Goddammit that made me mad. Dude’s now going through a divorce *shocked face* and wants to get together and have lunch. Heh. Yeah, no. I’m okay not being disrespected and lied about thanks. You can pick someone else to be a tool. I’m just trying to be nice and encouraging and when that’s met with your dark shit it makes me question the goods and the bads of the world and I’d rather not have to do that so close to Christmas.

Anyway, hope you get it worked out and no one is seriously damaged and everyone learns how to be less selfish and more giving, less arrogant and social climby and more steeped in faith and love. But, and especially if you can’t get your shit straight, keep me out of it. And on that note…

My father used to tell me that when I was younger he would give me the opposite advice of what he thought I should do because, being a bit naturally rebellious, I would do the opposite of what he said. I’m starting to understand how frustrating that was.

Okay, I need to motor so I can finish my tasks and get on the road to Atlanta. Short thoughts on other things before I go…

So, Rand Paul Marco Rubio and Cuba…Look, I write for a pretty libertarian news site and they love Rand Paul, and I dig him on the domestic front in many ways. But I really don’t understand why he would antagonize a colleague like Rubio — who knows the Cuba issue maybe better than anyone — when he could try to work with him and learn something. Nothing says he has to agree with him, but insulting him on Twitter and Facebook just seems aggressive and I’m not sure what the goal is. I’m fairly certain it won’t be positive for Paul in the end.

The guy that shot those cops was a bag of cracked nuts and is absolutely to blame for their deaths, but that does not mean that Al Sharpton doesn’t need to shut his face up already. Because those crazy people are waiting for permission and direction to be insane and vent their insane frustrations and YOU ARE PROVIDING THAT TO THEM. And you’re a horrible person.

Yes, it absolutely was. And we caved. I really look forward to the day we prefer strength in office again as opposed to bullying. They are actually opposites, you know that, right?

Currently freaking me out.

I liked this tremendously, particularly #4.

Go ahead and read up on. Still can’t get over how some people don’t know basic stuff about technology. Again, I would help you but you’re not all that nice, so…

Speaking of tech, I think DISH caves rather quickly because they’re business people and they have a bottom line to answer to. And Fox will probably let them get away with posturing and acting like they won some kind of negotiation. Egos are silly things.

My buddy Josh is a good reporter. So I guess when we’re all complaining about the bureaucracy surrounding the internet we have the Ford Foundation to thank.

And while it’s happening, there’s plenty of time to create the myth that this will only benefit Canada and not our economy at all. Whatever.

This is a good read about tech and small businesses and tax policy, if any of those things are up your alley…

This is a good read on the difference between income and wealth and how they’ve both been affected by the recession. This kind of thing reminds me how much I dislike the twerp and his band of merry intellectuals that don’t know — or maybe don’t care — about building wealth as a general rule. As long as they get theirs, man…Al Sharpton’s all.

Also kind of freaking me out.

But there are reasons to be optimistic. Building things, creating, giving back to the world, is exciting stuff.

This is uncomfortable, but fascinating and about as Southern Gothic as you can get. As an aside, I reviewed that cookbook when it came out.

Well I mean that’s one way to get around refrigeration/pasteurization.

Have never liked milk. Which might explain some things. But I like chocolate milk…

One of my favorite Christmas songs. And this is a cool version. A capella, and rather unbelievably.

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The Unshakable Remains


With thanks to my friend Josh, let’s start with this:

“The society that separates scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.” -Thucydides

Alright, so I had a mini-epiphany: much as I would like to be a kinder, sweeter kind of person — that’s the kind of woman that men like, right? — there are just some things that are non-negotiables in terms of behavior and I’m worried this makes me recalcitrant and unforgiving. Here’s what I’m saying, spurred of course by a recent reconnection with the Twerp — DO NOT JUDGE. I was trying to get rid of his number in a massive I-never-talk-to-you contact purge and couldn’t without finally telling him what I thought of his stupid email to my family. Which led to a tiny discussion. And dammit the man makes me question things. And there it is. I’m not proud of it. — I might be kind of mean. It’s troubling. But then it occurred to me: I’m not mean and I know it. I’m selfish and I lack patience. And my choice to deal with the Twerp is perfect proof of that. You don’t have to have patience to deal with a sociopath because they enjoy your frustration. And you can be selfish because a sociopath wouldn’t understand or respect anything else. So dealing with someone like that absolves you of having to do the work of relating. Apparently I’m also lazy. I’m sure my father will raise his hands to heaven and whisper, “Finally” when he reads this. But it’s an uncomfortable realization for me. And I’m working it out…so let’s move along, shall we?

Let’s talk for a minute about negotiating the people in this world who believe they should have what they want for no reason other than they, in their infinite awesomeness, want it. Without being too specific so as to not start a war, let me just say that there is a social contract and a legal framework we live in that prevents you from just having a temper tantrum and disrupting another person’s life because you can’t make your relationships work. I’m sorry you’re unhappy in your marriage but that’s not something I signed up to have to navigate. And if you need my space to fix your life, you’re going to have to do it legally and ethically, and very likely, on my time. I know because I checked. I’m type A like that. I like to be informed. Anyway, wish I wasn’t such a hardass for your sake but I have been tiptoeing around women like you, quite literally, my entire life, and I’m fairly exhausted by the effort. If the men that choose to marry you want to give in to your whims, that’s the decision they make. I’m under no such obligation. So let’s conduct business. But I’ve no interest in the foot-stomping, mail-withholding, passive-aggression.

The other night a friend of mine showed up unexpectedly at a mini-celebration to honor the repeal of prohibition and we discussed the Garner/Ferguson cases because we’re both upper middle-class white kids from Atlanta and we can talk about those things without any real risk to ourselves or others. He lives fairly close to me now in DC and he made a comment, in the course of the conversation, that he admittedly reacts with nervousness when he sees a group of young black kids approaching him on the street. And that informs how he views both what happened in NYC and in Ferguson. That’s all fine and well. But my friend — and I do like this man — tried to apply that same nervousness to me and how I viewed the situation. It was as if anything I said about it was viewed through that same prism — fear of a group of young black guys approaching me on the street. Man did it start to piss me off, and here’s why: I do not have that problem. I see a group of young black guys and I see the kids in my high school, good kids from good families. I rely on my instinct to inform me when there’s danger about. And that’s something that makes the hair go up on the back of my neck because of circumstance, which is informed by things more than just color. So, I guess, if we’re going to talk about these things, and I’m just throwing it out there, be prepared to accept that your biases may not be shared.

Okay and alright then. I’m tired and I want to walk my dog and go to bed. So other stuff and things:

Why are we smearing the CIA over torture you ask? Well I mean… Brennan, at his presser today, impressed me as someone who cares about the work of the agency and also understand the precariousness of the bureaucratic rock/hard place he’s squished between. Those are the people who do the hard jobs in government, if they manage to walk that line. It’s an unsung talent and not one you want everywhere. But sometimes it’s appropriate.

I’m always fascinated by articles that talk about American oil energy production as some kind of market miracle (not that this one does, just that it’s offering something to the mainstream that industry people have been aware of forever I would think). We made the Saudi’s rich on purpose. We conserved. It was a good strategy. And while we enter the market and make everything cheaper, there should be some focus on why we’re having to do this now and what that means for alternative energy. Because oil, unless I misunderstand how it’s harnessed, is not infinite. Its production may be close to that, but we have to be able to get to it. And that’s the issue at hand. On that note, here’s what it’s like elsewhere.

When I’m out and about, I hear people complain about Fox News to the point of mouth foaming. I watch it, along with a lot of other news channels. I find it pretty informative and fair, depending on the show. So, yeah. Think for yourselves kids.

It’s something to think about. Because aren’t we all just venters online anymore?

I like that Ed Henry keeps it real. I think the White House likes it, too, since he gets to travel with them. I have faith Ed will always keep it real.

Benny’s funny. And NR was smart to harness that.

As my friend Michelle said when she posted this, “Have fun!” I LOVE THIS STUFF. It hurts my head but it’s the stuff.

I am #16.

Yeah, we like the cooler climes.

It’s a wardrobe must-have.

The boys disagree, but I see a championship in our future. And I don’t care if that mean girl who tells people not to invite me to parties has a problem with me saying it.

I spent an hour pouring over this, finding the books if I hadn’t read them, and absorbing the first several paragraphs. I offer my favorite to you all, from CS Lewis: “All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.”

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Hi, been awhile. Again. I know. Sometimes I just get busy and distracted and overwhelmed. But I always come back to you crazy faceless people out there who may, or may not, just be bored enough to read this. Actually, what I come back to is the need to dump my brain via my fingers tapping at a keyboard. It’s very healing. You should try it some time…

Anyway, first things: my lovely English friend Matt has continued to extend the invitation to come visit London and stay with him and his charming wife. I believe, if I can squirrel the money away, I just may do it some time next year. I’ve never flown by myself before. And I’m not sure I want to. But I’m thinking about it…

Was talking to my mom about the Ferguson stuff and something sort of clicked for me. The fundamental problem is that there’s a ton of “activism” — and I use that word pointedly — that came into that neighborhood and incited a lot of anger, but chances are those same tendencies won’t be on display in the aftermath when the neighborhood tries to rebuild. That’s how you know the people that came to “support” that community are full of it. Incidentally, I agree with this. Someone put it rather succinctly on Twitter by responding to someone else who said we “needed to know what happened.” This Twitter genius was basically like, the decision to indict has nothing to do with what we think we need to know. It has to do with whether or not the evidence was there. And, based on what I’ve read, that cop was defending himself appropriately. Is this to suggest that there isn’t some misuse of power within the ranks of policemen? Of course not. And maybe there will be a bright side to all of this because those things will begin to be addressed. But let me just say this: do not invoke Martin Luther King Jr. in any attempt to riot and loot. King had a very clear goal and was, in fact, adamant about not giving anyone a reason to discredit him while he walked the path. Eyes on the prize and all that. The goal of the “protestors” in Ferguson was simply chaos. Nothing finer than that. Or, if there was, it was buried under calls to “burn this bitch down.” I’m pretty sure King would be rolling in his grave at simply the terrible vernacular, being the brilliant man of letters he was. Anyway, enough on that.

I was going to wax all smarty pants on the XL pipeline, but I think I’ll save it till the new Senate takes it up again next year. I believe it will be the primary engine that gets the economy moving again and I look forward to things beginning to move in that direction. Of course, what with the flooding of the job market that just occurred, it may be a slow growth. But my Pops reminded me that many of those illegals will not trust right away that this law will always be their out. It can be overturned, and they likely know that. So he thinks a great many of these people will continue to operate a shadow economy. “It was all about getting new voters anyway,” Pops said. “Which may end up backfiring on the Dems as well. These are blue collar people who care about church, family, earning a living. Sounds more conservative than anything else to me.” Also, hahaha.

Then there’s this guy. I tell ya, there are two people I would not want to be questioned by: one is Trey Gowdy, the other, Darrell Issa. Have fun you sanctimonious blowhard. I actually look forward to the way you try to weasel and gloat your way out of your grilling.

Okay, besides being a little annoyed that people try to talk to me sometimes like I’m a victim — especially if whatever they suppose I might be struggling with (they’re generally wrong. I’m in pretty good spirits most of the time.) is something they had a hand in creating — I have no other real insights except I’m making this beautiful cake for Thanksgiving with the cousins in S. Maryland. I bet it’s great with a hot spiked cider drink…

Other thoughts:

Personally, this is the one I think most likely. Easiest to pull off, least amount of cost to the aggressor for the most damage.

The more appropriate question is, is she ready for us? There’s an awful lot of conservatives up there on The Hill now…

I really love Twitter.

Hagel should read this. I found it pretty informative. Speaking of Hagel, the short list.

Way to honor your allies. Jesus.

Ha, you don’t say. Kids like boundaries and limits? Shocking.

So try to keep it together.

Gah, this issue is the best example of using language to confuse people I may have ever seen in my lifetime. Because net neutrality sucks. Remember when the Syrian government shut down the internet? That’s what net neutrality gets you. Believe it.

If you have a little mutt with some pit mixed in, read this. Roscoe gets dirty looks and people yell at me about it because they’re weird. This article made me feel better (and confirmed they’re weird).

Excellent piece on Bill Murray and Catholicism. And Latin.

It’s always been alive and well with me. And my friend Sarah apparently.

All the dancing:

I love this dress, but I might want it shorter, and tighter around the legs…

I watched this movie again the other night. The guy who wrote it is from Marietta, a suburb of Atlanta. Perhaps that’s why it has always resonated with me. In any event, fins performance by Spacey. As usual.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope it finds you with loved ones.

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Hey y’all. I’m finally getting some things out of my head, but there’s so much — because it’s been a while since I wrote anything here — I’m afraid it’s going to be jumbled and nonsensical. But then — Who are we kidding? — that precedent has been set. So here goes…

Not to start off on a downer note, but I’ve been wondering lately if something might not be really wrong with me. I seem incapable of just shutting up and plastering that American Beauty smile on my head and eating a ton of shit to be “happy” in a relationship and have the “perfect” life. I’m starting to believe those women who call all that stuff being “patient” and “loving” when it has always seemed to me their efforts were more about being manipulative to get the things they want. Which is a little bit the opposite of loving. But, as I said, something may be really wrong with me, I don’t know. I’ve been crying about it a lot lately. Just because it’s confusing, not really because it makes me sad. Awwww, I know. I’ll work it out.

Irregardlessly (great word, yes? Thanks Dave.), I’ll be back in Georgia here shortly. Leaving tomorrow morning sometime — at least that’s the plan — and will be hanging out back at the old stomping grounds in Athens for the UGA/Auburn game. The insignificance of such an event to the vast majority of people is not lost on me. But there’s a family mentality to it that’s hard to explain. I can be going for a run in DC, wearing one of my UGA shirts, and someone will slow down in their car, roll the window down and yell “Go Dawgs!” at me. I recently reconnected with an old friend — someone I haven’t talked to in many years — who lives in Texas now. But at the end of one of our conversations I mentioned heading back to Athens for the weekend and he signed off with a “Go Dawgs!”. Football people get this kind of thing I guess. Anyway, it’s a positive and I’m looking forward to it taking my mind off that other stuff, the stuff where I feel like I might be broken or strange in some way for wanting to — man, this is going to sound pretentious — live authentically. Let me throw some dirt on that: live with as little bullshit in my life as possible. Dreaming that impossible dream I guess…In my head I keep hearing that woman I know say, “Now, let’s keep some perspective…” to justify giving the go-ahead to do shitty things to get the good stuff (good stuff is defined there by the individual. Our shitty things are unique to us).

But the game draws me South, and I’m wondering where the UGA team that annihilated Kentucky was against Florida. Mason made beautiful tosses last week, and the defense seemed to understand how to stop the run. Maybe Kentucky’s just that much worse than Florida, but I don’t think so. Anyway, no sense dwelling on it. It’s just good to see them again. There was a lot of Richt hating following the Florida game — which did pretty much knock us out of National Championship contention — but then a friend of mine posted a brilliant screed from one of his friends about how ridiculous all that is. I won’t repurpose it here, but the main points were 1) Richt is the best coach Georgia has ever had, and very likely will go down as one of the best in the game before it’s over. The only thing he lacks is a National Championship. And the fat lady hasn’t even started humming yet on that one. And 2) he’s so good, in fact, that he has made the fan base a whiny, demanding, spoiled child who doesn’t even remember what mediocrity feels like. And I couldn’t agree more. So the tribe is heading South to test the theory. Right now I have a full car, including a dog. I have no idea how it’ll all play out, but it’ll be interesting…

Okay then, I could talk work — there’s some stuff happening that I’m learning to negotiate — but I think I’ll keep that one close to the vest and just talk news of the day instead. Because hey, turns out the country was pretty sick of being lied to and manipulated and treated like children. Weird, right? The bigger flip in the midterms is what happened in the state legislatures and the governor’s races. I mean Maryland and Illinois both elected Republican governors. Let that sink in…I’m not sure what this means for the 2016 Presidential race — I have some theories — but I know this: Progressivism is a loser at present. Sure there are still the low-info voters who might be sold (and, oddly, they look a lot like the upper middle class white kids from suburbia), but the Twerps of the world turned out to back a really dysfunctional and pretty ineffective view of leadership. Speaking of the Twerp — and here’s hoping this is the last time I speak of him ever — he made a comment to me after the 2012 Presidential election, in his charming and kind way, that “If you can’t find something to be happy about in the next four years, that’s on you!”

Hey Twerp…I’m pretty happy now after the shellacking your sorry ideology took recently. In fact, I’m smiling thinking about how you felt about it. Because of this. And this. And oh my goodness, this. And, the best for last, this. That last one of course because of the love letters. You know about the love letters, right? Anyway, I feel like I should thank you. Knowing you was so instructive and completely solidified exactly what kinds of things result from that aforementioned American Beauty smile.

Other things…

Well, at risk of just carrying the downer on into perpetuity, was anyone seriously confused that these guys were working hard to be players? They’ve been suffering from a Napoleon complex for pretty much ever. So, we’ve helped them step into the spotlight. Hurray. Oh, you question that we helped them? Wonder no more.

I know my mother wants to see me write about Gruber. All I can really say — and I said this to her over the phone — is that the man speaks the truth. They do think the rest of the world is stupid. He admitted it and got caught, although I don’t know how much he actually thinks he did something wrong. Because he’s a dick. Period.

Okay, besides, this and this, I’m going to leave things there. Except I want to weigh in on the great rendition of Fortunate Son at the Concert for Valor — people, music is best when it’s free and unfettered. It is sometimes the best of the First Amendment. Can it change hearts and minds? Yes. But lest we start burning books like the freakin’ Nazis, in the words of the great Paul McCartney, let it be.

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I climbed up a mountain this weekend. It was marvelous.

I climbed up a mountain this weekend. It was marvelous.

Howdy. Once again, I’ve no excuse for not updating this space more frequently. I think it may be related to making sure I’m clear on what exactly I want to put down, which is a bit of a different approach than I’ve taken in the past. Writing here has been useful in helping me figure out what I think and feel about what’s going on in my life or in the news or in whatever other thing is shining at the time. But something happened — the process shifted and now much of that “figuring out” happens in my head and I’m not as eager — or perhaps I’m better at something — to use the process of writing to formulate and solidify my thoughts. Now, my thoughts are formed before I start and the challenge comes in writing about them coherently and without bitterness or overindulgence. “Treat those two imposters just the same.” Anyway, here are a few thoughts and perhaps I’ll be a little more proactive in the future. But then, there are other places I write…

First things: strangest, weirdest experience. I got the check in the mail over the weekend from that client that hired me to ghostwrite, then tired to weasel out of paying me. And, because one of the last things this person said to me in trying to justify the con was, “I expected better work from you, frankly”, I had this bizarre psychological moment where I actually felt like I DIDN’T DESERVE THE MONEY. How’s that for messing with someone’s head? Same thing happened some time ago when someone I know but a little accused me of basically dropping their name to get ahead. For a half a second – even though I knew my intention was to connect them with someone working on a project that could benefit my acquaintance — I actually believed the suggestion I was going against EVERYTHING I AM AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN. I don’t care about that name-droppy stuff or who the hell you think you are. Never have and never will. But nice ego you have there. Must be heavy. You should set it down, take a load off, and relax. Also, not for nothing, but the people I’d like to take me seriously very likely don’t care about that stuff either (at least I hope they don’t); and, even if they did, my association with you may not be considered a plus. So, I mean really, just check yourself.

Okay, to bust this stuff out so I can walk up the street and have a beer with my buddies while watching some of this baseball game…Hopefully the next time we talk it’ll be in celebratory terms because those midterms will have everyone breathing a sigh of relief. Till then, stuff and things:

The new Dem meme is this notion that “trickle down” economics didn’t work. I mentioned on Twitter the other day that this was a ludicrous argument, primarily because it always has worked when it’s been embraced, and this idea that it hasn’t hinges on this ridiculous notion that somehow George W. Bush (who had to fund a war) and Barack Obama were STILL TRYING IT. Jesus. And then, I found this. So, “trickle down” was a pejorative, huh? These people are fascinating. From here on in I’ll be sure to only refer to “supply side” economics.

What’s the name of that book? Oh yeah, The Confederacy of Dunces. I mean, come on. And really, if Solyndra has never made much sense to you, read McCarthy’s piece. It’s remarkable how easy the lie came.

Well I mean, yeah. The question is: when does that start becoming a federal crime? Then we’ll know we have a problem.

Speaking of firepower.

But voter fraud is crazy talk…

Journalists, it’s on you if you don’t understand why their model is only to be taken very lightly and never emulated in hard reporting. When you get busted for reporting garbage because you think Buzzfeed is anything more than entertainment, there’ll be little sympathy.

Oh…okay, then. I know my pops was about my age when his business began, and then it took some years to really flourish. He keeps telling me to be patient.

Funny thing happens when you don’t freak out. Things can sometimes change for the better.

Gorgeous. I see things like this and I do feel that thing that only men of faith and astronomers feel all the time: the cohesive thread of humanity.

The McConnaissance continues. I love the movie Fool’s Gold. Love it. Go away with your criticism.

Where curse words come from.

Possibly one of the greatest concert reviews ever written, and I wish I had been the one to create it. There is so much really fine country music out there it’s beyond me why this stuff — it’s fine, just really saccharine — rises to the top.

Ha, Christian Bale is pretty mercurial his own damn self. I’m sure the movie will be good. And what he’s saying is worth debating. The ability to remain objective and still retain your belief is a remarkable skill.

My foot twinges the further we go into the year…

Been watching a lot of Pacino lately. This is one of his best speeches, and that’s saying something. But I do like the thrust of this scene. I believe every word of it.

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I learned something about myself recently: When confronted with a situation where someone is condescending while attempting to stiff me out of payment for good, timely work (and telling me that work is subpar but that they’re still going to use it), it takes everything in me not to go straight up, chicken neck ATL, Southern accent, Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama, “Aw Hell Naw!” on them. It’s a tremendous battle of wills between my finer self and the little girl who took off her shoes the minute she walked outside to play, despite her mother’s repeated disappointment in such behavior. And even though I grew up inside the Atlanta Perimeter, there were pine trees everywhere. Pine trees = pine cones. My feet were tough. And that’s a metaphor, in case you need it spelled out.

Anyway, a few minutes after learning that, I came to another realization: there are some personality types that lend themselves to hiring a ghost writer to help them out of a jam. Those personality types can distinguish between poor writing and writing that is simply stylistically different from their own. If you cannot accept that denser paragraphs that are still grammatically correct (and I know this because the MSWord application tends to point out things like run-on sentences and poor spelling) can still be indicative of quality work (despite your tendency to write shorter sentences and paragraphs), then you should probably not hire someone to be your voice. Also, maybe, say thank you to the person who gave you 6,000 words over a period of 4 drafts and 2 weeks to save your behind, instead of threatening not to pay them and telling them how disappointed you are in their work (even though you still intend to use it). It’s the right thing to do. And, by the way, someone whose opinion I trust way more than yours got on to me today to update this space because he enjoys what I write here. He’s a pretty well-regarded guy in the field of journalism so I think I’m just going to put your criticisms behind me. You’re welcome anyway.

Speaking of Reese Witherspoon, she is the owner of one of my all time favorite dresses.

I love it so much.

I love it so much.

Okay, on to other things…

Do you really believe this Hagel? I’m serious, do you?

“We are almost done with a baseline survey to assess the vulnerability of our military’s more than 7,000 bases, installations, and other facilities. In places like the Hampton Roads region in Virginia, which houses the largest concentration of US military sites in the world, we see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years,” the report reads.

I mean it just flies in the face of any kind of tested scientific method and you’re going to be structuring our national defense strategy and spending around it? Isn’t this kind of what’s been happening with the whole Ebola thing and all the stupid spending by the NIH? At what point do our fearless leaders stop pandering to the people that got them placed in their positions, grow spines, and start thinking for themselves? Or…do you really believe this Hagel? Because this is a more significant threat to our security, and we could probably help matters by increasing our energy production. Entering the market, as it were. But, in fine ironic style, that wouldn’t be environmentally friendly.

I haven’t worked it out yet, but I think I want to write about this. I push the envelope a little with my libertarian friends, and I know that. But I feel like it’s important not to get swept up into any movement at the expense of reason.

Possibly attending this show with a friend of mine who clued me into a wonderful little deal called Fill-A-Seat. I’ll let you know what we think if we go.

Grandpa had a small orchard and a fantastic winery out in Southern Maryland. There are times I dream about making him proud and carrying on the tradition, at the very least by learning the trade. He was a seriously cool guy.

Speaking of Grandpa Dix, he was a Potomac River Rat, and his accent wasn’t terribly removed from this one. Something about the pronunciation of the vowel “o”. My friend Bay just flew himself and some friends out there and said it was pretty cool. I’m hoping he’ll take me sometime (how’s that for a hint?).

Wow. It would be hard to improve on the original movie. Jason Robards is one of the greats. But I’d see this. The book remains one of my top 5 favorites.

God bless him. The shallow is also really, really, really, really boring.

At some point, there might be something to say about all this. But no one’s ready to hear it. So I’ll wait. But I love the rationalizing and the attempts to carry the same narrative in light of new information. Man is a weird animal that isn’t all that great at negotiating the remarkable gift of reason.

And I’m out. Trying to will the Orioles to win it for their Gipper, who happens to be named Buck.

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