Daydreaming

If only it were true. “I already belong to a health club, a church, and the Kiwanis Club,” Tammy Golden of Los Angeles wrote. “I’m a member of the Von’s Grocery Super Savers, which gets me a discount on certain groceries. These are all well-managed organizations with real benefits. None of them send me a confusing bill once a year and make me work it out myself, then throw me in jail if I get it wrong.”

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Last One to Vegas is a Rotten Egg

Just sitting here in the America West boarding lounge at SJC waiting to get on a [probably] Airbus 319 or 320 to haul my ass to Vegas. My business partner is leaving almost simultaneously from SFO. We’re scheduled to arrive within a minute or so of each other. Got my $50 upgrade to first class. Best-kept secret in the civilized world. Alright then. Let the race begin.

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Splitting the Baby

I had occasion to employ this metaphor earlier today in connection with another matter altogether; and just as quickly realized that it possessed application to recent discussions here. For reference, you might want to see my previous posts–and the comments–The Biggest Lie You’ve Ever Heard and The Division of Labor. You know the Biblical story: King Solomon, in his legendary infinite wisdom, faced with a dispute between two women over the true motherhood of a baby, proposes a resolution: since the dispute can’t be objectively decided on the facts (the testimony of the claimants), the baby should be split in two–divided into equal shares for each woman. One of the women immediately folds. She dismisses her claim and offers the other woman the whole baby. So, who’s the real mother? (aside: Christians, and particularly fundamentalists, ought to pause to reflect that the true power of this metaphor lies not in the perceptual issue of its literal truth–i.e., did it really happen?–but in the conceptual issue of its meaning.) Applied to the current Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dispute over whether one may contradictorily “condemn the war” but “support the troops,” I propose that we “split that baby.” Any takers? Anyone…

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The Division of Labor

If it’s good enough to get you your Birkenstocks and 100% organic hemp t-shirts, then just maybe it’s good enough to defend your life… Now and then, someone posts a comment to one of my previous entries that just simply screams out for its own separate posting. In this case, the winner is: Kyle Bennett. The post in question deals with the biggest lie you’ve ever heard in connection with the war: that those who condemn it can play Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hide by supporting the troops. There are other lies, too. For instance, there’s the lie that it’s hypocritical to support the war if you’re not personally over there prosecuting it. Tom Harper comments: OK, we know what you think of people who oppose the Iraqi war and say they support the troops. What do you think of people who support the war — often to the point of slandering people who are against it — but haven’t enlisted? People who are doing all their fighting at their keyboard instead of in the trenches? (I know you have a military background.) Just wondering. And Kyle provides the quintessential unassailable argument: Bullshit, Tom. You want to eat, don’t you?…

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The Queen of Class

It was a few years ago that my paternal grandmother was dying at a ripe old age, right around the Thanksgiving holiday, bringing the family together–for that extra-special event. We sat ’round the table and decided to go around and say something nice and good about the family-member sitting to our respective right. Cathy, The Queen of Class, my aunt by marriage to my dad’s younger brother, Ingo, lost a battle last night to pancreatic cancer. She was young; in her mid-50s. Yes–The Queen of Class–that’s what I said about Cathy that night, sitting to my right, with her hand in mine. I say “battle” because she fought such a valiant war her entire adult life to life-threatening ailments. She only surrendered, last night, because my loving uncle–who has fought by her side for all these year–told her that it was OK. Had you the pleasure of knowing her, you would never have known she was sick a day in her life. From the time they owned a small townhouse when they were first married, to their 3000 square foot home on a hill overlooking the City of Reno, it was ready for a Home & Gardens photo shoot 24…

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The Biggest Lie You’ve Ever Heard

“No one who objects to the war in Iraq for whatever reasons is disrespecting the servicemen who actually have to go and serve there” That was Peter Rivendell, commenting on this post. This is without doubt the biggest lie out there, since this whole thing began. Anyone who “objects to the war” but claims to “support the troops” is either a moron, or is just fat out lying. My support for these troops stems from the imperative to kill as many radical Islamists–who have vowed to preemptively kill us–as soon as possible. I want to see slaughter. Lots and lots and lots of it. Several hundred thousand ought to do the trick in pacifying the lot of those primitive savages, over there. And if it doesn’t, give me a few hundred thousand more. They are welcome to renounce their oath to kill us at any time, and should they do that, sincerely, then the killing should stop, immediately. They are welcome to their primitive, evolutionary-stunted, ape-like ways. They are not welcome to force those ways upon me, and when they vow to kill me because I refuse to become the blithering religious morons they have already demonstrated themselves to be,…

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Faking Courageous

When actors fake… Writer, lawyer, actor, and economist Ben Stein notes that–with regard to the Oscar show the other night–“there was not one word of tribute, not one breath, to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan or to their families or their widows or orphans. I guess that since he’s an actor himself, he was uniquely perched to identify the narcissistic charade put on by Hollywood: The idea that it is brave to stand up for gays in Hollywood, to stand up against Joe McCarthy in Hollywood (fifty years after his death), to say that rich white people are bad, that oil companies are evil — this is nonsense. All of these are mainstream ideas in Hollywood, always have been, always will be. For the people who made movies denouncing Big Oil, worshiping gays, mocking the rich to think of themselves as brave — this is pathetic, childish narcissism. The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very…

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Sent Items

This just out in email to a group of business colleagues and associates. Bill wrote: Why do we keep talking about fee caps? TASC should be taking the position that free enterprise, for-profit companies don’t have to have price controls. Do collection agencies have fee caps? COMPETITION will keep fees down IF SETTLEMENT COMPANIES ARE GIVEN THE FREEDOM TO TAKE ROOT AND GROW without price controls. Bill is absolutely right, of course. And he’s right on two levels, the first of which can be summed up in the phrase “this is America,” and all it used to imply. Unfortunately, one is sooner going to hear an argument for freedom on the basis of individual rights and private property in the parliaments of Russia and India than in the legislative halls of “enlightened” America–or Europe for that matter–anymore. So no one wants to hear about that, anymore. It’s a dead, DEAD horse. We have come to accept that literally anything and everything is perfectly subject to regulation, legislation, ‘governation,’ ‘bureaucraticization’ … and instead of a battle of ideas–individualism vs. collectivism–we have the battle of the slide rules: which side can calculate “the greatest good for the greatest number.” And, so, if…

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Trials Pub

For some reason–I’ve no idea why–I’ve neglected to stop in and check out Trials Pub, which is not 2 minutes from the front door of the new place we moved into last November. Here’s a bit about the place. Well, Bea had heard that the curry was good and the list of things that I love more than a good spicy curry is a very short list indeed. So, we went last night, we both had the curry (along with a Guinness on tap to wash it down) and were quite pleased. I’m half tempted to go over and try the fish & chips tonight, along with perhaps a Bass or a Harp to get it down with. Did I mention that it’s 2 minutes from my door?

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You Aren’t Worth It

Kim du Toit has a good post up about how all of you voters–through the scoundrels you elect–have gone and made each other criminals. Every last one of you, and me, is virtually always in violation of at least one or more local, state and/or federal laws of the U.S. Which one(s)? Jesus, I have no real idea, which is the whole point. It is quite literally impossible for anyone to be informed of and understand the whole law to which they are subject. All I really care about is whether I’m actually hurting other people or are in serious risk of doing so. If the law is not integrated with that, then I haven’t much use for it. At the same time, I have a certain respect for the ideal of objective and rational law, and the peaceful process of enforcement. After all, I’d have no call to write a post such as this if it didn’t in some way bother me to realize that I and other peaceful people are violators, or even criminals, by the letter of it. Anyway, Kim has this to say towards the end: All we can do, I think, is to fight this…

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What Do You Think of Yourself? (2)

“Michael, I view the world very simply: producers and parasites.” That was me, in a phone conversation with a high-powered attorney that I just had to retain on a pressing company legal matter. I don’t use the phrase “high-powered attorney” lightly. I’ve dealt with hundreds of attorneys (literally)–mostly putzes–over the years. For the most part, this one defends businesses, and he does so very effectively. But the question remains. Who are you, and why? At the end of the day, have you added real value to humanity, or have you sucked value away in order to fake–through the prism of activity–a sense of self worth? Huh?

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What Goes Around

Regular readers (thank you kindly) shall recall this post from just a bit more than a month ago. To sun it up: Now, this: It’s not a great photo, coming off a Treo 650 camera phone. I’ll have better later. My brother Dave is responsible for that. What he and my nephew, Josh, didn’t do was done by contractors that he arranged for. Yes: new roof, windows, garage door, paint, and a touch of landscaping and just cutting down and cleaning up. And you haven’t yet seen the before & after of the interior. That will shock you even more. Think: stinky stained carpet vs. beautiful hardwood. Now, get this. I called my baby-brother, Mike, today, Saturday, ’cause I had a question for him about some pressure-cooker cookery we’ve got cookin.’ Guess where he was? Up there–three hours drive–in Sacramento helping Dave with some particularly difficult water intrusion damage in the bathroom. Complete surprise to me. I love my brothers (I’m the senior of four of us). Can’t imagine life without them. This here? It’s just a small part of the whole deal. I could bog for 10 years and I wouldn’t scratch the surface of it. I have another…

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Wafa Sultan: A Couragious Saint

I’ve just been treated to something that I find quite remarkable, uplifting, encouraging, positive and a whole bunch of other things. Go and watch every second of this 5-minute video right now. Watch it again. It’s from a Al-Jazeera TV broadcast on 2/21/2006, archived by MEMRI. Here’s the transcript, by the way. The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete. I don’t think I can disagree with a thing she says. She’s…

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What Do You Think of Yourself?

A friend sent me a video the other day and I just haven’t been able to dismiss it. It looks like it’s been around for awhile, so you may have seen it at some point. Here, go take a look at it, because the rest of this post won’t make a lot of sense unless you do. There’s also a page with a bit of background. OK, assuming you’ve now seen it, let me just say that I can’t recall in recent memory seeing anything with so many things to offend my senses as that right there. I’m busy–have been busy–so let me be brief: 1. I have never understood most forms of “sport hunting,” especially when there’s little or no sport in it. Tell you what: I will bow at your feet and kiss your toes if you go out in the brush with a spear and knife and bag an adult lion and live to tell about it. Letting one out of a cage to stand around bewildered and curious while you stand around pretending you’re on a “hunt” until the point that you decide to “take ‘im” earns you my ridicule and scorn. I’m far too selfish…

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