Sunday, May 22, 2011

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Monday, January 17, 2011

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Damn the Enthusiasm Gap, Show Up at the Polls

Apparently some “progressives” would rather chew off their own balls (and, what’s worse, unleash brainless wacko pitbulls like Palin, Gingrich, DeMinted and that fruitcake in Nevada to chew off MY balls) than pass up an opportunity to say “I told you so.”

Here what some thinker at Salon wrote yesterday: "It would perhaps help, now, if the White House took responsibility for the ‘enthusiasm gap' itself, instead of blaming liberals for it. It might also help if they went back in time a year…and proposed some sort of massive infrastructure and jobs program, back when those things could've helped the jobs situation enough to make the forthcoming Democratic blood bath less inevitable."

A couple of points.

1) Whether it’s Obama’s fault or the writer’s, we don’t have a time machine and won’t develop one before election day.

2) All we’ve got now is election day.

3) The blood bath the writer seems to be looking forward to is “inevitable” only if people decide it’s inevitable. At this writing Real Clear Politics has 37 House seats too close to call.

4) There is a significant difference between Obama and Rand Paul.

5) In case you missed number 4: There is a significant difference between Obama and Rand Paul.

6) If the Salon writer (bloviating from the imagined security of a paying job) thinks 10 percent unemployment is bad, wait till he/she has to experience 35 percent.

People making this argument seem bent on talking themselves into the Alamo just to be able to insist (posthumously, it would be) that somebody remember them.

And they want take you and me with them.

I’m not going. I’m voting Democratic. Enthusiastically.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Drink That Water, Kid, Fish Pray in It

The way I heard the W.C. Fields story was that he is on a movie set with a child actor who is trying to get a drink from an aquarium, and he says, “Don’t drink that water, kid; fish f*** in it.” Other versions have it as his excuse for drinking alcohol—“I hate water; fish f*** in it.”

In either case, there is the sense of water as a foreign medium populated by creatures doing things so removed from human manners, custom, taste and biology as to be a total gross-out. It’s as if Fields as a child had been scarred for life by walking into his mother’s bedroom and discovering her having relations with giant squid.

We all have different ways of looking at the universe and our place in it. Fields looks like a guy who never found a higher power he didn’t hate. The man is wonderfully funny, but not terribly at home in his own skin, let alone the universe.

For my purposes, I have come to believe that people might get a better sense of God if they had to swim like fish in the ocean. On land, surrounded by nothing but air and making our way under our own power across a landscape populated by seemingly distinct physical objects, it is too easy to fall into an illusion of separation—from other people, other animals, other living things—from any other objects or forces, seen or unseen.

On land, all those animate or inanimate things present to us as entities that we have to be careful not to bump into, or get irritated, or dissed, or bitten, or eaten by. On earth, even a force as obvious as gravity seems less a connecting attraction between bodies than a definition of up and down. The effect of our connection to the earth beneath us is felt by most people as a nuisance that makes the ground just one more thing that we have to avoid crashing into.

For fish in the water, the effect of their surroundings must be entirely different. Gravity makes us fall, buoyancy holds them up. We feel surrounded by emptiness, not constantly moved by the waves. We don’t feel the earth shake when someone around the next corner walks toward us, but if anything stirs in the water the ripples go on forever.

Not only does the water hold fish up in their environment, they take it into their bodies to obtain life-giving oxygen. It must feel more like living in, swimming through and breathing Jello than existing in thin air.

If you could feel your environment everywhere around you like Jello, if you had to breathe your surroundings in order to stay alive, I think you’d be more likely to come to an accurate notion of what God is. Because, as far as I’m concerned, I’m a fish and God is the water I swim in.

Is the water intentional? No, not as a human would define intentional, but the water is sustaining. Does it love the fish or even care for them? No way to know. Does it provide eternal life? No, but while the fish do die, they don’t drown.

Does the water require that the fish bow down and worship it? No, but they do have to obey its rules in order to survive, and if they separate themselves from it they die. Do the fish have to understand what the water is? No, just how it works, how to move through it, how to adjust to its flow to get where they want to go.

How does a fish come to understand how the water works? By paying attention to the waves. By paying attention to what is around them.

All of us, in the water and out, are subject to unseen forces that are not understood by any man, but which connect us to everything around us, from bacteria to our fellow man to the wide universe.

For the fish, to know how the water works and flows is a given. All it has to do is pay attention. The same thing applies to us all.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

If We Don't Have Great Sex, the Mexicans Will Stay Home

Using Cosmopolitan for sex therapy is like trying to learn how to drive a car by reading the owner’s manual. Cosmo seems to think it’s all about pushing the right buttons. 75 Ways to Make Him Cum Through His Nostrils, 12 Sure Fire Techniques for Finding Your G-Spot in a Dark Closet, 45 Sex Tricks of the Himalayan Mongoose—it’s as if Cosmo thinks great lovers are double-jointed, ambidextrous plumbers wielding socket wrenches with 93 attachments. Magic numbers, elaborate maneuvers, hidden secrets that everyone knows but you—in the Cosmopolitan boudoir, that’s what it’s all about.

Above all, the Holy Grail at Cosmo is GREAT SEX!!! If you aren’t having it, did you know the girl down the street is? If you aren’t having it, why not, it’s easy! If you aren’t having it, here’s how to get it. Certainly this approach has been successful for Cosmopolitan; it’s the women’s magazine with the highest single-copy circulation. It makes you suspect that maybe a lot of women out there aren’t having great sex.

Well, if you’ve continued your sex life past the age of 22, you probably have noticed that sex is complicated. If you’re a 19-year-old male with enough testosterone surging through your body to overrule whatever good sense you possess and enough money to rent someone’s service, sex is very simple. If, however, you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, and get up and be able to look a significant someone else in the eyes, and you want to have sex, then things get complicated.

Great sex every time long term with the same person must happen somewhere. It hasn’t happened to me. But somehow in America that’s the expectation. We’re all going to win the lottery, we’re going to vote once for hope and change and it will happen, we’re going to make love like pornstars.

Intellectually we all know that even pornstars (particularly pornstars) aren’t making love like pornstars, but we still buy the Cosmopolitans and deodorant and hairpieces and cosmetic surgery to make it happen. If you’re not getting great sex with your partner there could be five to 15 or 16 factors at work, none of which have anything to do with how you look or smell.

He could need Viagra, she could need a lubricant, he could be emotionally withdrawn, she could have been abused as a child, he could have been abused as a child, she could be scared of performing poorly, he could be scared of performing poorly, she could have a cold, he could have gas, they could be scared that if they perform poorly their marriage could be over, they could be scared that if they perform well their marriage will keep going, she could be worried about money, he could be worried their son on drugs, she could be worried about their daughter’s marriage, he could be mad about Obama, she could be mad about Palin, they could be mad about the oil in the Gulf, the terrorists in our midst, the Mexicans at the border, the politicians in Washington. They could be mad about not getting the GREAT SEX THAT IS PROMISED THEM IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS!!!!

OK. He and she and we should all stop and take a deep breath. Maybe great sex will happen sometime and then another sometime, but isn’t it possible that we could make do from peak to peak with some pleasantly rolling plains? Do we really need to blow each others’ heads off every single time? What if GREAT SEX is happening but we haven’t achieved GREATER SEX?

If we’re going to have sex at all, maybe it would help if we were willing to make do with good sex, OK sex, even falling asleep in each others’ arms—just once in awhile.