Sunday, August 21, 2022

"I'm not dead yet."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Still Want to Quit?

Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. 

He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon, and he made his web gear himself. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is'; he knows either he wins, or he dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00; he is home.

He knows only: The Cause."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Follow-up on the State of Men in America

In one of my local papers, a gentlemen wrote a letter of thanks to two young women.  The author had been hiking in some nearby woods and noted the two youths carrying out bags of trash that they had collected.  He thought at first that they were part of some "community effort" or other volunteer or work crew


he refrained from asking their names, nay, from speaking to them at all; why?

Out of fear.

Fear that "such a question might be inappropriate."

So instead, he wrote a letter to the paper, praising these young people in a way that might never reach them.  He went on to praise them for enhancing his day, for exemplifying values eschewed by many young folks, and for being good leaders.  His noted fear was mentioned, most sadly, only in passing.

This is where we stand in America: that a man fears unnamed retribution for praise or a compliment (or simply for speaking) is not even worth reflection or deliberation is a sad, sad state (or State, as it were) .  Thanks, Brownshirts; great job!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Curmudgeon: When I Was a Windy Boy

I was reading this here article, waiting to say "yeah, yeah" (yes, sometimes I tire, or get nervous when the first topic is "racial discrimination"), but instead the hairs on my arms began rising...

What follows are excerpts:

"When I was a boy, America was a freer society than it is today.

"When I was a 7-year-old boy, I flew alone from New York to my aunt and uncle in Miami and did the same thing coming back to New York. I boarded the plane on my own and got off the plane on my own. No papers for my parents to fill out... Had I run away or been kidnapped, no one would have sued the airline.

"When I was a boy, I ran after girls during recess, played dodgeball, climbed monkey bars and sat on seesaws. Today, more and more schools have no recess; have canceled dodgeball lest someone feel bad about being removed from the game; and call the police in to interrogate, even sometimes arrest, elementary school boys who playfully touch a girl. And monkey bars and seesaws are largely gone, for fear of lawsuits should a child be injured.

[Ed. note: it was at this point that I began to get really... scared?]

"When I was boy, I was surrounded by adult men. Today, most American boys (and girls, of course) come into contact with no adult man all day every school day. Their teachers and school principals are all likely to be women. And if, as is often the case, there is no father at home (not solely because of divorce but because "family" courts have allowed many divorced mothers to remove fathers from their children's lives), boys almost never come into contact with the most important group of people in a boy's life -- adult men. The contemporary absence of men in boys' lives is not only unprecedented in American history; it is probably unprecedented in recorded history.

[Ed. note: True dat.  More and more men are simply...suspect, not to be trusted, nay, to be feared and avoided.  Weird, weird world, and dangerous precedent.]

"When I was a boy, we had in our lives adults who took pride in being adults. [Ed. note: I have been thinking about this a lot lately...] To distinguish them from our peers, we called these adults "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Miss," or by their titles, "Doctor," "Pastor," "Rabbi," "Father." It was good for us, and we liked it. Having adults proud of their adulthood, and not acting like they were still kids, gave us security (as well as something to look forward to in growing up). Today, kids are surrounded by peers twice, three, four times their age.

"When I was a boy, the purpose of American history textbooks was to teach American history... [W]e were not raised by educators or parents who believed that "teenagers will have sex no matter what." 

And, to sum it all up:

"We were, in short, allowed to be relatively innocent." 

I am, quite literally, fighting back the tears.  

True enough, true enough, true enough that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thoughts on Obama's Presumptive Nomination

"Some may mistake me as implying that it would be okay to stop talking about racism. But that interpretation is incorrect: I am stating that it would be okay to stop talking about racism. We need to be talking about serious activism focused on results. Those who suppose that the main meal in the aforementioned is to decry racism are not helping people."

 John McWhorter in a thoughtful article.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Old Grey Mare

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must;
just never give up!
~Dean Karnazes

Do it.

Just. Do it.

C'mon: Get. Up.

Get up, get out, get going. Cannot. get. going.

Been injured for a while--longer than ever before. Doc says "Well, when you buy a car you don't expect THAT to stay new forever, do you? You're just getting older!"


So, I am more or less healed. But fat. Fat as a pig. Blubberous, really. And tired. All the time, tired.

Is this how most Americans live? Winded all the time? Tight clothes?

Alarm goes off and I hit the snooze. And again. And again. Restarting my running motor is proving difficult. Is this it? Finally? Is this "the change of metabolism" my family has so long wished upon me?

I have written before one of the differences past a certain point: that one CAN train hard enough to improve, but the pain required is no longer interesting. (And the bed remains warm and comfy.)

But there is, apparently, another factor: things fall apart. Joints begin to wear--not catastrophically, but...enough. And recuperation ain't what it used to be.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good quote

Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.

- John le Carre

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bill Cosby on The Importance of Being, and Being a Father

In Detroit’s St. Paul Church of God in Christ, Bill Cosby related the story of a black girl who’d risen to become valedictorian of his old high school, despite having been abandoned by her father.

“She spoke to the graduating class and her speech started like this,” Cosby said. “‘I was 5 years old. It was Saturday and I stood looking out the window, waiting for him.’ She never said what helped turn her around. She never mentioned her mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother.”

“Understand me,” Cosby said, his face contorted and clenched like a fist. “Men? Men? Men! Where are you, men?”

Audience: “Right here!”

Friday, April 18, 2008


[Ed. note 4/23: I had to remove the photo; I could not bear to look at it.]

Art requires skill and imagination. Skill without imagination is 'craftsmanship', and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Tom Stoppard
"Artist Descending a Staircase" (one of my all-time favorite plays)

One wonders what Mr. Stoppard might have to say regarding Ms. Shvarts.

Food for thought for the coming Passover; fodder for the Seder table.

Update 4/21: I cannot even look at this entirely legal picture; please remember, a woman's right to choose is absolute; freedom of choice, no apologies.

[For the record: I generally support a woman's legal right to choose but, then again, I support the death penalty, the war in Iraq, and market-incented sterilizations...]

So, This is What You Want?

Administration issues statement calling senior’s ‘abortion-as-art’ a ‘fiction’; student sticks to her story

“She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art,” Klasky said. “Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.”

But in an interview later Thursday afternoon, Shvarts defended her work and called the University’s statement “ultimately inaccurate.” She reiterated that she engaged in the nine-month process she publicized on Wednesday in a press release that was first reported in the News: repeatedly using a needleless syringe to insert semen into herself, then taking abortifacient herbs at the end of her menstrual cycle to induce bleeding. Thursday evening, in a tour of her art studio, she shared with the News video footage she claimed depicted her attempts at self-induced miscarriages.

“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, adding that she does not know whether she was ever pregnant. “The nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”

Shvarts explains her ‘repeated self-induced miscarriages’

Aliza Shvarts
Guest Columnist
Published Friday, April 18, 2008
For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages. I created a group of fabricators from volunteers who submitted to periodic STD screenings and agreed to their complete and permanent anonymity. From the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, the fabricators would provide me with sperm samples, which I used to privately self-inseminate. Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization. On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding.

[This piece] creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership. The first [goal of this piece] is to assert that often, normative understandings of biological function are a mythology imposed on form...that creates the sexist, racist, ableist, nationalist and homophobic perspective, distinguishing what body parts are “meant” to do from their physical capability. The myth that a certain set of functions are “natural” (while all the other potential functions are “unnatural”) undermines that sense of capability, confining lifestyle choices to the bounds of normatively defined narratives...

When considering my own bodily form, I recognize its potential as extending beyond its ability to participate in a normative function. While my [reproductive] organs are capable of engaging with the narrative of reproduction — the time-based linkage of discrete events from conception to birth — the realm of capability extends beyond the bounds of that specific narrative chain. These organs can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability.

Aliza Shvarts is a senior in Davenport College.

[S]everal students, including members of the Yale Women’s Center staff, defended Shvarts’ work as an appropriate exercise of her right to free expression.

“The Yale Women’s Center stands strongly behind the fact that a woman’s body is her own,”
the[ir] statement read. “Whether it is a question of reproductive rights or of artistic expression,
Aliza Shvarts’ body is an instrument over which she should be free to exercise full discretion.”

[S]ome students said they did not consider Shvarts’ art offensive. Kate McDermott ’11 said the artist was simply exercising her right to expression. “If you appreciate the idea that art is intrinsically related to politics, then it is perfectly acceptable,” McDermott said.
Anthony LeCounte supports the "artist" here: