June 1, 2006 - May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Senior -- fighter pilot, father, and backbone of America.
. I like
this picture. It's of the guy who sired InstaPunk before he did that. The
date is indeterminate, circa 1942. It may have been before he joined
the Army Air Corps, after, or the exact moment when he announced that
he had to his parents. Regardless, you can see something of who he was
when he started out. He was cocky and yet uncertain, insufferable and
invincible but still oddly innocent. He hadn't yet learned what happens
when a friend crash-lands with his face too close to the gunsight, or
what fire can do to aluminum and flesh when it's fed by a thousand
gallons of gasoline.
I have many later photographs. During and after the war. None exhibit
this particular look in the eye, the attitude that accounts for the
admonitory stories I used to hear about driving too fast, drinking too
much, and observing too little. The kid in the picture is a punk. He
became a good man, faithful, dutiful, serious, hardworking, and upright
-- all to a fault.
All these years later, his son is still a punk, still paying for too
much attitude and too little maturity.
InstaPunk in not-so-hot mode.
Beat up, tired, and fed up. InstaPunk Senior was also fed up when he
died at the age of 77. He'd retired 20 years before, after he
discovered that his company's executives had taken up the practice of
lying to each other and to him. His 37 years of corporate life hadn't
included that -- till then.
The remainder of his life represented more unhappy education. The
veteran of 88 P-47 combat missions told me, days before he died, that
everything he had gone to war for was gone. His country no longer cared
for individual initiative, despised traditional virtue, and subsidized
both weakness and failure. He was relieved to be out of action. He died
of lung cancer in 1999, almost 40 years after he quit smoking
cigarettes, as he'd been sermonized that he should, cold turkey, as no
one but him in my experience has been able to do.
In today's terms, he was in many ways a bad man. That is, he excelled
in the (now discredited) virtues of THEN, and he was an archetype of
the evils we deplore NOW. He commuted 80
miles a day to work and back, he never phoned in sick, he regarded
children as ancillary accessories that shouldn't end life as we know it,
he refused to
countenance rude or inappropriate behavior by kids or relatives, he
loved dogs and hated cats (until Webster), he drafted the whole family
into the mission of keeping the yard spotless, he thought tennis was God's personal sport, and he
never cursed or tolerated cursing. He never forgave any transgressor
of these arbitrary dicta ever.
He was a snob. He paid attention to only a handful of well-bred
families in the town he (and I) was born in, he insisted that his
children had to go away to secondary schools where they'd be trained as
ladies and gentlemen, and long before it was the fashion he was
resolute in his conviction that women should be as well educated and
dutiful as men. To him, a college education meant the Ivy League or the
Seven Sisters, as long as they weren't Harvard, which was a breeding
ground for fools. He disliked Jews, whom he admired enormously for
their intellect, because even though they worked tremendously hard, they
tended to be under-dressed and obnoxious, both in school and in
restaurants. The highest honor he conceived of in academe was to get better grades than the smartest Jew in the class -- while being better dressed. He himself never entered a restaurant without a coat and
tie and never complained about anything he was served, no matter how
offensively inedible it was.
He was also a racist. He believed that black people, at least American
black people, were inferior, apart from all the obvious exceptions. For this reason, he was a tireless
champion of hiring them during his working career, defending them from
the attacks of others, and bending over backwards to make sure they got
an even chance to prove themselves in every way -- because he refused
to tolerate unfairness in himself and because he had utter
contempt for all the people who were so prejudiced they couldn't
recognize the fact that there are many exceptions to even the most
self-evidently true generalizations.
He hated Democrats, especially FDR, JFK, and LBJ. He flew in FDR's
funeral, 750 ft below the ordered 1,000-ft altitude, to protest the
deaths of multiple friends who died in the fog during the spurious NY
Harbor submarine scare that helped get Roosevelt reelected in
1944. While JFK was president, he insisted, with absolutely no
evidence, that the man was a callow, drug-addicted, philandering
hypocrite, bought into office by his Nazi-sympathizer bootlegger
father, and that the whole Kennedy clan amounted to no more than the
lowest of shanty Irish. He so despised LBJ that he counseled his son
not to join up for the Vietnam War, "because there's no point fighting
a war you're not allowed to win."
He had no understanding of, or sympathy for, the radical sixties that
followed Kennedy's assassination.While he did not forbid the playing of
music by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Doors in his house,
he uniformly referred to them as "adenoidal, no-talent losers."
What he did like: Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Duke
Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, the Dorsey brothers, Nat Cole, Ted Heath,
and much (though not the personal life) of Frank Sinatra. He also liked
sports cars. He had a Triumph TR3, TR4, and TR6, and a Fiat Spyder 124
(though he had no use for Italians since being stationed in Naples in
What else? He was a gifted portrait painter. He loved his wife
devotedly and was faithful to her throughout 53 years of marriage. (How
do I know? I know. That's who he was.)
Well, who wouldn't be?
But he was funny, too. The whole world was a word game to him. He had
his own names for everyone and everything, and hardly ever were those
names mean. He also put up with InstaPunk. We fought like dogs and
loved each other nonetheless.
Why all this? Because I miss him. If he were here, we could grouse
together about Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean, and global warming, and
Hollywood, and rap music, and cartoon dudes, and Sean Hannity, and
Enron, and Cindy Sheehan. Without him, I feel as if the world has taken
a turn too many, so that now what's left is getting off the
merry-go-round before it crushes us with its well-meaning safety
standards and flatulent political correctness. You can live out in the
country, in the remotest and most rural of counties, but they can still
turn you into a criminal for smoking in a bar where half the patrons
also want to smoke, and they can force you closer and closer to the new
ideal of a life not lived as the only life worth living, where life
itself is defined as not dying for a decade past consciousness, where
nothing on earth is worth dying for
and where only self-proclaimed victims are regarded as wise enough to
write the rules for everyone else -- and scream them at you as if they
constituted an anthem. These days, it feels as if my father chose the
exact right time to leave the U.S.A. for good.
I'd like, just once, to have the chance to congratulate him on a
decision I have come to agree with. For that I'd be willing to take off
the boot chain for a day and put on a proper four-in-hand tie -- you
know, the kind with a small, perfect dimple just below the knot. The
thing is, I've always known that what we had in common was the guy in
the picture. Behind the tie and the stern face, the punk was in there
somewhere, the one who could have understood the hair and the Harleys
and the go-to-hell grin. He might even be grinning at me now.
Chain Gang must have been right about what he said
a few days ago.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Diff in a Jiff
55 is so much
nicer a speed. Don't you agree?
. So the Dems
think we're ready
for their approach to everything. Maybe you
are. But we can't help
remembering that as bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are
worse. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Just how badly do
you want to be protected from yourself? If you're really afraid of how
much harm you might do yourself by making your own choices and living
your life your way, by all means vote Democrat.
Here's the perfect example. Hillary Clinton is devoted to keeping you
safe from your worst
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton,
ex-First Lady and likely future presidential candidate threw out an odd
legal suggestion to the National Press Club this week: a nationwide
return to the double-nickel. According to Clinton, "The 55-mile speed
limit really does lower gas usage. And wherever it can be required, and
the people will accept it, we ought to do it..."
Meanwhile, the red-state hick idiots in Texas
have just done this:
DALLAS -- One of the fleetest critters
in western Texas, so they say, is the kooky-looking bird called the
chaparral, or "roadrunner." The main tourist attraction in Fort
Stockton is a huge statue of an 11-by-22-foot roadrunner called Paisano
Pete, who greets visitors from atop the town's "Welcome" sign.
But on parts of Interstate Highways 10 and 20 around
Fort Stockton -- heading west toward El Paso and east toward San
Antonio and Dallas -- the gawky bird no longer will be the fastest
Last week, state highway officials in Fort Stockton
unveiled the first 80-mph speed limit sign -- reportedly the fastest
posted speed limit in the nation.
Rep. Pete Gallego, who represents a district bigger
than Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island
combined and sponsored the bill, said it will only add to the comfort
of drivers who travel the desolate highway.
"Probably the only difference might be that police
write fewer speeding tickets," he said.
Some safety officials and energy conservationists
predict the additional speed allowance can mean nothing but more fatal
"People don't survive crashes at that speed," said
Tom Smith, director of the Texas office for Public Citizen, a consumer
"This will result in more deaths," said Russ Rader,
spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "You get
somewhere faster, but at what cost?"
Mr. Gallego said Texas Department of Transportation
specialists had studied the situation and found that in the three years
since the speed limit in that area was increased from 70 to 75 mph, the
number of fatalities had actually dropped.
The highways, among the most remote in the U.S., are
generally four-lane, well-maintained and straight as an arrow mile
after mile. It is often 10 to 15 miles between exit ramps. The affected
highways total about 400 miles.
Just a few observations. Straight roads kill people because they get
bored. Suggest anything to you? About Democrats? Also, social engineers
have been trying
to fix speed limits for generations, but STUDIES SHOW
actual speed limits are set by the drivers themselves, of whom 85 to 90
percent travel at a speed that is safe given traffic, weather, and road
conditions. Legislated speed limits are either irrelevant or a
dangerous complicating factor to these driver-set
speed limits. Does this
suggest anything to you?
Pay attention, all you leadfoot, minivan-driving soccer moms. Do you
really want a huge congressional tax increase AND a permanent personal
tax increase in the form of mucho additional speeding tickets plus the
associated insurance premium hikes you'll receive for all your
incompetent driving around in the suburbs? If your husband can't
convince you to drive slower with the kids on board, do you really think Hillary can?
Think about it. We'd call this a kitchen table issue. What would you
Monday, May 29, 2006
Happy Memorial Day
Friday, May 26, 2006
We're not sure what all that was about, but
one thing is for sure -- InstaPunk is NOT ready for prime time.
As reported previously, the discussion sessions were
a bit above and beyond past debates. InstaPunk was
bloodied, but he was still standing at the end of it all -- at least that is what we heard. Unfortunately, we weren't there --
so, it is left to us to sort it all out . . .
That is what we'll be doing over this Memorial Day weekend. If you'd like to help -- perhaps contribute and entry or two -- drop
us a line via the email address provided in the left panel. Otherwise, have a good time and go listen to Taps being played somewhere
near home -- maybe even shed a tear or two for those who aren't with us this year.
Mike Nifong, Lacrosse alum.
We were suspicious from the start. The folks at Instapunk are as
sympathetic and intimate with strippers as anyone. This particular
charge never rang true. But we kept our peace. We know that jocks can
be a**holes. In particular, we never liked Lacrosse jocks.
[Yes, InstaPunk arises from his bed
of pain. He's back. Because of this. Which he hates. Because he never
liked Lacrosse jocks.]
Well, Seamans wasn't
dumb. Better than what came after.
They were the superficialest, snobbiest, airheadedest bunch of clowns
who ever afflicted a private school -- back in the days before
Johns-Hopkins somehow swindled the nation into believing that a bunch
of halfwits sporting pre-Columbian accessories 24 hours a day
constituted a legitimate sports constituency. They never did. They
were, from the first, merely the signposts of empty-headed,
social-climbing, obsessive, quasi-untalented joke-jocks, who convinced
each other they were athletic because they came from the same affluent
three-county area in Maryland. They drank themselves into a stupor
over a title decided among Johns-Hopkins, Annapolis, and the honestly
named Terrapins of U. Maryland. Oh yeah. I forgot. There were also a
bunch of prep schools in the Maryland area that gave passing grades to
congressmen's sons who had filled in their athletic deficits by
swishing Lacrosse sticks over their Topsiders since the age of six.
Where do you think Terrapins come from?
Yecccch. Yeeeccccch. Thirty-five years after graduation from my
southern Pennsylvania prep school, I still despise them, even the
thought of them, their sneers, their sticks whooshing day and night,
their Sperry Topsiders slap-slapping the paths, their consonantless,
To my mind, Lacrosse players are the bottom of the bottom-feeders.
So I waited for the rape case to be made against the Duke dudes. Only
problem: No case.
You see. I hate Lacrosse players. But I don't get to ruin their lives
by leveling empty charges at them. Just to pose one example, say I'm a
woman who's at least momentarily attractive to Lacrosse players. I
don't get to accuse three of them of raping me when I've already
admitted to having sex with three other non-Lacrosse-playing dudes on
the same night. I don't get to change my story back and forth --
nothing, rape, gang rape, rape by the richest Lacrosse players -- when
I'm a stripper who's too drunk to to remember what really happened. If
It can even be the case that my life is sad and unfair. I can call
myself an exotic dancer. I can pretend I don't make money by taking my
clothes off for Lacrosse players (Yecccch!), which -- when it
accidentally happens -- causes me to drink too much and have sex with
lots of men before I ever meet the rich stick-wielding dudes.
But if I want to prove that Lacrosse dudes raped me, I'd really better
be able to remember the incident, name names, produce evidence beyond
residual signs of arousal and subsequent tenderness in my loins, and
have some kind of circumstantial evidence that rich white boys forced
me to have sex against my will.
I'd also better have a district attorney on my side who isn't a total
race-whore sellout with no case beyond a desire to inflame racial
tensions to win an election.
Let me sum up. When I quit pretending that I'm a stripper, I still hate
Lacrosse players. A lot. But what I hate worse are scheming whores who
assume they can frame men for rapes they didn't commit. And worst of
all, I hate prosecutors.
Yeah, unscrupulous prosecutors are the worst. Like Mike Nifong,
spread-eagled political opportunist. Like the first Maryland Lacrossers
I ever knew. Social climbers armed with a stick. Whoosh whoosh. Whore
of whores. But I also hate even the lesser prosecutors -- the
ones who overcharge their clients even when they're not overstating the
case against defendants who aren't savvy enough to get real legal help hire a more expensive lawyer
On the other hand, maybe there's justice in the injustice of bullies
who learn that other people are alive only by learning that they
aren't. Condolences to all the dead people. Whoosh whoosh.
But that's just me. Recuperating from the Debate. [I gave as good as I got. Who out there
has ever publicly disagreed with Insect Brain?]
Get the man some topsiders and a stick. Then shoot him. It worked for