Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
June 24, 2010 - June 17, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Post-Modernism: Are
there really no facts?

Local residents were forced to tour the hell they lived silently next to.

ACHTUNG. There are pictures and film footage that can't be faked. We all have access to them if we would only look and learn.

Thing is, if you go to Youtube and search for the term "liberating death camps," the first video that comes up is this:

There's really no limit to the banality of human evil. I've had satirical videos banned at Youtube because they were "objectionable" (e.g., my take on the "Breasts Not Bombs" loons). Objectionable? Really?

Who's minding the store for western civilization?

UPDATE. Our old friend Null wants us to add this video clip from Band of Brothers. Here it is, but it's not proof against the deniers and it can't show just how nightmarish the situation was. Video has no smell, and no actors anywhere on earth can be as starved unto death as what troops found when they entered the camps.

But it does remind us of what our reactions should be when the most "enlightened" among us seek once again to blame the Jews for the fact that so many millions want them dead. Not just in the middle east, where we automatically grade their hatreds on a forgiving Third World curve, but in Europe, too, where these camps were located and where the "civilized" social democracies, once again, want them all dead.

Our president went around the world apologizing to people who did this and want to do it again. We remain the decent ones -- if we're not too bored and lazy and uncomprehending to recognize that our own president wouldn't shed a tear over this, either.

If you crave release, go here and listen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Dissolving President:


The ship of state, she is underwater...

OLD SALTS.  Good God. Just a few days worth of headlines and elder commentary:

Analysis: Gen.'s remarks echo troubled Afghan war.
Pakistan resolute on Iran gas deal.
Iran to send blockade-busting ship to Gaza.
Merkel Tells Obama...
Business leaders say Obama's economic policies stifle growth.
New-home sales plunge 33 pct with tax credits gone.
Obama to push climate change on back of BP spill.
Salazar to issue new order on drilling moratorium.
Federal Gov't Halts Sand Berm Dredging.
Problem With Cap Causes More Oil to Gush in Gulf.
Obama told other GOP senators that border security is conditioned on amnesty.
Mexico joins lawsuits against Arizona over new immigration law.
George Will: Our Demosthenes is also Alibi Ike.
Thomas Sowell: Degeneration of Democracy.
Michael Barone: Obama's thuggery is useless in fighting spill.
Charles Krauthammer: Horsetrading on border security a “dereliction of duty”.


What are the symptoms of an anxiety attack? Shortness of breath? A gathering feeling of dread? Moments of sheer panic?

I wish I had those instead of what I have. Which is a feeling of cold contempt for the incompetent twerp who preens in the White House when he isn't entertaining phalanxes of champion athletes or attending various sporting events with all the pomp and circumstance of an office he isn't fit to hold. Or the cold rage I feel for all the idiots who saddled us with this disastrous, sinister mediocrity of a perpetual college radical who hasn't even the slightest idea what his job consists of, let alone how to do it.

A simple lesson we should never have needed such a risky experiment to learn. The ship of state doesn't run smoothly or well without a captain. We don't have one. What we have instead is a country club sailor in a blue double-breasted blazer (epaulets optional, depending on the social occasion) and a spotless captain's hat.

It's a nice BIG hat. But shouldn't we have someone to fill it?

I got news. The hat ain't going to save him from the gail.

And it won't save us, either. Who cares how well your togs fit when the fatal waves start breaking over your head?

They're coming from all sides now. When will anyone notice? And why do I keep thinking of Captain Queeg fretting about strawberries? Talk about anxiety...

American Exceptionalism

We win! At the last second. How exceptionaltypical.

ELEVATING THE LOWPOINTS. Mrs. CP just got off the phone with me. She objects to the term 'American Exceptionalism,' because it's suddenly au courant after not being being part of our national lexicon, well, ever. She's right about that. But sometimes a term acquires meaning by being denigrated, as Obama did with this one. It's traceable to this:

[E]arlier this year, while attending the European summit of the Group of 20 major economic countries, the president was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism. He replied, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

Before that, the term was more an academic historical discussion topic than an easy label. The idea is hardly new, however. Most Americans know there's something supremely special about this country, its history, and its citizens. Probably, though, American "specialness" wouldn't qualify as something the network news organizations would even dignify as a concept worth covering. Although Obama addressed it directly in his presidential campaign:

The term that can be discussed and parsed and criticized and ridiculed by the Post-Modern cognoscenti is 'American Exceptionalism.' Mrs. CP conceded the point on that basis (after blowing her top when I asked her if she agreed with Obama... Phew. Talk about your ill-advised ripostes...) Supposedly, this is one more of an endless list of imperialistic American delusions we need to get over like some pernicious brain virus.

Which brings me, inevitably, to World Cup soccer. (I'm a master of smooth transitions. Have you noticed?) The World Cup is more important in the scheme of things than the United Nations. The U.N. is all about deadly dull diplomacy where every word means something like its opposite, unless it doesn't mean anything at all. The World Cup is about the passion and character of the competing nations. The ESPN advertisements for the tournament say exactly this if you've bothered to look at them. Big problems can't be fixed and don't really matter. The World Cup, on the other hand, does matter.

In a sense I'm inclined to agree. Because it's a chance to see who we're really dealing with and how we differ when something we care about is at stake. The United States is, of course, a latecomer to this worldwide soap opera, but we're there because, uh, we're the United States and someone's having a tournament and what the hell, why not enter it? We've got guys who can kick the ball too.

Now permit me to draw a few unfair inferences about what we've seen so far. Then you tell me if they're far-fetched or might actually matter in some small way.

Team England is being vilified for lacklustre performances, as if they somehow lack the necessary heart. Team France has imploded entirely, so much so that their own citizens were observed rooting against them on Jumbotrons at the Eiffel Tower. Team Italy -- the defending World Cup Champion -- was so busy flopping and faking against lowly New Zealand that they, well, lost a tiedraw with the "All Whites."

Meanwhile, all the African nations have been losing, losing, losing, the way they seem to do in every international situation.

Throughout, soccer remains the same boring, boring game it has always been, even though there are ways it could be turned into the "beautiful game" it asserts itself to be.

With one notable exception. Team USA. Which may not be the best soccer team in the tournament but has so far proven against all odds that when Americans are involved, "boring" isn't the only possible outcome.

That's my tribute to our underdog team. They've somehow contrived to make this sad-sack sport dramatic. Who'd a thunk it?

They duel the sanctimonious Brits to a tiedraw. No big deal. But it sure upset the Brits. Then they play a game the way Americans generally fight wars, not showing up for the first half then storming back from a 2-0 deficit for the first time in World Cup history to score a winning goal in the final minutes against Slovenia. Except that the referee refuses to allow them the victory. Those damn Americans, don't you know. Which, as we've seen, would send the fragile European teams into a fatal funk.

Only that's not what happened. Team USA proceeded next to do the impossible. Make the end of a soccer game incredibly exciting. By scoring a winning goal after official time had expired, just as if they were a baseball team playing extra innings or a football team playing in sudden-death overtime. Positively thrilling.

Jeez. Is America kewl? Or what?

That's all I have to say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fire me!

Stanley, I presume?

HALF-MEASURES. To be honest, I've never been a McChrystal fan. I thought he should have resigned when Obama kept him twisting in the wind for months and then arbitrarily reduced his troop requests for the sake of appearing in charge.

Now I think he just wants out but not quietly. He wants a Big Splash.

[I've been listening to Rush defend him. I just now turned it off.]

A few random points before I proceed. It's being reported now that he saw the article as it would appear and had no objections. Also, Rich Lowry is reporting that he's always talked this way and surrounded himself with a staff that talks this way. He's being compared to MacArthur. Not so fast. First, he's not in MacArthur's league. For example, MacArthur scored a series of striking military victories, including the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. McChrystal is closer in terms of performance to McClellan: big ego, not so big record of success. Furthermore, MacArthur was fired for insubordination, yes, but not because he gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine. MacArthur was fired for disobeying a direct order of his Commander-in-Chief. Sound like I'm defending McChrystal? I'm not. MacArthur was trying to win a war. I haven't seen much evidence that McChrystal is trying to win a war. I think he's another Wesley Clark, trying to win a larger-than-life reputation he's done nothing to earn. With a bunch of bitchy, backbiting gossip.

What he's done with this Rolling Stone debacle is a disgrace to his uniform and a betrayal of his troops. His men are dying because he made unacceptable compromises in terms of troop strength and rules of engagement that he now wishes to be spectacularly freed from by an act of pure, selfish bravado. He wants to be the martyred hero. Never mind what the transition precipitated by his self-destruction will mean in terms of troop morale, operational coherence, and momentum on the ground.

No hero. What he is is a jerk. Whether or not he was right about everything he said. He had his chance to make a stand when his plan was eviscerated in the first place. He didn't make that principled stand. Now he's a mere, publicity-seeking egomaniac.

Who actually voted for Obama. What a dolt.

Fire him, Obama, and find yourself a general.


CIRCLE OF LIFE. Don't tell anyone. Don't want to jinx anything. He's four months old and we're getting him on Tuesday. Here's what he looks like in profile.

The new boy with his soon to be ex-mama.

We obviously won't know what name suits him until he responds to one, but you're all welcome to offer suggestions.

The greyhounds don't know yet. But we're thinking they're going to be happy. God knows, they've been miserable and neurotic since, well, a week ago Sunday. The pug's been a complete pain too. Not to mention her Izzie-ness.

Wish us well. The poor boy doesn't know what he's getting himself into. He's been living with twelve other deerhounds. Now he's got Molly and Andrew and Eloise. I expect Izzie will get him through the early rough patch...

Monday, June 21, 2010


WE KNEW RIGHT AWAY. Our much admired colleague Doctor Zero has a book out containing the best essays from his first year of blogging:

Doctor Zero: Year One
Authored by John Hayward
Cover design or artwork by Marge Cooke

From the pages of Hot Air, one of the most popular conservative sites on the Web, comes John Hayward, also known as "Doctor Zero!" Join him for a witty and passionate look at the political and cultural landscape of President Obama's first year in office. Discover an America populated by unforgettable characters like the Velociraptors of Supply and Demand, the Fear Machine, and the Blatant Beast. Consider economics from a new angle by learning the Parable of the Bread Aisle and the Tao of the Clunker. From the trumpets of "What Freedom Demands" to the gentle poetry of "A Prayer From The Living World," these pages contain the best works from Year One of a writer who ranks among the most unique and widely-quoted new voices on the Internet!
Publication Date: Jun 17 2010
ISBN/EAN13: 1452848149 / 9781452848143
Page Count: 408
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 7" x 10"
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Political Science / Essays
You should be able to purchase it at Amazon within the next week or so. It costs $16.95 and we're betting it's well worth the investment. Doctor Zero is a master of the formal essay, he writes exceptionally well, and amid all the noise of the Internet, this is an opportunity to hear one clear voice speaking sense from a wise and educated perspective.

If possible, we'll offer a review when it's generally available, but in the meantime we'd like to offer what support we can by reminding readers of the cacophonous Internet context which forms the backdrop, or background static, behind his book. That's why we've assembled an archive of our own past year of diverse blog noisemakers. Think of them as the vuvuzelas that caterwaul during the beautiful game represented by DZ's more formal explication of unfolding events on the world stage. Maybe you can read them against one another, week by week or month by month.

InstaPunk, Year 7:

June 19, 2009 - June 12, 2009
June 27, 2009 - June 20, 2009
July 5, 2009 - June 28, 2009
July 13, 2009 - July 6, 2009
July 21, 2009 - July 14, 2009
July 29, 2009 - July 22, 2009
August 6, 2009 - July 30, 2009
August 14, 2009 - August 7, 2009
August 22, 2009 - August 15, 2009
August 30, 2009 - August 23, 2009
September 7, 2009 - August 31, 2009
September 15, 2009 - September 8, 2009
September 23, 2009 - September 16, 2009
October 1, 2009 - September 24, 2009
October 9, 2009 - October 2, 2009
October 17, 2009 - October 10, 2009
October 25, 2009 - October 18, 2009
November 2, 2009 - October 26, 2009
November 10, 2009 - November 3, 2009
November 18, 2009 - November 11, 2009
November 26, 2009 - November 19, 2009
December 4, 2009 - November 27, 2009
December 12, 2009 - December 5, 2009
December 20, 2009 - December 13, 2009
December 28, 2009 - December 21, 2009
January 5, 2010 - December 29, 2009
January 13, 2010 - January 6, 2010
January 21, 2010 - January 14, 2010
January 29, 2010 - January 22, 2010
February 6, 2010 - January 30, 2010
February 14, 2010 - February 7, 2010
February 22, 2010 - February 15, 2010
March 2, 2010 - February 23, 2010
March 10, 2010 - March 3, 2010
March 19, 2010 - March 11, 2010
March 27, 2010 - March 20, 2010
April 4, 2010 - March 28, 2010
April 12, 2010 - April 5, 2010
April 20, 2010 - April 13, 2010
April 28, 2010 - April 21, 2010
May 6, 2010 - April 29, 2010
May 14, 2010 - May 7, 2010
May 22, 2010 - May 15, 2010
May 30, 2010 - May 23, 2010
June 7, 2010 - May 31, 2010
June 15, 2010 - June 8, 2010
June 23, 2010 - June 16, 2010

Maybe not as much light but a little more laughter and a lot more raucous buzzzzzzing. Don't forget that vuvuzelas are, however obnoxious, expressions of fandom.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Grandfather's Day

Sergeant Chris Hrbek. beloved grandson of Bud and Vikki. Hero.

SUPERFLUITIES. Grandfathers don't care about getting Hallmark cards. Mrs. CP and I met Friday with some old friends who were moving to Florida. Bon voyage and all that. Except Bud immediately handed me a sheaf of papers. An After Action Report and a Citation. His grandson had died in Afghanistan. He reads Instapunk. He wanted me to honor his grandson. So that's what I want to do with this Father's Day. Honor Bud's grandson.

The papers were voluminous. But they can be boiled down to human terms. Sergeant  Hrbek was assigned on 23 December, to Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7. The team responded to an IED containing "screws, nails, glass,  and other foreign objects." What happened next:

Sergeant Hrbek maneuvered his squad ... Approximately ten minutes later the patrol received enemy fire from three directions... As the patrol returned fire from the northwest, Sergeant Hrbek bounded between covered positions and exposed himself to enemy fire while orienting his patrol on the enemy... Sporadic enemy gunfire continued until approximately 1640 when the Battalion Sergeant Major stepped on a... pressure plate IED. The IED blast resulted in the immediate amputation of the Sergeant Major's legs above the knees. The blast rendered two additional Marines in the vicinity unconscious. Sergeant Hrbek left his covered position while under enemy small arms and machine gun fire to run to the aid of the injured Marines.

Sergeant Hrbek applied tourniquets and pressure dressings... [and] continued treating the Sergeant Major until the MEDEVAC helicopter requested by the patrol leader arrived.... Surgeons at the Camp Bastion Trauma Center... indicated that they had not seen anyone with similar injuries arrive at the trauma center in such good shape...

On 14 January 2010, Sergeant Hrbek was the patrol leader [on a mission to] familiarize the Company A Marines with the area of operations. The third of the five vehicles struck [an IED] as the patrol reached its last objective... Sergeant Hrbek was mortally wounded by a victim-operated pressure-plate IED as he returned to his vehicle...

Because of his steadfast leadership and heroic actions, Sergeant Hrbek is enthusiastically reccommended for the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device [that's the 'V' for Valor.]

I have more. The rest of the After Action Report. The Citation. But we don't need more. The story is self-evident. A Marine who takes care of his own men without regard to his own safety. Then dies taking the same risks his responsibility requires him to ask of his men. War and heroism in less than a thousand words.

But life is never worth less than a thousand words. Chris Hrbek wasn't just a warrior. He believed in helping the people he was there to defend.

Chris and the kids of Afghanistan. Will they remember him? I think so.

I won't show you pictures of the comical, off-the-wall Chris. I have them, but you haven't earned them because you didn't know him. The same goes for me.

This is for Bud and Vikki. I won't even tell you how sorry I am for your loss. That's just empty. All I can do, in this poor space, is honor your loss. I asked a Marine friend how I could do that. He said, "You can't. All you can do is say is that he was a Marine."

Chris Hrbek was a Marine.

Ains a year say a prayer faur me...

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Alvin Greene Mystery

THE UNSILENCED VOICE. Actually, there's no mystery about it. South Carolina Democrats thought Alvin was Al Green, the singer Rolling Stone magazine placed #65 on its list of '100 Greatest Artists of All Time.' End of story.

But the multitudinous conspiracy theories on the left about Greene's primary win are still welcome, however, because they've inspired the best Ann Coulter column in a month of Sundays. An excerpt:

Alvin Greene: The Most Qualified Democrat I've Ever Seen

Democrats have decided that Alvin Greene's surprise victory in the South Carolina Democratic senatorial primary must be the result of a Republican dirty trick.

Greene beat Vic Rawl, a former state representative and judge, with a whopping 60 percent of the vote in last Tuesday's primary, despite Greene's having no job, no house, no campaign website, no campaign headquarters -- indeed, no campaign. Other than paying the $10,000 filing fee, Greene seems to have put no effort into the race whatsoever.

But he does have one thing Rawl doesn't have: In the grand tradition of legendary Democrats such as Teddy Kennedy, Greene has a felony arrest. (Greene's inexperience really shows here: Democrats usually wait until after they're elected to show pornography to college girls.)

So this is not good for the Democrats. Naturally, therefore, they're blaming Republicans.

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., has demanded that the U.S. attorney investigate, ominously suggesting that Greene may be a Republican plant. Clyburn is the third-ranking Democrat in the House.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann interviewed Greene as if he had Lee Harvey Oswald in the dock. Chris Matthews asked guests: "Do you think this has the look of a dirty trick -- sort of a Watergate number?" Watergate, you'll recall, involved the Nixon White House trying to persuade a mildly retarded black man to run for the Senate.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Greene was not a "legitimate" candidate and called his victory "a mysterious deal." (Yes, how could a young African-American man with strange origins, suspicious funding, shady associations, no experience, no qualifications, and no demonstrable work history come out of nowhere and win an election?)

They're hopping mad, these liberals, but it's not clear what their theory of the crime is. Before accusing Republicans of committing a dirty trick, apparently no one asked the question: "OK, but what was the trick?"

The key to Greene's victory, you see, is that he got more votes. How do liberals imagine Republicans pulled that off? Mesmerize the Democrats into voting for an idiot? If they could do that, John McCain would be president...

The only thing a Republican could possibly have done is pay Greene's filing fee. It's likely that someone paid his filing fee, inasmuch as Greene doesn't appear to have enough money to buy a sandwich.

But anyone could have paid it -- ACORN, a community organizer, a stimulus grantor, Betty White. If a Republican paid the $10,000 filing fee, why not give Greene another hundred bucks for a campaign website? Or how about making it $150, so Greene could buy a new suit?

Go on. Read the whole thing. We can all use a good laugh now and again. Cough. Like now.

What's Going On?

WITHDRAWN. Never cared for his music, but I guess I'm forced to start changing my mind about him as a man. First, he makes nice with Rush Limbaugh (uh, who cares but it's still nice...), and then he stands up for Israel:

TEL AVIV, Israel – Pounding his piano in blue-tinted sunglasses before nearly 50,000 screaming fans, Elton John took center stage in a battle over Israel's image.

The legendary British rocker's concert on Thursday night followed a string of cancellations by artists like Elvis Costello and the Pixies. Resisting a growing wave of calls from pro-Palestinian activists to boycott the Jewish state, John gave Israelis a rare reason to smile amid their increasing sense of international isolation.

"Ain't gonna stop me from coming here, baby," he told the cheering crowd in Tel Aviv, saying he believed music should spread peace and bring people together: "That is what we do. We do not cherry-pick our consciences, OK?" he added, in an apparent swipe at the artists who have canceled concerts in Israel.

Okay. I'm happy to proclaim it. Elton John has my respect.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Impeachment Files #1

YES, I SAID IT. This from Legal Insurrection at Hotair's Green Room:

I am hard pressed to come up with a constitutionally more chilling presidential comment than the following statement made by Barack Obama Tuesday night (emphasis mine):

Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness.

Since when is a President’s wish our command? Under what legal authority did the “rule of law” President make the decision as to how much a private entity would pay and then “inform” the private party that it must obey or face the harsh retribution of the federal government?

This is similar to what happened to the bond holders in GM and Chrysler, whose private property rights were trampled in the name of Obama’s politics.

According to reports, BP also will pay compensation to people who lose their jobs not because of BP’s conduct, but because of the Obama administration’s policy decision to implement a drilling moratorium. We now have the specter of a private company being forced to pay for policy decisions.

Respect for the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment is what separates us from North Korea or Venezuela (emphasis mine):

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is beyond me how any person who claims to be a civil libertarian can support this administration. Put aside issues of Gitmo, rendition or other aspects of the war on terror.

When it comes to the foundation of our domestic freedom, Obama has trampled the Constitution with vigor and lack of concern.

Boots on the neck really aren't that far removed from boots marching to the rhetorical cadences of a man who speaks from behind an inscrutable mask with the certainty of a cold megalomaniac.

Obama. The One. Skip to 1 hr 12.5 min and watch through 1 hr 19 min.
Change a few of the ad-hominems to capitalists, consumers, whitebread
clingers to cars, guns and religion, etc, and review the Oval Office speech.
(Come to think of it, the rest of the movie probably isn't far off, either.)

Far-fetched? Really? The man who wants to control the press, the Internet, every market he's had the opportunity to touch, and even how we eat and exercise? Does anyone remember how he came to power and under what kind of spell?

Treat a man like a god and he will come to think of himself as a god, imperious and infallible. That's what we've turned loose on ourselves, as Jay Cost makes clear today in this essay:

The Pulpit of a Bully

Mike Allen broke this astounding bit of news yesterday:

Phil Schiliro, the White House congressional liaison, has told the Senate to aim to take up an energy bill the week of July 12, after the July 4 break (and after the scheduled final passage of Wall Street reform). Kagan confirmation will follow, ahead of the summer break, scheduled to begin Aug. 9. The plan is to conference the new Senate bill with the already-passed House bill IN A LAME-DUCK SESSION AFTER THE ELECTION, so House members don't have to take another tough vote ahead of midterms.

A White House aide has the official word: "President Obama reiterated his call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation to break our dependence on oil and fossil fuels. In the coming weeks he will be reaching out to Senators on both sides of the aisle to chart a path forward. A number of proposals have been put forward from Members on both sides of the aisle. We're open to good ideas from all sources, and will be working with Senators on a comprehensive proposal. The tragedy in the Gulf underscores the need to move quickly, and the President is committed to finding the votes for comprehensive energy legislation this year"...

The only reason to pass such a major piece of legislation during a lame duck session is because the proposal is unpopular. If Democrats could sell the bill to their constituents, they would pass it before the November elections then campaign on it. Party leaders must also expect that the political will for this bill will not exist in the 112th Congress after the voters have spoken in November. In other words, the new representatives coming in are not going to vote for it - so Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama had better get the representatives who were just fired to support it before they're forced into early retirement...

For somebody who seems detached from the details of policy and largely uninterested in legislative wrangling, Barack Obama sure does come across sometimes like a political bully. But this is not bullying some obstinate backbench legislator. Instead, this is bullying the American people. With health care reform, he basically told the country that he didn't care what it thought. The fact that people opposed the bill was proof they didn't know what they were talking about. Now, apparently, the evolving strategy on energy is the same. Don't like cap-and-trade? That's your problem, not his. Plan to vote out Democrats in favor of the idea? Like he cares. He'll pass it anyway.

He really thinks he can control everything and all of us. Me? I'm out of control.

All but the 'young' part. Then again, Jagger ain't young neither.

How about you?

Mrs. CP

LIGHT OF MY LIFE. Irish girl. Five feet nothing. When she was young she had a head of red hair like a lion's mane. Born for combat and command. Think Boudica. Except Boudica lost in the end. Mrs. CP never did. She's more like an elven queen. Or this one:

From 4:15 to 5:00. Pretty perfect except for no business suits.
Including the horsemanship, the temper, and steel. Ask anyone.

But she is also a Jersey Girl. I feel like Tom Waits, hoarse and lost, singing her praises in that ultimate anthem to our state's womenfolk. I'm in love with a Jersey Girl. Sha la la la la la, I'm in love with a Jersey girl.

To understand Mrs. CP you have to understand both Ireland and New Jersey. And other things too, but I'll get to those later.

Nobody who's not from Jersey understands New Jersey. Mostly it's the best place to be from. Despite all the urban buildup. Neighborhoods are tumbled upon neighborhoods and there's a great jumbling that isn't really a melting pot but a mingling. Polish, Irish, Jewish, German, Black, Italian, Hungarian, and more. Yes, you can be born here with a primeval or celtic fire to rule, but for the same reason MacArthur never mounted a coup against the government, you have your rough edges softened by American life. Rows of quiet houses, little league games, diurnal duties and rituals, all of them quiet you into a focus that concentrates your rage to live into acceptable channels. So it was with Mrs. CP. She learned to be a secret barbarian, soft and friendly as necessary with family and friends, reserving her in-born competitiveness and dominion for business and, literally, horseplay.

The horses understood. She was the boss. When they got out of line she smacked them in the ass. Men, somewhat dumber, came to understand it too. When they got out of line she smacked them in the ass. With a look no one could ever mistake. She never chafed about the restrictions women faced in the corporate world, which were intensely real in her prime career years, but she also succeeded in attracting an upside-down royal court of her own. She was the mentor for men who very soon came to outrank her, but one stern word from her was enough to put them in their place. No, she wasn't their mother. (Galadriel subsides...) She was their better, the more so for the fact that she didn't care about titles or rank. She loved them, but only to the extent that they didn't fail her sense of how a man must respond to the temptations and challenges of responsibility. She always knew more about that than any of them.

When I think about Mrs. CP and the thing called feminism, I can only laugh. She is a force of nature. What all the drab, whining victims of patriarchy only wish they could be.

So one has to trace that look back to Ireland. She's traveled there twice. About the only time she ever left her beloved New Jersey. I asked her once -- because I've never been to Scotland -- if she felt at home in Ireland, as if she'd returned somehow to where she was from. "Yes," she said. "That's what it was like. I didn't expect it. But that's exactly how it was."

Which, I suppose, is the story of Mrs. CP and me. The Irish lass who hadn't been to Ireland when we met and the Scot who has yet to set foot in his ancestral homeland.

We connected right away. She was completely impossible, and so was I. Truculent celts who both knew everything worth knowing, although with a modicum of toleration we allowed a certain complementarity between her German/Russian/Math degree and my Greek/Latin/French/English/History degree. We liked a lot of the same things, food excepted, and disliked a lot of the same things, food excepted. She liked horses and dogs, I liked cars and dogs.

What did we like? Oh how we loved the English language, its majesty and poetry. We loved Fitzgerald and Yeats equally. We laughed at the same French movies, we exchanged insights about people we knew that cracked us both up. We were soulmates.

And then we separated for 20 years.

My fault. She had children and I felt I hadn't lived yet, not having the slightest idea what living consisted of. I, you see, was going to become a great writer, which meant that I had to be free. Or something.

So, when life had done to me what life does to the proud, I returned finally to the place of my birth and, on a dark night of the soul such as Fitzgerald describes, I called her. She was the one who remembered what the 'great writer' had forgotten, that soulmates are soulmates. I will never forget the moment when I saw her again, after all those years of travail and pain and loneliness. She looked at me with trust in her eyes. This tiny indomitable dynamo who outshone in a moment all the people I had met in decades of striving and ambition. I knew at once that I had finally come home.

And, you might ask, why would this queen not smite you in the ass like an errant horse and beat you into the weeds, and all I can say is that it's a celtic bond. She always knew who I was, how much I needed her, and she enfolded me in her arms like the clan we somehow both belong to.

There is no such thing as time. Why, I suppose, I continue to like the movie Highlander. I'm not French like MacLeod, but I have always been apart and alone. There's something magical about returning to the heather and the green hills and the stark rocks of your native soul. That's her. Together, we're our own land with our own rivers and hills and mists and weather. If she gets mad at me, it's a storm that threatens the very birds in the air. But mostly we move together, responding in the same way to the same winds and clouds and changing colors of the landscape that is built of us.

For me, till the end of time, she will always be this:

My return to the beauty of life.

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