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September 15, 2013 - September 8, 2013

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time for yet another lame
Boxing metaphor? Yes!

PUNDITRY CAN BE FUN TOO. Here's the thing about metaphors. They have the quality of being reciprocal; that is, they reflect on each other. If a comparison seems off, maybe it's telling you to think about the target supposedly being illustrated by the metaphor differently.

Which is a sly way of saying that I tend to trust my own wild hare ideas even when I don't know where they come from. Things pop into my head. I should let them go, but I frequently don't. Like today. I'm thinking about the 2008 and 2012 elections in terms of The first and second Clay-Liston heavyweight title fights.

Absurd? Obviously. Unless not.

Absurd because everything seems reversed. In 2008 the young man defeated the old man, which tracks with Obama defeating McCain.  But there's another perspective available to anyone who remembers the first 1964 title fight. What we today call the MSM were absolutely in Liston's corner. If the Titanic was unsinkable, Liston was unbeatable. The outcome was a foregone conclusion, Liston a 7-1 betting favorite. Just as the full force of the MSM was behind Obama in 2008.

Beyond that, the course of the fight was remarkably similar up to a point. The media favorite against the young upstart. Who now remembers that the energy and talent of the McCain campaign was all a function of Sarah Palin? She's the one who was unexpectedly unexpected. She drew the crowds, landed all the telling blows, and had McCain actually ahead in the polls when he quit campaigning to see to the bailout crisis.

Cassius Clay beat hell out of Sonny Liston for the first four rounds. Then something fishy happened. The Liston corner, it is now believed, put liniment on Sonny's gloves, which he managed to rub into Clay's eyes late in that fourth round. Katie Couric was not involved, but the upstart was damaged. Word is that Clay wanted to quit in the corner between rounds four and five. Trainer Angelo Dundee wouldn't let him, so Clay fought round five blind.

In 2008, McCain DID quit. He never wanted to be president. He just wanted to have run for president. He got his wish.

Where, in a hugely important respect, the comparison breaks down. Clay recovered his sight and caused Liston to quit in HIS corner before the seventh round. He was the new champion.

Which is where the metaphor enters the realm of reversals, irony, and oxymoron. Cassius Clay seized on his moment in the sun to declare himself a muslim named Muhammed Ali. Instant pariah, an immediate figure of fear and loathing.

So the MSM touted, insisted on, a rematch. The frightening one had to be put in his place, destroyed. Just as the MSM set about annihilating Sarah Palin after 2008. Is there any precedent in our history for such an assault on a defeated vice presidential candidate? No. But she had become the frightening one, a champion of the right who had to be destroyed at all costs.

Boxing felt the same way about Muhammed Ali:

Because of the unexpected ending of the first bout, the World Boxing Council ordered a rematch, this time with Liston as challenger. The World Boxing Association disagreed, as immediate rematches were against its rules, and stripped Ali of his title.

Ah. So Ali was once again the challenger. Ring a bell, Republicans?

Then came the second fight, the rematch.

It has remained controversial through all the years since.

The blow that ended the match became known as "the phantom punch," so named because most people at ringside did not see it. Even Ali was unsure as to whether or not the punch connected, as footage from the event shows Ali asking his entourage "Did I hit him?" after the match. Slow motion replays show Ali connecting with a quick, chopping right to Liston's head (known as the "Anchor Punch" according to Ali) as Liston was moving toward him. In their book on Ali, Felix Dennis and Don Atyeo argued that "the blow generated enough power to lift Liston's left foot, upon which most of his weight was placed, off the canvas."[14] Liston was unsteady when he finally got to his feet, and the fight continued momentarily, with Ali connecting with four additional unanswered punches before Walcott belatedly declared the knockout, ending the contest. In the final analysis, it remains inconclusive whether the blow was a genuine knockout punch.

There were claims that Liston had bet against himself and "took a dive" because he owed money to the Mafia. Others believe that he feared for his safety from Nation of Islam members who supported Ali. The latter theory was supported by Mark Kram's book Ghosts of Manila, which included an interview with Liston conducted years after the fight. Liston claimed to have intentionally lost because of his fear of retaliation from the Black Muslims. No independent substantiation of this claim has come to light.

Where my awkward metaphor starts to get interesting. The most likely interpretation is that Liston was a shot fighter and knew it but wanted one last payday. Why it's interesting that the perpetual pessimists at Hotair are suddenly linking articles suggesting that Obama is in far more electoral trouble than the sportswriters of the left would have us believe.

It's hard to be the heavyweight champion. What if Obama would really prefer to be defeated and done with all the hard decisions he must know by now he isn't qualified to make?

What if he's in the process of taking a very elaborate dive? Think about it. He's a dyed in the wool community organizer and his wife is now a full-time jet set vacationer with designer wardrobes and magazine covers galore. If he loses, he becomes an instant world citizen, victim of American racism and historic western imperialism. He can go back to being an ideological agitator, only on a global stage. No more having to be nice to Notre Dame moms and Texas babes in arms.

It's not as if any of his policies or governance were ever aimed at making American life better. His stubborn refusal to move at all toward the center indicates either remarkable stupidity or a political death wish. Maybe, like Sonny Liston, he wants to exit the stage with the perception that he was never beaten, only maneuvered by sinister forces into a phony defeat.

Absurd. I know. But you're all aware I'll light on any excuse to show Muhammed Ali fight footage.

We can leave it at that. But what if this is Romney on a certain Tuesday night in November?

We all need something to hope for. Maybe all it really takes to defeat Obama is a phantom punch. An easy excuse to move on to community organizer sainthood at the U.N. Think about it before you trash me for my mangled metaphor.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mystery Nuggets
of Child Memory

No, not Cleopatra. Just an elementary school teacher.

FOLLOW-UP. The mind is a funny thing. It forgets a lot and then it suddenly remembers a lot. But never everything. Maddeningly.

The other day, I did a post that drew on a book I'd once been assigned in class, Pearl Buck's The Good Earth. I inquired in the Comments whether or not anyone else had read it. Guy T. produced a hilariously accurate review from, of all people, the Oprah Winfrey Book Club:

"Oprah, forgive me, but this is one of the most boring, relentlessly depressing, pointless books ever written. I was forced to read it in High School and in College, and I believe I have grounds to sue both of those institutions for mental cruelty. Pearl Buck's condescending tone and wearying prose made me want to gnaw off my arm to separate me from this book. Her ability to insult the reader and the Chinese culture about which she writes is matched by her ability to make the exotic pedestrian. I would rather read the mattress tag."

My first thought was, absolutely correct but not as bad as another book I had to read that year, called...

Which was the first time that memory really kicked in and I realized what an extraordinary experience I'd had with the teacher who'd insisted on such readings. Her name was (something like) Felicia Cooper. She was my teacher for both seventh and eighth grades. She was terrifying but devoted, scrupulously fair, and a truly gifted magistra. And as I suddenly discovered in hindsight, a woman well ahead of her time.

Speaking of time, some backing up is required. This wasn't an ordinary school. It was also ahead of its time, an unlikely product of a combination of people and circumstances that resulted in a miraculous experiment in education.

I'll give you the short version. The public schools in our neck of the woods were terrible. There was a small population of parents -- doctors, engineers, local manufacturing enrepreneurs, and carpetbagger bluebloods -- who knew the difference between education and babysitting and who knew each other from country clubs and such. And there was my paternal grandfather, who was the Senior Warden, Treasurer, and Head of the Board of Trustees of an Episcopal Church. He talked the church into sponsoring a school, funded largely by old money from one of the carpetbaggers, and the school was launched with 26 students in the Parish House of the church. (I was in the first first grade class.) Less than two years later, the presiding bishop had had enough and pulled the plug on church sponsorship. So the backers found an abandoned mansion in the country, bought it, rehabbed it with voluntary parental (and child... I wielded a paintbrush myself that summer) labor, and became a truly independent school. By the time I reached seventh grade, we had seventy students. The majority of our first graduating class was enrolled in private boarding schools. The experiment was working.

Before the paint, I remember the smell of the bee infestation...

Not that there weren't lots of false steps and incomplete successes along the way. We were supposed to be learning Latin and French from first grade on, but the textbooks were the same every year and we never seemed to make any headway, because the approach, for whatever reason, was conversational French, and if you can believe it, conversational Latin. (Year after year of Sextus asking his magister for a stylus.) And there were already no more history textbooks apparently. So like the public school kids, we got Social Studies instead and read about Pablo and Paulina in Paraguay and another brother-sister combination in Lapland with the appropriate "L" first names. And a disastrous two-year dalliance with the New Math that almost resulted in armed revolution by angry parents.

But we had small class sizes, mostly older teachers (retired from the public schools) who were good, bad, and indifferent even if they all sported those old-fashioned black chunk-heeled teacher shoes from the 1940s. Even the not so good ones were sufficiently rooted in the past that book reports were required regularly from third grade on, we had to memorize and recite poems like "Little Orphan Annie," and we had to perform before the whole class in spelling bees and arithmetic flash card competitions.

We also had a vivid sense of the fact that the school was being run on a shoestring budget and that we had to do our part. We had hot dog days and pizza days where we provided the labor, the food went for cash, and the proceeds went into the operating budget. Early on, the continual deficit resulted in an annual Country Fair that conscripted all parents and students into the months long creation of an event that became locally famous, the centerpiece being a car raffle and a startlingly sophisticated auction featuring things like a weekend in some tycoon's Bahama getaway.

But what does any of this have to do with "The Good Earth" and the memories Guy's post awakened in me?

Despite all its good intentions, the school's success boiled down to two secret weapons. There was Mrs. Hennessey, a University of London graduate who was not ancient but couldn't be certified to teach in New Jersey public schools because she didn't have a degree in pretending to teach. She taught the fifth and sixth grades. By this I mean she taught every subject all day long. We wrote a composition every week, at our desks in a double-period timeframe, and she graded every composition down to the last comma and period. Sometimes it was describe the calendar picture and what it makes you think of. Sometimes it was what you did on your summer vacation. Didn't matter. She taught us sentence diagramming too, and if our sentences couldn't be diagrammed, the best summer vacation in the world couldn't save us.

The other, even more lethal weapon was Mrs. Cooper. Sixth graders would ask seventh graders about Mrs. Cooper and they'd just roll their eyes. She was famous for surprise tests, called "Cooper Specials," which took a full hour and included questions about every subject from math to history to literature. She required essays too, but because we did them as homework she was even tougher in her grading than Mrs. Hennessey.

I've been trying to remember how she taught seventh and eighth grades at the same time in the same room, and I just can't. Her one break was a science teacher who'd take one or another grade to a separate room and misinform us about botany and gravity. Otherwise it was all Mrs. Cooper, all the time. And she had her own ideas about science. Once she brought in the innerds of a slaughtered hog (her dad was a farmer), and I can still see what looked like a horrific crime scene spilled onto a giant sheet of brown paper. "These are the lungs," she said, pointing. That may be when I ran to the bathroom and threw up.

It's absolutely true that she could laugh and charm us all, but the image that comes immediately to mind when I think of her is grim, a downturned mouth and lines already etching her youngish face with the travails of life. She was a local, born less than five miles from where I write this, and her husband ran a septic tank pumping business. Looking back, I wonder how that worked out. She often came to school in a beat-up pickup truck. But she was always the picture of modestly tailored authority. She favored long sleeves and it's only at this instant that I wonder about that too.

Sorry for maundering on so long. But, you see, I wanted you to have context for what Guy suddenly made me aware of that I had never realized before, in all these years. She made us read books. I was always grateful for that. But here are some of the books she made us read:

The Good Earth (Pearl Buck)
Silas Marner (George Eliot, nee Mary Ann Evans)
Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton)
My Antonia (Willa Cather)

Let me say at the outset that The Good Earth is Thunderball compared to My Antonia. There has never been a drearier, awfuller, more depressing book written than My Antonia, not even by the Russians. Not that Silas Marner and Ethan Frome aren't also in the running.

Which fills me with a kind of serendicitous joy. All the way back in the mid-1960s, I had the first militant feminist teacher, smuggling her cause in under the radar. Not even my chauvinist dad ever suspected that Mrs. Cooper had a private agenda and was working it to the max.

I think all she was trying to teach us was that women are writers too. people too. After all, she had other books on her list as well: Animal Farm, Brave New World, A Tale of Two Cities (unfortunately abridged in the textbook we had available), and almost incomprehensibly ambitiously A Passage to India.

Meaning her novel list consisted of women and (mostly) Oxbridge Brits. I can't remember if Conrad's Lord Jim was in there somewhere, but we also did the required Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar. And a ton of short stories in an excellent pair of anthologies, one for seventh and one for eighth grade.

I'm suspicious of the term irony. But I think there is some irony in this wormhole back to seventh grade. I did learn from Mrs. Cooper and Mrs. Hennessey that women can be smart, learned, formidable, and admirable. I learned that women can write. I also learned that I mostly don't like women writers. An opinion all the passage of years has done nothing to change. But my heart goes out to her. She never preached at us. She just exposed us to evidence she was willing for us to assess on our own. I have no way of knowing what specifically motivated her in this regard. It may be that she was simply preparing us in a way no one uses anymore for the fact that our educations were going to involve reading, analyzing, and understanding material that is, well, boring, or at least very remote from our usual interests and preferences.

In that she succeeded. In fact, she succeeded in a lot of ways. She taught us that the classroom is serious business and not always fun or entertaining but still vitally important.

She also was the teacher at the desk who presided over my reading, my discovery, of the single most moving short story I have ever read. It has haunted me ever since. It's called The Scarlet Ibis.

Here's the Wiki entry.

Here's the full text of the story.

If you like, we can talk about it later.

Thank you, Mrs. Cooper. I owe you a lifetime's worth of gratitude. What great teachers invariably do, no matter how they do it. Pure gold.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Romney's House &
other media detritus

He has a car elevator too.

EXPLORING. The iPad is both a blessing and a curse. I've been listening to Laura Ingraham in the mornings. Brilliant woman. But so depressing. Today she was fired up about an interview of Ann and Mitt Romney by Diane Sawyer, who was "breathlessly" concerned about the issue of "relatability" of such rich people with the electorate. (She also brought up the ancient story of the dog on top of the car. Christ.) Understandably, Laura was queasy about the Romney campaign's apparent belief that such media-orchestrated muggings can have any positive result. But she was also deft enough to question the marketability with the electorate of Diane Sawyer as a stand-in for the oppressed and offended 99 percent. Me too.

Is it the 99% or the 1% who go to parties
with their nipples hanging out? Just asking.

I know the dog story is supposed to hurt, but I keep getting the feeling the libs have outsmarted themselves on this one. Everybody who has a dog knows they love to put their noses in the wind and probably won't get cooked at highway speed. Dogs have some pretty individuated preferences, as we all know. Besides, what I think of immediately when I hear this story is National Lampoon's Vacation:

There's a dog story there too and a grandma story, with Imogene Coca dead on the roof. Awful? Maybe what the libs are counting on. But it doesn't quite jibe with the image of an out of touch billionaire ordering the butler around on a jet set cruise. It kind of evokes an image of an ordinary American family vacation. In a station wagon. Where absolutely anything can happen. As we all know. Meaning real life crazy stuff.

Which reminded me of Laura's meme that Mitt Romney is actually Ward Cleaver and maybe that's okay. I've been mostly thinking NOT, until I remembered this old post on the subject of station wagons:

[U]nlike today's minivans, the station wagons of old had the capacity to be utilitarian, sexy, godawful fast and, if not nimble, tenaciously athletic at handling. There was nothing inherently feminine about them, nothing suggestive of the bulbous wombs on wheels you see mooing blissfully down the highways of a morning, so content in the primacy of their cargo that the mother behind the wheel can't even be bothered to compensate for her abundant blindspots by checking the rearview mirror. She has no power in merging maneuvers, she veers from lane to lane as if guided by the wind-heeled spinnaker of a sailboat that knows it always has the right of way, and she has more faith in the belts and trusses of her childseats than she has knowledge of the physics that make underpowered high-center-of-gravity vehicles so incredibly vulnerable.

I'm not tring to be mean. Honestly. But surely our wives and children would be safer in transportation appliances more like the old station wagons -- lower, less tippy, with more visibility all round, lower, more solid automobile handling characteristics, lower. To the ground. Yet station wagons are a thing of the past. Why?

It's a route to cheering myself up, if not you. Horrible things in the news, big and small, but it helps me to know that in most cases I have anticipated them one way or another. What better feeling when you're bounding down a mountainside, ass over teacup, that you still retain the control of knowing how you got there?

Like when Time Magazine decided to ask questions last week about -- wait for it! -- Mormons, Inc. I took all kinds of heat about this when I raised it in February 2007, suggesting that it was something Republicans should be ready for:

Did all you Romney adherents and Mormons really think that the subject of Romney's religion wouldn't come up in the course of a campaign for the presidency? The most disturbing thing about the comments was how offended and surprised everyone seemed to be that anyone would bring up the subject. That is truly absurd. And is this how you're planning to persuade the electorate that it's not a problem?  By immediately resorting to ad-hominem attacks without bothering to look past the first incendiary remarks for more information about the person who offended you?  (Leaping to the conclusion that InstaPunk is a liberal and/or Jew hater and doing nothing to verify such assumptions before making a fool of yourself is really inexcusable if you're actually trying to help your cause, not just blowing off steam.)

Romney's religion is definitely going to be an issue in the campaign. If you want your man to win, the time to drag this looming iceberg into the open is now. The worst possible strategy is to ignore it until after Romney is nominated, because that's when the left will go to work on it, and if you thought I was unfair, you ain't seen nothing yet. We've just seen how unafraid the lefties are of using genuinely obscene ridicule against the Roman Catholic Church. They despise evangelical Christians even more than they do Catholics. You need to think long and hard about how unscrupulous they'll be about the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Some facts everyone in the Romney camp needs to accept pronto. It is remarkably easy to make fun of Mormonism. You're going to see a lot of it, and I mean a ton. And it's not going to be as simple to handle for Romney as it was for Kennedy to handle his Catholicism.

Laura was also bummed by a sight she could witness from her own studio window -- the final voyage of the shuttle Discovery atop a Boeing 747 en route to its last resting place at the Smithsonian. She compared the circling of the plane over the nation's capital to the wheeling of a vulture. For her, as for many people, I'm sure, today's flight was a poignant reminder that the era of U.S. manned space flight is dead. while China, India, and Europe are just getting started.  More of that feeling of bounding down the mountainside while your country is bleeding out. Except that I could at least cling to this July 2005 post (uh, take the link; there's a great IP Photoshop there).

More problems for NASA. The Ford Motor Company has issued yet another recall for the 1976 Gran Torino model on which the original shuttle design was based. This time the problem is faulty outside mirrors, which have a tendency to fall off during hard acceleration. A company spokeperson expressed regret that an administrative delay prevented the recall notice from reaching NASA before the recent launch of Discovery, which shed both outside mirrors during liftoff.

Oddly, Laura was actually cheered by Bill Maher's latest misogynist rant (something about leopards and spots).

As was I. Because it was back in November 2005 that I revealed the truth about Maher's alma mater Cornell, its braindead lefties, and the whys and wherefores of its dark and hateful culture. He's no lord of the political dance. He's a snotty little undergraduate nerd who never got laid and never got over it.

Cornell University... is an Ivy League institution but despite the automatic lustre this affords, the place has serious self-esteem issues. Why? No other Ivy school is the second most prestigious university in its state. Columbia is in New York City, a small undergraduate school with a large and illustrious array of graduate schools. Cornell, on the other hand is a large undergraduate school with a smaller and slightly less renowned array of graduate programs. There are also some fracture lines in Cornell's identity. Its medical school, for example, is located not in Ithaca but New York City. Worse, Cornell is partly a (gasp) state university, the only Ivy with an agriculture school. There's also a school of hotel administration that's part of the state system. Should these circumstances make Cornell neurotic? No. But they do. The Columbia factor has caused Cornell to become obsessively fascinated with... (drumroll, please) Harvard!!??

No, it doesn't make sense but obsessions rarely do. Is it a contributing factor that in the Ivies only Cornell and Harvard have school colors in the red part of the spectrum? No one can say. At any rate, Cornellians have a long tradition of hating Harvard, to whom they continually compare themselves with unwelcome results. In all the areas where they compete -- law, medicine, business, architecture, the arts and sciences, Harvard is harder to get into, more honored, more famous, and more respected. And by the laws of perversity that govern such things, Cornell has in many ways become what it most hates. If Harvard is notoriously left wing, Cornell must be more so.

Of course, Laura was encouraged for different reasons. She believes that lefty bile leads inevitably to self destructive acts. The nastiness can't be contained even when it really must be. Like what happened to Bob Beckel last night on Hannity:

Who could have seen this coming? Me.

Bob Beckel. I find it hard to watch the new Fox News hit "The Five" because the conservatives on set trivialize their own convictions by ostentatiously liking Bob Beckel, who never retreats from his own hard-line left talking points. He's a sour, corrupt old pol who takes advantage of his kinder colleagues like Dana Perino and Andrea Tantaros. Even Eric Bolling laughs and laughs at Beckel's constant nastiness. Only Greg Gutfeld knows that Beckel is actually evil. Which makes me want to throw up. Except that Gutfeld does know. His eyebrows say it all. Kimberly Guilfoyle also knows he's a disgusting slimeball. She writhes away from him in her chair. Hot women know things good girls don't. T'was ever so.

Oh. And I dealt with Maher in the same post:

Bill Maher. Total shithead. I don't want him dead. I want him to experience a black mamba bite. Something to make him contemplate the eternal. And the antivenin needle is in the hands of a dumb twat. (Like maybe Steve Irwin's widow.)

I've got lots more, but that's sufficient to prove the point. So I'm feeling better now. Enough better to point you at an actual good and provocative essay in the New York Times Magazine. It's about action movies. You have to read the whole thing. This paragraph is just to show you that we can trust the writer. they say in the world of business, we used to own this market. For roughly a decade, from the early ’80s to the early ’90s — marked by high-water films all weirdly clustered together, like “Commando” (1985), “Aliens” (1986), “RoboCop” (1987) and “Die Hard” (1988) — the great American action film was a robust genre, as complex and thematically rich and aesthetically unified as the musical or the western.

You may laugh — in fact, one sign of the genre’s decay is how completely it has devolved into a universal joke. (It’s now just as easy, and twice as pleasurable, to quote McBain from “The Simpsons” mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger as it is to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger.) But as a genre, the American action film featured hallmark stars (Schwarzenegger! Stallone! Willis!) and identifiable tropes (kill villain; make pun about method in which you killed villain), and it produced at least one bona fide masterpiece, “Die Hard.” (If you can’t get behind “Die Hard” as a great American movie, then I’d argue that you hate greatness, movies and America.) And the action movie carried, briefly, as all good genre movies do, the cultural weight of metaphorical significance. Action films meant something. As surely as the film noir communicated anxiety over postwar urban upheaval or as alien-invasion films helped us work out our cold-war agita, the action films of the golden age were a post-’70s, poststagflation collective national fantasy: one in which America was strong, independent, unstoppable and perpetually kicking much butt. Moreover, the best of these films (think “RoboCop”) managed the nifty artistic trick of both embodying and critiquing this quintessentially adolescent dream of dominance — providing us with fantasias of cartoon violence that also served as canny dissections of our lust for cartoon violence. [boldface added]

If you don't want to talk about any of the depressing stuff above, talk about action movies. The best, the worst, etc. You guys need to come out of your funk and participate. I'm not kidding.

CLEANING UP. Nasty things have been said about the Fiat Abarth 500 in previous comment threads. Maybe this will silence the critics:

Oops. I meant this one:

uh, it's going to beat your Camry or Accord. Just so you know.

Now, are we going to talk action movies or what?

Monday, April 16, 2012

"The Good Earth,"
Joan Rivers & Fiats

. Yeah, it's been a bizarre week. The left is struggling with its outreach to women, to put it mildly. I won't recap in the usual terms. It's bigger than the Beltway pundits. It was a dogfight that turned into a catfight. The Obama Men thought they could use the Romney Woman to divide all women, but they thought wrong. Always a problem when you're relying on men who insist they know everything important about women. They don't. Liberal Kirsten Powers was offended while conservative Kathleen Parker was dismissive and even scornful. Fox News Hostess Greta van Susteren defended "my firiend Hilary Rosen" while the Obama administration went into overdrive piling up buses to throw Rosen under. Then the lefty backlash began. The libs couldn't let it go, leading to doubling and tripling down on their original point, which culminated in a typically brash and misogyenistic performance by Bill Maher that got everyone's attention.

Then comedian Sarah Silverman seemed to put a cap on it. Abortion is not only cool but casual. She fell short of winning the flag though. The laurels go to decidedy uncomedic, and nominally Catholic, Georgetown University, which has scheduled a lecture series closed to the public presenting to its students not only pro-abortion advocates but a Princeton "medical ethicist" named Peter Singer who argues for infanticide of unwelcome newborns.

Time Out.

The lefties have tumbled into a chasm they don't understand because they're sure they all feel the same way, which is a delusion dating back to the founding of the American feminist movement. And, uh, before. Long long before.

As a kid in seventh grade, I had to read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. Exciting as it should probably have been (at that age) to read about the generous body of Olan in her marriage with Wang Lung, I remember being perturbed about the image of Olan giving birth in the fields as she continued harvesting fortune cookies (or whatever) and sticking around, regardless, to stuff the little messages into the cookies. And then Wang Lung found some painted strumpet for a second wife and Olan faded into the background with no wonderbra to boost her sagging appeal.

The men of the left who invented totalitarian socialism and marxism have always been men of the east -- Russian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese. What the eastern leftists did to women was presaged by what they did to Jews. American Communist Jews conspired in the oppression and sometimes slaughter of their own kind. So has it been with the New American Left and women. The first militant American feminists were the girlfriends of Sixties radicals who were tired of being the Olan of the commune. They learned the methods and they applied them. But their masters just snickered and reined them back in.

Women on the left have been sold a terrible bill of goods. They're parade horses, doing one trick after another to prove that they're not horses at all. But they are horses, doing their masters' bidding. Get a job, go to university, fuck your brilliant mentors, get abortions, postpone what your biology tells you you must to do to the last possible second, then drop the babies in the fields of your endeavor and never stop to smell the roses.

In return we will pretend to take you seriously.

But it's all pretend. Time and again the feminist movement has been summoned to play defense for purely male misbehavior because they back the lie that you girls matter as long as you don't get inconveniently pregnant.

Think of what all you've had to swallow to defend the right that is their chief escape from responsibility -- your baby. The whoring of the Kennedys, including the sodden body of Mary Jo Kopechne. The fabled waitress sandwiches of Teddy Kennedy and Chris Dodd. The predation of Bill Clinton, who seduced a teenager and may have done much worse. The renascent career of Eliot Spitzer, Client No. 9, whom all true lefties are cheering on as a successor to the unfortunate Keith Olbermann, who also had, um, problems, with women.

Squat lower in the fields, Olan. Push, strain, squeeze that baby out into the rice field. Kill it if you must. Then run to law school and get ready for your star turn as a defender of Utopia, where all good things will come true for all good people.

Maybe that's why it's better, on the left, to be a Lesbian. I mean, who could blame Hillary, whether you spell it with one "L" or two? Is it a coincidence that Lesbian peons can be trusted not to give you unwanted child support payments? Vive les Lesbians. As long as they work their big asses off...

Soviet communism stole from Jews their cultural heritage. The left has stolen from women their femininity. In a sense, both are eunuchs. Spayed, neutered, reduced to symbolic objects.

Ultimate irony. The left hates capitalism but not nearly as much as it hates the one demographic that might be freest from capitalism. They hate women who don't get paying jobs. Why? Because they are afraid of women who are free to put human values first. And hold their children and husbands accountable to those virtues -- decency, politeness, effort, education, creative activity, good influences, good books, and fun.

The west has treasured such women despite capitalism. It was always the great defense against mercenary progeny.

The east has always regarded women as brood sows. Even Japan still does. The left does too. But brood sows who can be trusted to fuck you and follow your orders without embarrassing you with children.

Where did women go in this post-modern mix? Ah.  Ask Joan Rivers.

My wife loves Fashion Police, and I enjoy it too. But what you learn in watching the fashion highs and lows of celebrities is that women -- in the context of Hollywood and the prosperous ones who are rich enough to be free of ancient cultural biases --  are basically reducible to all the anatomical parts Joan habitually calls them. Which is every (and I mean every) dirtiest anatomical word you've ever heard. What you learn from Fashion Police, Joan Rivers, and her panel of accomplices is that all women are whores engaged in a ceaseless competition to score money from rich men. Actually, the monolithic lefty view, from all the evidence at our disposal.


I once had a Fiat 124.

Got it after I'd had lots of faster cars. Big American V-8s and such. After a Porsche 944 Turbo, which zoomed from 0 to 60 like a scalded, uh, piece of machinery.

The Fiat was my dad's. His last sports car. He'd had a Triumph TR3, a TR4, and a TR6. Loved the TR6. Straight six, gorgeous sound from the pipes. Crisp throws of an upright gearbox. All of them manly, robust, upright, and direct. And then the Spider. Why had he even gotten this thing? Truthfully, he never much cared for Italy or things Italian. Especially since we all nearly drowned on the Leonardo da Vinci ocean liner.

He was older when he bought it. Initially I thought it was the convertible top. All the Triumph tops were construction projects. (same with my Spitfire and MGB.) Fifteen minutes until you were underway. The Fiat top could be raised and lowered with one hand. Zoop, Zoop.

The only easy thing about the car on first blush. Compared to the Triumphs, the driving position was like lying down. The steering wheel stuck up at an odd angle. The gear shift was balky, the clutch stiff, the engine small and slow. And the rear end boasted something like fins.

I'd always disdained to drive it until after the old man was dead. I took it out on the open road as a kind of tribute.

I guess it took about fifteen minutes. The top was down, of course. I got used to being cradled back-leaning in the seat. The steering wheel became, I don't know, I don't have any idea what, just right somehow. The engine didn't have the straight-six soldiering drill of the TR6; it had a mellifluous singing thing going on, like something, well, female being pleasured.

Best sportscar I ever owned. Funny thing. All the bad traits -- balkiness, slowness, etc -- always struck me hard at first. But I learned that when we got underway, all of that would melt away and we would just commune our way though every bend, corner, and straightaway. Loved that car. Because when I was driving it I got the distinct impression it loved me too.

There's no performance statistic in which the MR2 doesn't beat the Fiat 124 Spider. And I don't even miss the Fiat. It's an affair long gone.

Kind of like the way I feel about American women. The Fiat was a lover. The left consists of nothing but hard-bitten whores. Fortunately, I have a wife I love who loves me. I guess that constitutes a kind of immunity.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Communique from Lake:

April 19, 1981

The Shuteye Town version.

WE NEED YOU. Just this week, we were treated to a glimpse of a singular artifact, the original Epistle Dedicatory page of The Boomer Bible, signed in blood by the diverse bands of Punk City. For many of us, this incredible work is what brought us to this site, and for several of us, the book was a touchstone for our reinvigorated mission in life.

A couple of years ago, a group of us worked long and hard to bring this work to a digital home, complete with working Intercolumn Reference links and formatted as closely as possible to the original book. It is now available to all, still for free, and it underpins much of the current content on this site. It is more relevant than ever as this country slips into fully embracing the Way of Harry, even while Punks toil to provoke Thought and Belief in every corner of the U.S.. Have you read sections of The Boomer Bible recently? Dig in. You won't regret it.

I'm writing this to ask for help. The hosting contract has come up for renewal, and a teacher's salary makes the cost difficult to shoulder alone. For those of you willing to help significantly, our benevolent host has offered to send you a Shuteye Train tote bag photo-quality segment of the Epistle Dedicatory of your choosing, suitable for framing.

If you're interested in helping make the book and the site live on, hopefully forever, you can PayPal funds to rootlake - at- The generosity of commenters on this site got this great book on the internet to begin with; thank you for considering the extension of its digital life. Time is of the essence.

In the meantime, Adam 5.1....


All you need to do now is blow it up, print it, cut it out, and do the same with the back half (below).

A good heavyweight grade of paper or something stronger would be best. Then I'd suggest gluing the left, right, and bottom edges of front and back together, but not the top edge or the handles. That would be bad. Presto. You have a tote bag. Unless you have a better idea...

Or you could email sigmazrn at which part of the Epistle Dedicatory you'd like a quality photo repro of, suitable for framing, ideally in a floating frame. I'll need mailing addresses too.

Thanks to all who have contributed. More is needed... but that's why we're now in the tote bag business.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Day in the Life

Izzie likes her window seat.

BENGALS. So I was working on a white paper for a giant computer company (which shall remain nameless to guard their innocence of InstaPunk) when I heard plaintive noises downstairs. I passed Izzie the Bengal (above), who was pretending to hunt birds through the window and found Raebert still moping about the loss of his beloved Buckeyes in the Final Four.

Don't ask me to explain it. I can't.

I brought him upstairs with me and I worked more on my white paper while he and his buddy Elliott watched an episode of Dogs 101. It was about Borzois, the other second largest sighthound, and they were into it.

They're using Borzois as therapy for traumatized vets. Cool.

Everything was going great until I heard the crash. But Izzie knocks stuff over all the time and I was tempted to let it go. Except that Raebert seemed concerned.

When he gets in your face, he's hard to ignore.

I grumbled my way downstairs and found a terrifying scene. The tulip pot we'd received for Easter was on the floor and Izzie was having a seizure on the window seat, her body convulsing, legs twitching, her eyes glazed, and her mouth spewing saliva.

I gathered her up in my arms and raced back upstairs to my iPad. She was limp and as I changed arms to get to my keyboard, she urinated on me. Oh God. I typed "tulips cats toxicity" and was instantly informed that tulip leaves and bulbs are highly poisonous to cats. Shit. I speed-dialed the vet's office on my iPhone, described the symptoms, and they told me, get her ass in here immediately. Half an hour away by Turnpike at least. Shit.

Shoving things in my pockets, getting my jacket half on, still clutching Izzie, and where was the damn cat carrier? By now Raebert was definitely alarmed.

What the hell?

 I found the cat carrier in the garage.

Poisoned or not, Izzie is strong.

After a tussle I proved I was more muscular than a 7 lb cat, and we proceeded to launch ourselves in Mr. Two.

Pretty close quarters.

Have you ever seen the YouTube about the African honey badger who gets bitten by a cobra while killing it for dinner? He keels over and looks fatally stricken until suddenly he wriggles upright, stretches, and chows down on the dead snake. We weren't two miles down the road before Izzie started her Bengal yelling -- sorry I can't come up with a better word; it really is yelling -- and I had the sense I was on a fool's errand. Bengals are tiny, clumsy superheroes. They don't jump gracefully like cats. They just hurl their bodies at things in the apparent knowledge that they can't be seriously hurt. One of Izzie's careless jumps caused her to plummet from a rafter in the garage on her face (they don't always land on their feet either). The swelling went down in about an hour and a half.

But what can you do? The emergency team is waiting, and I'm no vet, so the mission must proceed. But I'm convinced the second priority is to keep the lady of the house from finding out. She'd freak and come running. Izzie is yelling throughout my thinking process and I'm encouraging her to yell louder. She yells and I say, "Yell, Izzie!" If she's fired up, she's obviously not lapsing into a coma or cardiac arrest or whatever the next bad stage is supposed to be.

And the dogs never had their afternoon out time. Shit.

The minute I get on the Turnpike the fuel light comes on. Great. Hadn't planned on this emergency run. Then there's a traffic slow down and near virtual stoppage. Life is not fair. Izzie keeps yelling. I pretend I'm listening to SportsTalk on the radio. Can't hear a word.

Should I stop and get gas at the station just after the exit? While my cat is dying? Or should I run out of gas two hundred yards short of the vet clinic? The latter. Balls to the wall.

We make it. Izzie is yelling as I haul the carrier out of the car, up the steps and into the waiting room. A vet tech says "Izzie?" and I hand her off to go get her vital signs checked.

Ten minutes later another tech ushers me into an examining room where Izzie is still yelling inside the carrier and tells me she is "stable" -- and that a vet will arrive in a few minutes.

Foot tapping. Math. It's 3:30. My wife's plan is to leave work at 4:00 today. It takes her an hour to get home. It will take me half an hour to get home. Izzie is yelling less and communing with me through the mesh of the carrier. She is obviously getting better. Should I text my wife and tell her? Or keep trying to beat her home? Then the door opens, Izzie erupts in a full-throated complaint, and the vet walks in.

"No question that's a Bengal," she says, struggling to make herself heard over the vocalizings of a cat with lungs the size of a chicken nugget.  

We discuss what happened. She's not convinced the seizure was caused by the tulips. They're not usually that toxic to cats. Maybe she had a seizure and then kicked over the tulips because they were there. She needs blood work. Okay. I'm not a vet. But I know a crime scene when I see it. Never mind. But I try to make a deal. "How long is this going to take?" I ask. "Her mother still doesn't know and I'm trying to beat her home." The vets eyes actually twinkled. "Fifteen minutes," she said, "for the bloodwork. And we can give her an IV while we're waiting for the results." Then she carried Izzie away.

I could hear her yelling distantly for the whole fifteen minutes. I imagined everybody else in the vet clinic could hear her too. It sounded like someone was torturing a cat.

I texted my wife and made up two errands for her to run on the way home. I said the batteries of the home phones were all dead. I crossed my fingers.

Within ten minutes, they brought Izzie back.She sat curled up in my lap, silent, her fur gummy with IV stuff, shedding like mad, and we waited.

But the vet was true to her word. She was back in the time she'd promised, the bloodwork was good, and we were back on the road by 4:05. Got gas, sped home, Izzie yelling the whole way, and got back in time to let out the dogs before the missus arrived in the driveway.

I apologized for hiding the crisis, but she understood and approved. Thank heaven.

We took care of the tulip problem.

Raebert finally settled down too.

Today, Izzie is as exhausted as I am. Here's how she spent the hours between 5:30 am and 2:30 pm.

Then she got up and started tearing around. She's a tiny superhero.

And despite the madness of the headlines, I'm still marginally sane. Because life always happens one day at a time.

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