Precipitation. And other things that will get you wet.

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Sometimes I succeed at passing myself off as having some semblance of stoicism… the point on the philosophy spectrum I’d ideally like to occupy. But really, I likely seesaw between cynicism and epicureanism, teetering back and forth, in a very uncommitted fashion. Not actual epicureanism mind you, which was quite a serious philosophy and not nearly as frivolous, or indeed gluttonous as the modern incantation of the word has come to mean. Although I tend to channel the more contemporary hedonistic definition thereof. *Joey takes another sip of wine* (which I stole appropriated from my parents house earlier today)

In my defence, it looks like a bottle that I may have gifted them at some point in time previously, the wine in question being woefully out of place in their otherwise… eh… dim collection. In so far as it is has (according to the description) intense black berries and cloves with hints of dried herbs and vanilla on the nose. A combination of blue berries and black cherries with a firm, juicy tannin with a long finish. 

Wine comes with its own particular brand of bullshit. In my humble opinion anyway. Although maybe I’m just challenged in the olfactory and taste bud department* since I  never experience ANY of that. Maybe I need drop acid and then drink wine… because well, I hate to think I’m missing out.

*which might potentially explain my mad cunnilingus skilz. I jest. I’m probably completely average… well I assume I am having never asked for rating on services rendered. Ego however prevents me imagining myself lagging too far behind my peers on the bell curve.

In true Dionysian fashion I’m combining my wine with Easter eggs. I went snuffling around the study cupboard earlier and found my wife’s stash. After my best puppy dog eyes routine (and then when that didn’t work making a high pitched mewling noise) she acquiesced and said that I might as well just eat them, if only I would shut up. This is how I roll. Sad and pathetic. And then pivoting into annoying (depending on results).

And on that noteworthy stratagem on how to succeed in life I will wish you all good night, Godspeed and an auspicious bowel movement.

Irreverent Easter post

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Nice thing about Christianity and christians generally is that you can post irreverent stuff about them and, for the most part, they won’t find out where you live and mail you a pressure cooker filled with gunpowder and dry wall screws. If you’re lucky they’ll even pray for you. Which, personally, I find quite nice and certainly wouldn’t object to.

They’re not quite at the point of Mormons, who, in my opinion, occupy the very pinnacle of the tolerance spire, but pretty damn close. If this sort of thing was a competition where you could win something (like a microwave oven) I mean. Of course this wasn’t always so. Lampooning Christianity used to be considered in quite a dim light… remedied with all manner of invasive (and sometimes heated) instruments you wouldn’t necessarily like inserted up your rectum. Not even some saucy pillow talk before hand to get you in the mood. And then eventually, on the sweet release of death, your soul would be taking the express elevator to damnation anyway. Which kinda makes the mortal realm torture thing seem a little superfluous. But maybe they were just warming you up for things to come, a little orientation week taster.

In any event I’m scared to say who I think the least tolerant religion (right now) is, because well… I’m scared. I know what happens to those people who are inclined to express an opinion on such a taboo… eh… leitmotif.  Mean stuff gets said about you on twitter and enraged agitators post your home address on their feed and incite their followers to do you harm. And thats just the actors and comedians.

In any event, I think we need to remember that Easter is all about chocolate… and that chocolate is basically love. And that love is good. Spread the chocolate, if not on the bosom of your significant other in the sanctity of your bedroom, then in foil wrapped bunny form among your fellow sapiens. Show someone you care. Preferably with Lindt.

Dying for an idea

Tribe by Sebastian Junger is one of my favorite books. A couple of years ago Mr. Junger was on the podcast circuit as a guest, an interviewee I devoured. It was during one of these, I think they were discussing fatalism (its been a while and my memory these days is mostly shot) that Mr. Junger posits the following question, ‘What would you die for, what ideas would you die for?’

On the surface (I think) everyone can rattle off a couple of things they can imagine they could or would die for. Family, close friends, maybe. Whether this is true or not, it’s difficult to judge intent until faced with circumstances in which you are forced to act. Interestingly, I seem to remember the discussion… or maybe this is in the book (or maybe I’m completely misattributing this, I’m too lazy to go look it up right now) about a statistical happenstance that occurs when people fall (or get pushed) onto subway tracks and that people that jump onto the tracks to save them, in cases where they are saved, the rescuer is almost always a young male. (something crazy like 99%)Subway.jpgIn any event, I can think my way through saving actual, individual people with faces. That part of the question never really bothered me, since I could imagine myself dying to save my children for example. Thats an easy one because I feel some deep mammalian instinct there.

Where it becomes murkier, for me at least, is the ideas part. What idea would you be willing to give up your life for?

On the surface of it we are taught (or at least I was) that the American civil war was about the economics of slavery. I’m not going to go into the minutiae of it (and indeed the conspiracy theory aspect). For the sake of my post let us assume this to be true and the only concept. People on the North were against it and the south was for it. A war over an idea as it were.

Only it turned out, that northerners we less inclined to die for this idea (on some muddy field in Virginia) than originally anticipated. Sure some of them were, but the government for lack of enough volunteers to fight for their ideology had to implement a draft (and so forced people to die for this idea).

It’s generally at this point that my libertarian-ness gets all hot and bothered, ie that a government can implement a law that can force you to go off and fight and die for something. Otherwise people with guns will come and arrest you, deprive you of your liberty and if your actions are found treasonable enough, kill you. Just because you don’t want to do something.

Also, as an interesting aside, Theodore Roosevelts father, a wealthy New York businessman didn’t want go off and line up on a field to invite musket balls and grapeshot into his personage. His wife was also a hardcore southern belle whose family were wealthy slave owning Georgians. Theodore Senior hired a ‘body-double’ to fight on his behalf, something wealthy people could afford to do and wasn’t necessarily frowned upon by the upper class elites. Theodore Jr, the later president, took huge umbrage that his father had been (in his mind) so cowardly. It is theorised that this episode influenced Teddy to take on above average risk and adventurism with which to prove his personal honor and valor.

Would I die to oppose slavery somewhere far away? Or fascism? Lots of people fought, died or were injured for that relatively recently. Including my relatives who were on the wrong side of that particular conflict.

The truth is I don’t really know. And I’m finding myself leaning towards probably not. Dying for an idea I mean. Can’t we oppose things we find onerous with facebook activism and blogposts? Maybe product boycotts?

I mean suicide bombers die for ideas that they find troublesome after all… although maybe we need to consider intent there, people going off to fight a war might die, but I imagine that is not their intention, where as suicide bombers mean to die. And therein lies the rub I suppose. Might die in the process versus definitely dying.

For some reason this makes me think of Idmon, the seer that joined Jason and his Argonauts on the voyage for the golden fleece. Being a seer, he knew ‘stuff’ about the future and it was revealed to him that he would die relatively early on in the journey. (I think he was either the first or second casualty) Tough when your party loose their seer early on. I think he got gored to death by a boar… in any event, even armed with this knowledge he was still an eager participant and volunteer because it was revealed that his name would never be forgotten.

Maybe this is the sort of death I can get behind.

Spawn of satan

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Left handed people are the devil. In boxing, he added. I feel it’s probably important to add context when demonising people.

The thing about left handed boxers, or south-paws, is that nine out ten people you spar with are the solid, decent sort. Also known as orthodox fighters… built the way god intended. But every once in a while you square off against a lefty.  And because you have less experience fighting these hell-spawn, you have to suddenly un-muscle memory everything and fight in very deliberate, mindful way… which when someone is trying to enter you into the realm of unconsciousness with their fists, is a somewhat challenging circumstance in which to suddenly find yourself in.

Now replace fists with some form of edged weapon and what you get is a recipe for disaster. I can totally appreciate the medieval knights attempt to mandate battlefield etiquette (by drowning all the left handed toddlers) Can’t just have some lefty waltz into a codified conflict and start messing with the feng shui of close quarters combat. It’s also likely the reason the crusaders eventually failed in their quest to hold onto the Holy Land… no experience in fighting left handed people.

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Although the ubiquitous templar that gets used in all those crusader/western imperialist memes has been drawn as a left hander. Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe it was only jousting where left handedness was forbidden… and that the crusaders lost the holy land because they were motherfuckers, more interested in slaughtering every living thing with the city limits of Jerusalem once they’d breached hers walls. Not exactly the greatest ‘hearts and minds’ campaign ever devised. Interestingly Jews fought side-by-side with Muslims to defend the city against the crusaders. Both were indiscriminatingly massacred by the christians when the city fell.

Sorry.

Resisting Capitalism

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I don’t want to sound mean… but I think you’re going about this be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-world thing all wrong. (Look at me getting my Gandhi on) But this has likely been pointed out many, many times before. Don’t worry, I was also young, dumb and full of… actually, I hope the last part of that axiom doesn’t necessarily apply to you. If I have any life advice (having now sired girl-children) be discerning about the boys that you allow access to your lady bits. We are extra-ordinarily single minded and some of us are very, very cunning.

I’m inclined to believe that people confuse consumerism, greed and excess with capitalism. Off the top of my head isn’t that a lot like blaming modern medicine for the opioid crisis? Which I suppose, some people might do. Oh, modern medicine and the fact that we don’t keel over and die (from pustulant, weeping lesions all over our body)… eh, direct result of capitalism, because while we want to believe that people do altruistic things for the good of humanity with no expectation of remuneration (and some of them do), capitalism blows these achievements out of the water in terms of sheer scale when we compare actual good done for humanity. Seriously its like comparing the sun to the moon and imagining them to be more or less equal… which for those of you who are not cosmologically minded… the difference is mind bendingly massive.

When you resist capitalism what you’re actually doing is denying humanism and obfuscating the only real (and proven) system available for people to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. You are the economic equivalent of an anti-vaxxer. Sure you can donate mosquito nets to poor people living in Africa (one of the effective altruisms goto projects for apparently getting the most ‘goodness’ bang for your buck). But really, in my opinion, poor people need free markets, liberalism, property rights and rule of law so they can pull themselves out of the pit of poverty and help themselves (and then buy their own mosquito nets). But all they (for the most part) get is fucked by their own authoritarian leadership, populist agendas and the vicious bureaucracy of their trade ‘partners’. But… I suppose with mosquito nets they will live long enough to die young from something else.

If you’re going #Resist something. Resist corruption. Or gerrymandering. Or fucken lobbyists. Or a jingoist foreign policy. Or tariffs. Or farming subsidies…  you know, all the things that are actual problems and lead to this perception that capitalism is the villain in the human success story.

Dastardly threats

Parenting achievement award unlocked.

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Telling your three year old if they don’t start behaving themselves RIGHT NOW, the easter bunny isn’t coming!

Immediate compliance and profuse apologizing.

I am such a monster.

Although to be honest, I am a little flattered that my daughter thinks I have so much pull with an inter-dimensional* cotton-tail…. when really my only experience with these creatures (and their machinations) is having once read Watership Down… which didn’t really sell me on the whole burrow living arrangement thing it must be said…

*I assume this is how she gets around, although I’m willing to pen a retraction should a competing theory arise which seems more credible. Also I apologize for having just pronoun’d the Easter bunny. I could find any specific reference to gender in the canon and so had to make a quick judgement call. (Eventually I decided since Eostre, the pagan goddess of fertility (on which all this is based) seemed to have mandated her heraldry to be that of a rabbit, it seemed more reasonable to me that the easter bunny is in fact female).