The day the world went away

•August 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 

There’s no image to go with this blog. I had the hardest time, at first deciding why the hell Nine Inch Nails went with the image of a snake in the sand, sidling away as the main image of the video for their song ‘The Day the World Went Away’.  I kinda get it now: it’s not that there should BE any one symbol – it’s that ‘the world’ is something DIFFERENT for each of us. The end of your world is NOT the end of mine. The end of MY world is ( I hope to God) not the end of yours.  A day will come, I’m certain, for everyone alive then, when the End of the World will in fact BE the end of everyone’s world – except, or course, when that happens, no one will be absolutely certain that this is the last gasp for everyone.

We all seem to spend a lot of angst, over something that we not only CAN’T know, but which Christians take as a matter of faith is UNKNOWABLE! (MOST christians, that is; various sects have insisted that THEY knew exactly when the end of the world would come … except, the predicted date came and went, and MOST people of that faith went their way and found a DIFFERENT faith, but enough remained to found the Seventh Day Adventists.)

I’m writing on wordpress, because, when I write on social media, it’s usually that I’ve been pissed-off by some wildly conservative folks, and at that point I usually am drunk enough to say what I actually mean — That is rarely a very diplomatic post, though it’s usually an extremely CLEAR one, even if it IS heavy on the vitriol!

The next day, of course, I’m ashamed — not because of anything I said, but because I said it while dead drunk, and OFTEN added barbs into it that I’d have resisted, had I been sober.

You can’t win arguments, you can’t convince opponents, when your argument is CHOCK FULL of disdain, and axide (along with, yeah, booze).  I know this, because I’ve nearly always been lured into it by people slinging disdain, hate, and acid.

You know how MOST extremists, left or right, approach arguments? It’s to make fun of their opponents then claim THEY won, because the opponent took the bait and engaged with the irrelevant argument put forward, OR, ignored the bait, then were accused of not answering a debate point.  I happen to think the Right does it the most, but, hey, some people on the Left do it too, so what’s the harm?

THE FUCKING HARM IS THAT NOTHING IS DECIDED, NOTHING IS SETTLED UPON, NOTHING IS PROVEN!!!!

There are PLENTY of people on the Left that exhibit this behavior. I’m ASHAMED of them and really wish they’d embrace someone ELSE’S crusade, because there are people you don’t want in your Foxhole, ever!  There are WAY more people on the right who do this, and they ALL deserve to get their comeuppance — except they WON’T, of course, because THEY are the only people they acknowledge as being right.

 

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Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and now Trump

•January 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Politicians lie.  Democrats, Republican, Independents, Tea Party, Libertarians, they ALL lie.  Everyone knows it. It’s been a running joke for as long as people have been governed.

Donald Trump and his gang take it to a whole new level.

That, in itself, is not such a big problem; most news outlets leap on every lie that dribbles out of these people and quickly expose the falsehood.  The problem is, Trump’s supporters choose to believe his lies, automatically label any dissent as bogus, and stare blindly at ‘facts’ which they claim have been manufactured by the media! Under other circumstances, I’d be perfectly willing to let these people stew in their fantasy worlds – but they’re running the country now, and their fantasies are intruding on our reality!

The thing is this:  Democracy depends on discussion – and there’s no discussion with these people!  When one side labels everything that comes out of the mouths of the other side as a lie, fake-news, or propaganda, discussion devolves into “I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s that!”

We’ve been heading this way for a while now. The GOP leadership are all wealthy, but they cultivate followers who are poor, ill-educated, and disinclined to accept any opinion but their own.  They believe in religious freedom – for Christians.  They believe in the science that makes their TVs work, but not evolution, and, increasingly, not in vaccines. They believe in free-trade – which they define as “Other countries can buy our goods, but we won’t be buying theirs!”  They’d be outraged if anyone told them they couldn’t marry as they see fit – and refuse to tolerate same-sex marriage.  They raged against Obama-care, spent 8 years obstructing the government in protest of it – and now say they really just want to improve  it.  They think they can just ignore China, let Japan take care of themselves, ignore Russia’s intervention in Syria, and completely forget that they started a war (under false pretenses) and sixteen years later, Americans are still being killed, because they never bothered to say what constituted victory – and, obviously, America can never accept defeat!

That last bit is perhaps the most frightening.

I’m a former military officer. US Military doctrine is defined in Joint Publication 1: Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States. That document defines how we go about conducting war.  It says, among other things, that every military operation should have a clearly defined goal – a mission.  It’s what you tell the privates they’re fighting for. It defines how you know you’ve won. It defines when the fighting – and dying – should stop.

George W. Bush committed us to a war that had no mission. Americans were pissed about 9/11 and we all wanted revenge.  I’m sure he wanted revenge, too – but revenge is only a mission if you intend to totally annihilate the other side.  Annihilation can only be achieved if you can clearly define who your enemy is.

Viet Nam taught us what it was like when you couldn’t tell the enemy from the people you were defending.  Bush ignored that, and committed us to battle in a region where no one wears a uniform, and everyone carries a gun. That particular region was previously invaded by the full might of the Red Army – and a few CIA operatives taught the inhabitants how to defeat a modern army!  The Russians were there for ten years, before finally accepting that they couldn’t be successful.

Bush ignored that as well. We’ve been there sixteen years.

The pretext for invading Iraq was the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.    UN weapons inspectors in Iraq had already reported that there were none. Bush ignored this and committed us to an invasion. They found no WMDs – but, “Hey, we found Saddam!”

4,424 of our soldiers died for that. 31,952 of our soldiers were wounded in action to achieve that.

Desert Storm, under Bush’s father, had totally destroyed the Iraqi military, and most of it’s infrastructure.  Storming’ Norman wisely stopped short of entering Baghdad, and Bush senior wisely refrained from ordering him to take the city, because both knew that what had been a largely bloodless campaign would become a bloody nightmare in that city. All our advantages would be nullified there. The enemy, dressed just like the inhabitants, could not be identified until they opened fire – and in an urban environment, it’s just plain suicide to concede the first shot to the enemy!  More importantly, there was no need to take the city – Desert Storm did have a well-defined mission:  drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and destroy their ability to wage war.  Both of those objectives had been met.

Bush senior had, at one time, been Director of Central Intelligence.  He knew the value of knowing the facts, the wisdom of learning the lessons of the past, the foolishness of wishful thinking, and the value of American lives. Bush junior, ignored all of that.

“But, hey, we got Saddam!”

Then Afghanistan. 2,386 US soldiers killed. 20,049 wounded in action. 1,173, US civilian contractors killed. Sixteen years of warfare. Widespread PTSD in returning vets. The VA, utterly unable to deal with the sheer numbers of vets who needed help.

“But, hey, we got Bin Ladin!”

Obama recovered the economy that Bush junior wrecked.  Trump’s insistence on pulling out of our trade agreements threatens to reverse that. His insistence that he’ll build a wall on the Mexican border – and make Mexico finance it – has pissed off Mexico, and the Mexican President. His insistence of pulling out of NAFTA threatens to damage not just the American economy, but those of Canada and Mexico as well.

During interviews soon after the election, he was asked “how will Americans know their economy is better?”  his reply was “I’ll tell them!

 

Safe?

•January 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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I think I must have missed something.

At some point in the past couple of years – no doubt when I was so utterly self-absorbed that I stopped paying attention to the rest of the world – someone came up with the idea of a ‘Safe Space’.

Apparently this is a thing on university campuses (like the one where I work.)  A ‘Safe Space’ is supposedly a place where negative comments toward sexual identities are not tolerated. A place where no one’s ideas, opinions, beliefs, attitudes, or convictions should be challenged. In effect, a place where debate, education, and questioning are forbidden.

Look, I can understand declaring a place where taunting, uncivil, mocking, and bullying behaviors are considered unacceptable … but there are 3 big problems with this idea:

  1. Taunting, uncivil, mocking, and bullying behaviors should be considered unacceptable  everywhere! 
  2. In many cases, ‘Safe Places’ have begun to be declared as places where there’s no conversation, no disagreement, no questioning, allowed … in effect, it’s ok to have opinions, provided they’re substantially the same opinions as those held by the people whom the space has been declared ‘Safe’ for.
  3. While people should feel free to consider their sexuality as they see fit, declaring a place where no one disagrees ultimately does a disservice to the cause of achieving societal acceptance of all sexual identities.

In consideration of point 1), take a close look at what’s really being stated:  if this place is declared to be ‘Safe’ from incivility and bullying, the tacit assumption is that it’s considered normal and acceptable for everywhere else to be ‘Un-Safe’!

When it comes to point 2), the idea that other opinions – or at least the expression of other opinions – is outlawed, just claws at my soul! The First Amendment guarantees our Freedom of Expression – the very same Freedom of Expression which forms the basis of the argument that one person’s sexuality is no-one else’s damned business!  If you stand up for your right to express your sexuality, you are also standing up to someone else’s right to express opinions in opposition to that!  That’s entirely apart from the idea that it’s ok to determine what people are allowed to think, feel, or express in a given space – the term I’m trying hard to avoid is ‘Mind Control’!

Finally, let’s consider point 3) – and let’s use race relations as a comparison:  the idea of the Civil Rights Movement was that black people should have precisely the same rights as white people – not ‘Separate but Equal’:  the Supreme Court, in a series of major decisions, beginning with Brown v. Board of Education, basically ruled that Separation inherently prevented Equality!  When you declare this space as ‘safe’ for diverse sexual identities, you are, in effect, declaring that you don’t expect the same rights as people in all those other spaces.  Instead of insisting that your rights be honored identically to the rights of heterosexuals, you’re basically saying “well, we don’t like their attitudes – but as long as they respect this space, we’re ok with it …”

There’s a final point:  the implication that we aren’t equal to the debate – that we need to be able to cower behind the walls of a ‘Safe Space’, rather than forcing bullies, the ignorant, the intolerant, and the fanatics, to respect our rights.  I don’t identify with any of the sexual identities listed as ‘Safe in this Space’ – and I shouldn’t have to! My rights ought to be no different from the rights accorded to any of those other identities – and letting the intolerant get away with this bullshit cuts into my rights just as much as it cuts into yours! If they’re allowed to decide who gets rights, and who doesn’t, what’s to say they won’t, at some point, decide that I shouldn’t have the full rights of any citizen?

Instead of hemming yourselves up in ‘Safe Spaces’, maybe the idea ought to be to make the whole planet unfriendly to ignorant assholes!

Life as I see it

•December 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I don’t really have a lot of subscribers – and the ones I do have don’t tend to comment, or post likes or dislikes.  It probably means I’m a lukewarm writer at best.  One person, though, seems to have read a lot of my posts and approved at least some of them … I’ve been to her site and she seems to be be dealing with a lot of the same issues that people around me are dealing with (my own issues are pretty weird, in comparison – probably because I’m a pretty weird person, while she seems to be a more normal, if very sensitive person.)

I don’t know if she’ll approve, but I wanted to recommend her blog, the content of which may be somewhat evident from its name:

https://beinghertheotherwoman.wordpress.com

I haven’t read it all, but the blog deals with the consequences of love in modern America – and how something as pure and simple as love can get tangled in the expectations of society, the realities of economics, and the absolute contrariness of human beings. In response to a “like” she posted reading one of my posts, I wrote her a letter, which I’d like to share with you all.

“I don’t really know what to call you … from time to time, WordPress tells me you like one article or another of my blog, https://dourscot.wordpress.com … I appreciate your appreciation, and wish there was some way I could ease your obvious pain!  I haven’t read through your whole blog, yet:  my own problems make it difficult for me to read through sad issues.  I’ve decided I NEED to read it though, because you seem like someone I’d like to know more about!

I hate that you’re in pain. Really. And I love that you’re in pain. Really.  The reason? Only the dead are without pain – and yours marks you as alive in ways that most people simply cannot comprehend!
Many, if not most, people go through their days like zombies … they just go through the motions. Their pains amount to “damn I got a traffic ticket!” “Here comes another fight with that bastard I married!”  Despite all this, they see no need to change … they see this as the normal fate of human beings! “That’s life.” they say, and shrug.
Ask them about true love, and they’ll claim, cynically, that either it’s a manufactured artifact of Hollywood, or is so rare you can go your whole life without meeting a couple like that.
So they don’t look.  They assume that everyone’s life is shit, so why even try for anything better? There is a certain practicality among men:  they assume that if something can’t be attained, there’s no point even considering it. Women, on the other hand, are creatures of hope:  they may not believe Prince Charming is coming for them, but somewhere, in the deepest recesses of their hearts, the hope he will!
Someone who understands. Someone who cares. Someone who can stand between you and the dark. Someone designed specifically to meet your needs, and make you happy …
My own outlook is very feminine. I believe somewhere deep in my heart that I have a soulmate!  She’s out there! Just waiting for that magic moment when we’ll recognize one another from across a room. My awkwardness with women will fall away, I’ll achieve a boldness I’ve never felt in my life. I’ll head straight for her, introduce myself, declare that I’ve never seen eyes like hers, that I felt an immediate attraction, and that she absolutely MUST let me have the next dance!
Later in the evening, I’ll probably demand to know where the hell she’s been all my life and doesn’t she have ANY idea what I’ve suffered waiting for her?!?!
Things will likely devolve from there.
There isn’t a perfect existence:  we aren’t born perfect, we don’t attain perfection, so how can there be? We can, however do two things:  notice the patterns around us, and choose paths that will lead us out of misery!  There are a few rules, that might help. You’re going to hate hearing them, but here they are:
*  Selfish, self-centered people DON’T CHANGE. NOT EVER. NO MATTER HOW MUCH LOVE YOU POUR INTO THEM!
People who are that convinced that they are at the center of the universe don’t see any REASON to change.  It’s the WORLD that owes them! The WORLD that ought to mold itself to make their lives better. Husband, wife, whatever – that person’s only love is himself (I use the male pronoun because this is almost always a man.) Such a person WILL NEVER return your love – and pouring your love into him is pouring it into a black hole!
*  Such people can seldom hold a job.
They have a sense of entitlement:  a feeling that they shouldn’t HAVE to work – their wants should be provided for them, gratis. They typically get married so as to soak off their wife.  Money that could go toward retirement, of improving your lifestyle, or caring for the kids, goes to taking care of him – because he won’t be bringing in much, and will often claim to have been fired (when he’s usually quit.)  If the wife leaves, they’ll move in with relatives, and soak off them, If the relative kicks them out, they’ll find a girlfriend (probably had one all along, just waiting for his use).
*  Such people – quite subconsciously – target and use sympathetic people.
If asked, they’d deny it vociferously. A single glimpse of their pattern reveals it, though:  they find generous, caring, loving, kind-hearted people. Over, and over, and over.  The flip side of the coin is there too:  there is something about such men that the women I just described find intensely appealing. Take a good look at their past boyfriends, or husbands:  they are all the same. All will be self-centered, selfish, usually possessive, and jealous.
I guess what I’m saying is that such men are utter bastards.  I guess I’m also saying the women they prey on are born victims.  The Bastards see no REASON to change who and what they are – the victims have AMPLE reason, but can’t seem to make that choice … can’t seem to recognize that the creature they’re involved with isn’t who they wanted him to be, and never will be.
And when they leave one, they go find another. Not another man who will treat them well, another of the exact SAME kind of man they just left!
I really don’t know why I’m writing to you, except I think maybe you’re beginning to see these same patterns – and the infinite misery these behaviors cause.
I hope you’ll be well. I hope you’ll choose to walk away from pain.  I hope you’ll find what it is you need, because I swear to God I believe there’s someone out there who’s decent, and kind-hearted, and suffering from loneliness. Someone you’d be perfect for – if only you’ll take the steps to make him perfect for you.  You can’t find a dolphin, if you’re chumming for sharks.
Best wishes!
dourscot
Scott Davis
Oxford, MS”
I hope ‘Being.Her’  won’t object to my sharing her letter … if she does, and writes to me, I’ll delete it.  I hope she won’t, though:  there are things in it that I believe some woman would be the better for reading!

President TRUMP?!?!?!?!?

•November 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

donald-trump

 

I live in a country where there are enough stupid, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, gun-toting ASS-HOLES to elect Donald freaking Trump President.

I feel sick.

Impatience

•October 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I ran out of cat food this morning.

I get up early enough that I can make a run to Walmart, if need be, and still arrive at work with time to spare.  I’ve foolishly started feeding the little family of cats that lives outside my house, and they’d gotten used to it enough that I could see their little eyes glowing from the bushes, as I walked by their bowl without filling it.

I actually explained to them that I’d be right back, just had to run to Walmart for their food.  Sheesh.

I got in the car, and headed out of my neighborhood via the road that would blend best with the morning rush. At the stop sign, was a HUGE expensive SUV.  I couldn’t tell who was driving it, but I’d been behind the damed thing before, and whoever the driver was seems TOTALLY incapable of judging when a gap in the traffic would allow him/her/it to turn right. I waited. And waited. And WAITED, as one gap after another came and went.

Eventually, when the road was entirely clear in both directions, the damned thing pulled out at a snail’s pace … like I said, I’d been stuck behind this person before, and I knew if I followed I’d be absolutely BOILING with road rage when it took us 15 minutes to drive the one mile to the University.  So I turned the other direction. I could get to the Highway that way. It might be a longer distance, but it would be quicker than driving behind pokey.

I hit the stop light.  Ordinarily, I’d always been lucky enough to avoid it, but not this time.

When it turned green, I had a whole blessed stretch of road to myself, clear to the entry to the highway.  I don’t speed – but I DO drive at the speed limit, so I got on the entry ramp fairly quickly, only to find myself behind yet ANOTHER person totally incapable of handling the decision of whether it’s safe to enter the highway.  The idiot had a clear lane, as all the drivers on the road had courteously shifted to the far lane, but THIS idiot came to a complete freaking stop at the YIELD sign!

I shouted “For God’s sake will you just GO!”

It didn’t do any good, because my windows were up and so were his. Eventually there was a long stretch of both lanes being empty, and the jerk timidly eased out into the highway – at 30 miles per hour.  I roared around him into the far lane, letting the screech of my tires express my frustration.

No more problems. Got to Walmart, got my cat food, used the self check -out, got back into my car, and was able to get back home without incident. The feral cats were out in the driveway and fled at the sight of me, but I got out of the car, filled their bowls, chucked the bag inside my house, and returned to the car.

At the stop sign, there was another, completely different, trendy, expensive SUV, with a driver who probably COULD make a decision – if she weren’t so busy texting.  She had her phone held against the upper rim of her steering wheel … would type something while a big gap in traffic went by, then look up and see that traffic was solid again, and would type something else.

I backed up, pulled into a neighbors driveway, turned around and headed for the OTHER way out of my neighborhood.  This time, my escape was clean, and I headed for the University, where I work. There were police at the intersections directing traffic, which was cool, because things always went smoothly when someone OTHER than timid, texting, assholes unable to make a decision, was directing things.  The direct path to my building has been built over, don’t ask me why, so I had the choice of going a long way around in one direction, or a shorter path in the other direction – that led through a parking lot. Without pausing to think of what this meant, I made for the latter path.

At the parking lot, I found two cars just crawling along, looking for parking places that were manifestly not there.  When they, at length, came to a space with LOTS of open parking places, one slowly and carefully parked, leaving two spaces clear on either side of him, then IMMEDIATELY popped his door open.  The car behind him, had already started to crawl toward the space to his left, but stopped when she saw the open door.  A long moment passed as the parked idiot fished around in his back seat for a brief case, and the OTHER idiot patiently awaited him.  Eventually, as the first guy showed no signs of ending his back-seat quest, the second person decided “Hey, maybe I could park in one of the many spaces on the OTHER side of him!”

As she began to edge forward, the person behind me, with a roar of the engine made to pull around us both, only to stop with a screech as she began her turn to the left. The screech rattled her, and she stared at him for a long second before resuming her slow, stately turn to park. I looked at the impatient kid to my left, and he glanced at me, then took a longer glance, and apparently my face reflected something of the morning’s frustrations, because he gestured for me to precede him.

I left quite a bit of rubber behind me to testify to my utter lack of appreciation for all three of the freaking idiots.

I feel at this time, that I should point out, gentle reader, that it took me HALF A FUCKING HOUR TO DRIVE THE ONE MILE TO MY OFFICE!!!!!!!

I’m not an impatient man. I’m not. I am, however, someone who has no patience with drivers who are too timid to operate their vehicles, drivers who can’t make a simple go/no-go decision, drivers who’d rather text than operate their vehicle, drivers who can’t distinguish between a YIELD sign and a STOP sign, or drivers who look at a wealth of empty parking spots and need time to decide, “which one will I park in???”

Sadly, such drivers, even if they are a minority, seem to cause a majority of problems, not to mention triggering my migraines.  Thanks a lot.

Repost re-read, it’s still relevant!

•October 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

https://dourscot.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/an-open-letter-to-humanity/