Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Beavers in the mist


Winter in the Northwest is not all Dark Ages; sometimes we get a sunny day or three. Or week. Or two.

But the underlying reality is that winter in the Northwest is cold and damp. So that when those sunny days arrive and the air warms up the ground is still...well, cold and damp. So in the lowlands the fog forms thick and dank in the predawn darkness and lingers until the sunlight dispells it like the dawn the old tales of night-terror.

Nothing of moment to say, other than that this was a pretty morning; the high hills of Forest Park and the Coast Range further on fir-green and crisp whilst the rolling bottomlands of the Tualatin Valley hid under the cotton sheet of Night.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What IS it with the yoga pants..?



Remember the nice Christian lady here in Oregon who promised her hubby (and informed us all in Outer Blogistan) that she was hangin' up the leggings and yoga pants because of the way that watching her bottom twitching around inside them made good Christian dudes all hot, sweaty, and hard to control?

Well...turns out that she's got a brother in Christ - one Dave "Doc" Moore - up in the Montana legislature who has an even better idea.

Make it illegal to show all dat ass (and that pubic mound, and thighs, and those taut, limber calves, and bare feet, too, I'm guessing...). Nudity, revealing clothing, anything that shows off you ladies' butts? Foul! Unclean! Illegal!

But this dope got himself in real trouble when he threw in yoga pants and Speedos; that just seemed a little too much like sharia law even for the Good People of the Treasure State (the bill he introduced has been officially tabled).

Course ol' Doc now says that the whole "yoga pants SHOULD be illegal.." thing was just a jest, a jape, a mere rhetorical flourish...now that he's been shown up for some sort of moronic, bible-banging panty-sniffer all across the Intertoobz. But, really...what the fuck, guys?

Why even make the suggestion in the first place?

I mean...don't you like women? Don't you think they're nice to look at? Don't you appreciate the human body, including the female body, as "God's creation", like a sunset or a mountain or a rainbow? Why all this fuss about other people's bottoms?

And...if not, I guess my other question would be, what the fuck business is it of yours what he or she wears, or doesn't wear? Doesn't your Bible enjoin you to worry about the fucking beam in your OWN eye?

I guess I will just never understand Christians. They're like that wierd jello thing with little marshmallows that people used to serve in the Seventies; you just have to have been there to understand.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

No. No, no, no. FUCK no.

Proving that like the Bourbons the people that constitute the "leadership" of the United States government learn nothing yet forget nothing the Obama Administration has gone to the poo-flinging monkeyhouse technically known as the United States Congress for a new authorization to use military force, this time against the congeries of wanna-be Sunni Muslim theocrats that go by the nickname "Islamic State".
"President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for new war powers to go after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria...The president’s request would replace the 2002 legislation that authorized the Iraq War but leaves in place a very broadly worded resolution passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
Proving that you don't have to be a dry-drunk simpleton driving a short-bus-full of rage-drunk idiots and conniving weapons-grade-moron Machiavellis to fail to understand the words "don't", "involved", "land war", and "Asia" as well as the catastrophic decade of clusterfuckery that has followed Dick and Dubya's Most Excellent Middle Eastern Adventure the Obamites seem to believe that they can repeat the procedure without repeating the results.
I have absolutely no idea why they would believe this.

For one thing, the Daesh people (NB: apparently "Daesh" is the Arabic equivalent of the WW2 perjoratives "Huns" and "Nips" - it's the name that these guys' enemies use for it, since "Daesh" sounds similar to the Arabic words Daes ("one who crushes something underfoot") and Dahes ("one who sows discord") would like nothing better than for more U.S. joes to stumble around their 'hood killing people and breaking shit seeing as how that worked so goddamn well in Iraq. Doing what your enemy wants you to do is...well, "fucking stupid" are the words that come to mind but "the opposite of strategy" seems like a more measured way to describe it.

For another, well...fuck. IRAQ. Did we learn nothing? The reality on the ground is that the conditions in Iraq and Syria now are worse than when we invaded Iraq in 2003. There is no "government" in any sense of the word. The place has dissolved into a brawling mess of competing groups and semi-decrepit nation states (Turkey and Kurdistan being something of the exceptions...)

There are only two ways this will go.

The U.S. and it's "allies" will raze Sunnistan - the western portions of Iraq and the eastern portions of Syria - to the ground. They will kill and destroy until, as Bill Sherman would have put it, a crow flying over the Sunni lands will have to carry its own provisions. The U.S. will utterly destroy the Sunni capability and will to fight. And then...

...and then I have no idea. Perhaps the Sunni will consent to live under the rule of the other rump states, Alawite Syria and Shia Iraq, as chattel, as the Britons did under the Romans and the Tamils now do in Sri Lanka under the Hindus. That level of violence can produce submission.

Or, perhaps not.

But short of that level of violence?

I have no fucking clue what will happen. Nothing good, I assure you.

My friend Seydlitz says that the powers that be in the U.S. government have lost the ability to think about geopolitics strategically; to assess the economic, political, and military conditions realistically and then plot a course of action that uses U.S. strengths and the weaknesses of the area under consideration to produce a political, economic, and military endstate that benefits the United States.

I have always considered this optimistic. I don't know if the U.S. government has EVER had this ability outside of brief periods when smart people like George Marshall were running things.

But Marshalls seem to be in short supply, while we seem to have a never-ending amount of Dougie Fucking Feiths and Dick Goddamn Cheneys.

And now this.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mister 2000

Well. I've got there. Two thousand posts.
Two thousand. Makes my typing fingers tired just to think about it.

But I've been slowing down quite a lot.

As I posted here back in 2012:
The first five hundred posts took more than two years; from 17 JUL 2006 to 19 AUG 2008, or about 763 days.

The next five hundred took three months less; from 19 AUG 2008 to 8 JUN 2010, or about 660 days,

Then I took 737 days to go from 1,000 to 1,500. That was a total of 2,160 days for 1,500 posts. About a post every 1.4 days.
It took me more than 3,000 days to get here from the beginning: 3,117, to be exact, which means I'm down to 0.6 posts per day or a post about every one-and-a-half days. Which makes sense when you look at the interval for the past 500 posts: 958 days, the longest interval for 500 posts since I started blogging.

I won't pretend I haven't thought about hangin' 'em up and that that is one reason things have slowed down around this joint so badly.

U.S. politics today - and politics in this country is what I wrote and write about a hell of a lot (something like 400 to 500 of my posts are labelled "politics", "U.S. politics", or "war") - sickens me when it doesn't just disgust and irk me. The liberal and relatively-sane lack confidence whilst the reactionary and teatard are free of doubt, and I don't see any point in writing more about that; it just pisses me off and scares the horses. We also seem bound and determined to ram our collective dick back into the Gilded Age meatgrinder and I've said everything I need to say about that.
But the narcissitic delight in the sound of my own voice seems to drive me back here from time to time, albeit a sparser and less productive time than when it seemed that I had something of value to add to our "public discourse".

The truth is that what I say here will be neither much noted nor long remembered and that's not especially bitter. Were I a better writer I'd be writing in a grander place, and I'm largely here to entertain myself and those of you who are foolishly fond enough to be entertained, so this little shebeen is appropriate for me.

And let me say that I do enjoy our sort of epistolary friendship and hope that we will continue to meet here for as long as Calliope, Muse of epic poetry, gives me the words to write and Thalia, Muse of Comedy, give me leave to continue this peculiar, ridiculous jest of mine.

POETRY

And it was at that age...Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

~ Pablo Neruda

Monday, January 26, 2015

Women and leggings and...well, Carlos Bocanegra NOT wearing leggings

My friends Lisa and Labrys reminded me that looking at attractive bodies is not a gender-specific thing. So here's some eye-candy for the female readers; U.S. Soccer's Carlos Bocanegra:


If you knew that this body was under baggy sweats and a ballcap, would it matter whether it was tight shorts or baggy sweats, or a bare chest or a hoodie?

I mean, certainly less clothing is more scenic...but what is unseen can still be seen, if you're thinking about it.

As Lisa said; the brain is the real sexual organ. What can be imagined will be imagine, whether it be by man or woman. We men may be a trifle more visual, but we were all designed to respond to each other's (or our own gender's, for those of us hardwired that way...) bodies. As Labrys said; we may be married, or in love, or committed, but we're neither blind nor dead. We respond to those bodies as our own minds and bodies tell us we should. And that's just fine; if we are truly civilized people we can surely find ways to dealing with our desires in civilized ways.

The fact that religious zealots - whether fundamentalist Christians, ultraorthodox Jews, Wahhabi Muslims, or every other flavor of God-bothering asshole - can't seem to do that is their problem, not ours, frankly.

Otherwise?

Enjoy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Men and leggings and living with them both.

So I open the digital version of the World's Worst Newspaper this morning and there's this:
"Why I Chose to No Longer Wear Leggings...(Veronica) Partridge, a 25-year-old Christian, felt conflicted about modesty, she writes in the post, and talked with her husband about whether or not leggings are appropriate as pants. He told her that it's hard for him not to look at other women wearing the tight athletic wear. She wrote: "And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public."
And I thought, oh, Ronnie.

Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie...

You and me, girlfriend. We need to have a little talk.
Well, OK, first, let me admit; this wasn't the first time I'd heard of this leggings-deal. I ran across it the other night skimming Fred Clarke's blog Slacktivist, where he kinda slammed you not for your obsession with "modesty" but for your misprision of the central tenets of your Christianity:
"For white American evangelicals, religion is always about sex — about other people’s genitals, but when Jesus spoke about modesty of dress it was never about sex and lust. It was about money and greed and self-indulgence at the expense of those in need. If you’re striving for “biblical modesty,” that is the core and the whole of what the Bible itself has to say about leggings and yoga pants: “Whoever has two pair of leggings must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise."
Which is in itself all well and good from a religious-good-doing sort of perspective. Though I should note that I tend to agree with Fred that Dale's comment was sort of a dick move. Sorry, Ron, but he was implying that it is haaaard to be faithful to you with those darn sluts prancing around in yoga pants. But that's a whole 'nother thing.

Thing is, sorry, I'm not a Christian like Fred (who is a pretty insightful guy and a fellow Jesus-pesterer; you might give him a read, just sayin'...) I'm just some random atheist. So I can't really help you on the whole "Christian morality" thing.

But.

I, like your husband Dale the "serial entrepreneur", am a guy. Dude. Vato. Hombre. Mensch. Fella. Goombah. We're both members of the He-Man Chest-Beater Club, sharers of the descended testicles, and we have a lot in common, saint and sinner the two of us.

And I thought we should reeeeeeally talk about this whole thing you said Dale said to you. Accoring to your blog "...he told me, “yeah, when I walk into a place and there are women wearing yoga pants everywhere, it’s hard to not look. I don’t, but it’s not easy.”

And, Ronnie, love ya, sweetie, bless your heart, but I'm here as a guy to tell you; Dale's lying his dear little Christian ass off.

"Looks?" Of course he looks. We ALL look.

Why?

Because we like you.

Sure, he loves you as a person, as a wife, mother of your kids, helpmeet, companion, lover. But...he's also a heterosexual guy. So he likes you as a woman.

Meaning he likes women. Women, plural. Women in general.

We're like that, us het guys. We may like some women as individual friends. We may love some - or, one, hopefully as in your case - as our inamorata, our one-and-only, our Bride, our Delight. But those are personality things, emotional things, spiritual things, individual things.

But we also like women. Physically. Generically. Generally. En masse. As a class of beings. We like how they look, how their voices sound, how they move, how they stand. We like how their faces fit together, how their hair falls, how they look hipshot, or sitting, or dancing, or sleeping. We like the high curve of the tops of their breasts, the slender taper of their fingers (or the square sturdiness of their hands - women come in a delightful assortment of sizes, shapes, and proportions, and that's another thing we like about them). We like the swell of their hips, and the roundness of their bottoms, the intricate curve where their belly meets their thigh.

We like how they laugh when they're silly, the frown that furls their brow when they're thinking. And...I hope this doesn't shock you, dear, but we like making love to them and we think about that from time to time when we look at them.

We don't really think about having sex with them when we see those women in their yoga pants and leggings.

Because, I'm sorry to say, dear, we don't need the yoga pants and leggings to think about having sex with them.
We don't need leggings...or yoga pants, or pantyhose or high heels or pushup bras or bustiers. We don't need accessories or special outfits or fetish wear. We're guys, Ronnie. Guys! We can look at a cool stylish matron in a chic suit and think of lust in the back of a limo. Or a ponytailed jogger in Nikes and imagine sweaty gym sex. Or the tattooed barista at the coffeeshop and picture wild lovemaking in a loft full of modern art.

Hell, don't even get me started on burkas or habits or granny shoes, darlin'. We're men and all of life is one ginormous Rule 34 for us. We look, and we think, and...if we love you, that's all we do.

Just looking - and thinking - doesn't mean we're going to tear off their yoga pants in a mad frenxy of lust. It doesn't mean that anytime we see a woman in a cute outfit, or a bathing suit, that we're gonna screw the poor girl to the wall. We may think about how pretty and sexy they are. We may get a little thrill of excitement looking at them.

But then we take all that home and if we're lucky get to feel and think the same way about you.

My own Bride, who is a very sensible and pragmatic woman, has a term for it: "You go ahead and work up an appetite wherever you want, big guy. Just come home to eat."

She knows we look, and she knows we know she knows, and she's okay with that. She's a smart woman and she knows that if what we have is good, and strong, and right that the looking is no more than enjoyment, and that she will reap the benefits.

And so can you so long as you remember this simple little rule: Guys Are Gonna Look - It Doesn't Matter What You Wear

So you pull on those Carharts, Ronnie dear, if it makes you feel better. But just remember - it's not about the leggings. It's about the legs, and he's gonna think about those legs - yours, hers, your Aunt Louise's - and probably will no matter if you and every other woman within sight are dressed in goddamn garbage sacks.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gott mit uns

Not that I'm in a big hurry to see this (loathing 99% of all "war films" as I do...) but can someone explain how making a 2015 flick about the occupation of Iraq glorifying a dude who is a stone killer, who is working as a sniper with an invading army fighting an aggressive war ginned up by lies and propaganda, who considers his targets subhuman "savages", is different in any meaningful way from remaking the 2001 Stalingrad film Enemy At The Gates but only making the German sniper the hero..?
I mean...I get it. I get that we think of ourselves, of the U.S. troopers we send to do our dirty work, as "the good guys" regardless of where and why we (or in this case, "they") fight. After all, millions of Germans thought they were the "good guys" in 1943, just like Romans thought they were the "good guys" against the Carthginians and the Stone Tribe thought they were the "good guys" against the Clam Clan - that shit's as old as human nature.

Still. I marvel at the human capacity for looking at bloody facts and seeing pretty lies. I think it comes from our natural desire to be the hero of our own stories.

We don't want to think of ourselves as cruel, or vicious, or wrong, because we've learned that "evil people do evil things". So if we admit we've done evil then we have to admit we are evil. And we hate that.

We're NOT evil. We love our kids, we give alms, we go to church, we help the needy, we're kind and loving, decent, humane people. Right?

You'd think that we would have learned that all sorts of lovely, decent, otherwise-humane people can do the most apalling evil when properly prepared, usually through a combination of innocence, ignorance, prejudice, and a carefully decanted mixture of bullshit and praise from people they respect.

But, no.

So lacking that we have to keep screwing our eyes shut tighter and our fingers deeper into our own ears to keep out the thought that we and all our yellow-ribbon magnets might just have been accomplices in a horrible, unspeakable evil.