Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday, September 14, 2018

In the Faculty Dining Room

In the Faculty Dining Room: “Christ, it is sad, sad to see on quite a few of these faces — young ones particularly — a glum, defeated look. Why do they feel this way about their lives? Sure, they are underpaid. Sure, they have no great prospects, in the commercial sense. Sure, they can’t enjoy the bliss of mingling with corporate executives. But isn’t it any consolation to be with students who are still three-quarters alive? Isn’t it some satisfaction to be of use, instead of helping to turn out useless consumer goods? Isn’t it something to know that you belong to one of the few professions in this country which isn’t hopelessly corrupt?
“For these glum ones, apparently not. They should like out, if they dared try. But they have prepared themselves for this job, and now they have got to go through with it. They have wasted the time in which they should have been learning to cheat and grab and lie. They have cut themselves off from the majority — the middlemen, the hucksters, the promoters —by laboriously acquiring all this dry, discredited knowledge — discredited, that is to say, by the middleman, because he can get along without it. All the middleman wants are its products, its practical applications. These professors are suckers, he says. What’s the use of knowing something if you don’t make money out of it? And the glum ones more than half agree with him and feel privately ashamed of not being smart and crooked.”
— Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Looking Up to a Dog

Every day about dawn, a woman walks a large, black-and-white, boxer-type dog past our house into the park. It doesn’t seem to notice that it has no left hind leg.
The dog moves briskly, sniffing plants and hopping along ahead of its companion.
My ambition in life will always be to carry my burdens that lightly.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

VERE are your PAPERS!!!

So after working at Eastern Illinois University for a total of 17 years — and having ATTENDED and GRADUATED from EIU — I now have to fill out a form proving I’m an American citizen.
How utterly idiotic.
I took in my driver’s license, my birth certificate, my U.S. passport and the remarks I made that were read into the United States Congressional Record, hoping that would prove sufficient to mollify the American Gestapo.
And when I mentioned the word “Gestapo,” the clerk said, “Everybody has to do it.”
“That’s no excuse,” I replied.
“It’s a federal law.”
“That’s no excuse either.”
“We like to follow the laws.”
“That’s funny,” I replied. “I don’t notice the federal government following many laws, do you?”

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A meme made for me by my lifelong friend Jim Hampton. Thanks, Jim! The point is not to let our reactions to our failures to achieve emotional equanimity push us still further away from it.

The Tragic Truth About 21st Century Republicans

The sad truth is beyond their rhetoric, a lot of Americans have never been comfortable with real constitutional liberty. They find the winds of freedom frightening, not bracing. So they’d really prefer to suck some strongman dictator dick and just CALL it “liberty.”