Saturday, June 30, 2012

Altruists and weasels . . .

How come people are so hard on one another?  T. S. Eliot said, long ago: “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” 

I pulled the quote from

Oh.  The other half the harm that people do comes from pure malice. 

As between the two, I'll choose to deal with a malicous weasel before I want to hang with a self-congratulatory altruist.  They're both evil but you'll meet a higher class of evildoers among the weasels.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mannies, of all things, wierd and wonderful . . .

Last night my bride and I finished watching the monster historical mini-series from the 70s and 80s, Winds of War and War and Remembrance, about World War II.  If you want to watch it, it's available for rental but plan on using two or three weekends and staying up late to watch 'just one more disk'. 

Anyhow, now, while steeped in WWII, my parents' times, I happened to see the front cover of a magazine where one of the articles was "We love our manny."  The article was about "mannies," that is, the increasing frequency of males being nannies, nurturing other people's children all day.  You know.  Drawing daffodils, telling stories about pastel colored families, and singing songs of unicorns. 

Looks to me like males like the resolute and deadly American males of WWII, and their glorious women, are certainly an endangered species.

No doubt those who own up the title, "manny," are thinking that by doing so others will think that they are admirably secure in their woosie-tude.  (I made that word up but you know what I mean.)  But we don't think that at all.

They're just everyday woosies.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Little voices .. . .

There are leaf blowers going on outside.  I mean, THERE ARE LEAF BLOWERS GOING ON!!!!.  These are being operated by lawn care service employees, who, being employees covered by Worker's Compensation and OSHA work rules, are required to use hearing protection devices.

But what about the rest of us?  We aren't issued hearing protection devices; we just have to muffle our ears in our arms and hope the bastids finish soon.  I already have a permanent ringing in my ears from seventy years worth of the unrestrained noise of civilization gone mad with the power to industrialize the processes and procedures of noise making to an unnatural level.

Hey, how tough would it be to muffle engine noise?  Answer, it isn't that tough. 

On the other hand, there is a large subclass of subhumans who evidently like noise in all its forms.  How else can we explain why many people will prefer a big, throbbing, loud Harley to a well-muffled, big Honda, purposefully humming along?  Why else will the big Harley hog rider sit waiting for a green light, twisting the throttle repeatedly while going nowhere?  Why else do some children completely ignore the colorful and expensive educational construction toy purchased by an aunt, in favor of vigorously and repeatedly pounding a four dollar sauce pan on the bare kitchen floor?  Producing loud noises fulfills some atavistic need; it makes them feel good about themselves? 

But even if production of noise for its own sorry sake isn't a motivator for all of us, there remains many of us who tolerate noise, who live with it comfortably.  I have  theories.

One theory is that the absence of random, intrusive noise permits a person to hear the background "om" of the universe, causing one to contemplate both one's place in things, and one's naked insignificance, a notion which is discomforting to undeveloped egos. 

Okay, well, maybe it isn't the background noise of the universe; it's just your own blood circulating in your inner ear.

The other theory is that we all grow along the way a little interior voice based on our experience, that serves to guide us past points of difficulty.  You know.  That little voice that you want to ignore, that tells you that you are about to screw up, bigtime.  Again.  The noise helps a person ignore that little voice, so that they can go ahead and screw up bigtime. 

When a woman is saying to herself, "He said he's sorry and if I take him back he'll never do it again, and I know he loves me in his own way,"  she must not be hearing the little voice that's saying, "You've been through this before, try to catch up." 

When a man is saying to himself, "So all I have to do is give them my credit card number and they will send me, with free shipping, a three month supply of Ecuadorian batshit beetle bark to rub on myself in the privacy of my own home, and my manhood will swell to legendary proportions and all the girls in my keyboarding class will want me," there's a little voice he isn't hearing that is saying, "You might want to do something about that fat ass and those skinny arms, and lose about forty pounds first, there, Sparky."

When a doctor is saying to himself, "All my friends say that they've made alarming amounts of money, and Bernie says he can't promise anything but he's never made less than 30% a year before, but we have to buy in before all the wall street crowd finds out about this and the more I put in, the more I'll get out, and I'm really tired of working fifty-five hours a week to make a lousy two hundred grand a year," there's a voice in his head that says, "If it sounds too good to be true, it damn sure is too good to be true.  Do you know the expression, 'Sucker bait'?"

Why do otherwise smart people screw up?  It's because they can't or won't listen to that little corrective voice in their head.  And why won't they or can't they hear that little voice?  It's because of the DAMN LEAF BLOWERS AND HARLEYS AND ASSORTED OTHER INSTRUSIVE NOISES.

There's a little voice in my head right now, saying I should just give this up because I'm looking like a nut case.  But I can't hear it.