Category Archives: Mad Science

Horses, Hubris and Economics 101

This morning I read a short essay written by a fellow I know, Joseph Pearce.  He is a very decent fellow and, I like to think, a friend.  Not only that, he is smart; smart enough to know when folks aren’t.  Also, he is kind enough to let them know the truth about themselves.  He’s classy enough, too, to do it in such a classy way that only the dummy will know who he or she is.  One hopes that brings about the necessary reform.  But, dummies can be stubborn.

I read his article, titled What Is Economics, which appears in an online journal called The Imaginative Conservative and I think of an old friend of mine who is dead nearly one year, now.  So, at least he is not old any longer.  He is as Rod Stewart sings, forever young, I pray

My friend was named Charlie.   Joseph Pearce’s article brings to my mind  some things about Charlie which I thought at the time were dumb things for him to do.  Alas, I was no Joseph Pearce, then, and I simply watched my friend.  Nor am I now, and would probably do the same thing, watch. Besides, it is too late.  It also makes me think about some things, big things, which I began thinking about a few years ago.  But more about that below.  For now, Charlie

We were friends from an early age.  Close friends, I would say, but not so close as we would call each other best friends or bosom buddies, or stuff like that.  We lived about a block or so away from each other on Bailey Avenue in The Bronx.  Charlie was, what can I say, an intense kind of guy, not quite driven, not possessed, but simply intense. Maybe, thinking about it, he was more a mule than a bulldog.  But he had bulldogian notions.   I won’t say he had no sense of humor, but, though he could get a joke, he couldn’t tell one.  He had a kind of sense of purpose instead.   It’s odd he would find a companion in me, who has lived an Un-Purposed Life for three quarters of a century.

We “knocked around:” with the other guys our age on the block, doing the things the other guys on the block, and guys all over the city, did back then; which included getting into trouble, too.  And, then, we started growing up.

One day he asked me to write a poem for him; to write a poem for a girl from Brooklyn he had met at a dance, a girl he wanted to impress.  Now, we lived in the Bronx, which at that time could as well have been in another galaxy, and this girl of another species entirely.  She was, I think, an Italian girl; so she really was a member of another species.  But, Charlie was determined, even if getting to Brooklyn took about as long as it took The Owl and The Pussycat to get to The Land Where the Bong Trees Grow; which I understand is a nice place.  I hope to visit it someday.  I will probably find out I have already been there.  A lot.

Well, I wrote the poem.  Charlie began a weekly odyssey to Brooklyn under the tunneled streets and under the tunneled river, and under God knows where else.  He surfaced from time to time back among us and often asked for the loan of a buck or two for his trips to a Strange Land.  We gave of our surplus to supply his want.  What are friends for?  One day Charlie announced that he had found a better way, he would need our help no longer to visit his Brooklyn doll.  He had found the horses, and happy days were here again!

I am not going into all the details, but you know them already, don’t you.  We were in college then, me at Manhattan College. which was foolish enough to give me a scholarship, and Charlie at Fordham University.  He studied accounting and I studied English, a language I already knew, so I figure I do not have to do anything, a thing I still know how to do about better than anyone else.  I know how to do it certainly better than anything else I know how to do, which anyone will tell you is not much.

Charlie spends most of his time at school in Accounting classes learning how to develop a system to beat the horses, which have become a nearly full time occupation, and we begin to lose contact, to drift apart and finally lose sight of each other as the horizon intervenes.  Before that happens, he tells me that he is doing this by using statistics, which I do not now understand, and never will, but which he say is very very necessary for winning horse races and figuring whether it will rain in July , or whether it will be good to buy or sell almost anything. It’s part of Economics, he says.

I do not understand.

There is a term that is used in the NYPD to describe people who gamble for a living.  They are called a Degenerate Gambler; and I used to see the initials DG next to a lot of guys when I riffed through the police records looking for one bad guy or another, one clown or another in whom I took a professional interest.  I do not know if Charlie ever earned his DG patch.  Gosh, I hope not.  He was a man, for all that, and deserved better

But I remember, though, the several times before the sea between us was too wide, when he showed my his “books” the ledger he had on just about every horse at every track in the country.  He was sure he would develop a foolproof system.  He would have been the first if he had; which he didn’t.  But, I was impressed with his dogged devotion to the task, and the fire of the true believer in his eyes.

I asked him what of all these columns and numbers was most important for success.  “It’s all statistics,” he answered.  “Like batting averages?”  Batting averages were about the only thing I knew about statistics then, and still know now.  I listened to statistics about horses, and jockey weight, and the weather on race days, and stuff like that which Charlie said mattered while I drank his beer.  Then, I left.

While in college I was tempted to take a course in psychology, but shied away when I was told by the catalogue I needed to take a course in statistics.  I think that my experience with my friend may have had something to do with that also.  Anyway, Mr. Pearce’s article makes a point about economics, and whence the discipline comes; about which I had known nothing.  He binds it to philosophy, a thing which it definitely doesn’t resemble today.  I mean, philosophy requires more than “doing the numbers”, and is about more than that, the truth, for one thing.  But, Economics is, I kind of think, statistics dressed up.  Simple statistics can as the saying goes, lie; or lead one to that, a lie.  And so can Economics, which someone once told me is sort of “Anyone’s guess.”

Here is the other thing I am thinking about because of Mr. Pearce’s article.  The other night I watch President Trump talk to Congress and the rest of us.  You all know what he says by now, and think what you think about what he says. I don’t pay too much attention to that.  But one little part interests me.  That’s the part where he says they get rid of NAFTA, and they are going after this Pacific thing where we all get in a circle and deal straight up.

I say “Yippee!” to myself when I hear that.  And you know why?  It’s because economists and politicians, and millionaire business men, and one world maniacs think that there’s nothing better in the world than free trade.  They think this so fervently that they don’t see Detroit becoming a desert, and drugs becoming a number one commodity in places where folks once could make an honest living making shirts, shoes, pants, desks, chairs and what all from Maine to Mississippi.

And that was because the market analysis told them everyone would rise on the rising tide of free trade.  Well except the ones who couldn’t swim.  Swimmers love a rising tide.  little folks drown, or go on welfare, or to war, in the mud.  Turns out that NAFTA really was anyone’s guess.

Statistics don’t care, and Economics don’t either.  What the hell, there’s always welfare and surplus peanut butter.

You gotta get close to folks.  The corner store’s the best.

 

 

 

Blood, Blossoms, Buildings and Babies

It was still only half bright at a little before six in the morning when the pain became too much to ignore; the pain in both hip and knee that would not allow sleep to continue.  As if to sweeten the “alarm’s” steady pulse down my leg, a little wren began to pipe morning aboard at about the same time so insistently that, having rolled this way, that way and back around to this way again, I simply gave up.  My first long look told me God had done a good work on dawn whose red lips opened wide in bright song and welcome, whose blue eyes smiled at me through my bedroom window.

Tea, strong and hot, was just the thing when I had fired up the kettle and measured out the sugar.  Settling into one of my favorite chairs I decided to read a little from the latest issue of Touchstone magazine.  A letter from Dr. Peter Kreeft, the philosopher and professor from Boston College caught my eye.  He wrote about the sure and certain – and soon – arrival in our sad midst of legalized infanticide.  This, Dr. Kreeft argues, is inevitable because the reasons advanced for abortion’s legality, it’s right, can be used point for point for legalizing infanticide.  He tells of two young women, pro-choice students in one of his classes, with whom he had this argument, asking them to refute his claim if they could.  After the class the two women approached him and said they were convinced.  “So, you are now pro-life,” he asked them.  “No,” he wrote that they replied, “we are pro-infanticide.”

Somehow what first came to mind after reading this little letter was another thing I had read while waiting for my haircut yesterday.  This was a little story in Smithsonian about some scientist who had “created” what he called a “planimal”.  (The story is on page 71 of the current issue.) His “new creation” is the result of mixing some of his own DNA with that of a petunia.  There is a picture of this New Thing that illustrates this accomplishment.  It shows a bright little blossom.  Since I am a man and can therefore name only three colors, I’ll merely say that the photo showed a red flower.  The petals were a lighter red than the veins in the petals.  It was a nice looking flower.  The fellow whose “flesh” was now a part of the flower was particularly pleased with the dark red veins.  Can you figure out why he is pleased?  It is because they remind him of blood, and it was that part of his DNA, the part that colors blood red, that he put into the flower.  The reaction is very favorable to this new thing from artists and scientists eager to try their hands at “creating” fluorescent frogs and flashing flowers.  I caught myself wondering why God hadn’t thought…  But, then.  Good Saint Mary Shelley, pray for us I thought, shuddering.

Reading further in Touchstone I came across an article by Ken Myers whose work appears there regularly.  He writes about a book he’s been reading called “Foolishness To The Greeks”, by Lesslie Newbigin, who died in 1998.  He was a missionary in India for a long time, and when he “retired” from the work in India took up the same work in England.  And, found it difficult.

Why?  Myers quotes the author: “From the point of view of our contemporary culture, the claim that God raised Jesus from the dead is irrational.  It cannot be incorporated into the existing plausibility structure….  It must be regarded as the esoteric belief of a community that is living in a world of make-believe rather than the world of facts.”  A little further on, Myers himself writes this in explanation of Newbigin’s observation: “Modern science is crippled by a materialistic reductionism that eliminates the category of purpose in explaining reality.”  In other words the question, “Why?” need never be asked.  There is, really no answer for someone so crippled, and by a self-inflicted crippling, too.  Myers next sentence explains the two ladies of Dr. Kreeft perfectly: “Modern social and political institutions promote a depersonalizing individualism that renders the pursuit of the common good precarious if not impossible.”  Is there a reason to care?  Well, no, really.  Why care about anything when all that really matters is your own self?

I put down what I had been reading as I finished the second sentence just quoted, and began to wonder about them.  It was early, and no one was up.  Over in the corner of the room I noticed that the hibiscus had just put forth its first blossom, a big red thing that immediately reminded me of the “planimal” I’d looked at just yesterday.

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Below the hibiscus an African violet bloomed in blue, another color I could name.

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I remembered reading a book long ago, a science-fiction novel by a fellow named Larry Niven called “Ringworld”.  Wikipedia will tell you all you need to know about the book, which entertained me.  To my mind, the “star” of the book is a vast engineering triumph, a world as big as a million earths strung out like a ribbon around its sun, and built by man.  But, it failed.  It had become in the book essentially a ruin by the time the ‘characters” had reached it.  The cause of the ruin was a collision with a meteor which punched a hole in the “ribbon”.

Wow!   Fancy that, a meteor hitting a planet and ruining a civilization. Here, though, it’s just a plot device.   It happened to a world “created” (that word again!) out of hundreds of other worlds to be a perfect place which is destroyed by a random encounter thousands of years before the time of the novel and become a ruin millions of miles in circumference in the desert of space.  (Fellows like Larry Niven, an engineer, really do think this can be done.  They have it all worked out, and look longingly at places like the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to give it a try.  They call it “terraforming”.)

So was Babel, the next thing I thought about, essentially a ruin.  Someone wrote this about the reason Babel failed: “The evil is in their desire to “make a name” for themselves (cf. Gen. 12:2) rather than in the attempt to build a tower “with its top in the heavens” . . . Human smallness, not divine impotence, is emphasized in the Lord’s descent (vs. 5). … The great city and its (implied) defeat thus becomes synonymous with man’s revolt against God and its consequences.” (http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-was-the-sin-of-the-tower-of-babel

I am not smart enough to draw a straight line through all of these things.  They make me just a bit dizzy to be honest when I think about them.  But I think there is a line that can be drawn, a line from Babel to dead babies, a line from blood in flower blossoms to the death of worlds that cannot fail, a line from “materialistic reductionalism” and “depersonalizing individualism” to that attitude which proclaims that my right is right and your right is negotiable or doesn’t exist, and “Why?” need never be asked.

The sky has clouded over.  It is much colder.  A storm will come.

NOTE: Another version of this story appeared a day or so ago on the Facebook page of The Christian Book Corner

Dope Dealers, Holes in the Head, Dried Liver and Emeril

So, there’s this kid named Zach standing around like 12 years olds sometimes do waiting for the dope dealers to leave the playground so he can go skateboarding or something like that.  All of a sudden things begin to TTS.  Benny “Full Ounce”, the enterprising dealer, wishes to sell at a price that Alonzo “Snort” does not wish to pay for the merchandise his nose desperately needs.  So, in order to close the deal to his advantage “Snort” decides to murder Benny and please his twitching beak.

The Snort does what any decent dope fiend with a sinus problem would do. He removes from his belt the Sig-Sauer he got from the government’s Fast and Furious Arm -A- Creep program and “pops a cap” in Benny’s general direction.  The popped cap, not able to tell the difference between a doper and a skateboarder, simply follows a straight line and lodges itself in this kid’s head who is standing in line waiting until the whistle blows and “adult swim” is over .  It lands in his brain, to be exact.  This ruins the yong Zach’s plans to go skateboarding once the playground is clear of dope dealers, guns and other assorted necessaries of modern life.  It also ruins “Snort’s” plans to give his nose a treat, but that is of no concern to us.

Within a few minutes the kid is scooped up and taken the nearest hospital where the docs look at him and the hole in his head.  They say, “We can do a lot of stuff, but we can’t take bits of metal out of little skateboarder’s brains.  Want a lube job?”  So he gets scooped over to a bigger place where the docs have bigger, emm, where the docs ain’t afraid of slicing through a brain that has a bullet in it.

They do it!  They take out the bullet and put the kid in a bed with a lot of tubes in and out of him, and things that go zip when they move and bop when they stop.  Mom comes by and the docs tell her in a Hollywood scene that “It doesn’t look good.” At all.   For Zach. You may shed a tear here.  You see, these words in a hospital in Texas are not good words to hear from a doc when your son is lying in bed with a hole in his head.

Look over there!  That’s disaster looming on the horizon like a tornado cloud on a hot afternoon.

Because , you see, in Texas they have this law which allows a doc to say something like, “OK, I’m calling this game on account of darkness.” and order everyone off the field.  They call the law the “Futile Treatment Law”, and no matter what you might say about your son, and his hope to be a skateboarding champ or something, the doc’s word is, well it’s law.  Of course to do this thing, the doc has to meet with the hospital’s ethics committee and get them to OK the deal.  But, he has to wait ten days for things to settle, and stuff like that.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, an ethics committee is that thing that a lot of hospitals have.  They consider stuff like the hole in Zach’s head and measure and weigh all of the probabilities and permutations.  How much is it costing?  Do they have insurance? What does the insurance cover?  How long will he be here?  Will it interfere with my golf vacation to Palm Springs?  Anybody got seats for tonight’s game with the Yankees?  He’s a kid, so he’s probably got a lot of healthy organs we can market.  Serious stuff like that.

But, in this case here with the little skateboarder the doc, he waits only a week and one morning when mom comes in to visit her comatose son, she finds out the doc has already decided time is up.  The little guy is off food and water.  Mom says, “What, are you kidding me?”  Everyone looks stupid and says, “It’s a FUTILE CASE.  Doctor’s orders.”  They tell her the Ethics Committee said so, and the doctor followed through.  Then I guess they leave her to say goodbye, or something; leave her alone with Zach slowly becoming a skinny dessicated raisin with a hole in the head.

Well, not really. I mean, that part about the Ethics Committee meeting and all. The doctor did it on his own.  There wasn’t any Ethics Committee Meeting; no place where the doc could go and say, “I got this kid downstairs lying like a lump in the bed hooked up to everything that’s got a plug, and it just ain’t doing him any good that I can see.”  “How much do those things cost us, Belva?”  This is a question from the Chief of Medical Ethics at the hospital.  “More than your salary, Dr. Hardheart.”  “Geez!  That much, huh.  Hey, Doc, turn out the lights on this kid.  We need the money for that new wing we’re gonna build.  Anybody got tickets for the game tonight?”  That’s the way it goes.  Only this time they don’t even do that.

The kid’s good for a heart, liver, a couple of kidneys and who knows what all.  What he’s got to sell could take care of a couple of brand new hospital rooms I bet.  So, you do the math.  Some folks are thinking that’s what drove the doc to his desperate move.  Not me.

But then,  Mom sees that her son’s now breathing on his own, even if he is a little bit weaker for no food and a little bit dried out. (Don’t you hate real life?  So messy.)  She beefs about this, the story gets out and the doc starts treating the kid like a human being again instead of a spare parts department.

And there the matter rests, a kind of standoff.  But, not for long.  Because the Ethics Committee has raised up, and seen what needs to be done.  They’re gonna meet, by God, and Zach is agenda item number one.  Then, Zach’s gonna be plugless, and foodless and waterless.  On his way to raisin.  After the committee meets, Zach’z Mom’s got ten days to find a place to put him, ( besides the family plot I suppose ), or it’s curtains like they used to say in the talkies.

Now, here’s what I’m noodling about in all of this.  Zach’s probably a healthy kid, only 12 years old and stuff.  So, he’s probably got a fine set of organs, liver, heart, eyeballs.  I’m not including his brain, that’s already shot. If they start starving and all, what’s gonna happen to that stuff?  What good’s a re-hydrated starved liver to anyone? Except maybe for trail mix, you know.  And then this idea occurred to my mind.

Ethics Committees should have a chef on them, a resident Emeril, to advise on when to take all of that stuff out and make sure it’s usable when and if, or at least edible.  You know, do it early before it starts to go prunish on you.  In the case of a mis-calculation, it can always be put back.

I’ll betcha a sandwich that somewhere in the half billion pages of Obamacare there’s a paragraph on the Emerilization of medical care.  A sandwich, or a nice calves liver and onions meal.  I’m wondering, now, how many little veals we can save with this idea.

Bring Out Your Dead!

“Good Lord, Agonia, will you take a look at this!”  One wonders if anything will shock over in Blighty any more.  Or, have they finally exhausted decency.

The blog...and the comments…show, to me anyway, the insidious nature of the creepy materialism that has gotten into our minds and souls, like the cold and damp of a British winter infects the very bones. It is an ache.

Wars and crises over the years (broadcast in real time and live on TV) have hardened us to those horrors we were once blissfully unaware of, and in that ignorance thought ourselves incapable of descending to.  Too late we learned, shuddered and were sickened.  Now?  Time has removed all sense of horror at the millions lost last century; the hundreds of millions shot, bombed, burned, starved and neglected to death.  Some, many, even doubt it happened.

And so this begins to occur, slowly first, and spread, a plague of materialism, a coarsening of intellect, a hardening of heart, a selfish willingness to think anything, to consider any option for comfort and ease in the name of self.  In the names of one extreme sort of materialism or other they participate willingly in worse horrors and propose little domestic horrors-a- day to cure a headache, improve a soft drink or cookie, to warm a swimming pool.

The “wonderful” promises of advances in medicine and science if we just ignore our common humanity allow us to forget that in many ways those advances come at the expense of life, and what was thought, once, our special place in the order of the world, and the dignity that place gave us…creatures of matter and spirit joined.    This latest is thought so little of other than a means of recycling something which would be left to rot.  Imagine how many profitable acres could be reclaimed for malls and sub-divisions from cemeteries?  Imagine Arlington as a Hyatt resort, a Four Seasons, a Ritz-Carlton?  Why not?  What is the corpse of s soldier but dead flesh and good fuel.  Did he not serve his country in life?  Why not serve as well dead?

Now as this article accompanying the blog post tells us we can and should entertain thoughts about good and practical things to do with our leftovers and if we can think of doing it, why, then we should do it. I do hope, at least, that they will make sure to save the hair, the fillings, the eyeglasses and the dentures before they fire up the furnace.

Oh, yes, and the fat, too, wonderful as an engine lube, don’t you know.

“Darling, since you put Grandpa’s Own in the car, we’ve lost that nasty ping and knocking and gotten another 10mpg. out if it.” “Yes we have, Agonia.  Best move I ever made, my pet.”

As you’ll see from the comments to the good priest’s blog post, at least one of his interlocutors finds little if anything wrong with the idea.  Good St. Johnathan Swift, Pray for us!

A Chance to Win Something

OK, everybody? Listen up.  Over in the land of windmills and tulips they are steadily taking leave of their senses.  You can smoke dope out in the open.  You can buy yourself a whipping or a skipping or whatever you have the money for, now.  As a matter of fact, about the only places that aren’t red light districts are the ones still under water, and  you might, for the right kind of money work a deal there.  And, most disturbingly, you can hire someone to “off” your own sweet self for just about any reason you can think of.  This ain’t Oregon where they do it right so no mistakes are made with panels and reviews, and stuff, you know.  Although out in Oregon I understand that they’re trying harder than Avis to out kill the Dutch.

Anyway, I read this morning that some old dame in “Tulipia” was recently relieved of life because, as the article will tell you:  “she was suffering from being alive.” WHAT???  Who doesn’t from time to time?  Well, actually, she was “suffering” from failing eyesight, specifically macular degeneration.  You want to know something?  The last person I knew with that condition died a natural death at the age of 99 after having lived a full and active life all those years.  You will read that the lady so kindly treated to a dirt nap in what has to be one of the most lucrative places in the world for an undertaker, herself was an intelligent and cultured person, and interested in what was going on around her.  Oh, well.

I wonder if she called for bids.  I wonder if the yellow pages in the Dutch phone books, where Dopers and Escorts have got to be a big item, have a section now for Easy Exit Assistance, or some such.

Of course the stupids in the Netherlands (so aptly named, eh?) are guilty of the sin of murder. But, that’s not a Capital (or Deadly) Sin. There are seven of those, children.

I will give a Holy Picture of Jesus on the Cross to every one who can identify and explain which of the Seven Deadly Sins have been committed by:  The People of the Netherlands who have adopted this policy, the “ethics” dummies who figured out it was just fine thank you to off yourself, and get our happy help to do it, and, finally the doctors and nurses who actually juiced the old broad,and are only too compassionately interested in doing the same for anyone else  “suffering from living”, sick kids and , well, just about anyone who wants to, for any reason they want to give, or none at all.

There’s a reason for this particular prize.  You see, aside from my rather hard edged and crudely insolent, sarcastic and cynical presentation of this really tragic and disgraceful little story I am horrified by it, frankly.  You will read that several thousands of people were murdered in Holland last year, and the people over there thought it was good that that happened.  They are actually thinking of more ways to do it…as they are in Oregon and several other places over here.  I think about that and I see the monster Satan rising from some hole to devour them, and I want to weep.  I really do.  I am afraid for us…and you should be too.

I think the answer to my question is all seven of them: Pride, Anger, Envy, Lust, Avarice, Gluttony and Sloth.  But you may not agree.  In which case work away. But quickly.  You do not know the hour.  Unless you live in the so chillingly named NETHERLANDS.

I think I need to pray, now.  Will you join me?

UPDATE:

I didn’t know that one of the members of the Dutch Royal family was seriously injured in a skiing accident in the Alps a couple of weeks ago; buried in an avalanche.  It seems that he is in a deep coma; possibly never to recover.  If that happens, he will spend the rest of his life in a PVS..a Permanent Vegetative State; like a cabbage, maybe, or a potato, or a tulip.  In the Netherlands these days it  not the common practice to allow anything but cabbages, potatoes and tulips to remain that way.  Pussycats, puppy dogs and people are allowed to die.

Unless your family has the money to put you somewhere else; a place where the people don’t suffer so much from moral macular degeneration and life.  In this case the Prince is in England, where the blight has not yet reached.

Nah, That Can’t Never Happen Here —. You Think?

Abstract

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

This is an abstract from something called The Journal of Medical Ethics.  I have long ago reached the conclusion  that the proper and legal definition of an ethicist of any stripe is : “A person who, for a nice fat fee, will tell you that whatever you wish to do, no matter how bizarre, repugnant, illegal, immoral or fattening, you may do. ”

“That?  Sure, you can do it.  That’ll be $250.00.  Pay my girl Nausea on the way out.  No checks without two forms of picture ID, please.  Next!”

There’s an article here.  You can read a bit more about the story…if you have the stomach for it.  But, all you really need to know is contained in the abstract from JME.  These guys love acronyms, and I want to please them.  At my age, I figure I’ll be next to be okayed for the trip to the Release center.  Oh, wait, I already have that “right”.

It would take a more sober, reasoned and smart person than me to look at that abstract and take it apart bit by bit; exposing it for the outrageously smug, insipid and stupid thing that it is.  I simply want to blow it up, and punch out the authors, the editors and anyone vaguely connected with the thing.  I can probably get a bunch of ethicists to tell me that it’s the epitome of ethics to do so.

But, I won’t do that.  For one thing I haven’t got the plane fare to Australia.  I’m wondering, now though, if its ethical to ask for donations.  Hmmm.

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While I was sitting here trying to get the best of my gag reflex a couple of things occurred to my mind.  I imagined a couple of scenes from the near future:

The first is a quiet little corner in Portland, OR, the place first in love with death here in the Untied States.  It’s about 6:00pm on a lovely day in May.  The sound of a garage door closing is heard and then the door opens into a bright, neat, modern kitchen.  A young woman stands  at the central work station obviously preparing something for the evening meal.  She smiles as a tall slim fellow walks through the door and gives her a hug and a kiss.

YW:  Sorry, Brutus, my hands are so yucky.  I’ve been working all afternoon on this.  I thought we’d have something special.  I hope you’ll like it.

YM:  That’s just fine Gladiola.  I’ll fix us a drink.  Where’s Benjie?

YW:  Oh, he’s probably asleep on the rug inside.  He had a busy day outside today running around chasing butterflies.

YM:  I love that little fella.  So, what’s for supper?

YW:  Well you know we had to decide today…

YM:  Oh, yes.  So did you?  I would have been happy to stay home, but BIFFING Steel has this big job they were interested in having us handle and Smothersworth wanted me to look it over.  I was out there all day.  Sorry I’m a little late.  Anyway, it looks like we’ll take it, and you know what that means.”

YW:  Oh, now we can go to Fiji for my sister’s wedding t0 Allred.  It’s her 7th and it means so much, and I can wear that lovely thing I have been so wanting to ever since..”

YM:  Honey, isn’t that sauce…?

YW:  (Looking over at the stove.)  Oh, no, everything’s fine.  I’ll just need you to get the lumps out later.  Anyway, I really didn’t need you today.  I spoke with Polonia across the street.  She said I could do it myself, everyone does these days.  So I did.  It was so easy and kind of fun.

YM:  Oh, here’s the dog!  Hey Benjie, you lucky guy.  I wish I had your life chasing butterflies all day long.  C’mere you little dickens.

YW:  Anyway, afterward, I cleaned it and prepared it for tonight’s supper.  I used Polonia’s mother’s recipe since you liked it so much when we had it over there for the 4th of July last year.

YM: Great!  I’ll make us a drink, now and get outta this straight jacket.  Hey, what are you gonna call your version of the dish?

YW:  Well we were going to name it Bobbie before we decided it would really be funner in Fiji, so I’m calling it Bobbicued Kid.

YM:  (Laughing and petting the dog)  That’s great.  I love your sense of humor.  I hope we have plenty of leftovers.

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And, here is the second scene:

“Good morning, East Bluegill Public Works Department.”

“Hello.  Is this where I arrange for a trash pickup.”

“Yes, Ma’am.  What is it?”

“I have a dead kid in my refrigerator.  I did it this morning, and I want it out.  I’ve got some shopping to do this afternoon and need the room.  I checked and I can’t bury it out side where we put Sniggles last year.”

“No, your right.  Besides raccoons might dig it up and leave a mess.”

“I don’t want that for sure.  When can you come?”

“Just wrap it good in some plastic and leave it by the curb before 6:30 tomorrow morning.  Or, if you want, you can bring it to the dump before 5 this afternoon.  Anyway.  Whatever’s easier for you.”

“I think I just leave it at the curb.  Thank you.”

“No problem.”

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You may want to write to the JME, I don’t know.  I though of doing so and asking if they had any good recipes.

Enough Monkeys….etc…

Even the late Mr. Hitchens and Slate are capable of producing something worth the effort it takes to read it (though I could do without seeing what else appears on the page).  As I read on, I couldn’t help drawing the obvious lines between North Korea and National Socialist Germany.  What really began to alarm me though as I concluded the piece was one word, Iran.  I became aware that I could not escape the frightening similarities between those two mental diseases, the one in the East and it’s earlier sibling in Europe and the Religion of Peace.  And this merely from reading an article written by a dead atheist and appearing in a progressive publication.  Will wonders never cease…?  I pray this is one that comes to an early end.  Funny, I was about to write “early and natural end”.  Then, I thought, no such a thing isn’t natural.  Despite all of the evidence, the mounting evidence, to the contrary, it was NOT the way we were meant to be.

Perhaps it’s simply sleeplessness that make my mind build these connections; a kind of waking nightmare.

Rest in peace.