Saturday, September 10, 2016

Random Thoughts

-- In my experience, there are three areas where people consistently feel exceedingly pleased with themselves, regardless of justification: (1) driving; (2) in bed; (3) performing field sobriety tests.

--  As the daughter of a combat veteran, I have always been suspicious of anyone whose tongue wags too freely about their alleged combat experiences.  Persons who hold forth to casual acquaintances about "atrocities" they committed overseas are, I believe, worthy only to be dismissed out of hand as liars.  Persons who speechify about the deaths of buddies as a means of drawing attention to themselves or making excuses for their own failures were probably in the rear with the gear, if indeed they were ever near the combat zone in question.  Now, there is nothing wrong with being in the rear with the gear: somebody has to be, and the soldier on the front line could not function or survive without such.  But if that is where you served, then say so and stick with the truth.  Real combat veterans don't say much about their experiences at all, except maybe to other combat veterans; and they would be ashamed to capitalize on the deaths of their friends for selfish purposes.

-- When I was a kid, my afternoon cartoons were periodically interrupted by a PSA warning us against -- of all things -- not drowning our food in sauces and dressings.  I of course am guilty as charged.  I have even taken to making my own ranch dressing so that I can control the calorie content while still enjoying volume.  But my biggest downfall is butter.  Fortunately, butter in reasonable amounts is good for you -- unlike margarine, which is basically plastic and deposits itself like silt on the human midsection.  But somebody needs to get busy and invent a negative-calorie butter so I can have the unreasonable amounts I want.

-- And speaking of cartoons, a lot of the ones I grew up on that were produced in the '30s, '40s and '50s are considered anathema today, mostly because they made fun of people's ethnicities.  Now, the world would not be a better place if we could just get back to the halcyon days of belittling ethnic minorities with impunity.  Still, we did not make a better world by trading that state of affairs in for one which has everyone living in dread of transgressing the ever-shifting and often invisible rules against giving offense.

-- If you are couch-surfing, and can't hold down a job, and have a string of drug- or alcohol-related convictions on your record, then maybe -- just maybe -- you are not as smart as you think you are.

-- The liberals' claim that illegal immigrants do jobs Americans are not willing to do is false.  Of course Americans are willing to do those jobs.  I myself have done those sorts of jobs.  What Americans are not willing to do is work for slave wages.  So what the liberals -- and, by the way, big business -- are really saying is that we need a permanent underclass of fellow human beings who can be exploited on account of their willingness to be paid less than their labor is worth.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Defrauding a worker of his just wage is one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance.

-- And speaking of defrauding workers, there is more to the concept of a living wage than merely making employers pay people more money.  A living wage requires a just society that does not confiscate excessive amounts of people's dollars or the value of those dollars.  What is really necessary is a return to the Catholic principle of subsidiarity -- the running of affairs by the smallest, most local unit of competent authority capable of handling them.  The absence of subsidiarity is immoral.  The usurpation of local functions by big government requires massive taxation.  A social structure that diverts so much wealth away from the individuals who earn it, until they can no longer advance materially, support themselves and their families, or maintain themselves in a condition worthy of their human dignity, is evil.

-- And speaking of the welfare state: it seems that a good many decent people support the concept of the welfare state out of a belief that, without the state's coercive police power, no one would ever care for the poor and needy.  But in a Christian society, this is a lie.  Long before we got FDR's New Deal or LBJ's Great Society, the Catholic Church was a powerhouse of charity, operating untold numbers of hospitals and orphanages and schools and soup kitchens down the centuries, and giving birth to numerous religious orders dedicated to teaching, nursing, ransoming captives, and spreading the Gospel to foreign lands to inspire more and more people to do likewise.  The Christian spirit is so potent that even in a degraded and diluted state, it moves people to take pity on their fellow creatures; but a welfare state is calculated to deprive them of the means.

-- I am beginning to think that the number of people I know who do not have tattoos, besides myself, can be counted on one hand.  There are many tattooed faces out there: I even saw a guy the other day who had tattoos on his eyelids.  And then there are the many piercings: I feel like an aberration with only one hole in each earlobe.  Apropos of this phenomenon, my late friend Gary Reedy once observed that 30 or 40 years from now, nursing homes are going to be some of the scariest places on earth.

-- There are too many adolescents running around in adult bodies.  The latest manifestations of this seem to be (1) running around in public in pajama bottoms, and (2) the application to hair of unnatural colors like pink and purple.  Even middle-aged and elderly people are doing this, especially item (2).

-- Another trait of adolescence is thinking you can make up your own reality.  Sadly, many of us are failing to grow out of that.

-- What I do for a living can be summarized as follows: you provide the bubble; I provide the pin.  Bubble-popping is not an occupation calculated to make a person popular.  Sadly, I cannot seem to get out of doing it even on my off-time.

-- Of course, even I have my own bubbles that require popping.  As much as we hate to have our bubbles burst, the world will be a far sorrier and more wretched place the day we run out of people to do it.      


  1. Your random thoughts are also my random thoughts - to a tee.

    My first thought when seeing that painting was, "Oh, what a beautiful painting." My second thought was, "Holy carp, Sister St. Ignatius would have a cow if she saw me sitting like that while writing."

    To this day, while writing my "morning pages" (in cursive), I remind myself to relax my shoulders, straighten my back, have the paper at the right angle, loosen my grip on the pen (fountain), and the myriad of other things that contribute to good penmanship.

  2. I did momentarily toy with the idea of a cursive font on the remodeled blog -- beautiful, yet produced while hunched over a keyboard. Now that we have an up-and-coming generation of young adults who don't do cursive, maybe I'll make the switch when the time comes I don't want them to understand what I'm saying.

  3. The lady in the picture is in the only posture that can be used for writing poetry. I stopped going to the checkout guy with the big ear things with giant holes. Icky.

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