Monday, September 20, 2010

My Night Out

I went to a local bar last night because it was karaoke night and my brother was singing. I was probably the oldest person there. Most of the crowd was "Generation X," with a few younguns in the generation after that, the Millennial generation.

I noticed that many of the people, including me, were overweight. America is a chubby nation. Capitalism has made food so plentiful and cheap that without regular exercise and some discipline on what you stuff into your piehole, you'll get fat. You can't eat cheeseburgers, burritos and pizza every day and stay slim. It's a real problem for some of us. I hope I don't sound whiny, but there are Jack In the Boxes and Del Tacos and so on everywhere. I mean, everywhere you turn -- temptation!

Of course, the problem is not capitalism -- it's that people must pay more attention to diet and exercise. No, we don't need Obama to come up with some ghastly agency to monitor what people eat. Free individuals need to find a free solution. And there is only one solution, the only solution there has ever been: consume fewer calories than you use over a long period of time.

It was a fun evening listening, with a few notable exceptions, to amateurs butcher songs. I'll never be able to listen to Led Zeppelin's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" again without thinking of one fellow's, er, exuberant performance.

I bought a Hanger 24 Orange Wheat beer and a shot of Jameson's, $11. I gave a $4 tip, which will send shivers of dread through Inspector and Gus Van Horn, anti-tippers both. Then I had another round. The total of two beers and two shots cost me 30 bucks. Yes, I thought the obvious when I got home: I could have bought a bottle of Jameson's and a case of beer for that much. But then I would have sat at home in my lonely living room with my three cats watching me as I drank too much.

By the way, I heard on the radio that any single man who owns more than one cat is creepy. I guess I'm creepy.

I also heard or read someplace one of these relationship experts say that men should only drink scotch. Is that not idiotic? Apparently to this woman if a man drinks vodka or Kentucky bourbon or tequila -- or even beer and Jameson's -- that's a deal breaker.

Also by the way, the word creepy is a current fad. I pay attention to these little catch phrases and words that become popular because I want to keep them out of my fiction. Current offenders are creepy and How's that working out for you or some variant. Rule of thumb: if you hear any catch phrase in a commercial, it's a cliche. Mises wrote in Human Action, as I recall, that advertising is for informing the slowest among us about a product. Don't let the stuff you hear in ads near your fiction.

If you're wondering, no I did not sing. It would take more than two beers and two shots of Irish Whiskey to make me sing, copper. I know that if I did sing, I would be as awful as most of the howling I heard last night. Yes, the point of karaoke is not to be good but to have fun. Being a drunken fool in front of an audience is not my idea of fun. Call me a stick in the mud. But I can watch others be a fool... for about as long as it takes to drink two beers and two shots. Then I've had enough. Then I start thinking, "Hm, I could be at home right now reading David Harriman's The Logical Leap..."

I've never been a real party animal.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I've neglected this blog. If anyone still stops by here, I'm sorry that you've seen nothing new for months. Myrhaf is a wasteland these days.

I have been blogging more over at New Clarion. It's a group blog, although to be honest, it's not doing much better than this one. I'm beginning to think of it as a failure. I'm wondering if I should just come back to Myrhaf.

The rest of my life has been busy. Since March I have been in rehearsal or production of Shakespeare plays. I played Bottom in Midsummer-Night's Dream, Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and the Ghost and Claudius in Hamlet at a local Shakespeare festival. That was a lot of work. Currently I am rehearsing Shylock in Merchant of Venice at 3 Theatre. This project will last through July, possibly into August -- not sure about the extent of the run yet.

I think I'm done with local theatre -- read amateur theatre. I am about to join the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Once I'm in that for a year, provided I work at least three days as an extra, I can then join Actors' Equity Association. I'm not terribly happy about having to join these unions, but it's the only way to make money acting in America.

Playwriting has been going well. After July I can spend more time writing, and who knows? Someday I might actually finish something. Then will the lion lie with the lamb, Jesus will return to earth, the Winter Olympics will be held in Hell, and both Al Gore and Sarah Palin will say something wise and witty.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Perks of Power

Free market supporters love to use the hypocrisy argument against statists. It's been around a long time. To name a few examples that come to mind:

  • The health care of Senators and Congressmen is better than what Americans would get in the plans of those politicians.
  • Al Gore's house leaves a huge carbon footprint. Political leaders from around the world flew carbon-spewing jets to Copenhagen.
  • Nancy Pelosi's relatives flew military jets instead of commercial airlines.
  • A Canadian politician goes to America for his heart surgery.

You can probably think of more examples. None of these is actually hypocrisy. The politicians involved all believe they are in a special class to which the rules do not apply. It's not hypocrisy, it's the prerogative of power.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Moral Support

I gave my red Les Paul a workout with a Peavey amp (listening through headphones). Quite happy with the tone: clean but a little beefy.

les paul_thumb[4]

They can take away my freedom, but they can't touch my soul.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009 and Beyond

The two most remarkable stories of 2009 were Obama-Reid-Pelosi’s attempt to ram America into European-style socialism and the reaction to it among the people — the tea party movement. John Lewis argues that Obama’s ideological consistency has brought clarity to American politics, which is why the President’s policies created so strong a reaction in his first year of governance.

The Democrat push to expand big government is not surprising, but the reaction against it among the America people is surprising — I thought Americans had lost the capacity to oppose statism — and that reaction is as heartening as the Democrats’ actions are depressing. America is now thought to be turning to the right (HT: Instapundit). A Scott Rasmussen poll shows Americans to be deserting the Democrat Party.

The Democrat reaction to first the tea parties and then the town hall protesters was to smear those involved, calling them racists, Nazis, KKK and even “evil mongers.” Their reaction is stunning when you consider the numbers:

Only a fourth of all Americans approve of the direction Obama and Congress are taking the country, according to a Gallup survey. A similarly dismal proportion approve of the job being done by Congress under the leadership of Reid and Pelosi. Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed prefer that Congress do nothing to reform health care rather than take final action on either the Senate or House versions of Obamacare.

Action/reaction: the radicalization of the left has partly radicalized the right. Ayn Rand and Objectivism had increased visibility in 2009. Signs about John Galt showed up at tea parties. Atlas Shrugged sold more copies than ever before in its history, a publishing phenomenon for a 53-year old book despised by the cognoscenti of both the left and the right. And please note that although William F. Buckley pronounced Objectivism dead a quarter century ago, it is not God and Man at Yale that people are turning to as they resist the growth of big government.

Two other stories of surprising good news in 2009 were Climategate and the Iranian Revolution. The “science” of AGW is taking more and more criticism. A new study from the University of Bristol says the ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere has not increased in 150 years. Alexander Cockburn points to a piece by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner that argues the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics.

…a cooler body cannot warm a hotter body without compensation. Greenhouse gases in the cold upper atmosphere cannot possibly transfer heat to the warmer earth, and in fact radiate their absorbed heat into outer space.

Whether these “deniers” are right or not, more and more voices are questioning the environmentalists’ vaunted “consensus.” Let the truth be heard!

In Iran the regime of the mullahs continues to kill protesters, even running them down with trucks, but the protests do not stop. The momentum seems to be with those who oppose theocracy. Obama’s response appeasing the dictatorship has been shameful.

One last bit of good news from 2009: Obama is reported to be tired. “Fundamentally transforming the United States of America” is hard work. It takes the energy and ruthless will of a Robespierre or a Lenin to do it right. Obama has too much Peter Keating in him to be the complete monster.

What does this mean for 2010? One can only guess, of course. Whatever happens, I believe we are at an important moment in history. The next few years could determine our course for the next generation.

The left is hard to predict because it has lost all confidence in reason and now believes only in force. That’s why their first response to opposition is always lies, smears and name-calling. I believe they will continue full steam ahead in the direction set in 2009. Their altruist-collectivist morality justifies (to them) any means to the end of state power over the individual.

I suspect that enormities are being perpetrated by the bureaucracies right now that we know nothing about because publicizing them is not in the interest of the leftist mainstream media. Obama might put more pressure on the bureaucracies to expand state power by fiat, growing like mushrooms in the dead of night. Let the House, Senate and President get all the media glare while the alphabet agencies destroy freedom in the shadows. The administration has already said that if cap and trade is not passed by the legislative branch, then the EPA will do it anyway by regulation. Will of the people? The Constitution? Please, we’re talking about power here. Get serious.

The biggest thorn in Obama-Reid-Pelosi’s craw is America’s freedom of speech. Since the totalitarian left has given up on reason, they have no confidence in arguments to counters arguments. Words are just the tools of force. You say what you need to say to gain power. As the left sees it, their every step toward socialist utopia is obstructed and delayed because the evil Rush Limbaugh agitates the people with his lies. If the left does something daring in the next few years, it might be in the area of restricting speech. It depends on what they think they can get away with. Keep a wary eye on this issue.

The right is at a crossroads. They can move in the direction of liberty and individual rights or they can stay with Bush’s compassionate conservatism. Between the religious right and the pragmatic moderates I have given up on the Republicans. I think they will be the undeserving beneficiaries of the people’s rage against expanding big government in November of 2010. After that they’ll probably blow it, as they always do.

I sense that the tea party movement has stiffened the GOP’s spine a little. If so, it means that the American sense of life might rescue America from socialism once again. This would be the best news of all, as I thought America had let it go since 1972. Could it be that the ideas of Ayn Rand are already spreading through our culture and affecting our politics?

UPDATE: Slight revision.

I’ve already written this post twice because the first try was lost when my computer locked up. And it happened just as I was getting ready to click on “publish!” I regrouped after a few minutes and rewrote. As always writing gets better in rewriting.