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Friday, March 24, 2017

What the Clothing Pin Industrial Complex Doesn’t Want You to Read

This is the view below my window where I hang my clothes to dry. As you can see there are dozens of clothing pins that have fallen from above yet people on the first floor make no effort to return these lost items. Clothing pin manufacturers obviously pay them to sit on this dormant resource so that chumps like me continue to give money to the man to replace the pins we lose. Can I blame Trump?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Forgotten Aphorisms of Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Chickenhawks

If you were the executive producer of The Apprentice, assistant night manager of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, chief executive officer of the Central Park Carousel, founder of Trump Model Management, chairman of Trump Spring Water, necktie magnate, and the current president of the United States of America you may as well take advantage of your other title as commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military to invade somewhere. Winning a war would be as good a way as any to Make America Great Again® as well as padding your Wikipedia entry.

As experienced in the previous Republican administration, with war comes a stampede of excuses as to why those most in favor of military solutions mostly tiptoed away from military service in their personal lives. President Trump didn’t even bother with a phony National Guard stint during the Viet Nam conflict and his bone spur deferment probably wouldn’t be an accepted excuse for one of his minimum-wage day laborers. According to his records Trump was denied full military laurels by his “phenomenal draft number.” Millions of American veterans are probably kicking themselves and asking, “Why didn’t I think of that before defending my country?”

Cowardice is an attribute most Chickenhawks have no trouble working around but sometimes we all could use a little help with verbal self-defense. It's not easy to maintain a tough guy strategy advocating military force while getting no closer to the action than binge watching Band of Brothers over the weekend. Famous Chinese philosopher and draft-dodger Sun Tzu offers a few words of wisdom on how to insure that the “boots on the ground” won’t belong to you. Transform your spinelessness into military glory with this volume of maxims that are every bit as silly and meaningless as Sun Tzu’s better known work.

1 - Death is a given in war and someone must bring comfort to the young and beautiful widows. Try to get that job.

2 - Shooting your enemy in the back or while he sleeps may be cowardly but let’s face it, in a fair fight the guy would stomp a mud puddle in your chest.

3 - The greatest art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting, at least on a personal level because, let’s face it, we’re too important to get our hands dirty. Furthermore, we’d have to change out of these snazzy dress uniforms.

4 - Sometimes the greatest warrior must position himself at—how shall I say—a very comfortable distance from the field of battle and disguised as an old woman or a Red Cross worker.

5 - Understand the wisdom of running away in panic…I mean retreat, an orderly retreat. Understand the wisdom of an orderly retreat, and by “orderly” I mean fast and pay no heed to that liberal “women and children first” propaganda.

6 - On the day of the great battle there is no shame in claiming you have car trouble forcing you to work from home. Don’t allow the indignity of your cowardice to be compounded by being docked a day’s wages.

7 - Winning great battles is what separates the great generals from the common. Still, it doesn’t hurt to look the part in shiny boots and those medals you bought at the thrift shop.

8 - It is impossible to overstate the importance of being really good at playing dead.

9 - War is the last resort and you must fight to the bitter end. However, if the time comes for you to face the music you should try begging for your miserable life while convincing your enemy how useful you will be to them.

10 - In times of war either lead, follow, or blog about it from your parents' basement.

11 - Failure is not an option, but surrender should fit prominently in your repertoire of talents. Never forget that laying down your arms allows you the ability to fight another day—and if you throw in the towel before noon you can take advantage of “Taco Tuesdays” in the POW mess hall.

12 - Politicians are the true enemy—especially politicians who call for mandatory military service.

13 - Of your adversary know but one simple thing: does he have lots of cool loot you can pillage?

14 - Let history be your guide in future wars. Unless history shows that war leads to disaster and ruin which it does most of the time so screw history. History is for unemployed chumps, not warriors like us.

Coming soon: The Sun Tzu Chickenhawk Desk Calendar. There is also a companion version of this book for businessmen: The Art of War for Bankruptcy.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Piano Blues

A famous musician once said, “If I miss practicing one day, I know it; if I miss two days, my band knows it; and if I miss three days, my audience knows it.” Maybe I don’t have a band or an audience and I wouldn’t even consider myself a musician but I understand what the dude is saying.

Franz Liszt supposedly coined this but I heard it attributed to Sonny Rollins—it just sounds cooler coming from a jazz hipster. I don't even remember Liszt being in a band.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

In the News

If you don’t read The New Yorker regularly then you’re just missing out on one of the best things America has to offer—it’s worth it just for the cartoons. Some call it the main stream media (MSM) or lame stream media (how clever) but I would have to ask those folks how they keep informed. "Main stream meda" used as a pejorative just means any news source conservatives don't support. As I have said again and again, you are what you read—or don’t read.

If there are better publications out there, please let me know. Here is a list of the stuff that I read on a regular basis if not every day in my quest to be an informed citizen.

The New Yorker (mentioned above)

The Wall Street Journal – This is without a doubt the least favorite on the list and my nod to something conservative. It’s mostly just financial news geared for oligarchs with things like “Nazis Take Power: What Does this Mean for Markets?” or something to that effect.

P.S. The cartoon above is one of my all-time favorites from The New Yorker back when I had home delivery.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Socialism in Action

While in America we are bickering over whom to throw out of the country and how to make polluting even easier for large corporations here in Valencia the emphasis is on making life better for everyone. This new separated bike path around the city center will make cycling a much more attractive transportation option for commuters. It not only makes biking more secure but it has calmed the streets, especially on Calles Colón, Xàtiva, and Guillem de Castro. 

There has been considerable debate about this project and I have seen endless criticisms in the press and in interviews with citizens on TV but I think all of the polemics will vanish quickly, if they haven’t already been forgotten. This is exactly like all of the fuss that was made over the anti-smoking law and how it was going to destroy the bar and restaurant industry when, in fact, after it came into effect absolutely everyone agreed that it was a great thing. Some people are screaming that the bike paths will negatively impact businesses in the center but anyone who has studied urban planning knows that when you limit cars people flood in to fill the void.