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December 2010
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February 2011

An 11-Year-Old Trumpeter Taught Me About Life

Arturo Sandoval was in town for a concert, and his producer stopped at Nordstrom for some grooming supplies. He was halfway down the block when he heard a familiar sound. Someone was playing "Moon River" on his trumpet.

He turned around, seeing an eleven-year-old boy playing on a used trumpt. He started walking away, but felt compelled to turn back around.

"My father in law wrote the score for that song," he told the young trumpeter.
"You're father-in-law is Henry Mancini?!" asked the excited boy.
"Yes, he is. By the way, I'm in town to see Arturo Sandoval. Have you ever heard of him?"

The child was overjoyed, and they talked for a few minutes about music.

Noticing that the boy played on a used trumpet, and the cheapest seats at the Sandoval concert were $40, the producer asked: "How would you like to see Arturo Sandoval play in concert?"


"Yes. The show starts at 8. Come 15 minutes beforehand, and we'll get you and your mom in."

When the boy and his mom arrived, the producer took him backstage to meet Sandoval. They were both so impressed that they had a surprise for the child, and for the audience.

Mid-way through the show, Arturo Sandoval invited the boy on stage. Most men will play their entire lives without ever sharing the sage with Sandoval. The boy played began, "Moon River."


Some will say that the kid was at the right place at the right time. That banal explanation misses the deeper truth. The child chose to be at the right place, at the right time.

He could have been playing video games. He could have been watching cartoons. He could have been goofing off on Facebook. He could have been doing a lot of things. But he wasn't. He was doing one thing - the only thing that mattered.

He was in public, perfecting his craft. He risked embarassment. What if he friends saw him in front of Nordstrom, and took him for a street urchin or band geek? What if he missed a tune, looking incompetent or foolish? What if he failed?


He may have failed already, and at at 11, his future will be full of failure. He will miss a note in front of large audiences. He will be denied gigs. He will feel incompetent when learning new material. He will doubt himself. He will cry out in desperation.

He will fail, and because he will fail, he will succeed.


The boy wasn't at the right place at the right time. He put himself there.

Somewhere an 11-year-old boy is asking: Where are you putting yourself?

Carnival of the Disillusioned and Enlightened

A blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks to other blog articles on the particular topic.

For lawyers, there is Blawg Review. Philosophers have one, too.

For a group that currently lacks a label, there is In Mala Fide's "Linkage is Good for You." Here is his latest, and if you're reading my blog, you'd probably enjoy his.

The Riddle of Will

In my favorite park, there is a large set of stairs leading up a mountain formation. I hike up regularly, but never sprint this section of the park. Yesterday - without any planning or foresight - I decided to sprint the hill.

At first the run was easy. My strides were long. A clean breeze whisked by. My lungs were opening up. The dogs were smiling. We were invigorated.

After the first series of steps, the hill got steeper. The once-open lungs felt like they were closing. My lungs started hurting. My strides shortened. I was wearing Levis, and could feel them tightening next to my lactic-acid and blood engorged thighs. "This is fucking stupid," I thought, "Why do this?"

"There is nothing special about reaching the top of this hill. It's just some arbitrary goal you set for yourself. You don't win any prizes or lose anything if you stop. Fuck it, why bother.

Aren't all goals arbitrary? Why this hill? What's the point? What is fascinating isn't the questions themselves, but the timing of the questions.

When something is easy, or everything is going as you planned and expected, we never ask, "What's the point? Isn't this arbitrary?" It's only when the trail leads upward - when shit gets real - that we question the point and motivation.

Earlier today I told someone that when no one else wants to fight, I fight myself. She answered that, "there are times I'd really like a good fight. But frequently it's not worth the trouble. Not even with myself." 

I kept running up the mountain. There was the taste of blood in my mouth. It felt like acid was circulating through my lungs. My legs felt so heavy that I almost fell down, as the run upward felt like a controlled trip rather than bounding steps. My gums ached. I could ear the pounding of the blood vessels around my skull, and felt like I was about to pass out.

"Why keep going? This is stupid. I have to lift later, and really shouldn't tire myself out. This is going to fuck up my squat workout. Let's just stop.

There is a point. The point is that I exist. I must live with myself and live in a world that is often unfriendly - and is always uncaring. Neither you Nature nor God cares whether I live or die. It is up to me to create my reality.

Creating reality presupposes a creator. How can you shape anything if you cannot even shape yourself?

I didn't stop running. I made it to the top of the hill, exhausted. I didn't allow myself to fall down, although even standing was difficult. My body was overload with lactic acid, and even my saliva burned. It was miserable.

But I won.

Every battle you win against yourself strengthens you will. Your will is a sword.

The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle.... You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts. [Points to sword] This you can trust.

Maybe today isn't the day you will strike someone. The day you must will come. Will you be ready?

Go Start a Fight

By this time next week, each guy on the Assault Committee has to pick a fight where he won't come out a hero. And not in fight club. This is harder than it sounds. A man on the street will do anything not to fight.

Although "understood" as a work of nihilism, Fight Club is a book about revolution. In order to revolt, people must first be taught to rebel. A man's emotions must evolve from the blind rage of a cubicle rat - who seeks solace and escape in video games - to focused anger.

Focused anger requires a person to select a target. It requires a person to fight. People have forgotten how to fight:

The idea is to take some Joe on the street who's never been in a fight and recruit him. Let him experience winning for the first time in his life. Get him to explode..."What we have to do, people," Tyler told the committee, "is remind these guys what kind of power they still have."

In the United States, there is a unifying culture - a national motto. It works to the advantage of criminals on Wall Street and government. It allows political insiders to loot and rape with impunity. The national motto has even achieved a moral status, with those rejecting it facing judgment from those who treat it as the First Commandment.

"I do not want any trouble."

People pass through the streets anonymous and terrified of confrontation. When I confront someone for cutting in line, my companions invariably tell me that I've embarrassed them. Or that I'm going to be shot. They, being slaves and supplicants, never consider that it's the other guy who should be worried about me.

"Please, please, please just mutter under your breath. We will whisper to one another about this breach of the social contract. We will not talk loudly enough for our voices to be heard. We don't want any trouble.

Well, fuck you all. I want trouble.

It's not just physical confrontations that people fear, as a perusal of most legal blogs reveal. How many blogs are even worth reading? Almost all of them are a unified effort to get along. It's all back slaps and circle jerks. I'll squeeze your cock if you stroke mine.

What does this circle jerk give? The circle jerk is a dose of soma, "the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday. How kind, how good-looking, how delightfully amusing every one was!"

People wake up wondering what nice things others have said about them. People actually Google their names on a daily basis! Mornings are made when someone has given us a virtual blow job.

Yet as a nation of druggie, we understand the unstated deal. The dealers dole out the good stuff to those who praise them. If you criticize others, you will not get the soma. 

"I don't understand anything," she said with decision, determined to preserve her incomprehension intact. "Nothing. Least of all," she continued in another tone "why you don't take soma when you have these dreadful ideas of yours. You'd forget all about them. And instead of feeling miserable, you'd be jolly. So jolly,"

Cows are jolly - until their heads are crushed with a captive bolt pistol. Cube rats were jolly - until their jobs were outsourced to India. Homeowners were drunk on debt - until housing prices collapsed, leaving them without jobs and homes.

People want you to feel good for one reason only - to fatten you. "Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much: such men are dangerous."

When something infuriates you, push back. Throw away the supplicating drugs for a drug of action.

Adrenaline is a fight-or-flight hormone. When I was younger, the adrenaline would overwhelm my system, leading to tears. A good conflict should have your hands trembling in rage, and leave your face flushed. At first...

Soon enough, adrenaline becomes your trusted friend. Adrenaline always has your back. You inhale deeply through your nostrils, and feel the life-affirming drug lift your soul. Your cheeks are not red - although red would be preferable to the white of today's zombies. Your cheeks are rosy - flush with power and prepared for a punch.

You wake up. Your vision is focused. You have an enemy, and this enemy must be destroyed.

What is the point of make enemies? What is the point of fighting? Isn't it senseless? Why fight just to fight?

Fighting is never pointless, as its goal is the training of fighters. "In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow."

Today in the United States, there are many things worth fighting for. Wall Street bankers have stolen your money. TSA officials list sexual assault as resume bullet point. The United States government wants an Internet kill switch, silencing all who would dissent

There are many fights, but there are no fighters. You are not ready. There is only one way to prepare for a fight, and that is to start one.

Stewart Baker and the Sissified Right

Steward Baker, an academic who never bothered serving his country as a soldier, is a typical right-wing pussy. In a recent post, he refers to Jesse Ventura as "The Wussy." Let's compare their credentials.

Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy.

What's tough about being a policy wonk and government lap dog? 

On the other hand:

From September 11, 1969, to September 10, 1975, during the Vietnam War era, Ventura served in the United States Navy. While on active duty, Ventura was part of Underwater Demolition Team 12 (UDT). The UDTs were merged with the US Navy SEALs in 1983, 8 years after Ventura had left the Navy.

You're in a bar and shit is about to go down. Who do you want watching your back- a Navy SEAL or a Supreme Court law clerk? If you even hesitated answering that question, get the fuck off my site.

Unfortunately for public discourse and logical thinking, Baker's comments are part of a broader Right Wing scam. Men who have never served in the Armed Forces feel entitled to question the toughness of those of us who have.

Who can forget the attacks on John Kerry? Although Kerry served in Vietnam, chicken hawks who had "other priorities" said Kerry wasn't tough enough. Some even suggested that Kerry didn't deserve his Purple Heart, because a bullet only grazed him.

Today I am enlightened, and thus know joining the military makes one a patsy for the power elite - although at 17, my naive ass was at Army Basic Training. Yet there's no question that someone who has actually served is, prima facie, less of a wuss than those who didn't serve. There's a 100% chance that someone who was a Navy SEAL is in tougher than Stewart Baker, you, and me.

Yet Baker, along with the other cowards and pussies on the Right, feel entitled to question Ventura's toughness. And why did Chickenhawk Baker question Ventura's toughness in the first place?

Jesse Ventura, who has been sliding into weirdness for a while, is reportedly preparing to sue TSA for:

“Warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body,” that meets “the definition for an unlawful sexual assault.”

Baker is a pussy, and Venture is not, and here's why.

If Stewart Baker touched my cock, I would lay his old fucking ass out. If Baker touched Ventura's cock, Baker's physical embodiment would resemble the worthless goo that is his soul. 

If any of the TSA officials touched me, I would fucking brutalize them. Thus, Baker and other cowards - lacking their own sense of manliness and toughness -  hide behind government authority. 

Telling Baker to keep their his off my cock doesn't make Ventura less tough than him. It just makes Ventura less creepy than Baker.

There's nothing tough about using the government to enact your homoerotic rape fantasies. There is, however, something rather creepy and unsettling about Stewart Baker and the folks at TSA who can't keep their hands off of Jesse Ventura's cock.

Why the Old Hate the Young

In 1712 or thereabouts, a slave owner gave a speech so memorable that it was transcribed and named after him. The "William Lynch Speech" instructs slave owners on the control of slaves. It worked well in 1712, and many African American Studies scholars believe its principles apply today.

Those professors are right, although the William Lynch Speech has been applied universally.

If you've been following the headlines lately, you'll see that the media has turned Baby Boomers against Millienials - who are all slackers, losers, etc. It's usually middle and working class people who repeat these memes.

This meme - that the young are lazy and worthless - is powerful because of who has created it, and who has repeated it, and who has applied it. (When studying morality, always ask: Who created the morality? Who does the morality serve? Always the answer to the second question will be the same was the answer to the first!)

Who has created the meme? Simple. The rich. Who repeats this meme with sincerity rather than cyncism? Middle-class and other working stiffs. Who applies this meme? Surely not the rich.

There are two places where you can still make Real Money - Wall Street or Silicon Valley. How do old, rich men make so much money? They profit off of the young, while allowing the young to profit off the old. 

Old men have money and discretion. Young men have energy and brilliance. When united, people get rich. Facebook was started by a teenager, while being funded by much older men. Facebook employees - like everyone working at a start-up - work insanely long hours. The lazy kids I read old middle class men complain about aren't in the Valley, at least.

Yet old guys - middle class stiffs who will never have nine-figure net worths - hate young people. The same people who created the meme that the young are lazy and worthless have kept all of the best labor to themselves. It's genius.

Middle class debt slavery is, fortunately, superior to black slavery. That said, the principles of enslavement are universal. Turn the slaves against each other. While the slaves are fighting each other, profit from their dissention.

Humanity has not evolved much since 1712, when this speech was presented:


I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First , I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the of the colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me in my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest method for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious KING JAMES, whose BIBLE we CHERISH, I saw enough to know that our problem is not unique. While Rome used cords or wood as crosses for standing human bodies along the old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed, Gentleman,...You know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

In my bag, I have a fool proof method for controlling your slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed it will control the slaves for at least three hundred years. My method is simple, any member of your family or any OVERSEER can use it.

I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use FEAR, DISTRUST, and ENVY for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the SOUTH. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is "AGE" but it is only there because it starts with an "A"; The second is"COLOR" or shade; there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZE OF PLANTATION, ATTITUDE of owner, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, east or west, north, south, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action- but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST, AND ENVY IS STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION.

The black slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

Don't forget you must pitch the old black VS. the young black males, and the young black male against the old black male. You must use the dark skinned slaves VS. the light skin slaves. You must use the female VS the male, and the male VS, the female. You must always have your servants and OVERSEERS distrust all blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us.

Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control, use them. Never miss an opportunity. My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year the slave will remain perpetually distrustful.