Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Fifth Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Give Birth to Yourself and Trash the Past

I wonder if I shouldn't be blogging every day. Like today, for example. It's late, and I just know that Mr. Happy is going to start stirring any minute. He went down earlier last night, so he's probably going to wake up earlier. Lately he's been getting up as early as 6:00 anyway, which leaves me very little time to do these posts.

In order to do them at all, I need to entirely focus my mind, so it's a little difficult under the circumstances. Frankly, I'm still surprised that I can do it at all, and I sometimes wonder if it's a finite process, like an athletic career, or perhaps like a songwriter. With a few exceptions, a songwriter will have a brief period of what you might call "artistic grace," during which time they produce great music with effortless creativity. For most, it seems to last for about five years. Rare are those who remain creative for much longer than that, like an Irving Berlin or Duke Ellington.

This daily writing is not something I could have ever done before -- at least I don't think so. As I have mentioned before, writing the book wasn't like this at all. That was like searching for water in the desert, while this is much more like sitting under a waterfall with a bucket.

At least most of the time. There's still a rhythm or a cyclicity to it, and I sometimes wonder if I should pay more heed to that. In other words, just as a field must occasionally lay fallow as part of the growing process, I wonder if I should avoid trying to compel my writing. Doing so feels a little like exploitation -- like giving hormones to a chicken in order to squeeze out every last egg.

Anyway, we're up to the fifth of the first five commandments of nihilism. In each case, the nihilist does not actually believe in nothing -- which is impossible -- but in the opposite of something. In other words, any nihilistic philosophy -- which would include secular leftism -- is by definition reactionary and parasitic, just as darkness is parasitic on light, disorder on order, falsehood on truth, and death on life. As such, the commandments of nihilism are just a reversal of the cosmic order, including the Ten Commandments.

For example, one can only say that meaning doesn't exist in a meaningful cosmos. One can only deny God by first positing his existence. This is why nihilists do not just deny God, but rebel against him. If this were not the case, then the philosophy of nihilism would produce saint-like people and cultures approximately 50% of the time, but it doesn't. Rather, it produces the opposite of the reality it denies.

Speaking of parents, my in-laws are leaving today after a week long visit. It is interesting to talk to my father-in-law, who grew up at the epicenter of America's cultural high-water mark, to mix a metaphor. He was born in Manhattan in 1931 and is extremely cultured, so he lived in real time through what in hindsight we recognize as an almost impossibly culturally rich period in terms of film, theatre, and music.

The first notion we must dismiss is that realizing the value of our cultural past represents a form of nostalgia. It is no more nostalgic than recognizing that there was something special about the classical musical period. Yes, nostalgia does exist, which represents an indiscriminate romanticization of the past and a consequent inability to appreciate the present. In my opinion, nostalgia is actually a sort of hypnotic drug, a flight from reality which has no value except the value any mind-altering substance has (which is not nothing, by the way).

My father-in law is an... interesting fellow. For one thing, he is an unabashed atheist who is absolutely dismissive of any form of religiosity. He has no coherent philosophy that he has ever articulated, but I suppose he would be equally a Greek Stoic and Epicurean, in that he is not the least bit sentimental and lives by a very strict ethical code, but is a pleasure-seeker of the first rank. For example, while I pretty much eat whatever is put in front of me, he is a gourmet. He is the only person I know who obsesses over the restaurant where he will be having dinner while critiquing breakfast and making plans for lunch.

You've probably seen Meet the Fockers, right? I've only seen parts on TV, but imagine Robert DeNiro looking at you with a penetrating gaze and suspiciously eliciting your feelings about oysters. "Bob, you like oysters?" I've been through this many times on every conceivable subject, so it's a much more complicated question than you might realize. You can't just say no, and you can't just say yes, or else you're in for a debate about where the best oysters come from and why it is so difficult to get good ones these days. Either way, the conversation ends with, "I'm going to bring you back some oysters," especially if you think you don't really care for oysters. I've had the same conversation with regard to wild game, snails, eel, grasshoppers, squid, octopus....

Since he is irreligious, my F.i.L. wants to make sure that we inculcate our son with the proper cultural education. You might say that he frets over this in the way we fret over his spiritual development. Yesterday he informed me that he will be purchasing the 16 CD complete Ella Fitzgerald songbooks for our son's musical edification. Yes, he's only two years old, but it's never too soon to expose him to the timeless and transcendent works of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Geshwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, and Duke Ellington. I agree, by the way, as it may inoculate his ears against musical garbage.

Except that my father-in-law doesn't believe in transcendence -- even though he actually does, as I have tried to explain to him on many occasions, and which I will do at his funeral just to get in the last word and piss him off. But he is very much in the anti-nostalgia camp, and never wants to be perceived as being unhip to current cultural trends. He would never want to be thought of as someone who is "living in the past." Therefore -- hard to know whether he actually believes this -- but he will insist, say, that P. Diddy has produced a body of work that is comparable to the Great American Songbook. But you will notice that he is not spending a few hundred dollars on the complete works of P. Diddy so that I can pipe it into Future Leader's crib.

Where was I.... Yes, honoring our mother and father. Especially in this postmodern world of ours -- which, you might say, is a world created by adolescents with no input from the grown-ups -- we are susceptible to the opposite tendency of nostalgia. Which is to say, the postmodern nihilist not only fails to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of our cultural heritage, but more likely, actively devalues and denigrates it. And in fact, as we shall see, this devaluation is definitely a reflection of the fifth commandment of nihilism, which is to say that you shall not honor your father and mother.

This is how we can have reached our present intellectual nadir on leftist college campuses, where children are taught by children and other Naders that America's founders were nothing more than white European slaveholders who were just looking after their economic interests, or that America is rooted in the genocide of the Indians, or that we have done something to deserve the psychotic rage of Muslims. The pervasive impulse of the left to "blame America first" is simply the impulse to blame the parents first. (Check out Cho's college textbooks -- TW Mizz E.)

In short, to say that America is always wrong -- which they do -- is simply to say that mommy and daddy are always wrong, and that we know better. Again, it is purely reactionary and formulaic, like that dailykos diary I linked to yesterday, expressing the opinion that the mass murderer Cho was actually a victim of America. Yawn. This attitude is the product of the death instinct -- thanatos -- and is largely responsible for the death culture. This is because progressives are always looking backward and rebelling against the parents of their imagination.

Is this not obvious? No one is more oriented around George Bush as their axis moondi than the angry leftist with Bush Derangement Syndrome (which afflicts almost everyone on the left). When it comes right down to it, my life is pretty much the same no matter who is president. Not so for the leftist, who is somehow living in a kind of personal hell of their own creation. As I attempted to explain to a hostile liberal correspondent last weekend, George Bush is not responsible for his unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Even if Hillary Clinton is elected president, I mustn't allow it to affect my personal happiness. After all, it is still a wondrous time to be alive.

No, this attitude is not narcissistic (though it can be). For one thing, I realize that life is difficult. It is a struggle, and always has been. To imagine that life only became difficult when George Bush was elected president -- or conversely, that it will only be difficult when a Democrat enters the White House -- represents an abject failure of wisdom, among other classical virtues. No matter what happens, life will be a miracle and life will be a horror, as always. The difference is that the conservative realizes this, and therefore doesn't overreact to it. Because when we overreact to it, as do leftists, we create solutions that are worse than the problems they are designed to address. You cannot cure human nature -- especially if you don't even know what it is. Feminism cannot cure the condition of womanhood, any more than a government program can cure the condition of spiritual poverty.

In short, nihilism is the doctrine of psychological parthenogenesis, or autochthony. An autochthon is "one held to have sprung from the ground he inhabits." Thus, leftism is a specifically anti-humanistic doctrine, for it omnipotently denies now we got here, which was in the human way, thorough parents that came before us.

Running out of time. Future Leader just opened a birthday present which he received from his aunt and uncle last night, after he was in bed. Very cool -- a garbage truck, which he loves. But I can't help noticing that it is a politically correct garbage truck. Indeed, one thing that leftists fail to appreciate -- since they do not even acknowledge the vast differences between adults and children -- is the innocence of children, so they politicize childhood instead of just leaving them be. For the left, it's never too early to begin the brainwash. (Just so it is clear, I am not referring to his aunt and uncle, but to the whole climate of childhood indoctrination of leftist ideas.)

Anyway, I notice that it's not really a garbage truck. Rather, it is a recycling truck with the recycling logo displayed prominently on the side. Also, I notice that 50% of the trashmen are actually women. This is bound to be confusing for Future Leader, since the girl next door, who is also two years old, doesn't have the slightest interest in trucks, tractors, back hoes, ambulances, fire engines, and every other kind of working vehicle with which my son is obsessed. Therefore, why the trashwomen? I guess so he won't realize that he is a boy, or that boys are different than girls. But this is simply the inevitable reflection of a culture that has already effaced the most elementary distinction, that between adults and children.


Well, I really didn't have sufficient time to get into this commandment. Here is a review of what I wrote about the real one last summer:

The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to function properly.

Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal unit in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you go into a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.

Some may think that the onus of this commandment lies with children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For the burden is actually on the parents -- especially the father -- to be an earthly reflection of the celestial father and to therefore be worthy of honor. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate authority -- the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates outward and “downward.”

Parents do not own children -- this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.

In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker -- i.e., you -- to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name - -for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse way.

Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father -- the Father of Lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part -- he will honor his parents -- which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”

In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).

More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally.

And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to them, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.


Straddling the present, one foot in the past, one in the future.

"Apple boo-day dee yow" (that's how he sings "happy birthday to you").


Anonymous feminismo said...

Today is the Sabbath. My room is a church, my office chair a pulpit, my computer an altar, Godwin my preacher, his post my sermon, this comment my hymn. All is well in my world.

I will add one thing about feminism--I agree that men and women are innately different, but I do advocate parity in earning power and independence.

Women should not be dependent on men any more than men should be dependent on women. That is an outmoded thing.

Mothers and fathers ideally should both work reduce hours, and they should both do childcare.

In homes where a decision is made in the interest of boosting income that the husband will work, and his wife will stay home fulltime (or vice-versa), the home-bound spouse should recieve a CASH salary and not just be compensated by rent and food.

Child-nurturers should not be held hostage by their work so that the worker-partner can lord over him or her.

All prospective parents should entertain the idea of filling out a pre-parental agreement where the details of the finances are worked out so nobody ends up on the downside in a power structure.

4/22/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Why not advocate paying someone whatever they're worth, and allowing individuals decide that? What does gender have to do with it?

And it is hardly "outmoded" for human beings to be dependent upon one another, for if they are not, they will simply be dependent on government.

Children require more mothering at certain ages, more fathering at other ages. Few fathers can provide the mothering required of an infant, if only for hormonal reasons. I know I couldn't have properly mothered him as an infant, any more than my wife will be able to provide the fathering he will later require.

You have some other ideas that are pretty goofy, but I don't have time to get into them. I have some "business" to attend to do before the Laker game.

4/22/2007 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

"Parents do not own children"

I'm glad to see you affirm this! I have always felt this is a key insight into proper parenting, and is partly why Christian parents "redidicate" their children to God. It is a reminder that we are merely stewards and caretakers, not owners of our children.

I've really been enjoying your blog. I stayed up til 4 a.m. the other night reading! Even though I suspect I'm more "orthodox" than you, your perspective really resonates with me. Your post on Nick Berg's murder brought me to tears.

Re: the previous comment...I am a SAHM in a traditional family structure (i.e., do not receive a "cash" salary or feel the need for one, although I handle almost all budgetary matters and can purchase what I like, within reason). I don't view marriage as a "power structure," and that is one of my chief objections to feminism...this viewing everything through the lens of personal empowerment at the expense of others. I do all the housework and all the diaper changing and all the cooking & clean up, and I consider this my role in our family and a perfectly fair division of labor. My husband's career provides me with the opportunity to be with my children 24/7, teaching them and enjoying their company. I live a very free and uninhibited and privileged life. His work provides me with transportation to take the children anywhere we desire to go, at any time. I get to choose our academic materials, the ones that suit me and the children best. I do what I please with my time, rather than slaving away on somebody else's time.

Yet, from a feminist perspective, I'm on the wrong end of a "power structure." What ever happened to the concept of joyful service to others? I'm not saying housework doesn't have its drudgery, but it contributes far more directly to my family's and my own wellbeing than the inevitable drudgery of an outside job would. Every job has its frustrating and monotonous aspects.

4/22/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

I Brake For Sabbaths
rest the seventh day
six days for the work of work

4/22/2007 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, when you get married, the whole point is to unselfishly surrender your ego to something transcending it. Thus, although my wife stays at home and I work outside, I have no illusions about whose work is more important and more difficult. If you have to "negotiate" in the manner described by the first commenter, you're probably not actually married in any spiritual sense.

PS--lot's of new tunes progammed into FineTunes. However, it seems as if it often plays the older ones first....

4/22/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Geckofeeder said...

Blessings on Future Leader on his birthday and many more blessings always.
Glad to know his aunt and uncle have a sense of humor which is the greatest gift of all.

Cousin Dupree, Would you be so kind as to guide us to exactly where our own Gagdad is instructing or linked at Pajama Media?

4/22/2007 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

They just occasionally link to one of Gagdad's posts based on a secret formula known only to Van der Leun's talking white salamander.

4/22/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Odd. Just this morning I was thinking about the daily bread that Bob graciously places before us each day. I realized that I almost (almost) take it for granted that each morning will bring a new post, a new serving of truth to digest. It's easy to forget -*holy cow*- he has to get up and write this stuff every day- each post the equivalent of an essay that would take most of us many days worth of writing, revising, fact checking, etc..
In short. I appreciate your effort, Bob, and I am grateful for it.
I realize, too that nothing is forever. (Hey, I acheived ambiguity and pseudo-profoundity all in one corny sentence!) There may come a day when class is dismissed, and we coons are on our own. I want to take my fill against that day, and be ready to continue when it comes.
My life has been greatly enriched by coming here. Both by the daily postings and the running commentary from the "coon squad".
Today my wife and I celebrate seven years of marriage. It's cold and rainy. Later on we're driving down to the beach to have dinner at the restaurant on the pier. (the good restaurant with table cloths and everything, not the burger hop at the other end)


4/22/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Happy Birthday future Leader!
Have fun with the trash truck.

Happy Anniversary JWM!
I hope you and your wife have many more years of holy matrimony.

There. I saved virtual paper on earth day. I done my part.

Anyone know where I can by some carbon ONsets?
It's cold here this am!

4/22/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I realize, too that nothing is forever. (Hey, I acheived ambiguity and pseudo-profoundity all in one corny sentence!)"

JWM-Are you sure it isn't pseudo-ambiguity and profoundity?

4/22/2007 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van der leun has a white salamander?


4/22/2007 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

"He is the only person I know who obsesses over the restaurant where he will be having dinner while critiquing breakfast and making plans for lunch."

No he's not.

4/22/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Hard to tell the difference, huh?


4/22/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "I don't view marriage as a "power structure," and that is one of my chief objections to feminism...this viewing everything through the lens of personal empowerment at the expense of others."

That's because you're not a leftist. Good choice.

Leftism, despite it's occasional and grudging token appeasments to sense, such as Feminismo's "I agree that men and women are innately different, " there will always be a "but ..." leading into a "should", backed by a fist.

At it's root, leftism completely rejects ideas in favor of force. All of it's policies, beneath the "Should" mask, require force to apply them, require someone to be forced, and someone to do the forcing. Which is why together with the "But's" and "Should's" you will always also find close by in tow a manufactured victim "Child-nurturers should not be held hostage by their ..."

The Fist is the leftist sum and core, all the rest is just decoration and styling.

4/22/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Bob, as someone who can obsess over a little comment for 45 minutes (and still mess it up), I am AMAZED that you can crank these posts out, oh, say, 600+ days consecutively, and still have fresh insights. This is no small thing.

As a former farm boy, the image of letting a field go fallow now and again, makes perfect sense. On the other hand, one of my greatest teachers began EVERY day at 5a.m., without fail, even as you do. When asked about that, his response was, "You breathe every day, don't you?" I'm sure you know about folks like that, as well.

Sometimes the flow of O---->k is so strong, it washes over us. Other times, it seems more delicate, and fragile, and even family members can disturb.

A Lakers win will help.

4/22/2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In order to do them at all, I need to entirely focus my mind, so it's a little difficult under the circumstances."

It sure isn't easy to stay focused with the inevitable duty.
Your right on about the focus part.
Without the focus part I'm usually just flailing and it shows.

4/22/2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Cuz said "...based on a secret formula known only to Van der Leun's talking white salamander..."

hmm... so easy a caveman can find it?

4/22/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

JWM said...
Hard to tell the difference, huh?

You bet! And I used to know everything. :^)

4/22/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Walt said...
Bob, as someone who can obsess over a little comment for 45 minutes (and still mess it up), I am AMAZED that you can crank these posts out, oh, say, 600+ days consecutively, and still have fresh insights. This is no small thing.

It's a mirrorcle Walt!

4/22/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM said "...he has to get up and write this stuff every day- each post the equivalent of an essay that would take most of us many days worth of writing, revising, fact checking, etc.."

When I first started my blog I tried to keep up with the Bobsmatic Cosmic Postinator... then best (quantity) I could put out was 2 to 3 days. And then my brow herniated, my forehead burst out my ears and my wife yelled at the mess I made of the house.

There is only one B'ob.

"In short. I appreciate your effort, Bob, and I am grateful for it. "

Two or three days & a boatload of fact checking isn't going to say it any better than that.

4/22/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM & Ben, just to be ornery...

My wife hauled me out of my office in the middle of typing a sentence earlier, to enjoy a gorgeous morning with strawberries on the deck.

One of those "Ahhhh" moments to be sure.

4/22/2007 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speakin' of fallow fields...

What if you let one seventh (more or less) of your field go fallow at a time, harvesting the other six sevenths in a kind of rotation?

Can that work? Can we choose to receive 6 out of 7 parts of the whole
O-->k'lada at a timelessness?

4/22/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Frankly, I'm afraid that if I stop, then it will stop -- like I'll lose the thread or something.

Or perhaps it's like milking a cow. If you don't do it, you get udderly backed up.

But it's also like sports -- when a team is on a winning streak, they don't require rest and can't wait to play the next game.

4/22/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van said-
One of those "Ahhhh" moments to be sure.

That happens to me a lot (not strawberries but the "you gotta see or hear this thing" moments).

Usually when I start writing.
That's why I write my posts at odd hours, most times.

Because my wife and I both need to stop and eat the "strawberries",
or watch them grow, or buy new ones, or watch "strawberry" movies, or whatever...together.

I may not especially like the "strawberries" on my own, but I love my wife!

Awe moments indeed!

4/22/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...


4/22/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Problem is the "ahhawe" moments are usually followed up in fine feminine complementary fashion by "the driveway needs to be powerwashed" "awwhhhhwah" moments.

4/22/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

If you ever have to stop milking you can always switch to wine.
Or maybe honey.
Bee all you can bee.
It's not just a job...

I believe the process will continue on some level, regardless of the time you may have available, or the cycle rotation thingy.

I second my fellow brown noser's sentiments without actually brown nosing.

4/22/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ohh. You mean the ahhh moment with the honeydo list attached at the end.
You have to be creative or bite the bullet.
Sink or lawn.

I try to anticipate the ohh moments and head them off at the past.

Eh. Okay, I usually bite the bullet and take the bait.
You know the trap is there, but what choice do you have?

But what if? You initiate the ahh moment and make her forget the honeydo list!
It's so crazy it just might work.

4/22/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

What's the old saying? "We are living a mystery - not solving one!"

Therefore, the dairy farmer milks his cows every day AND lets his fields go fallow sometimes.

Go figure.

4/22/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

While the leftist makes ho'gurt.

4/22/2007 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

Speaking of "Awwww" moments, what great pics of future leader and Mrs. G.

Birthdays, anniversaries; truly a good day for the Sabbath.

"Child-nurturers should not be held hostage by their work so that the worker-partner can lord over him or her."

If this is how you truly view marriage, then I pity you. You cannot possibly have known what it is to really love and by loved by someone.

4/22/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Happy Birthday Future Leader!
Save that garbage truck, kiddo. You’re gonna need it.
Keep it right next to your BS detector.

Just back Friday night from a whole week of Sabbath.
(and 24/7 beer-o-clock too, I might add – but I was good…but not too good.)
Fortunately the remote place had a dial-up so I kept up with DL’s daily bread every couple days. I couldn’t not do this. Cost about 180 pesos. Like you can convert Bob’s bread to pesos...
Missed all my coon folk very, very much.

Dear Bob. I am convinced you won’t stop the writing. May not be the daily blog, which I enjoy so much I can’t describe, but will be something. Maybe several things at once.
As much as I would miss the daily blog, I can’t contain my excitement for what comes next. I can’t wait!

BTW, loving these Commandments of Nihilism.

If it becomes work, then maybe you need to break, reflect between waterfalls. But I’m convinced it won’t stop. I think the difference between what you do and the gifted grace period of a career athlete or musician is you know the source of the gift. You know why it comes to you and that God would not turn that off.
It will only get better.

4/22/2007 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Bob wrote: "I sometimes wonder if it's a finite process, like an athletic career, or perhaps like a songwriter. With a few exceptions, a songwriter will have a brief period of what you might call "artistic grace," during which time they produce great music with effortless creativity. For most, it seems to last for about five years. Rare are those who remain creative for much longer than that, like an Irving Berlin or Duke Ellington."

Bob, Just yesterday, while googling sonata for a good man my coonvision glommed onto a moving essay by the American composer, Charles Ives.

After reading it I toddled over to Wiki. Here's a paragraph about Ives and his relationship with composing. Who knows Bob, maybe you'll be called to compose music someday.

"According to his wife, one day in early 1927 he came downstairs with tears in his eyes: he could compose no more - he said, "nothing sounds right." There have been numerous theories advanced to explain the silence of his late years, which seems as mysterious as the last several decades of the life of Jean Sibelius, who also stopped composing at almost the same time. While Ives had stopped composing, and was increasingly plagued by health problems, he did continue to revise and refine his earlier work, as well as oversee premieres of his music. After continuing health problems, including diabetes, in 1930 he retired from his insurance business, which gave him more time to devote to his musical work, but he was unable to write any new music. During the 1940s he revised his Concord Sonata, publishing it in 1947 (an earlier version of the sonata and the accompanying prose volume, Essays Before a Sonata were privately printed in 1920).

The first sentence from his essay will tell you this is going to be a worthwhile read. [Henry David] "Thoreau was a great musician, not because he played the flute but because he did not have to go to Boston to hear "the Symphony."

4/22/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Well…one of the things anyway.

Thanks for the idea. Photo documentary on the way.

4/22/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

USS Ben said "But what if? You initiate the ahh moment and make her forget the honeydo list!
It's so crazy it just might work."

Nah. Try that all the time. Usually something about a headache....


(yeah... I'm gonna get a whack for that, sometimes it's worth it)


4/22/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Fausta said...

My all-time favorite writer, Anthony Trollope, wrote every day of his adult life for over forty years.

I think of him as a role model!

4/22/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


There is definitely something to be said for that. Because of daily blogging, I'm such a better writer now than when I started the blog -- which is why it has been so painful to re-read my book for errors... I guess it's not possible to improve without making oneself look bad....

4/22/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Van said, "ahhawe" moments are usually followed up in fine feminine complementary fashion by "the driveway needs to be powerwashed"

You could always move into a condominium. More $$ but less work. More time for slack.

I tried for years to be the consumate garden/fish pond/yard-aesthetic keeper and swatter of carpenter bees. But it's just not in me. And the pressure from the neighborhood? Fugeddaboudit!!

Now I have a pool, (and pool boy!), gym, walking paths, tennis court, lovely lawns, gardens, and a glorious view of the marsh and its denizens. I purposely found a job 2 miles from my home, taking a $500 mo. paycut, (that I save half of just in gasoline I no longer have to buy) just to have more day in my time.

Yard work. It's overrated.

4/22/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Bob said, I guess it's not possible to improve without making oneself look bad....

LOL!! We really don't pay you enough for this! (rummaging around for PayPal password...)


4/22/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

There is definitely some higher purpose at work in this place. All of us know it - to differing degrees (mine being among the least, but still). Thanks again Bob (and all) for the light you share here each and every day.

Happy Birthday to little dude!

Joy of the day to all! Now I gotta go crank up the BBQ and uncork some red - the clan's a comin'.

4/22/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm... I was thinking about it, but isn't the President more or less the 'spritual head' of state, among other things? I mean, he doesn't have kingly powers, but he still (and perhaps this was intended on some level by the founders) is the spiritual leader.

So, I think that the Bush Derangement Syndrome is largely a projection of problems with parents, which is just a way to say problems with the Fifth Commandment.

You can have bad parents but no fifth commandment issue.

Just a thought. And happy birthday to the lad! I loved trucks as a kid-- when I got a stuffed animal for the first time I asked, "Where are the wheels?" (or that is what they tell me.)

Back to (sadly,) work.

4/22/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

I missed the opportunity to post some random observations from my recent Italy trip/family vacation/pilgrammage yesterday where the topic was the Sabbath (and this was a Sabbath trip for me in many respects). It will take me a long time to digest everything I saw and experienced - highly recommended for every coon IMHO. So here are some random thoughts (please excuse the length)

I was on a 10 day choir trip with my church choir - we sang in a series of incredible cathedrals (St. Peters, St. Mark (Rome), Duomo in Florence, St. Mark's in Venice among others in Assisi, Siena, Verona, San Gimignani. The sheer pleasure of singing and hearing the music written for and in these places was overwhelming emotionally.

In these cities there are as many churches as we have gas stations. Go into most unassuming church at any corner and you will be surprised by an incredible interior with medieval through baroque designs of beauty (something like an advanced coon ;-)

After seeing the most beautiful renaissance art in the Vatican museum tour you go through the modern art section where everything just seems, well, ugly. I'm sure some of that is my lack of education in modern art appreciation - like jazz - but some modern art just attacks you.

Italy was still a region of city-states until the late 1800's - fascinating to learn how free people really were and how the separation of the powers of the church and state played out much differently than I really understood before.

The equivalent of the internet at that was the art on the walls of the churches and political institutions which were commissioned to educate and reinforce good values (with the required political messages thrown in for good measure).

Illiteracy meant that messages were portrayed symbolically - the statues of the popes in St. Peter's have women representing their virtues (e.g. charity, strength, justics) in the tableau. People understood that back then - in some ways we have become more horizontal and literal (literally) and lost something we once had.

Visiting the medieval city of San Gimignani (founded 1200 years ago) I went from a church of sublime beauty into a penal/torture/execution museum with my two sons and saw the most imaginatively cruel methods of causing pain to fellow humans - an odd dichotomy.

Cathedrals that attracted masses of non-believers (e.g. St. Peters) suffered for it while smaller churches like the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi were the most spiritual experiences you could imagine.

My lord St. Peter's is over the top in it's size!

The vertical was at the center of life and was evident everywhere in cities going back 1200-1500 years. The size and centrality of the Duomo in Florence when overlooking the city is an impressive example.

The papist and imperialist sides battled it out in Italy for over 10 centuries and that effected everything down to the shape of turrets reflecting what side your city was on.

The merchant/banking class ultimately ruled everywhere and you couldn't become pope for the longest time unless you were from a rich family (e.g. Medici).

Most young people I talked to there are highly suspicious of the clergy and stay away from church (see last point)

The disneyfication of our minds - in Venice I kept on thinking I was in a theme park because the water in the canals was a similar color to that at Disney.

Venice's native population is shrinking rapidly as the price of living there continues to increase.

Olive oil here sucks compared to what you get over there - I don't understand why.

People were in many ways a lot smarter back then than we give them credit for.

Michaelangelo, Raphael, Bernini et al were freakin' geniuses (stating the obvious but it was driven home every day)

I saw exactly zero Starbucks in Italy.

If you do go to Italy, sign up for netflix beforehand and rent DVD's about the cities and sites you will see - also take tours of the city and museums with educated guides. If you are Christian, get a Christian guide to provide further depth. Little stories here and there make all the difference.

And finally, there is something about going there and experiencing everything live that you can't get from books or videos. Like I said above, this trip affected he in ways I don't completely comprehend yet. The unmediated experience is always the best - like when you see a great musician live.

I hope this post was useful to my fellow coons.

4/22/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

alan -

Thanks for the armchair tour...funny, we were sitting around last night with my son and his friends talking about what we'd like to see in Italy. All we need is just a little more excuse to go...

And happy bidet to FL!

4/22/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Alan -

Sounds like a fabulous trip, and how neat that you could see it from a Coon's perspective. Thanks for the tour!

4/22/2007 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I second Cosa. Thank you for all that.
I’m saving your full comment to my to do list.
We’ve been having a similar conversation here.
Shouldn’t put Italy on the back burner any longer…must be the next trip.
Please tell me you saw Michelangelo’s David or the Pieta…

4/22/2007 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Ricky, Walt, Cos - Thanks.

Yes, we did see both the Pieta and the David.

My sons (11 and 12) are at a great school that prepared them for the trip... two things I learned from them:

The "David moment" - the moment between decision and action.

Pieta - Mary is too young to be the mother of the crucified Jesus and the statue reflects Mary's vision when she is holding the baby Jesus of what will happen... hence her sadness.

Sadly, both statues were in protected areas because of attacks/damage in the last 10+ years but you can see them plainly from a very few feet away.

Also, seeing the School of Athens up close was amazing (it's in a small Borgia bedroom in the Vatican along with four other incredibly significant symbolic paintings on the other walls and ceiling).

My only regret of the trip was that it should have been about twice as long so I could drink in more.

4/22/2007 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks again (lump in throat).

4/22/2007 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Richy Rich said...

Speaking of trashing the past isnt the "success" of consumer lead capitalism based on the fact that it has converted the original seven deadly sins into the seven cardinal virtues.

And that its continued "success" and growth is dependent upon the inventing of more and more ways of exploitng and dramatising these sins/virtues, both at the individual and collective level.

All of this propmoted via propaganda central--that is TV advertising. Every superior aspect of the cultural heritage of the past is relentlessly reduced to the banal---another consumer commodity only.

One of the meanings of the word consume is to destroy. That is exactly what consumer capitalism is doing---destroying everything.

And of course the loudest champions of this consumer "culture" are all on the "right" side of the culture wars divide. Summarised in the phrase one market under god.

4/22/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Fellow Ring-Tailed Rascals,

Finally – the next part of the series is ready.
Sorry for the delay.
I quick read as usual.
Hope you enjoy…

Garden of Divine Symbols, Part 3

4/22/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Yeah, we already know you're against free markets and free trade, as all leftists are.

You're simply a commie at heart.
You want to dictate how much profit people can make and what to do with those profits that you never earned.

It's called stealing.
Google it.

4/22/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

Alan, you've just made me regret that I won't be taking a very similar trip with my choir in June. It sounds delightful; someday, I'd like to go there and various other parts of Europe. There's so much history to drink in, there.

4/22/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Excellent writing, Alan.
I felt like I was there. Beholding the Beautiful.

4/22/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Joan said-
Now I have a pool, (and pool boy!), gym, walking paths, tennis court, lovely lawns, gardens, and a glorious view of the marsh and its denizens.

Oh yeah? Well...we have a river nearby, and mountains and forests and trees and stuff, so there!


4/22/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Richy Rich,
I’d like to respond but you’re not making any sense on any level.
I don’t know where to begin and I get the sense it would have no end and produce nothing of value.
Good bye.

4/22/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

rich is just one of the folks who stops by to pontificate. They never respond to criticisms; they just leave their information pollution - kind of like a Industrial Revolution era business just depositing their waste with little awareness or care for the damage it does.

('cept these guys don't actually create any progress. True dysfunctionality!)

4/22/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Fantastic report of your Italian tour. I posted a reply to the comment you were able to post while there. Essence: I, art teacher, made my first European trip in 1994 and spent 2 glorious weeks traveling by car all over Northern Italy, so your report revived many happy experiences. Thank you. Do you have a way to post photos online?

>>The vertical was at the center of life and was evident everywhere in cities going back 1200-1500 years. The size and centrality of the Duomo in Florence when overlooking the city is an impressive example.<<

Have the Islamists started to build taller faux vertical minarets yet? Oriana Fallaci's sad tales come to mind.

>>Olive oil here sucks compared to what you get over there - I don't understand why.<<

The soil, the sun, the variety, the age of the variety, and the processes can't be duplicated by big agribusiness.

I have a friend who brings me back a gallon from Greece every other year.

>>I saw exactly zero Starbucks in Italy.<<

They'd be too ashamed to build their shabby shacks in the heart of the country that originated cappuccino and espresso.

4/22/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

First off, I would like to congratulate the Buckaroo on his big day and JWM and wife on theirs.

So, I decided to go deep undercover today and attend the Earth Day Festival in Topanga Canyon. It actually rained, apparently I wasn't the only one saddened by the hypocrisy and consumerism. Get this, at an Earth Day Event dogs are not allowed because they don't have the right insurance. Some nasty hippy tried to kick me and Pinky out. I told him I had to get my stuff first (true) but then just blended into the crowd. I hate rules by stupid people. F' the man! He was probably too stoned to remember he saw a dog anyway. I saw at least four others, dogs that is. I mean really, they were celebrating earth but not actually for all its creatures. I did have a good time seeing some old friends and hearing some good music. Check out Brett Dennin if interested. He will be opening for Jon Mayer this summer. Funny, goofy, tall, gangly, bowl-cut redhead with the voice of an angel. The best slogan I saw there was "Think outside of the bomb". My friend who is an Israeli and pretty conservative said, Yeah tell that to Amenidijhad! We had a good laugh. I better hop in the shower to get all that patchouli stink off! PU!

4/22/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Superb travelogue. Alan. Thank you. If there is any place I would love to go it's Italy - Tuscany in particular. No, not just for the incredible wine, but Florence and all it's historical and artistic depth. Please be sure to treat us to further insights as they "surface".

4/22/2007 08:37:00 PM  
Anonymous feminismo said...

Susannah writes in response to my comment on male/female earning parity":

"I'm not saying housework doesn't have its drudgery, but it contributes far more directly to my family's and my own wellbeing than the inevitable drudgery of an outside job would."

This may be true, but you are vulnerable to the foibles of your mate; your entire situation depends on his remaining loyal. You are only one affair away from being in a world of trouble.

Money is the key; you need it to avoid putting yourself at the mercy of another fallible human being who may make sudden and erratic changes.

Have your own job or profession, your own money, your own power. From this position of safety, then offer the selfless service that you delight in giving. Keep your life story from ever veering into a tragedy.

Your husband is a lucky man.

4/22/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous feminismo said...

Well, now I have remorse about what I wrote before about Susannah. I retract it.

Susanah, I don't want you to feel less secure about what you're doing because of some thoughtless thing I wrote on this blog.

Never mind what I said about the money--a good loyal wife such as yourself is worth her weight in gold and I don't want to step on your groove--the money is really not that essential.

A good woman always lands on her feet no matter what; you probably already know that.

4/22/2007 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

really rank,
Tip #1 - If you hear "consumer culture" you're listening to a socialist, not a capitalist. Capitalism depends upon production and trade in each and every phase. Only parasites focus on consuming.

Tip #2 - "...has converted the original seven deadly sins into the seven cardinal virtues." Classical Liberals, Capitalists, depend upon judgement, values, objective law and customers who themselves produce the wealth needed to engage in honest trade. See your commie buddy Gramsci for clues on who would seek to undermine virtues in favor of vice. See your PoMoFo buddies for tips on conning fools such as yourself into thinking it is 'cool'.

As Ben said, "You're simply a commie at heart" which means you're a thug in body and soul. Your stink is offensive. Begone.

4/22/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

I hate rules by stupid people. F' the man!

Har! I know fer sure that Lisa would make a great Privateer!
Well done!

4/22/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Sir Van-
You administered the coop de haw!
Ha ha!
This is the best mudball day ever.

Van- yer a natural Privateer and you'd make a fine Master-At-Arms.
Semper Fi!

4/22/2007 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous dr neil clark warren said...


Yours and Susannah's are entirely different universes.
Hers is one where love is understood and manifested.
Yours, when it is deeply understood, anticipates and thus manifests, insecurity, contempt and fear.

4/22/2007 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous dr neil clark warren said...


We ran your compatability profile for suitable matches and the mame at the top of the list?


Of course he insists in the contract that all matches steer clear of Eminem so there is no deja vu' all over again.

4/23/2007 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE Richy Rich,

Thanks Van and Ben. Maybe I was a bit tired… yes another commie. I read about those…

Anyway, I couldn’t get past consumer lead capitalism. Sounds redundant. But also sounds like supply and demand which I would agree is capitalism. Anything other than supply and demand as I understand it, would not be capitalism. The 7 sins, blah, blah…what? Richy, you’ve attaching something to capitalism and then redefined what it is. Capitalism is not bad or good. It can’t ‘go bad’. If it did, it would stop being capitalism. It’s like saying 2+2=5 and concluding mathematics is bad. No…you stopped doing math, right about here: =

Let’s say its 17th century America. You’re a Native American and a ‘capitalist’ shoots you and takes your land. He just stopped being a capitalist (and of course became a murderer also). The true capitalist actually would have traded you something for the land. Because that system (or lack of one, really) works best.

Capitalism is: I make 2 pies, you only need one. Next time I’ll only make one pie. Period. In your world, the government would have stepped in and taken the second pie and forced you to keep making 2 pies.

Further, if the capitalist makes 2 pies and you only need 1, but you buy 2 and make a pig of yourself, you think the capitalist is to blame? He can’t tell that you only need 1 pie. But you can tell him by only buying 1.

So don’t participate in this so called consumer lead capitalism if you still think it’s so evil.

4/23/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger bgalbreath said...

"any nihilistic philosophy -- which would include secular leftism -- is by definition reactionary and parasitic, just as darkness is parasitic on light, disorder on order, falsehood on truth, and death on life."

Not sure about the others, but physically speaking, at least, order arises from prior disorder, and order has a spontaneous tendency to revert to disorder unless energy is expended to prevent it. This tendency,entropy, seems built into the physical structure of the universe quite deeply. However, epistemically, perhaps disorder is parasitic on order after all. We could not recognize that things were disordered unless we had an experience of an idea of things being ordered with which to compare it.

4/23/2007 11:14:00 AM  

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