Complaints from Purgatory

The secret of Purgatory is that it’s really Hell.

No, we’re not getting pitchforked but the sleeplessness is killing us and we’re not even allowed to die. That Outer Darkness might not be so bad if there was some shuteye.

That’s why we tend to haunt the night and show up in dreams–not because we prefer the night, we’re just jealous you can sleep, that’s all.

In the daytime everyone can daydream, even us. No it’s not sleep, but it’s something. It’s hard to daydream at night–being awake at night makes you too damn focused… Forever

Jealousy is a big part of Purgatory. Naturally–we can see the whole world and can’t have any of it. Sometimes when we throw a severe tantrum we’re able to jostle a coffee cup, big deal.

Being able to watch anyone in the world while they undress for bed only adds to the jealousy.

And no, we’re not here to help–you think we give a fuck about Scrooge? We’re just mad that a super-scumbag like him could sleep soundly while ordinary scumbags like us have to endure eternal insomnia. The fact that he made it into a character-reforming experience is his business, we literally don’t give a damn.

What, you’re getting bored of all this Purgatory talk?

We’ve been exhausted by it for millennia and it’s not getting any better. Don’t even talk to me about getting tired.

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Applied Conspiracism: Giving a Name to Trump’s Amorphous Political Philosophy

Conspiracism: The belief that major historical and political events are brought about as the result of a conspiracy between interested parties, or are manipulated by or on behalf of an unknown group of influential people; belief in or advocacy of conspiracy theories.Oxford Living Dictionary

Trump’s conspiracism deserves its own term.

First, there is the breadth of Trump’s conspiracism. Unlike many conpiracists, Trump does not limit himself to just one or two conspiracy theories. Virtually everything is best explained (or explained away) as the result of conspiracy: global warming, foreign competition, positive job numbers under Obama, the Battle for Mosul before he took it over, Obama’s birth and presidency, Ted Cruz’ father, the Deep State, etc. (Caveat: when he’s feeling charitable, Trump will use the explanation of stupid leadership, as in bad trade deals or bad military strategy).

As an “ecumenical” conspiratorial thinker, Trump is able to deploy any and all possible conspiracy theories as the situation demands; and of course invent new ones. This makes Trump’s brand of conspiracism much more flexible and practicable on a day-to-day basis when handling the various problems of campaigning and governing.

Amorphous conspiracism also allows Trump to publicly communicate with his fellow conspiracists semi-surreptitiously through hints and omissions of condemnation, such as republishing conspiratorial propaganda and then excusing it as a mistake, an oversight. The message to fellow conspiracists is: I’m with you, and my tepid public retractions are just a front to appease people not yet enlightened by conspiracism.

Most importantly, Trump’s brand of conspiricism is centered around the unspoken credo that fighting the vast conspiratorial forces of the world requires that one engage in counter-conspiracies, even if that means colluding with openly hostile foreign powers like Russia.

Trump’s conspiratorial political philosophy and conspiratorial political practice thus requires its own new, huge, fabulous term. Amorphous conspiracism? Ecumenical or universalist conspiracism?

“Applied conspiracism” is advantaged over these other terms for several reasons: Trump used conspiracism to win the Republican nomination and the presidency; Trump is now positioned to act on his conspiratorial beliefs; the President shows no sign of being any less conspiratorial than he was when he was an outsider candidate; and lastly, because it’s becoming more and more apparent that Trump and his team conspired with internet trolls, white racists, and hostile foreign powers in their campaign to gain power.

T2: The Meaning of Time

From the lawn chair of enlightenment
in the suburban yard of the Strip-Mall Oracle
came the wisdom of the moment,
cogent, clear, and marketable:

“As depth is perpendicular to length and height
so too time is at right angles to everything in sight.
Beyond time, what is perpendicular to it?
Meaning, truth, and the goodness that comes through it.”

After a few digressions concerning money and stock picks
–since it only speaks when asked of something–
the Oracle resumed its discourse on more lofty topics:

“[unintelligible]… to exceed one’s dimension is the object,
to grow beyond Time is the crown,
thus meaning can only be attained and never just found…

“And to you I say the Mets look good this year,
but then that’s always true until mid-summer draws near.
And to you, I say leave that bitch,
she slept with one of your friends–you’re better not knowing which…”

A few hours later, after countless mundane truths
–a woman’s computer problems were not only intricate,
but the solutions very hard to fit into a rhyme–
the Oracle spoke once again to those seeking sooth:

“…the higher dimensions do not discard the lower,
nor do they replace them, no, they remain dependent,
though not all information from below is equally ascendant.

“Just as time cannot, in three dimensions, become static,
so too must the meaning of time–
the time of time, time squared–
forever remain elastic.

“Now, about those mortgage rates…”

Future Fucked

When the Machines take over our TV’s are going to turn us off.

We’ll get played by our toys.

And consumed by our drugs.

We’ll never work right and we’ll always break down.

Our biographies will be filled with incomprehensible diagrams and we’ll all come with extra nuts.

So yes, there are some advantages, but unless we squeak and squeal our ass off no one will pay us any attention.

Eventually the Machines will wonder if we even think at all.

Since, you know, we don’t feel things as deeply as they do.

But then how can you expect human minds to have the deep, complex emotions of a Quantum Computer? There’s no way.

Koans of Daylight Savings Time

If we didn’t go off Daylight Savings Time we would never be able to go back on it again. Unless you go off Daylight Savings Time for at least part of the year, all you’re doing is renaming 6:00 as 7:00.

It’s ironic: they’ve increased the number of days under DST, which used to end before Halloween, but if they increase it infinitely, it goes away. What else is like that?

But how many days do you have to go off DST in order to have DST?

What if we went off DST for only one week? Say in the middle of January–would that count?

But then you’d have two weekends in a row where you’re gaining and losing an hour of sleep time.

If you went off DST for just an hour, you wouldn’t be going off DST at all because you’d have to put your clocks back one hour and Standard Time would be over before it started.

So the minimum duration for Standard Time has to be two hours—yes, technically, you could make it 61 minutes long and only have one minute of non-DST, but come on, let’s be reasonable.

DST shows the power of pretending. If everybody gets together and pretends something—that 6 is now 7, or that paper money has real value—voila!—6 really is 7 and pieces of paper are really worth cheating and dying for.

Everyone worries about time and money and yet they’re both just the result of society pretending something. Sunset is real but 6:00 PM is total bullshit.

What we most want from Society are the things it pretends exist—money, time, honor, status, fame, etc.—not the things that actually exist—rocks, soil, trees and clouds.

Rocks, soil and trees are OK, mind you, but all of us would readily trade them in for the fake things that Society pretends are real. That’s the important stuff. That’s what life is really all about.

Defecatory Daydreams of the Demigods

I always wondered what God-Kings (Pharoahs, Emperors, etc.) thought when they shit. Did the base animal nature of that act impose any humility on their pretensions of divine parentage?

This is just the ‘semi’ part of semi-divine.

I’m putting the ‘demi’ back in demigod and I’m putting it back demi good!

You know, I really do produce some God-like turds–maybe those crazy priests are right about me. Or is it just the candied gold dust I’ve been eating lately?

It’s funny–eating gold dust makes them glitter and shine but it still smells. Smells great!

The fact that only my shit smells good proves I’m part god.

Do I have to kill anyone who sees me doing this, or just anyone who talks about seeing me do this, that is the question… Ah, the difficult decisions forced upon a Sun-King!

Where are my expensive imported fecophiles to help clean up?

Obviously, as a demigod I could just zip ahead into the future and steal a couple rolls of toilet paper and come back here to ancient Babylon, but I wouldn’t want to risk bumping my head and passing out in the future with an uncleaned ass. Me, a demigod, just laying there!.. So–given the unreliable nature of fecophiles–HELLO!–I’m stuck with the old sponge on a stick kept in a separate bucket of very salty water, just like the rest of the Babylonians.*

Still, it’s much better than the smooth-edged pottery shards my human ancestors had to use before they hooked up with the gods and a wagonload of weapons.

Apparently not.

*Factual note:  this was a Roman practice, not Babylonian. Get your shit straight.

Conflicting Imperatives from the Ethos of the Age

The Ethos says:

Get your self centered without getting self-centered.

Be open to complexity and exceptions without being overly nuanced.

Live for the moment without improvidence.

Be your own man as a team player.

Find out who you are by transcending yourself.

Avoid sophistry and certitude.

Live for today and don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Know your limits and other people’s limits without ever testing or pushing them.

Be a good Samaritan not a sucker.

Be neither paralyzed by skepticism nor blinded by faith.

The future belongs to realistic dreamers.

Be busy like the bee–busy smelling flowers. And hive work. Lots of hive work.

For the religious: Put away the things of childhood¹ for they are of the Kingdom of Heaven.²  Now go seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven.³

Be neither promiscuous nor chaste. Just stay on the right side of the bell-curve of vice, wherever that may be.

Stand up and be counted then sit down and shut up. Know exactly when either is appropriate–there are no firm rules but you still have to know them.

Be pragmatic in your idealism, and principled in your pragmatism. Generally.

Only marry someone if you’re seriously willing to spend the next eight years with them. It’s a big commitment.

Change the system without threatening anyone. Politely modify the status quo. Venerate that which you obsolesce and replace.

Be classy by accident. (4)

Always be the one who always looked the way current fashion dictates long before it was fashionable.(5) Or just give up and wait 20 years.

Joke Notes

1.  1 Corinthians 13:11
2.  Matthew 18:3 and 4; Matthew 19:14
3.  Matthew 6:33
4. The accident of birth into a higher class being the fundamental accident that is at the root of classiness.
5. Can’t be done? When you’re young or wealthy many things are possible–just change your friends every time you change your fashions.

Reflections on the Weather

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but the Weather Channel
—Tia Selyut, The Ways to Land

Tropical storms should all have Latin American names—because they’re tropical.

Rita, Gloria, Ernesto—Ok—but not Tropical Storm Thorvald.  It just doesn’t sound right.

And sounding right is important:  there can never again be a Hurricane Adolf, for instance, or Typhoon Jesus, not even in its Latin form Jesús.

We wouldn’t want people to have to board up their houses with spray-painted messages reading “Go away Jesus!”

Even God might get confused at that.

Mohammed, Gautama, Krishna, Moses–these have got to be off-limits too.

Even Hurricane Fidel is too edgy, too political.  Especially if it started “brewing up trouble in the Caribbean” and “threatening Florida.”

Hurricane Genghis would piss off the Mongolians, which, according to ancient Chinese wisdom, is stupid.

And Tropical Storm Twelfth Imam is just asking for trouble. Hurricane hunters face enough danger flying into storms, they don’t need fatwas. Much less fatwas with considerable justification.

But the larger lesson we’re not learning is that the weather proves that powerlessness can be good. Yes, good. Because if you could choose your own weather, it would soon become like just another light-switch, boring as hell:

“I can’t hang out with him anymore—he’s always got the rain on during the daytime.”

“It’s that Gothic chick he’s been seeing—she doesn’t go anywhere without mist and fog.”

“Dark, moody people are fine, but when they start impinging on my weather, it gets annoying.”

“You have a constitutional right to your own climate, damn it!”

“Except when you’re drunk.”

“Well of course, no one wants a repeat of the Frat Row Floods of 2072.”

“Or the Oktoberfest Blizzards that same year:  thousands of innocent bystanders got wet and inconvenienced.”

“Oh the fucking humanity, or whatever.”

postscript re: Hurricane Adolph (2001) for the Fact-stopo’s:

Wikipedia says:  Hurricane Adolph of the 2001 Pacific hurricane season was the first and only East Pacific hurricane in May to reach Category 4 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale since record keeping began in the East Pacific. The name was also retired due to sensitivities surrounding the use of Adolf Hitler’s first name.[1] Adolph was the first depression of the season, forming on May 25; it became a hurricane three days later. After rapidly intensifying, Adolph became the most powerful storm in terms of maximum sustained winds this season, along with Hurricane Juliette.[2] It dissipated on June 1 after moving over colder waters after briefly threatening land.

So I’m right.

The Real Meaning Behind the Things They Say

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, meaning the purely good can never accomplish anything since they have no power.  Those do-nothings you despise might actually be saints.

They say the past is a foreign country because the future will always be American.

They say you only live once and most of them are dead–anything to prove a point, I guess.

They say history is written by the victors–Victor Borge, Victor Hugo, Victor Mature, Victor Kiam. Case closed.

They say it’s just a coincidence that my social security number equals the population of China in 1970, but I mean what are the odds of that?!

They say pets are more sensitive to spiritual entities that we can’t see, and that’s why my cat hisses at the unplugged vacuum cleaner every time he walks by it. Yes, it’s a Dust Devil.

They say you only live once and yet the same people keep popping up at different times and places.  I know I’ve seen that dude before! You’re all the same!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words because a thousand words ain’t worth shit. Check the latest commodity prices if you don’t believe me. And when you factor in inflation, words actually cost you–they have negative value.  Dump them if you can.

Most people say beauty comes from inside, but most surgeons don’t.

They say the early bird gets the worm, meaning the real winners are the late worms. Given enough evolutionary time, you’ll be lucky to get a worm to show up for anything.

Speaking of time, they say it heals everything only because the lack of time never healed anything. Not a fair contest.

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss but what’s wrong with moss?  I’ve never heard “We had to rush him to the hospital after he contracted moss” or “Tell your doctor if you’ve been rolling in moss lately” or “Avoid exposure to sunlight, cool breezes, and moss.” Moss is harmless, soft, and pretty!  What a rolling stone does gather are the blood stains of the creatures it runs over. Moss is better.

Alan Brech 2012

These are my scams

Whenever I see a new ad for a pharmaceutical medicine I immediately start taking it just so I can join the inevitable class-action lawsuit that follows. Side effects may include a butt-load of money.

I deliberately don’t have a cell phone or tools in my car so I never have to stop and help stranded motorists. In fact, if I did stop and offer my useless condolences, my parked car would only dissuade good Samaritans from stopping to provide real help.  I’m doing them a huge favor by speeding by.

In third grade I found a dollar on the floor and kept it even after there was a public announcement saying that this poor kid had lost his lunch money.  Later they brought him into our gym class crying and I still didn’t come forward.  The irony is he turned out to be a dick and I’m a helluva guy.

So you never know with kids.

I’ve billed for bathroom time.  Because it’s nice to have your shit paid for.  Especially if it’s a big firm or client that you see advertised everywhere:  “TransAmerica? I took a dump for them once.”

I’ve read very few of the documents I’ve signed.  On the internet, I’ve “agreed” to all sorts of shit I have no idea about.  So take my conflicting loyalty oaths to the Kurdish PKK and the government of Turkey with a grain of salt.

Whenever I make a charitable pledge, I only pay half of the amount I pledged.  The rest is my profit.

That way, the more you give, the more you make.

Alan Brech 2012

Gerontocracy Now! (Now that I’m Old)

More Modest Proposals: repress the young!

All political systems are repressive, some more than others. But repression is inevitable. Politics is the distribution of repression, so let us not evaluate political systems in terms of how they distribute “rights” but rather how they distribute pain.

“Rights” are aspirational but pain is all too real. “Rights” are fuzzy around the edges, and often conflict with each other. But Pain is clear, distinct, quantifiable, and all-too-cumulative. Very rarely does one form of suffering get in the way of another form.

Humankind has tried different repressive schemes. We’ve repressed the poor. We’ve repressed the rich. We’ve repressed the merchants, the intelligentsia, the religious. We’re repressed minorities, silent majorities, even veterans and whiskey distillers. You name ’em, we’ve repressed ’em.

And yet, we don’t seem to have gotten it quite right. Our recipes for repression are not optimal. Those who might object on behalf of democracy’s alleged greatness are often the first to bewail the imminent demise of the system. Freedom and Democracy, it seems, are always in peril, embodying in reality the oxymoron of “eternal peril” invented in jest by Monty Python.

So even if freedom and democracy are the best of the worst, at the very least they deserve to be relieved of their absurdly eternal peril.

The answer I propose is that we have not repressed the right people. If we repress the right people in the right way for the right period of time, the rest of us can live in the most splendid, un-imperilled freedom the world has never known.

Humankind’s political choices are this: all of the people can be free some of the time, or some of the people can be free most of the time. Democracy chooses the first option. I modestly propose the second.

The reason the second option has a bad name now is because of its unfortunate association with kings, dictators, military juntas, aristocracies and police states. They all made the same mistake—they allotted freedom and repression in pretty much the same measure for the entire lifetimeof the individual subject/citizen—born to the manor, buried in the mausoleum.

Big mistake! What we need is a system of freedom and repressions attuned to the demographic age group of its citizens. Forget privilege and power based in any way on birth. Rather, privilege and power based on birth plus forty laps around the sun!

The obvious solution which has so far eluded us is to harshly repress the young, especially young men. If young people, especially men, lived under a police state the rest of us could live in a wildly free neo-hippie paradise. It wouldn’t even have to be “neo-hippie” it would be that chill.

Who commits crimes? Who commits terrorism? Who drives like shit? Young people, young people, young people. Especially men. The radical feminists are right, there’s no point arguing with them–insurance companies don’t, so neither should you. (In fact, there’s no point arguing with any radical system of thought—simply give in and submit to its critique and it goes away, like the Viet Cong, but that’s a digression…)

Male violence is the fundamental problem of every society. Fraud and corruption are secondary, and only slightly less male-dominated.

Whoring may be the oldest profession, but at least it was a profession. All in all, it seems like honest work. Male violence, however, is the oldest racket, and it has been perpetuating itself like a useless computer virus for much too long now. How long must we pay men to protect us from other men?

The radical feminists make only one mistake—they do not distinguish between “men” and men who have had their scalps disappear and dicks soften. In addition to lower testosterone (the world’s most dangerous drug), the latter tend have extensive family and social obligations which simply do not restrain the deluded thinking of 18-year-olds.

Eighteen year old men have a mindset designed for charging machine-gun nests: I’m special and I’ll live forever and the rules of common sense don’t apply to me.

Whereas the wisdom of age tells the senior conscript that adversaries become allies when the war ends, even Nazis and Commies, so why not just spray bullets around until each side runs out of ammo and the commanders are forced to withdraw?

This wisdom must be kept from the young (sh!), lest they fail to charge machine guns nests when we really really need them to, so already we’re talking about a police state in terms of information and censorship.

The mentality of 18 year olds is a wild resource which society must occasionally deploy and therefore must perpetually control. Like a pit bull. It is not something to be emulated by the broader culture, nor, given its admitted recklessness, does it seem particularly eligible for the so-called Rights of Man.

We should recast the Rights of Man as the Rights of Quadragenaria—forty laps around the sun (thirty for women, sorry, too bad dudes) and you’re in—full inalienable rights and participation with near-diplomatic immunity and with very little juridical supervision or surveillance, much less anything even resembling the Patriot Act.

Until then, make darn sure you’re papers are in order! Especially after curfew…

And don’t worry about any organized resistance from the youth to this proposed gerontocracy. They don’t vote, they don’t care. They don’t even read important things like this. Even if they did, you could still enact an Enlightened Gerontocracy without much protest because they would delude themselves by thinking:

I’m special, so I don’t need to worry about the upcoming harsh rules of gerontocracy because they won’t be applied to me like they will to other young people…

Previous revolutions have been costly and bloody and often fail to achieve lasting reforms. Establishing an Enlightened Gerontocracy, however, requires only the mellowest of revolutions against the world’s most privileged caste of people, so privileged they don’t even know it—the young and healthy.

Alan Brech 2012

Finally Some Anti-Atheist Jokes

How many atheists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

–About a hundred, since only 1 in 99 will prefer the light

What did one atheist say to the other atheist in the foxhole?

–I wonder when the fighting is going to start?

How many wars have been started/caused by religion?

–Let’s take warlike America as our case study…  Answer:  NONE!

The history of America proves you don’t need religious conflict to start a good war. ‘Cuz we’re advanced.

What did the atheist say when he finally met God?

–Oh good, I was wrong

What did the True Believer say when he met God?

–Oh shit, I was really wrong!

One day, an atheist was struggling with his moral conscience over what to do in a particularly ugly situation.  Then he remembered there’s no God and no accountability so fuck it! Wheh-hew!

Why are atheists so smart?

–They’re constantly reevaluating.

Why do atheists live in cities?

–Because they’re all they got.

Why are atheists more virtuous than theists?

–Guilty conscience.

Did you hear that Science disproves God?

–Sure, just take Boyle’s law, multiply it against Bernoulli’s Principle, divide by the second law of thermodynamics, add in General Relativity and Mendel’s laws of inheritance and you’ll find a dead god in the bottom of your test-tube every time.

Alan Brech 2012

Why Windows Wear Clothes: a product name “opposition research” paper ultimately discounted by Bill Gates

Windows is a bad name for a product. Looking at a window either means you’re indoors bored or you’re outdoors pervin’.  Oh yeah, and they break.

Windows are too much like people.  They get dirty.  They get fat under high humidity and lack of exercise.  Windows need clothes.  What else in the house besides you needs to wear a frilly skirt all the time?

Windows need blinds and curtains and screens and tinting and locks and alarms and brave-but-doomed men to scrub them 200 feet in the air.

And glass isn’t even a reliable solid–pure science tells us it’s just a lazy-ass liquid that hasn’t gotten around to spilling yet.

How much human blood has been shed over glass?  (None by me–I think with my feet, thank you.  But other people.  Oafs.)

And don’t forget Kristallnacht.  Those were windows.

Instructive riddle:  What’s the opposite of “safety glass?”

Glass.

Windows are for prisoners. And un-adopted puppies.  For annoying insects that want to invade at night.

Successful executives turn their backs on windows in order to do their best desk-work.  By contrast, I was only a B+ student because of windows.

Boats won’t even call their windows windows, that’s how bad a name windows has.

The happiest people on earth in the pre-modern era–the Eskimo, Navajo, Plains Indians, Arab Bedouins, and Siberians–all lived without windows.  Now they’re miserable.

The Anasazi had windows and disappeared.  Because they knew.

Scientific instruments (microscopes, telescopes, etc.) only use windows that are round and curved and distorted–i.e., useful only to the extent that they do not function like a normal “good” window.  Give a scientist a rectangular plane of perfectly flat glass and he’ll say “What they fuck am I going to do with this?”

Windows kill birds.  They make us look fat.  They’re the weakest part of the bathysphere. They look creepy on old abandoned houses.  They look even creepier on some old un-abandoned houses!

Worst of all, having big ones supposedly prevents you from throwing those helpful stones your neighbors need to improve their lives or just leave.

The greatest looking-out-the-window thought was never recorded, but if it had been, it probably wouldn’t have been much better than “I bet it’s also raining on the houses of the unjust… Man, I wish they’d move out!”

People think they like windows. They don’t. They just hate walls more.  And that’s why windows wear clothes.

Alan Brech 2012

More Barely-Burlesqued Quotations and Paraphrases from a Reputedly Great History of Western Culture (Part 3)

From Jacques Barzun’s Dawn to Decadence:  500 Years of Western Cultural Life (c. 2000).  See posts from May 24th and May 30th for Parts I and II.  Annotations are printed in italics.

• When the world gets Romanticist, and becomes less Classicist, that’s when we get Tacitus back at us (pp. 9, 247, 295, and 503).

• England has not had an English king since 1066 (p. 240).

Stupid gits

• Modern manners are an amalgam of the ideals of chivalry and mercantile rigor (p. 245).

Take sneezing for instance:  the “God bless you” part is chivalrous; the failure to offer a cloth handkerchief is mercantile.

• The reasserted Divine Right of Kings in the 17th Century led to the political marginalization of divine institutions (p. 247-248).

So if we just remove the Sanctity from marriage, divorce rates would plummet.

• Absolute power is never really absolute (p. 250).

And yet so many are absolutely corrupt

• Rimbaud, like Rambo, was bent on utter destruction (p. 618-620).

• Sexual liberation and women’s emancipation were parallel and intertwined (p. 626-627).

Men just used women’s lib. to get their freak on.

• There was no such thing as antiques until the 1890’s (p. 600).

• By the 1890’s “there was no such thing as the leisure class” because “everybody is now busy at all times, even on holiday” (p. 595).

Yeah, I feel so sorry for those bastards every time I see them sweating over their I-Phones on Cape Cod.

• History is not really a science (pp. 299, 568-570, and 578). And neither is anthropology (p. 578).

• Nurses were rightly associated with drunkenness and loose morals before Florence Nightingale (p. 580).

‘Reminds me of what old Radical Bill told me back in Gainesville:  “In my vast experience, the liveliest women in bed were nurses and Jewish women.”  If only there were more Jewish nurses…

• Some Westerners became Communist for the sex (p. 747).

• One should not read beyond one’s intelligence (p. 770)

Now he tells me–on page 770!

• Hasty intellectual judgments about scholars from the past are as deplorable as hasty moral judgments about other people in the present (p. 253).

Bullshit!

What an asshole…

• Hamlet never vacillated, nor was he indecisive (p. 254).

And Lady MacBeth didn’t have a guilty conscience–she was just OCD.

• Machiavelli was not Machiavellian given his Italian origins (p. 256).

The enz justify the meanness when you’re waist-deep in guidos. Barzun anticipated The Jersey Shore by 10 years.

• The Puritans in England and America were not dour killjoys. They only shut down the theaters because of all the whores and hook-ups (pp. 261-262, and 278).

• Modern democracy originated with the Puritans (pp. 265 and 277).

Shit, that means that Romney’s a shoe-in!

• John Lilburne had prison-glow (p. 268-269). Defoe, the father of modern journalism, also had it (p. 310).

Jesus still has prison-glow…and Cross-glow… and grave-glow…

• It was the Libertarian ideas of the Puritans that led them to persecute each other and everyone else (p. 271)

So vote for Ron Paul!  

And kill everyone else!

• Just because Fundamentalists suppress free thought does not mean that they’re anti-intellectual–persecuting ideas and speech shows that you really care (p. 272).

• Both Ceaser and Cromwell were full of clemency (pp. 274 and 276).

Mao and Stalin were veritable push-overs.

• Converting to Calvinism causes deep psychological depression–e.g. Cromwell and Bunyan (p. 275).

• The old Calvinist/Protestant Head-Trip:

Step 1:  get depressed about your moral salvation

Step 2:  feel morally justified and act semi-evil

  The new Calvinist/Protestant Head-Trip:

Skip step 1  (p. 275).

• Like anti-Communism during the Cold War, “anti-Popery” in England was justified at least until the early 19th Century (p. 276).

I never realized that fragrant flowers and leaves in an open bowl could be so offensive or dangerous.

• The Puritans were big fans of dry-humping, which they called “bundling” (p. 279-281).

• The 13th Century was the real Age of Enlightenment (p. 281).

• The reason the Puritans were so uptight was because they foresaw the modern condition of materialism, atheism and Hobbesianism that so disquiets our current age (p. 282).

• Louis XIV was raised by a single mom (p. 285-286).

Shit, that means Obama’s a shoe-in!

• Nobles used to be rebels, but Louis XIV kept them in line with etiquette and entertainment.  Versailles was so polite and entertaining that “everyone was on tenterhooks” (pp. 286-288, and 296).

• Versailles was constructed to get away from the mobs and intellectuals of Paris (p. 287-288).

They could have just moved to Florida, I mean, he was the Sun King after all…

• Louis XIV could scan the crowd at Versailles and tell at a glance who was absent (p. 287).

He missed his true calling as a leader of one of those so-called “Million-man marches.”

• Louis XIV only lost his temper twice. His most severe rebuke (besides “Hey, where’s so-and-so?”) was “I was almost kept waiting!” (p. 281-291).

And that’s why he never bothered to get a driver’s license. Or vote. Or shop. Or go out on a second date.

(p. 290:  “He obtained a succession of mistresses without the use of tactics.”)

• Louis XIV’s best mistress (Athenais de Mortemart) was a Satanist. When he shacked up with a truly pious woman (Mme. de Maintenon), his kingdom went to Hell (pp. 291, and 300-301).

• The aristocrats of pre-Revolutionary France were too Germanic (p. 295).

• Modern societies have “recklessly prolonged life” (p. 525)

This from a guy who was born in 1907 and still isn’t dead.

• Regarding the disappearance of court jesters:  the increase in Rationalism at the onset of the Monarchical Age (1648–1789) meant the end of the role of “the inspired idiot” (p. 302).

BUT I’M BACK, BABY!!!

Alan Brech, 2012