“First Robot”, or “Explore Space to Deal With Death”, A Review of First Man, by Damien Chazelle

Movie-wise, I’ve still been on a TGM kick, especially at work, and so it was only natural that my boss (also a pilot) was shocked that I hadn’t seen First Man.

“When I heard they didn’t show him planting the flag, I just lost interest,” I explained.

Well, he told me it was just great and must-see viewing for a pilot. “I can’t believe a pilot wouldn’t want to watch that movie.”

So I watched it.

And like all “inspired by real events” movies, they couldn’t just leave well enough alone.

To be clear, there is no record—at any level, to include hearsay—that Neil Armstrong throws his dead daughter’s bracelet into a moon crater.

In the film, we watch, not a man, but a machine train and train and train and then launch for the moon. Maybe the director saw the problem here.

“How can we have a movie called ‘First Man’ and then show that it was a cold, calculating psychopath that NASA launched to the moon?” we can almost hear him asking.

But the answer to this problem is to fix the portrait (or title), not insert a definitively make-believe event.

In short: Tell the Truth!!

From my perspective, I wanted to know—and I thought the movie was wanting to tell me—why Neil Armstrong was the first man to land and walk on the moon. Specifically, why Neil Armstrong was chosen and why Neil Armstrong had what it takes to know that he should be first.

I know I’m better than most of mankind at achieving goals and completing tasks correctly etc. But I also have been around other dudes that I couldn’t hold a candle to. Neil Armstrong seems to have never experienced the latter. He only knew that he was the man. Absolute confidence. Unbridled certainty.

It’s remarkable.

It’s worth a million dollar film being commissioned.

But it’s also worth getting right.

Our culture seems to struggle with the idea that adults still want things. That adults still can have desires. A movie like this bears this out. It doesn’t know what story to tell. The story is not about “look how he couldn’t be both a good dad and a good man.”

Neil Armstrong wasn’t a good dad! Oh em gee! Damn him to hell!

Does anyone else still believe that a good adult can be precisely what a child (and a nation) needs?

Broadening, does anyone else still believe that an achieving adult is precisely what a family and a nation needs?

We’ve become bedazzled by the idea of sacrificing individual achievement in order to help some version of the helpless masses.

Sorry, but my achievements do help them. We don’t need to scrap NASA in order to feed people.

Your desire to stop my achievement is called “envy” and is sin straight from the pit of hell. JS Mill showed me this. You should learn to see it too.

In any case, between First Man and Ad Astra, I’m not persuaded. Men don’t need the death of fathers and daughters to propel them to greatness. They just need…

And that’s it. The heart of the matter. What do men need to propel them to greatness? Do you know?

Public Schools Must Be Abolished

Just a quick note on a recurring theme.

If you don’t have school-age children, then here’s what you’re missing.

Every Friday the administration sends out several “wrap-up”, “week in review” emails, themselves containing links to more content. I read like lightning, and I still would spend more time reading these emails than I would spend on a full week of homeschooling.

What do these people actually believe? Have they written the great American novel? Do they believe the parents are literate at an above average rate? How many adults actually make it through every word?

Public school.

What a waste of time.

Abolish! Abolish! Abolish!

The Bible Is Not Always Clear

The sermon this morning was on James 1:22-25. Here it is.

But become doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he looked at himself and has gone away, he immediately forgot what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.
‭‭James‬ ‭1:22-25‬ ‭LSB‬‬

The preacher this morning spent an inordinate amount of time on the “common sense” mirror analogy. To summarize, he said, “Unless you’re a ‘doer’ James is saying it’s like you see bedhead in the mirror in the morning and then don’t fix it. Hearing-only is only seeing the mirror, James is saying. But we want to be ‘doers’, so we have to do something about what we see.”

This interpretation, of what you’ll see is an uncommon teaching, is incredibly flawed. See if you can follow me as I explain why.

Firstly, the mirror is never truth. The mirror is never reality.

Secondly, the Bible is not a mirror. As I was critiquing the sermon on the short drive home, my wife somehow defended the sermon with, “but the Bible is a mirror!” This exclamation was especially saddening as she knows better. To be clear, a quick, but exhaustive, search of the Bible shows that no Bible writer ever expressed as much. Of course they didn’t. It isn’t true. The Bible writers never wrote that the Bible is a mirror because the Bible is not a mirror. (This is because the Bible is true and mirrors are not.)

Thirdly, James plainly says that the hearer-only forgets without the mirror. When apart from the mirror, the hearer-only forgets.

Let’s take an example of forgetting. As a professional pilot, I wear a uniform when I fly. The uniform is what a professional pilot wears. You see me in a uniform, just the same as I see myself in a mirror in a uniform. You see pilots in uniforms, but—and you know this—uniforms aren’t the thing that makes him a pilot.

It’s a good look, the uniform. So I like to see myself in the mirror. “Yeah, that’s me. I’m a pilot. Cool.”

Now imagine that I walk away from the mirror and am unable to get the plane into the sky. Am I still a pilot? Even though I’m in uniform? (We’re still on point three; James’ emphasis is on forgetting.)

I saw the other pilots in their uniforms. I put on one that fit me. But, imagine that for some reason I couldn’t perform the task of flight. I have forgotten who I was/am. As it turns out, how I look has nothing to do with whether I am a pilot.

(Here insert any of your own reflective, superficial, outward traits.)

Fourthly, and finally, mirrors, in-and-of-themselves, are not compelling. Don’t believe me? Hmm. Okay. Then I guess you’re not slightly overweight, not slightly unkempt, good from this angle, and you don’t appear to weigh as much as the scale says. I guess you really do look best on video chat when it’s just your face, your clothes really don’t matter, and you’re only working from home—so no need to look nice.

If mirrors could compel us to change, we’d all look exact like we want to, no matter the cost of achieving it.

James was writing to liars (that includes you and me too). Specifically, he was writing to believers who were undergoing various trials. James believes that he (James) knows a thing or two about how to gain the righteousness of God. And he writes that we don’t gain the righteousness of God by living a lie. Or as James says “deluding ourselves”.

If you think hearing a sermon every week, or your having heard a powerful sermon once in your life, is going to gain you the righteousness of God, then think again.

This short passage is not clear. It is not common sense. It is murky, it is mysterious, and it is deep enough that a lifetime can be spent contemplating it. This is because James is promoting the need for religion. He is promoting the need for repetition. He is promoting the need for repentance.

Why? Why repent? Why repetitively perform good works? Why get religion?

Answer: “To achieve the righteousness of God.”

(Here notice that we haven’t touched on what that is. Maybe some other day.)

Mayor Pete Is A Real Boy

Some of you have no doubt seen the headlines that Mayor Pete put pen to paper regarding his first year with the twin babies.

What most of you won’t have taken time to learn, what the news didn’t report, is that Mayor Pete also, after his year in the Land of Boobies, to his great astonishment, grew a beautiful pair of donkey’s ears.

It is moments like these where I am glad homosexual men are sterile. Seems nature has things under control after all.

Luck or Consequence?

You should remember that I have a step-son, A-. He’s now 12, and he has been in my house for over two years. For right or wrong, most nights, as my wife (his mother) and I lay in bed, about to fall asleep, I recount, let’s say, “areas for improvement” in his day. So many lies, so much disobedience, so much unthinkingness. He’s not hell-bent, but he has severe low self-esteem and until me, has never apparently had an adult teach him anything, let alone the big things. Making matters worse, he’s been guessing wrong and drawing wrong conclusions with his own brain—itself a testament to how incapable a human is to just “get it” without proper breeding.

Anyhow, as you also know, I fly helicopters professionally and of the EMS sort. Recently, I was able to attend a drag racing event as the “on duty”, “fly out the injured driver or fan” pilot. Well, one of the perks of this event was I got to go down to the start line and be as close to the car as anyone, well, anyone except the driver.

I’m telling you, it was like a bomb went off when the lights turned green. I feared for my own life.

In other words, it was awesome.

Later that shift, I flew an actual patient of a bicyclist vs. car event and then I had a long drive home. Long day.

Pretty much went directly to bed. And while there, I’m showing the wife videos of the crazy races and explaining the unimaginable experience of being right there (and having flown in to the event, all while being on the clock) and, because she she knows I like Nascar among other reasons, she says, “Lucky you.”

Full stop.

Lucky me? I’m at the race and being teated as VIP because I’m fortunate?

Sorry, my wife. Maybe it’s fortunate that that shift was open and I was able to fill it. Maybe it’s fortunate that the other helicopter that was supposed to be there was weathered in and we were sent until they could replace us. But the reason that pilots get these uncommon opportunities is pure consequence of consistent application of self-control, obedience, perseverance, attention to detail, service, and the list goes on.

The moment sticks in my craw because of my step-son. I’m the only adult in his life that holds him accountable, that gives him consequences, that tells him unrelentingly that “this behavior caused this consequence” and this means that I’ve created in him a fight. He has all the rest of you just neglecting him, just letting him believe in some bastardized version of “fortune” when it comes to how life unfolds in one corner. And he has me, in the other. I’m strict. I’m probably terrifying. And I talk to him more than anyone he knows. But I’m also alone. Me and my helicopter and my videos of cars exploding off the planet. 9 years of everyone, followed by 2+ years of everyone vs. one man who seems lucky. What do you think? Who’s he gonna choose to stick with?

Good things happen as consequences, and nominal and bad things happen as consequences.

Bear in mind, I’m not saying, I, Captain Pete, deserve good things, deserve good consequences. I am saying that when they happen, it is definitely and certainly due to past performance.

I saw the same images of who gets to be where at sporting events as I grew up that you all saw too. Celebrities and the wealthy have their places in the arena, and so do those of us who prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.

But enough. I wrote this as a conversation piece. I’m curious, what do you think? Is my wife right? Am I just lucky? Or am I right? Was my front row experience the consequence of past behavior.

Lastly, help a brotha’ out. Give the kids in your, ahem, “sphere of influence” consequences.

Stunted?, A Review of Elvis by Baz Luhrmann

Mr. Luhrmann’s biopic finally made it to streaming and, therefore, ahem, “undocumented” streaming, which means, finally made it to my laptop. I’d been waiting for months—so long in fact that I nearly watched a cam version. In short, I’m glad I waited. There was nothing that I missed by not being part of the initial watch party, and there was plenty that I’m glad I saw in decent quality, both picture and sound.

Skipping to the end, though, unlike Elvis’ at least momentary ability to gain satisfaction on the “love” front, I was left unsatisfied.

The chosen vehicle to deliver Elvis to us is the “unparalleled talent held back by abusing manager”. Despite this choice, the movie and the man seem to cry out that there must’ve been more to Elvis Aaron Presley. He couldn’t have just been “Elvis” because he constantly broke his manager’s barriers. And we all know, or those of us who read lyrics all know, that every artist views themselves as restricted, even in their most untamed seeming creations.

I call your attention to Exhibit A: Tool has a song in which he describes how a fan calls him a “sell out” and then he, MJK, responds, “All you know about me’s what I sold ya, dumbf*^%/I sold out long before you ever even heard my name…” among other fairly harsh truths on topic.

Over here is Exhibit B: Metallica released a collaboration with Lou Reed that was widely and thoroughly panned by critics. I think it’s the last CD I bought at Best Buy. Or second to last. When someone told the drummer that it was very hard to listen to, he replied, “You should try performing it!”

The nicest review I found at the time was written by, if memory serves, someone from Mastodon. He essentially argued, “Good for Metallica.” He said that Metallica is so big that they actually had a chance to release something that they wanted to release, no input from anyone. Sure, he went on, it’s no good. But none of us have achieved or probably will achieve the ability to make truly pure art like they did. (My paraphrase.)

In short, Mr. Luhrmann’s Elvis comes across as merely trope (rare adjectival use) and yet, after what I just saw, Elvis Aaron Presley couldn’t have been so one-sided. The most important thing about him couldn’t have been that his manager held him back if it’s common knowledge to a mid-western kid like me that no musicians are free from stunting managerial oversight (excepting all-mighty ‘tallica, of course).

In the end, it was a decent film, had stirring sequences and the ending was unavoidably emotional. But it didn’t quite do justice to the wiggly flesh exterior, the blood-pumping heart that lay beneath, or the invisible soul that would not be told who to be that I have to believe filled Elvis Aaron Presley—the man I’d want to have met.

On that front, Mr. Luhrmann succeeded. I’d never had that thought before the film. I’d always pictured a Vegas has-been. While I still think there was a sharper image to be portrayed by a film, I definitely had my perception changed. And that is rare these days. So while it’s true that Elvis has left the building, I say, long live the king.

“One Pastor Candidate for Every Five Pastor Openings”

Have you heard this one? I just heard it the other day.

I’ve been generally aware of the “pastor shortage” or, put differently, the “need for pastors,” but the other day after a men’s Bible study, a church member shared this doozy with me.

You see, the local church my family will probably join is between pastors at the moment and it’s been seven months. They have stalled in the search, basically taking the past seven months to write a church profile with only two salient facts in my view: low attendance (50-60 a Sunday) and minimal budget (somewhere around $150k a year).

But now, with only depressing effect, there’s this fact in the mix. Only one pastor is available for every five congregations looking for a pastor, or in need of a pastor.

I say, let’s honor the rumor and explore what it may mean. Like from a God’s eye view. For example, are we saying that God isn’t providing shepherds for His flocks? Seems unlikely. What are some other options?

One other option, possibly the only other option, is that the pastor-less churches aren’t churches.

Boom.

Consider that.

What would that mean? What would we be saying if we concluded that four of five pastor-less churches aren’t “churches”?

I’ve been thinking about this question all week. And the answer, as I see it, is not as surprising as you might guess.

What does it mean that four of five pastor-less churches aren’t actually “churches”?

It means people aren’t religious anymore.

And that fact is not surprising at all. It’s quite mundane really. It’s not even embarrassing. It’s “just the way it is”.

Specifically though, or more acutely, it means that these pastor-less groups, are viewed by men like me (or men I went to seminary with) as uninterested in religion. Instead they’re interested in having their way all the time, and won’t be moved from their opinions.

In the particular church I have been attending, the head deacon was curious about my opinion on whether the flag could be placed back behind the pulpit in the sanctuary. It seems the previous pastor took it down as an early order of business during his tenure.

The point here is not, “What did you tell him, Pete? We are having the same debate.”

The point is, “What man on earth, let alone man of the cloth, man called by Almighty God to preach the Word, wants to debate sanctuary decorations?” That’s not a Christian church problem, that is a personality problem. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

Step 1 of problem solving, Air Force Officer Training School style: Recognize The Problem. The problem here is not a pastor shortage, the problem here is a truth shortage.

The God of the Bible, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe is not afraid to use unpleasant truths to accomplish His will.

The truth is these groups of people long ago stopped being Christian churches. Everyone with children left—that’s the first sign. But more than that, churches grow. They also convert people. If so-called “churches” aren’t growing and aren’t gaining new converts for years, they’re not churches. This isn’t the end of the world. It’s the truth.

In conclusion, don’t put out a “Pastor Wanted” sign if you’re not a church.

And if you’re not a church, then the only public action for your group is prayer. If the “church” won’t pray together, then you’ve learned all you need to know. 1. It’s definitely not a church and 2. your two options then are evangelize or leave.

I say, why not evangelize? Most people are horrible at it and you’ve at least got a ready audience.

As for me and my particular situation, I’m attempting to practice what I preach here. I’m sticking with these folks, who otherwise are not a church, because they’re a ready audience and they need Gospel as much as the next man.

On Art and On Health Insurance Costs

These two have nothing to do with each other, so don’t spend any time searching for the connection. Art and Health Insurance Costs have nothing to do with each other. They’re just both on my mind and I’ve been meaning to write about them for some time.

The reason to write about Health Insurance Costs is because I finally know the answer to my long unanswered question, “How does it work?” I usually ask this question when the person taking my money says the word “only”. And the HR folks seem to always say, “You only pay…”

While I haven’t ever googled anything like what I’m about to share, part of the reason for that lack of searching is that I wouldn’t even know how to ask the question. Experience was the way for me to “search it up”.

My company tells me that I can choose between an HSA or whatever the other, more traditional plan is called. Neither the acronyms, nor the explanations of benefits made a difference to me, and the paycheck deduction is near identical. I chose HSA.

Long story short: the HSA costs me (family man) something like $230/paycheck no matter if I go to a doctor or not.

But there’s a $3,000 deductible.

So that means that if you happen to go to the doc, whatever the number the letter in the mail gives you after figuring out what was “covered”—pay attention—must be paid. So if you go and owe $3,000, you’re now paying, over one year (26 paychecks) $345/paycheck ($230+$115). (Luckily, most places don’t charge interest on these year long payment plans—luckily for them, I mean…)

To restate that, if you need to spend your full deductible, you go from paying $460 a month to $690 a month!

Now, once the deductible is met, there is an “out of pocket max”. For my plan, this is—for any one us—$6,875/year. For the entire family it is $8,000. (Don’t quote me on these numbers. They’re close. Who would have them memorized? I have better things to do.)

Again, once some one (1) member gets bills for $6,875, which is only $3,875 more than the “deductible”, the new paycheck-ly cost of the plan is…(total of $3,875 / 26 added to $345)…$494/paycheck! Put plainly, we’re up to $1,000 a month!

If we get bills to the tune of the family out-of-pocket max, that’s an addition of $1,125 (over the course of 26 checks) or a grand total of $537/paycheck!

In short, before all the medical bills become “covered” (natural sense of the word) by my health insurance, I have to contribute $1,100/month or so, or the initial $230 x 26, plus $8,000, for a grand total of $13,980!

I’m not sure the word “covered” really means anything at this point. Maybe we’re “covered” in the sense that a year of mortgage payments “cover” our heads all year.

“What’s your mortgage?” Next time someone asks, tell the truth. Add up both the mortgage and the health insurance.

Now you know. And no one ever had explained it to me before. So I wrote it down today.

Next, unrelatedly, let’s talk about Art. I just listened to a podcast on the philosophy of Art and a super intriguing idea was planted in my mind. The idea? All Art as “work song”.

I like this idea so much, it gives me so much joy, that I’m infecting you with this idea now. Is Art itself merely “work song” for our lives, comprehensively? If so, what does that mean? If not, how is genuine “work song” (like “I’ve been working on the railroad” sung by actual railroad workers while they work on the railroad to pass the time away…) different than Art?

Fascinating to consider. On the one hand, if all Art is work song, that paints a pretty depressing vision of life on Earth—as in, life is so bad we have to sing to get through it. But I don’t see why it has to. I like singing and I like working and I like singing while working. Just did it the other day. Was chatting movies on the leg home and belted out, “Say it soft and it’s almost like praying”. (Name that tune?) Made the crew chatty and made me smile.

As for me, I’m undecided as of yet. But I’m leaning towards siding with the “all Art is work song” crowd. What do you think?

Been Driving A Lot

I’ve been driving a lot, of late. And this has provided ample time for thinking.

As my careful readers know, it is my general belief that my assessment and perspective on life is spot on, and that there is something to gain if I am able to communicate my perspective to others.

My particular aim is to develop the most eloquent and compelling, if not provocative, manner of stating whatever position I find to be true and in need of announcement.

Today, I want to firmly place the concept of “races” or “ethnicities” or “identity politics” or “racism” in the trash fire. I want all of us to stop giving ear and time to the idea that the certain subgroups of humans which have been oppressed are now in need of special, however acute, advantages to make up for the oppression etc. You know what I mean—all the mainstream, legitimate sounding equity and equality BS.

Here’s my zinger which demonstrates that I’m right:

No race/ethnicity/community will ever say “thank you” to the race/ethnicity/community that helped them.

To use one specific example, I’m saying that the venerated “black community” will never tell those former-slavers-now-living-with-“white-privilege”, “Thank you all for giving us a hand when we needed it.”

And it is this fact-of-life of perpetual ingratitude that is the proof that the Blacks themselves know who is ultimately responsible for their station in life—individuals.

Of course, I could be wrong. I long for it, in fact. I’ve even made it easy for ya. All that would have to happen for me to be wrong is one or more of my readers which hail from the “community” would have to say, “Btw, Pete. In honor of your upcoming 41st birthday, I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you for freeing us from the chains of bondage. That was very big of you.’”

(I’m not holding my breath.)

While I wait, I march on with high hopes of avoiding the consequences of unthinking stupidity—and raising my children to do the same.

A Tone-Matching Post On 50 Years of Unhurt Women, Physical Touch, and One of Justice Sotomayor’s Opinions Within Her Dobbs Dissent

I became a gym regular at the age of 16. I mean, I was a nearly five days a week regular. I loved lifting weights. Unlike most of my peers, I used my senior year’s “take an hour off school cuz you work fifteen hours a week” work consortium(?) credit on the first hour, not the seventh. I went to school late. What did I do before school? I went to the gym.

You ladies, especially you unfit ladies, may be surprised to know that gyms are a pretty well-known place for gay men to congregate en masse.

As I get going, a few factual anecdotes may prove salient here.

Back then, I had a buddy who was always more socially aware than I, and we were probably the only two 17 yr olds actively engaging in weight lifting for personal fitness, ie not football, while in high school. Despite my falling behind him in awareness, I was well-aware that one or two of the men at the gym we regularly chatted with were essentially sexual predators, and that my young friend and I were the prey.

Anecdote 1: The one man, 50ish in age—but no more than twenty in appearance (“Black don’t crack”)—offered my friend $200 to publicly shower at the gym. My friend accepted and told me that he figured, “I needed a shower anyhow.” He then told me, “So I shower, the dude walks in, (keep in mind this is a public men’s locker room) and I see him peer in, and then he leaves. Easy money.”

Anecdote 2: I never got an similar offer, but I was always a user of the one private shower, and one morning the door opened and this same gay man see me and says, “Oh, sorry about that,” and closes it. I shook my head. My predominant thought was, “I don’t know if I could stop myself from the same foolishness if an uber fit, attractive (and unconscionably funny and smart and charming…) young woman was showering in the men’s locker room right behind where I took a leak, either.” Or simply, “Meh.”

Unlike my buddy, I had more chats with another man that folks always told me was gay, but he never as anything but nice to me. Well, over time he accepted my invitation to watch me play roller hockey in a men’s inter-mural league. That was horribly awkward. Not sure why I did it.

Anecdote 3: And while he didn’t proposition me, he knew I was promoting a local Strongman Competition and he offered to have his company sponsor it. As I took him up on his offer, he paid me the $250 from his own checkbook—not Frito Lay’s. Lol. He must’ve wanted it real bad. I mean, I’ve been horny, but sheesh.

I could go on, believe me.

Nearly two decades later, life/poor judgment drops me off as an assistant manager at a gentleman’s club. Besides alcohol, their business is physical touch. Seriously. In a manager meeting they told us about studies which show that a waitress’s placing their hand on a patron increases tips and spending. They reminded us how some men come in to the club not having been touched ever during the preceding week or so. A handshake from the bouncer/doorman, or at least a fist-bump, is good for business, period. (Unless the gentlemen displays otherwise, naturally.)

Furthermore, at the club, I learned that Hollywood generally gets the lap dance concept wrong. I have witnessed—my own eyes—“regulars” who literally just want the “lady” to sit, cowgirl-style, on their lap, and chat. Or perhaps just sit like that and hug. Song after song after song, dollar after dollar after dollar. No dry humping, no gyrating, just body touching body. Like as much surface contact as humanly possible. Mind you, this was not every man. But many.

All the above builds to my climactic and tone-matched response to the notion that women will be hurt by the overturn of Roe.

The other day, I posted that the evidence and arguments of “women” claiming, “women will be hurt,” really mean that “children-not-yet-living-as-responsible-adults” are who will be hurt. I thought this would necessarily lead someone to ask me how to fix this “irresponsible children will be hurt”situation. But you didn’t bite. So before getting to that interesting question, I want to show another angle of how this “women will be hurt” claim is foolish. The other angle being, “Women will be hurt?? What about MEN!? What about ME!!??”

See, as above, I believe—as a man—that I need touch. I don’t mean “want”, I mean “need”. I mean, like, “can’t live without it” need. And the main touch that I want is unprotected vaginal sex—including orgasm—with a woman.

Before Roe was overturned, before last Friday, I had all sorts of ways to feel this touch, in all fifty states. I told women, “I love you.” I told women, “You can’t get pregnant if we stand/sit/you’re on top/I’m on bottom/sideways/doggy-style etc.” I told women, “I’m rich.” I told women, “My family’s rich.” I told women, “I’m smart.” I told women, “No matter what happens, I’ll make it work.” If none of those dead ringers would achieve my need, I’d dig deep and offer, “You’re so beautiful.” Finally, if fortune was not on my side, or, to be frank, if she was really dumb (“geez, Pete”—I know, I’m mean), sometimes, when I really, really needed that special touch, I would tell them, “Come on, baby. It’s not like first trimester abortion is illegal. Just. (Oh that’s it.) Let me. (Yes. More.) Finish in you.”

And now?

Damn you, Justice Alito!!

Nowhere, not in the United States nor in my pickup lines, did I ever have to worry about what State I was in. Do you understand?

But now, since Friday, when all other winners fail me, when I have to resort to the classic, “It’s not like first trimester abortion is illegal,” line to spread my seed in a woman, I have to consider where in this great country I even am! (And as a Captain, I have a tendency to travel. So this overturn affects me particularly hard.)

I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. It’s true, I could say, “Even if we’re in one of the states which has banned abortion, I can get you a comp’d flight to a state that has the pills at least.” Yes, that might be a winner. But she’d probably have to be ESL at the least to let that pass. (I’m seeing that in the throws of ecstasy created by yours truly, an immigrant might only recognize “pill” and think “birth control”—and while many women on the pill only take it as a secondary, passive method—still requiring the man to use a condom—some do not. So I may be able to get the touch I need with this line.)

In the end, I want to wrap up by saying, Justice Sotomayor et al’s argument that “abortion rights allow a woman to control her destiny” (paraphrase) is true only conditionally, that is, only with the addition of one word. To make it true, it must say, “Abortion rights allow a stupid woman to control her destiny.”