Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Today we have a post from a guest blogger. Today, Captain “Is-There-Really-a-Difference-Between-Half-a-Teaspoon-and-a-Teaspoon?”, call sign, “I-Don’t-Care-If-the-Internet-Says-There-Is-a-Difference-Between-Baking-Soda-and-Powder-I-Can-Plainly-See-They’re-the-Same” will be taking controls.
That’s right, Pete. And I am excited! Let me tell you why!
First, I need to set the stage, as it were, for our readers. Picture this: a handsome devil, about 6 foot in height, adorned, from bottom to top as follows. Faux fur-lined, real Native-American-tribute moccasins connect him to the spiritual earth. (Cabelas.) Boot socks add enough insulation to his keep-warm feet. (Cabelas.) An odd type of heavy fleece sweatpants, nylon knee reinforcements and all–Gore Windstopper to boot (Cabelas–discontinued)–keeps two strong legs warm between innings. Up top, a baby blue, v-neck pajama shirt hangs out of a 1/4-zip desert green fleece (Cabelas) and together the core stays kindled.
Now, onto the main course. The recipe for mom’s Peanut Butter Blossoms Christmas cookies calls for mixing 1 3/4 cups flour with 1/2 t salt and 1 t baking soda as the first step. Then, separately, you’re to cream 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter. After this, add a mix of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. And at some point an egg, 2 T milk, and 1 t vanilla come to the party. Four bowls for one cookie? No, thank you.
Breaking things into those clean cut groups might have worked in the 90s, sure. But this is 2020. And doing dishes is still a chore. Plus, I have my wife’s new, red, KitchenAid artisan mixer at my disposal.
Segue: Most husbands love this item because they love how their wives finally stop complaining. I mean, what part of life is hard after obtaining the Kitchen-Aid mixer? Not me. I love the item because I get to rebel while baking cookies.
I don’t doubt my mom. I don’t. I need to be clear about that. What I doubt is that she really intended to be so an-, I mean, particular as to limit in which order I add the ingredients. So, in the bowl (before attaching the proper tool), I began with a stick of butter (directly from the fridge) and the peanut butter. I just put them in the bowl, added the paddle-outline looking deal, and set-it-and-forget-it as they say.
Next, I, after only stopping the machine–no other adjustments–added an egg, the milk, and the vanilla. I just cracked the egg on the side of the mixing bowl and plop. Only slightly doubting whether I should have stirred the egg a bit before adding it, I figured introducing the liquid elements now might help cream up the chunks of butter that seemed resistant to my will.
Measure sugar, add. Measure other sugar, add.
Finally, I stopped the machine, and took off the paddle thing. I measured the first cup of flour, not packed, into one cup and then for the other 3/4 cup of flour–instead of using the 3/4 cup line on the same 1 cup cup, I used an entirely separate 3/4 cup cup. Did I tell you how refined I am? (You just have to rinse dry measuring cups to clean them, anyhow.)
Now, here’s where the salt and soda issue unfolded.
Finally, I pressed my luck, because, ‘Why the eff not? It’s Christmas!” and carefully prepared to visually note any detrimental changes to the consistency of the cookie dough as I by feel increased the speed from 2, to 4, and then 6–but only for a second!
In the end, what I am most happy with myself about is that while back in the prison of the index card recipe, as I rolled the dough into balls, I, through some sort of ESP, thought, “Shouldn’t I be rolling them in sugar before placing them in the over?” And, sure enough, I was right. Can you explain that?
Speaking of extra sensory perception, I’m using caramel Hershey kisses this year.
The only problem now is that I feel guilty. No–not for resisting my moms dictatorial recipe. But because my perfectionist personality is pretty positive that with all these changes to order and decor, I cannot claim to have baked my mom’s cookies after all.
What kind of son have I become!?
I’ve moved on to, Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver, by Jonathan Swift (known more popularly as, “Gulliver’s Travels”), but before I forget, I wanted to record my concluding thought on the infamous Locke.
It is well known that white people (nothing to do with skin color) generally—and just past playfully—ridicule black preachers (nothing to do with skin color) for their energy. “No need to get so excited. Just say what you’ve got to say and let us go home,” we comment.
I was, accordingly, surprised to hear the following critique by my black mentor after we heard a particularly rousing sermon one day, at our black church. My mentor was a retired former Navy-man who had also worked in prisons. To temper my jubilant, childlike-wonder-filled praise, he replied, “I don’t like when preachers incite. And,” he continued, “now this may just be me, but it felt like he was inciting. I used to see this kind of thing in the prisons. It’s okay to be loud and full of passion—we are talking about the Lord, mind you—but sometimes some folk cross into inciting. Remember, Pete: not everyone that’s preaching is called.”
Returning to political philosophy, my concluding thought is this. I used to think the reason we weren’t assigned John Locke anymore was because he was irrelevant, being old and clearly having rued the day. But now, after reading his essay, in full, I see our predicament differently. The reason we don’t assign each other John Locke anymore is because he is dangerous. His writing and his ideas are so powerful that you will find yourself incited to make war upon our government. Promote an essay suggesting that, anytime government prevents its citizens from bettering their lives, war is the divinely approved method to change the situation? Heavens, no! We can’t have people reading this!
I, for my part, was driving down I-35, halfway to Cabelas’ guns and ammo department (already depleted), before I remembered that I have a family and that things in my climate controlled dwelling aren’t actually that bad—even without TV.
In short, before reading Locke—and subsequently fighting the war that makes America great again—read your Bible. Best to put first things first.
“Okay, H-, so we last read how Penelope had promised the suitors that she’d marry one of them after she finished weaving the thing, but, then, secretly, every night she had been undoing the day’s progress. Then, one of her maids ratted her out and so now she has to finish the weaving,” he explained, pausing to let the girl catch up.
“She should make it very, very big,” H- suggested, apparently already in the lead.
“So, it looks like you’re sad,” he said. “Is everything alright?”
H- hesitated and began, “Everything’s mostly alright.”
“Now I know something is wrong. Want to talk about it? Can I guess?”
The girl just about began again, then stopped. Her eyes said she would rather he guess.
Her father continued, “Well, obviously it’s the holidays and we’re not together. So that’s sad.”
“Yeah, and then you brought up the time when we were at Miss M’s house for Thanksgiving.”
“I didn’t know that you didn’t like being there for Thanksgiving.”
“It’s not that. It’s that we were together,” she clarified.
He began again. “And then I suspect seeing me having fun at work makes you sad.”
“Well, H-, I don’t know what to say.”
A longer pause.
“So we’re just going to read! Like always,” he faux exclaimed.
She chuckled, pathetically.
“What we’re actually going to do is repress our feelings,” he said smiling.
Now as they were FaceTiming, he really amped up the physicality of his mockery and explained with accompanying motions, “We’re going to push our feelings way down deep. And we’re going to try and hold them there as long as we can. Then, one day, unexpectedly, they’re just going to burst out!”
She laughed at his large unexpected expressions of surprise.
He cloaked the next line in mystery, “We won’t know when; we won’t know in what way-”
“-like a Jack-in-the-Box!” she interrupted.
Yes, H- had done it again. She had the gift—even if she had the blues.
John Locke opens his, “Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government,” (which he wrote to combat the notion, en vogue at that time, of Divine Right of Kings—itself predicated on the idea that the King was descended from Adam), he opens with four points.
Paraphrased, he says, firstly, Adam had no right (nor did he claim any right) to be such a king—over his family or others. Secondly, Adam’s children were not passed any such right. Thirdly, if his children were passed such right, there is no way to tell which child of each successive family should or did receive the right. And fourthly, (here I’ll directly quote at length) “That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which is the eldest line of Adam’s posterity being so long since utterly lost, that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not to one above another the least pretense to be the eldest house, and to have the right of inheritance.”
Put shortly, Locke says, even if we believe Adam was endowed especially by God to be King, and even if this special endowment was to be passed on to one of his children (and then one of his children and on and on), too bad! We’ve dropped the ball. We’ve lost track! There’s been too many generations, too many brothers and sisters each generation! Next!
The clarity of his writing is enough to make anyone smile. So read more Locke. Especially if you want to criticize the government. Because as it stands, all criticism I come across is unfocused, unclear, and childlike. We can do better. John Locke is proof.
No commentator gets it. None of them do. So I’m compelled to get back to it. Last post, I think, before the election.
The pundits are trying. They even seem to be pulling out all the stops, as it were. (One Trump defender actually discussed Trump’s oft-neglected athletic stamina when advocating for him.) But they’re wrong. None of them really possess the focus and clarity that this moment requires. Lucky for you, I do.
Here’s the truth: It’s all hype. I’m stupid. You’re stupid.
How do I defend my assertion? Firstly, by clarifying that I don’t mean ignorant. I mean stupid. Ignorance is bliss. We are not living in bliss. We are living stupidly. We know better and are screwing it up.
Secondly, I defend my assertion by recalling to mind the joke from Ghostbusters that was told when the goddess Gozer appeared and asked one of them, “Are you a god?” Akroyd’s character answered, “No,” and then they all got hurt. At this point, the black ghostbuster rebuked Akroyd, “Ray! When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!”
That joke works because the information seeker, Gozer, at that moment in the parlay, had admitted a weakness: she couldn’t discern deities from mortals. And even the black guy knew that mere mortals would be stupid to give up their unexpected advantage.
Well, I say that this scene has been playing out among us since March. We were gods—even the blacks, for all their whining. Then we found ourselves in new territory—PANDEMIC!! At this point, we made our misstep. We asked Fauci and other mortals if they were a god. Unluckily for us, and (I fervently pray) damningly for them, upon hearing verbal confirmation that we were morons, they all were, unlike us, savvy enough to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”
To be clear, we were Gozer. We were the gods. And, apparently, I’m the only one on the planet who can put this into writing. That fact alone demonstrates how stupid we are.
Finally, I want to go on record as saying the following. This is not the most important election of whatever select time period. It’s not. It’s not even pivotal. The fact that we let people talk like that is further evidence that we’re stupid. This election changes nothing. That’s the truth. And I don’t mean that in some sort of depresso way. I mean it as dryly as possible. As in, “What do you think, Pete?” “To be frank? It’s all hype.”
People who we don’t know—stranger danger 101–have been duping us into believing they are smarter than us, more important than us, more powerful than us, more relevant than us, and that they have more insight into the nature of life on earth than us for nearly all time. Some of us have read the words of men who lived in moments in time that weren’t like this. Seems like it was fun. But the majority of human history has been a record of stupidity—gods giving up their power.
Wednesday will see the rising sun. So will Thursday and Friday and the rest of time. It’s all hype. I’m stupid. You’re stupid.
“I don’t think you’re accurately accounting for the level of vanity involved in the people who translate ancient (or for that matter contemporary) texts.”
That’s what I should have said. Instead, I indulged myself in a fruitless, ground-losing defense of the character of translators. I think my big claim was, “Trust me. These people get it right!” Fizzle.
Why was I talking about translating ancient texts? Because I was talking about the unparalleled world of reading that opens to a human that learns one language—English—as being superior to the notion of achieving some sort of highly inefficient, multi-cultural divinity because of speaking two or more languages.
My partner in the conversation was, naturally, repulsed by this placement of English on a pedestal. Her devotion to sounding welcoming of all peoples and tongues was so blinding that she couldn’t even see that it’s English that gives us the access to all peoples and tongues (or at least those who have had anything to say that’s worth repeating). There’s no Arabic translation of Shakespeare spreading through the Middle East.
Oh well. Now I know. Live and learn.
Rhetorical tip o’ the day: Go with what keeps the conversation interesting and plays into putting the moron on the defense of whoever I’m trying to defend.
“You can’t blame Trump supporters for their zeal. They were beaten into stupors by white supremacists as children. A child can’t recover from that.”
“Well, you know, pro-lifers haven’t really been exposed to other ideas and cultures. Especially the ones claiming female gender. They’re basically enslaved to their holy book, incapable of escape. Pro-life is their hijab.”
“Many of the men supporting gun ownership are actually just compensating for their sterility, which they contracted due to PTSD, either from A. essentially being drafted—due to their poverty—to fight America’s illegal wars, or from B. their having witnessed gruesome animal torture on hunting trips with local hate groups at a young age.”
Yep. Those would nicely tee up even the nimblest leftist rhetorician for slaughter.
Can’t trust translators. Puuh. What an empty statement.
I do not know how Trump’s team chose “red” for their ballcaps.
I think I understand why red ballcaps became a symbol of all things evil.
I am very certain that I adore the recent and unfolding slight-of-hand in which red ballcaps have been replaced with the American flag.
And I am here today to say that the exchange was executed flawlessly.
You see, the American man can always spot the enemy. This ability is no mutant, divine, or alien superpower, but it does seem to reside in the rushing rivers of our blood. Likewise, the enemy always knows that deep down, in the empty recesses of their heart, that they are an enemy to America. The reason the American man and the enemy cannot coexist is found in this simple fact: the enemy lies. Consequently, rather than come outright and announce their disdain for all things star spangled, they strategically and deceitfully choose to disdain abstract, absurd, and obnoxious straw men. So be it.
But, but, I say! The American flag is now back in the mix.
Until today I never really considered what it must be like to view Old Glory through the eyes of an enemy. Did the Germans really ever hate it, back in the day? Doubtful. Could Osama Bin Laden look upon the American flag-blanketed bases in his homeland without envy? Yeah, right. Even now if I imagine my Trump-hating relatives (the BLMer up the street), I have to ask myself, when they see the Red, White, and Blue, does not the same awe and wonder that pulses through my body pulse through their body, leaving only goosebumps in their wake? Surely!
All this to say I’m thinking about a tattoo. And a vinyl wrap for my truck. And a flag pole for my truck. And a few T-shirts, starring you know which object of admiration.
Flawless execution. The American man has always known. Now all do.
You never hated Trump. It wasn’t the red ballcaps that disturbed your baser passions. From birth you had it out for Truth. Then you couldn’t stand to work hard and your lack of self-control was only outdone by your envy. Later you wouldn’t accept that you were born into a world which demanded, and did not apologize for its insistence, that you accept responsibility. Afterward, you furnished any and every argument, from weak to completely unfounded, against accountability. Finally, it has been revealed that your ignorance of history is only to be silenced by your cry to change it.
If you’re a divorced dad who finds that he is daily castrated–I’m talking balls cut off soon after waking, but then after a day and night of adjusting to a new life of crippling pain, you find that they regrew during the night, the cycle itself having the effect of soon making the dawn of day seem like encroaching outer darkness–and if you’re looking to end it all–yes, the “s” word (shh! suicide shh!)–the place for you is most definitely “dad’s rights” attorney websites.
Those websites can be found most easily by asking the internet questions like, “Should I call the police if my ex-wife doesn’t give me my daughter for court ordered my parenting time?”
The content on those websites includes, summarily, the fact you’re in a shitty spot. That you’re not the first to be in a shitty spot. That you’re not alone. And, of course, that you have to pay the money every month no matter if you ever want to see your daughter again (and stay outta jail). Oh, and lastly, you should call the attorney whose site you’re viewing and pay him money.
Sometimes the sites even contain scenarios to match against your current drama which may help you to more easily choose a course of action.
Additionally, the sites will paint the picture that plenty of men absolutely lose their minds. (One dad did “self surveillance” on his ex’s house and after the mom went to work, he saw the boyfriend fall asleep, and then the dad snuck in (how he kept his watermelon-sized balls from waking the village, we’ll never know!) and got his daughter–whom he then kept for 4 years! Nuts and bolts! Nuts and bolts! His-Ex-Got-Screwed! ((I wonder if she felt it?)))
It did not clarify whether the boyfriend ever found that ham wallet again.
Lucky for me, I am not plenty of men. Lucky for you, I know how to capture reality in words far better than just about everyone else. And if you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously not a man who’s going to go through with the aforementioned shamefully dirty deed. So I beseech you, stick with me a little longer and you’ll feel better.
The thing that the attorney sites get wrong is that they don’t ever evidence that they actually are aware of the feeling a daily-castrated man experiences. They try. They clearly have talked to a lot of these men. But they just, for whatever reason, don’t seem to get it. (Probably because they’re motivation lies in cash, not righteousness.)
Here’s my tale.
I don’t compromise. To repeat, I believe in war. I believe in there being a point on the life continuum where talk is over, where blood must be spilled in order to problem solve. The major instruction I received throughout my childhood informed this belief. And the first part of my adulthood executed this belief.
This belief does not lead to successful co-parenting. To be clear, I haven’t ever even tried to apply it because it’s so beyond obviously disastrous to the end goal–being 50% of the my daughter’s life being with me.
But the belief does something worse. The belief creates a world where you only see that every single step walks you further away from your daughter. I mean that beyond the steps in front of you that you can easily admit would take you further away despite your intentions, an uncompromising personality begins to see that every step takes you away.
Ask a question. Increase the distance by one step. Don’t ask a question. Increase the distance by one step.
State an assertion. Take a step away. Don’t state an assertion. Take a step away.
Tell the truth. Take a step away. Lie. Take a step away.
Pay money. Take a step away. Don’t pay money. Take a step away.
Get in the car. Step away. Don’t get in the car. Step away.
Go to work. Step away. Quit. Step away.
Eat any food you ever once made with your daughter. Step away. Avoid all food reminders. Step away.
Help a different child. Step away. Don’t ever help another child. Step away.
Bless your enemy. Step away. Curse your enemy. Step away.
Pray for those who persecute you. Step away. Be like the Gentiles. Step away.
Get married. Step away. Stay single. Step away.
Seek advice. Step away. Don’t seek advice. Step away.
Pay your attorney. Step away. Pay her attorney. Step away.
Pay a mediator. Step away. Don’t pay a mediator. Step away.
Go to court. Step away. Don’t go to court. Step away.
Do you see the effect of belief in war? It is not that you suffocate; it’s crippling. You get to the point where it feels like stillness is the only option.
“If I just sit still, if I just lie here,” you tell yourself, “then maybe the newest mutation of COVID-19 will enter through her mom’s eyes…”
But being still is definitely not stepping towards the child.
So what do you do?
As I mentioned, I was recently in Judges. Then the last few days, I have been studying Thessalonians 1&2.
I don’t want to rename the Bible. Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to. The idea is ridiculous. But I would like to share what I would call it, that is, in an imaginary world.
I’d call it… Actually I can’t put it into words.
It’s something like a self-help book that teaches you how to accept happiness in your life.
“Accept Blessings”. That’s about as close as I can get. But that sounds like an military order, not a book title.
“How to Accept Blessings” might be more accurate, but now I don’t know if I would have ever picked up a book with that title.
All I’m really trying to say is that the more I read the Bible, the more I see that people around me do not know how to be happy, how to make two good decisions in a row (let alone how to add a third), and the more I see that even when life doesn’t appear to be unfolding in our favor, it is.
Put another way, the starring character, Jesus, is supposed to have said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” And you won’t find that information anywhere else but in “Accept Blessings.”
See? That’s just not powerful.
And you won’t find that information anywhere else but in “How to Accept Blessings.”
Hmm. That’s definitely worse.
I guess we’re stuck with: And you won’t find that information anywhere else but in the Bible.