Ahhh've Seen Trouble All My Days

          As a serial monogamist, I've been involved with, married to, or in a serious relationship with, a relatively small quantity of women.   Over the decades, I willingly adapted to the druthers, hobbies, and preferences of my partner.  I started with Catholic Mass (I was young, forgive me for my hypocrisy) and over the next thirty years, as I dumped /slash/ became the dumpee /slash/ agreed we should go our separate ways...I morphed.  From church, to wherever any other military personnel would not be, to bingo, to wherever her boyfriend wouldn't be, to slot machines, to hiking trails, to dance clubs, to casinos, to . . .

          In 2003 I fell in love with a woman who loves to sing Karaoke.  Last year she agreed to be my fiancée (pronounced fy-ants).  And, can't forget to mention:  she's bona fide.

          Did you know that is the grammatically correct spelling?  Two words?  Latin?  I didn't.  Not until this very moment.  Which is what Ginny's 30-day marathon is supposed to accomplish!  Today is Day 8: A song you know all the words to.

          Now I—too—kroak on occasion; and I've learned the words to some.  One of my favorites is The Soggy Bottom Boy's rendition of Man of Constant Sorrow.  Here's why it is the perfect song to sing in public:
  • Not many sing it because nobody remembers the artist or title.
  • Once the first chords begin...everybody recalls it from the film, and loves it.
  • It's short.
  • You can almost talk all the words with a breathy nasal twang.
  • There are a few well-spaced instrumental breaks so you can catch your breath.
  • If you over-pantomime a few hillbilly-esque step-turn-kicks and duck-walks (from the film) while pretending to run your thumbs under shoulder straps you can OWN the audience.

Birthday Event

          Ginny's title the 7th day of this month-long videorama is A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event.

          How apropos.

          Today is my birthday.

          My favorite impressionist painter was also born today.

          I'm unsure which came first—learning that our births were exactly 106 years apart or falling in love with his brushstroke-genius.  Vincent by Don McLean always reminds me of today.  As an added coinkeydink...my favorite painting is at the three-minute and thirty-second point of this video.

          For all the skeptics who don't believe in coincidences:  Ginny and I didn't discuss today's topic ahead of time.  It's just a happy circumstance that her song reminds her of giving birth and my song reminds me that Vincent Van Gogh's and Veach Glines's geboorte verjaardag valt samen.  Since, in the US, today's date is depicted: 3-30; I also didn't coordinate with the creator of this video to insure Wheatfield with Crows would appear at the 3.30 mark...and it really has been my favorite since 1994, when I saw it at the Van Gogh Museum.

1970, Winter, Ohio

...one floor below me you don't even know me, I love you...
              -  Caught my Mother in a lie; began filtering my thoughts and actions (and stopped confiding).
              -  Had my first crush on a classmate—Janice Brailer (but not on her twin, Janet).
              -  Discovered masturbation (far out, man).
              -  Began to cultivate a new-found interest in music different from that favored by family members.
              -  Asked for a Panasonic Ball Radio for Christmas, which I'd seen in a magazine.
              -  Joined the Nashport Elementary basketball team (a mean feat for the shortest boy in class).
              -  Became crossing guard (allowed to be late for first period; had to leave last period before everyone else).

               I actually received the Christmas present I asked for—unheard of in my family—since we normally received clothes, books, safe and sanitized bargain-bin toys which may have been popular a year or two prior, and odd things that mom and 2dad wrongfully concluded we would enjoy.  I hung this radio on my headboard and listened to it constantly until the battery died.  And the next battery.  And the next.  Weeks.  Months.  Any rainy weekend, most winter evenings, every night...I was in my bedroom with the door closed.  Doing homework.  Reading books.  Beating off while fantasizing about Janice.  But always listening to my radio.

              Day 6 of Ginny's month o' videos title is A song that reminds you of someplace.   Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando and Dawn, reminds me of that entire winter.

    All About My Mother2 and Parenting Skills

              The prefixes great- and grand- before "parent" measure both the distance along a family tree and (oft-times inappropriately) imply a distinguished performance, therefore, I'll use more algorithmic pronouns.  Grandfather is father2; great-grandparents are parents3 (ad infinitum).

              My parents5 (on mom's-father2s-side) would have thought the need for parenting skills was as ridiculous a concept as paying for water.  They came from people of means.  This was New England in healing-from-civil-war American times!  Not only was indoor plumbing making it easier to relieve oneself with comfort—no more trudging to the outhouse in the middle of the night with a kerosene lantern and a Sears & Roebuck catalog—but this newfangled electricity-thingy was making all manner of things easier.  Just in time too.  The first Republican president's emancipation-thingy meant you had to cut back on the unpaid-household staff and all the nannies had been the first to go.

              My parents4, proud Bullards from the northern Bullard stock, sent their son (father3) to Exeter Academy.  He matriculated to Harvard with all of his schoolmates as was expected of him.  After college, he married a Davis (mother3).  She was also from a family of means and her uncle5 had been Isaac Davis.

              My father2 was shipped off to boarding school just like his father a legacy at Exeter Academy.  Unlike his father, however, he dropped out of Harvard because he impregnated my mother2 and needed a job now that he was all-but-disowned.  His mother, always very full of herself, said to him—about my mother2—"How could you?  With the low-born offspring of common grammar school teachers!  Your life is over!  Now you'll never amount to anything."

              My mom—the compound-product of generations of the never-parented—couldn't attend Exeter Academy like her brother (my uncle) because of that unfortunate born-with-a-vagina-thingy.  Instead, she got a summer waitressing job at The House on the Hill, an inn and restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine, run by my father's parents.  Mom did, however, fully embrace her parent's pregnant-before-marriage-thingy.  And then dad had to stop busing tables and join the Navy in order to support his newly formed unplanned family.

              I never knew my dad, Leverett Glines, nor any of his ancestors because my mother divorced him when I was just three and then moved us back-in with her parents—my parents2—whom I called Nana and Papa.

              For the few years we lived at Nana and Papa's house (until my mom re-married and we moved in with my 2dad) Nana would oft times attempt to lull me to sleep, naptime and bedtime, by playing music on the 45rpm record player which was always positioned on the back of the organ, or by playing the organ itself.  Of the stack of 45's she played over-and-over, I strongly remember only one.  This one.  And every time I hear this song, Canadian Sunset by Hugo Winterhalter, I remember my Nana.

              Nana...who recognized she'd been a terrible parent and tried to make up for it by cutting all the crust off her 2son's Fluffernutters made with Wonderbread and slicing them into strips she called "little soldiers."  Nana, who put a scoop of vanilla in my rootbeer and called it a "Brown Cow frappé".  Nana, who—referring to her scornful mother-in-law—said:  "Great-Nana Bullard somehow thinks being distantly related to the only damn-fool-idiot killed by the 'shot heard round the world' is somethin to be so very proud of."

              I have absolutely no parenting skills (and don't miss not having them, either).  Is that because of my genetics?  My environment?  Probably because of heaping dollops of both.

              This is Ginny's Day 5:  A song that reminds you of someone.

    Sad Beautiful

              Watching Christina Aguilera sing I Am Beautiful will chime no more emotional bells than Andy Rooney creaking I Am Elderly or Mel Gibson blathering I Am Crazy...but, every time I watch the two-minute video of Madame Aguilera's tune being sung by an animated ostrich, it strums my heartstrings, brings tears to my eyes, and—no matter how many times—makes me feel a little sad.

              Although today's topic in Ginny's video-a-day challenge was 'song that makes you sad,' I decided (like I do) to color outside the lines a bit.  Not because there aren't plenty of songs which make me sad.  Oh sure there are me'boyo.  By the raft load.  Hell, I'm ovaries-deep in male menopause.  I get a wee bleary if I overhear someone discussing In The Ghetto by the late-great Mister Presley.  [Note:  I've not a clue why the last few sentences came out as if I were a leprechaun.  But, they did.  And re-reading them made me giggle, so I left them.]

              I jumped aboard this thirty day cruise because Ginny kicked it off four days ago by smashing her "video-a-day" bottle of bubbly across the bow.  So even though this song, alone, doesn't make me even a little bit sad—in this video, it does.  And has ever since I saw it six years ago.

              Sad songs are better if you begin listening in a happy mood.  If you're not happy right now, listen to yesterdays song first.

    Dose Aurally as Needed = Happy

              There are certain beats, chord combinations, and rhythm syncopations which strike us viscerally.  I think everyone should become as self-aware as possible—which, along with identifying mood-altering sounds, includes learning your odors, flavors, tactile sensations, and visual stimuli.

              I'm calmed by seeing earth-tones (especially orange), tasting vanilla or wintergreen, and smelling lilac.  There's a dusty powdered-rose odor that can cause me to become quite angry if I'm not able to get out of its aura of influence fast enough.  And, I wrote about a song yesterday (this is Day 3 of follow-the-Ginny title: A Song That Makes You Happy) which makes me uncomfortable if I hear it.

               Gina G's, Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit turns my amp up to eleven and bludgeons happiness into my nervous system.  I don't really like the song very much.  It's too chirpy and bubblegummy.  But medicine doesn't have to taste good.  If I'm down, all it takes is three minutes.  Anyone who can stay in a bad mood after hearing this song is a hardcore angerball scrooge-grinch.

    ...you know what I'm lookin for...

    Fade To Black

              Until the summer of 1990, there was nothing in my Song You Fucking Hate category.  Sure, there were (and are) entire genre's I don't like to listen to, but fucking hate?  Strong words for a few minutes of lyrics surrounded by a melody.  However.

              The song Ginny fucking hates is Kenny Loggin's - Playing with the Boys.  In her video-a-day challenge (which I'm shadowing—today is Day 2) she states: "...I hate the living snot out of this horrible (yet refreshingly homo-erotic) soundtrack abomination..."  She chose not to detail much in the way of why.  In my case, I have an explanation.  You betcha.

              After eight years as an Infantryman and MP, in the spring of 1990 I began my apprentice year as an CID Agent at Fort Benning, Georgia.  At the risk of overusing the adverb du jour by using it twice in one sentence (and this might go without saying) it's important to underscore at this point in my tale about a song I fucking hate, that summer in the southeastern United States is-was-and-forever-shall-be fucking humid.  As I arrived at work 0700 on Monday, 18 June 1990, the temperature was in the mid 90s (34 Celsius) and the humidity was over 80%.  The dress shirt under my suit jacket was soaked-through with sweat just from walking from my air-conditioned car to my air-conditioned office.  I was the "Duty Agent" today and, therefore, would be the lead investigator on all crimes reported to this office for the next 24 hours.  At 0730 the MP Desk Sergeant informed me of an alleged suicide.  This would be my first as a Duty Agent.

              The fifteen foot (4.5 meter) square barracks room I needed to search, measure, collect evidence from, photograph, sketch, dust for prints, describe in detail, and videotape, was not air-conditioned.  Its windows were closed.  I had to keep its door closed.

              The room contained a bunk bed set, two desks with chairs, two wall lockers (wardrobes), a large stereo system, a television, a small area rug, and fifteen assorted rifles.  One nearly headless body wearing an Army BDU (green/brown/black camouflaged uniform) was on the tile floor near the wall opposite the door.  A brain was laying next to a loaded M16 rifle inside a pool of coagulating blood about the size of an adult's hula-hoop.  A portion of the back wall and ceiling above the body was splattered with blood, tissue, hair and bone fragments.

              I processed that scene for over two hours wearing plastic gloves on my hands before I could allow the mortuary assistant to enter the room.  Then, because he was alone, I helped him load the body into a body bag and used the cardboard backing from a pad of paper to scoop the brain into the bag.

              Prior to shooting himself in the face with two rounds of 5.56 NATO ammo, the soldier had programmed a Metallica CD to play the song Fade To Black, indefinitely.  The volume was set to about 25dB.  So quiet that, although I was aware the stereo was on, it took me more than 20 minutes to realize I was hearing the same song over and over.  While processing the scene, I had to listen to that song—his fucking suicide note—at least a dozen times before I could dust the stereo for prints and turn it off.

              The inside of that room was well over 110 degrees (44 Celsius) before I finished—I was constantly wiping my face and neck with a towel to prevent my sweat from contaminating the scene.  Dealing with the smells was memorably unpleasant...but the song.  I still can't listen to it without feeling uncomfortable (so, if the video below doesn't play correctly please let me know).

              I am here to testify that the Ludovico Technique from Clockwork Orange is real (although Metallica is not Beethoven and I was never a huge fan).  After processing this suicide, I immediately began to create the work of art pictured at the top of this article (also titled: Fade To Black).  I finished it in about three months.  It was approximately 5' x 3' x 18" deep (1.5m x 1m x .5m); acrylic paint on spray foam, constructed on a wood and metal base.  I sold it in 1999.

    Like a Version: squatting over someone else's fire

              There are some high-quality writers I eagerly look forward to reading.  Andrew Vachss, Dean Koontz, and Malcolm Gladwell are three (off the tip of my temporal cortex) who've sufficiently proven themselves that I spring for their hardback.

              There are other writers who I feel the same way about.  Ginny is one.  Because she posts infrequently, I normally check monthly for new articles on her site, Praying to Darwin.  Today, I discovered she just lit a self-inflicted fire under her own ass.  The intent of Ginny's post a video-a-day for a month self-challenge, in her own words:  Who knows what kind of stuff that’ll make me write about?

              If I'd not checked on Praying to Darwin until after April Fools Day—and she was already a couple posts into this challenge (I say this because I can't completely avoid commenting on the funny flying pink elephant in the corner)—I wouldn't think about joining hands in solidarity or in emulation or in an icky meme-like fashion.  But.  This is her day one.  That's a sign.  A SIGN, I SAY.  So.  I'm in.

              I enjoy spurring myself towards discovery, research, and the crystallization of ideas (both new-to-me and new).  This was why I compiled Like a Version: My Alpha-vile Autopsy.  Creating the pics and mining for just the right words in order to identify an alphabet of things I dislike was an extremely self-informative challenge.

              Back to Ginny's Day 1 topic:  My Favorite Song.  Her's is Everlong by the Foo Fighters.  I hadn't seen the video in a decade and didn't remember it.  It contains overlapping dream sequences.

              I have an aversion to dream sequences.  It's not strong enough to call dislike, but I recognize my avoidance urge.  I'm bothered by them (which my little sister once called dream sequins and then got mad when I wouldn't tell her what I was laughing about) because when a story uses a dream to explain what a character is thinking I can't stay in the story.  Flashback's are fine; story within a story—also fine; jumps in time, yup, still fine...but when a character says, "I had this dream..."  Nope.  As I read (or watch) my mind keeps reminding: this is just a dream.

              I feel the same avoidance urge when reading fiction and the main character is a writer; or watching a TV show, play, or film about an actor; or listening to a song about music; or when the poem is about poetry; or the artwork is about the medium; or the joke is about being funny.

              There are exceptions, but most creative people don't have what it takes to craft a convincingly successful multiple reflection in a mirror.  Or a dream.

              Following in the shadow of Ginny's footprints—my favorite song...anchoring me in time.  The instrumentals of Starship Trooper by Yes are as important (if not more) than the lyrics. 

    ...take what I say in a different way and it's easy to see that this is all confusion...

    Sleeping next to someone (0.05 µSv)

              This radiation dose chart (created by Randall Monroe of xkcd) explains in layman's terms some of the various sources of radiation and their relative dangers.

               My favorite notes:

              Eating one banana (0.1 µSv).

              A cell-phone's transmitter does not produce ionizing radiation and does not cause cancer (unless it's a bananaphone).  

              If you are basing radiation safety procedures on an internet PNG image and things go wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    Understanding Faith and Belief

              The priest was calmly explaining reality to us.  I understood most of the words.  He was speaking English.  But.  As his sentences became paragraphs and those paragraphs became formulations of complex descriptions...I realized (to my axiomatic dismay) not only was I never going to be able to completely understand what he was attempting to communicate, but—worst of all—I was never going to be able to check his facts.  He was superior.  To me.  To us all (or, at least, to everyone I knew).

              I admire his genius.  He doesn't rub my face in my stupidity.  He tries to make it simple to understand.  He has an easy smile.  I trust that his professors knew what they were doing when they awarded his PhD.  I hope all the people who pay him to flex his brain and all the others who fund his sermons employ incredibly intelligent fact checkers.  I suspect they don't.  I bet they take his intelligence at face value just like I do.

              After the service—if I were given an open book test, permitted to query him at length and then write down his replies, I would still fail that test.  I know I'll never get it.  I'm doomed to being aware that I'm too stupid to formulate the question let alone comprehend my priest's answers.

              I understand where my faith comes from.  And.  Now.  I can speak intelligently about the reason I believe, and what I believe, and why I believe it.  I should, now, be able to more-easily understand others who profess to have faith and believe.  Shouldn't I?

              My priest is theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.  He was explaining the theory of everything.  Eleven dimensions.  Membranes.  An infinite number of parallel universes (a word never supposed to be pluralized, now infinitized).  Incredibly tiny vibrating strings.  The big bang and the spaces that existed before it now explained as two membrane-like waves crashing into each other.  According to Professor Kaku, the math works.  It explains where gravity comes from and why it's weaker compared to the nuclear forces as well as electromagnetism (it bleeds over from a nearby parallel universe).

              My get-the-fuck-outta-here meter is glad it's my priest talking this crazy talk.  Any other priest would never hold my attention.

               He says the math works—but it's the sacrosanct alphanumeric equations scrawled on multiple blackboards in films about geniuses like Good Will Hunting and A Beautiful Mind.  He knows we don't have the mental capacity to translate the equations, let alone follow the computations to their conclusions.  I'm saddened by my inability to visualize the immensely large-and-tiny entities and landscapes Professor Kaku describes.  I'm envious of anyone's ability to visualize eleven dimensions; I can just stretch my mind around four.  Five gets me discombobulated.

               I watch my priest's conviction.  His energy.  He's obviously very eager to teach.  I interpret his body language.  I believe that he, honestly, understands what he is talking about.  I have faith that he's speaking truthfully.

              Could his sermon be fabricated from the same building blocks that Lafayette Hubbard used to construct Scientology?  It's more fantastic than science fiction, but I have faith in Professor Kaku's explanations—that this theory is supported by quantifiable facts.  I also choose to believe that he isn't in the midst of orchestrating a life-long hoax.  My faith is grounded on an assumption that my priest has checked and will continue to check the equations of all his theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and mathematician peers who's combined work is constantly refining what we now believe about our multiverse—a bizarre, infinite, and phantasmagorical reality beyond my ken. 

              Can I get a witness?


              During my first tooth-brushing decades I heard so many different theories about the origins of Daylight Savings Time... I stopped asking.  But I never stopped wondering.  A favorite was my mother's mother's ...so farmers would have more daylight hours.  My still-believe-in-the-tooth-fairy-self pointed out her absence of logic—farmers would rise and shine when the sun rose and shone and not care about clock-time—she smiled and nodded and shrugged and said:  it is what it is.  The ubiquitous yet nonsensical reply given when one's sword of curiosity meets a shield of ignorance being wielded by the good-intentioned.

              My family (the poster family for that phrase), most of my blood relatives, and many hectares-o-tonnes of other humans I've met, valiantly shoulder that shield; ignorant of their own ignorance.  Most have done this so often they think that saying "oh, well, it is what it is" is just being polite.

              During my long-in-the-tooth decades, I recall replying - dunno - and - there are many guesstimates (remember using that word?) - as well as - I've heard of several reasons, but none that make any sense.  But now, behold!  Another opinion has been proffered.  And since this one is on Squire's favorite chalkboard it... jus haz 2 B tru.  Well, it sounds truer.  In 1916, the Germans—to conserve coal during the last years of a war they were going to lose—bumped their clocks forward in the summer.  And.  The warring world followed suit.  No logic sounds better.  "Deeter did it.  So, we're gonna do it too." 

    Like A Version: My Alpha-vile Autopsy

    A personal A-thru-Z of things ranging from minor irritants to the despicably horrid.

              If you want to know what's really going on in a society or ideology, follow the money.  If money is flowing to advertising instead of to musicians, journalists, and artists, then a society is more concerned with manipulation than with truth or beauty.  If content is worthless, then people will start to become empty-headed and content-less.  The combination of hive mind and advertising has resulted in a new kind of social contract.  The basic idea of this contract is that authors, journalists, musicians, and artists are encouraged to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind.  Reciprocity takes the form of self-promotion.  Culture is to become precisely nothing but advertising. —  Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget (2010)

              All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention of barbarian invention is to read it.  Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the coiled form of superstition then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity.  —  Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods (1876)

              Are you a public smoker that whines about the self-righteousness and 'negativity' of some people who refuse to suck on burning tubes of paper filled with chemical-soaked chopped up leaves?  OK, so you painfully attack our lungs and nasal passages with your perverted public pollution and we're supposed to be positive, pat you on the back, and tell you that everything is fine?  Everything is not fine.  You violate our bodies.  You give us pain.  You're no better than a rapist.  Until you come to your senses, you are the enemy.  —  Duane Alan Hahn, Random Terrain (.com)

             Much of the public, and a dismaying number of psychiatrists, psychologists, and neuroscientists, mistakenly believe that if a behavior is influenced by genes or mediated by the brain then the actor cannot choose his actions.  While every behavior has a biological correlate (and a genetic contribution) and every experience that changes behavior does so by changing the brain, the critical question is not whether brain changes occur (they do) but whether these changes block the influence of the factors that support self-control.  —  Gene M. Heyman, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice (2009)

              There are over 600 chemical ingredients that have been linked to cancer or are believed toxic to the reproductive system.  Many are used to manufacture perfume and cologne.  In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences grouped fragrances with insecticides, heavy metals, solvents, food additives and certain air pollutants as the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing.  According to their report, 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum.  They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxic substances linked to cancer, birth defects and allergic reactions.  —  Djehuty Ma'at-Ra, The Dangers of Perfume and Cologne (dherbs.com)

               Does he repeat himself, lose things, need reminders, or seem less interested in social activities or hobbies?  Is he more forgetful, irritable, angry, agitated, or suspicious?  Are you concerned about his judgment?  Does he have trouble remembering words, difficulty operating household appliances, or become anxious when separated from family?  Is he confused by time or misjudge how much time has elapsed?  Have you noticed changes in personal hygiene, personality, or behavior?  Has he started seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real?  — Alzheimer Checklist, Full Circle of Care (.org)

              Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal.  'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?'  With remarks like that you condemn yourself.  If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place.  Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.  —  Wilhelm Reich,  Listen, Little Man! (1945)

              It is best not to be hypocritical, but I would rather be an honest hypocrite than a person who tries to make truth conform around his or her own desires and imperfections.  In other words, I would rather be an honest hypocrite than lie about my imperfections.  —  Lonnie Lee Best, Hard Core Truth (.com)

              Once master the machinery of Symbolic Logic, and you have a mental occupation always at hand, of absorbing interest, and one that will be of real use to you in any subject you may take up.  It will give you clearness of thought—the ability to see your way through a puzzle—the habit of arranging your ideas in an orderly and get-at-able form—and, more valuable than all, the power to detect fallacies, and to tear to pieces the flimsy illogical arguments, which you will so continually encounter in books, in newspapers, in speeches, and even in sermons, and which so easily delude those who have never taken the trouble to master this fascinating Art.  —  Lewis Carroll, Symbolic Logic, Part 1: Elementary (1896)

              That inverted patriotism whereby the love of one's own nation is transformed into the hatred of another nation, and the fierce craving to destroy individual members of that other nation is no new thing.  Wars have not always, or perhaps commonly, demanded for their origin and support the pervasion of such a frenzy among the body of the people. ...  Only in recent times, and even now over but a small part of the world, has the great mass of the individuals of any nation been placed in such quick touch with great political events that their opinions, their passion, and their will have played an appreciable part in originating strife or in determining ... the political conduct of a war.  —  John A. Hobson, The Psychology of Jingoism (1901)

              Accurately details the paradox of low-to-middle income blue collar Americans voting against their own economic interests.  —  Review for Thomas Frank's What's The Matter With Kansas? (2005)

              Speech is ... a form of music.  It has tones and timbres, pitches and rhythms.  It can be loud or soft, punchy or laid back, fast or slow.  But when you are talking, things are not organized in advance the way they are in a song, so you must improvise on the spot.  Speaking is much like singing a song that hasn't been written yet. ...  Remember, your voice is one third of the impression you make ... make that one third count.  —  Renee Grant-Williams, Voice Power: Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention (2002)

              Isn't that the problem?  That women have been swindled for centuries into substituting adornment for love, fashion (as it were) for passion? ... All the cosmetics names seemed obscenely obvious to me in their promises of sexual bliss.  They were all 'firming' or 'uplifting' or 'invigorating'.  They made you 'tingle'.  Or 'glow'.  Or 'feel young'.  They were prepared with hormones or placentas or royal jelly.  All the juice and joy missing in the lives of these women were to be supplied by the contents of jars and bottles.  No wonder they would spend $20 for an ounce of face makeup or $30 for a half-ounce of hormone cream.  What price bliss?  What price sexual ecstasy?  —  Erica Jong, How to Save Your Own Life (1977)

              The media organizations in charge of vetting our images of war have become fewer and bigger — and the news more uniform and gung ho.  Six huge corporations now control the major U.S. media ... As Phil Donahue, the former host of MSNBC's highest-rated show who was fired by the network in February 2003 for bringing on anti-war voices, told Democracy Now!:  "We have more (TV) outlets now, but most of them sell the Bowflex machine.  The rest of them are Jesus and jewelry.  There really isn't diversity in the media anymore.  Dissent?  Forget about it."   —  Amy & David Goodman, Why Media Ownership Matters (Seattle Times, 2005)

             We had to LOL when we read how txt-msg lingo is replacing stndrd english in student academic pprs.  1 casualty of da trend is uz of capital letter to start a sentence.  kids feel free to lowercase everything.  pnktu8n is also dissed.  tchaz try to help but its often 2 l8. ... who wudda thot the big threat to riting wd b the cellfone?  —  the revenge of e.e. cummings, 2008 Boston Globe editorial (after a study warned texting could hurt a writer's command of standardized English)

             Americans can eat garbage, provided you sprinkle it liberally with ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish.  —  Henry  Miller, (1891-1980)

              The quintessential human, in this overpopulated world of 7 billion, is someone who is a right-handed 28 year old Chinese man, makes less than $12,000 a year, and has a cell phone but not a bank account.  By 2030, that person will come from India.  —  National Geographic Magazine, 7 Billion

             Why am I addicted to this crap, at a point in my life when I can tell the difference between worthwhile and worthless?  When did this monster first rear its sordid head? ... Did I have a head trauma I don’t remember? ... Oh, I don’t care for all of it.  ... Springer and the court shows hold no interest (she says proudly).  I seem to prefer the relationship shows ... where everyone makes a fool of themselves, kisses are choreographed to crappy music, drinking abounds, hot tubs bubble away filled with narcissistic hardbodies and people come together who I know will leave each other by the time the show airs. ... Anyway, I’ve admitted it.  And I’m ashamed.  And maybe that’s a first step in weaning myself off this low-level entertainment.   —  Lea Lane, The Reality: An Addiction to Trash (Lea's Corner of the World)

              I tell you people who have off road cars (in the city) are stupid and mad.  They should be driven from the roads and birched to within an inch of their lives.  Off road cars are daft, anti social, and idiotic.  And the people who drive them are fools.  ... You see them at the supermarket too and this is madness.  If everyone in London changed their off-roaders for something smaller then every (traffic) jam would be halved at a stroke.  —  Jeremy Clarkson, BBC's Top Gear (from Neerav Bhatt's Road Less Traveled)

              Time has come today - Young hearts can go their way - Can't put it off another day - I don't care what others say - They say we don't listen anyway - Time has come today. ... Now the time has come - There's no place to run - I might get burned up by the sun - But I had my fun - I've been loved and put aside - I've been crushed by the tumbling tide - And my soul has been psychedelicized. ... TIME.  —  The Chambers Brothers, Time Has Come Today (1968) (video)

              Radical environmental groups have shown their willingness to be physically provocative and Information Warfare offers them the ability to strike out in a new, imaginative, and less personally dangerous way at oil companies, logging companies, and other groups unsympathetic to endangered species.  Information brokers and data bankers sell your name, your upper-middle-class zip code, and the date of your last underwear purchase to anyone with a floppy disk—all without your permission  —  Winn Schwartau, Information Warfare (1994)

               There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem.  These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or "fighting" words those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.  It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.  —  Justice Frank Murphy, re: Chaplinsky v. State of New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568

              Whether it be a sofa, a chair, even a love-seat, furniture should NOT give you splinters.  Which is what wicker furniture, especially well-worn, heavily used wicker furniture, runs the risk of doing.  When I’m watching a TV show and reach over for that bowl of popcorn, I don’t want to be nervous about dragging my arm across the wicker arm and pulling hairs from my flesh.  I also just dislike the creak of wicker when moving or leaning whilst seated.  It’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.  —  Ryan, Bad Word Pairs #21 "Wicker Furniture"

              Sometimes cats that aren't necessarily bothered by changes within the house can react problematically with the arrival of company.  The problem may not have been caused by lack of social interaction with enough people when it was a kitten, but it might be brought about by a single unfortunate troubling experience with a noisy, frightening, and unkind guest who unwittingly taught the cat to avoid all contact with future strangers, thus resulting in xenophobia or the fear of strangers.  —  How to Break Your Cat's Cycle of Xenophobia (WikiHow)

              That in some fields of his country there are certain shining stones of several colours, whereof the YAHOOS are violently fond: and when part of these stones is fixed in the earth, as it sometimes happens, they will dig with their claws for whole days to get them out; then carry them away, and hide them by heaps in their kennels; but still looking round with great caution, for fear their comrades should find out their treasure. ...In the fields where the shining stones abound, the fiercest and most frequent battles are fought, occasioned by perpetual inroads of the neighbouring YAHOOS.  —  Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)

              How long will humans last?  This question gets almost no attention.  Extrapolating the future courses of the many variables which will effect, may alter, or might determine our eventual outcome is prohibitive (to say the least).  Homo Sapiens—its powerful brain focused on survival—controlled the apex by wiping out other species, expanding into every habitat and altering its environment rather than adapting to it.  Tomorrow we will all have to re-assess survival in terms of sharing vanishing resources and removing the poisons from our air and water.  Today, however, we can still get along as we have been for hundreds of millennia.  —  extrapolation from Evgeny Abramyan's, How to Save the Future? a view from Russia

    This alphabetical autopsy was created in homage to John F. Ptak's: An Alpha-Vile Alphabet Autopsy of Lost Emotions, from his site Ptak Science Books.