My workouts in March were intense. My goal is to be super fit on my 55th birthday this coming April 30. Wish me luck.
What’s your reputation? Ecstasy!
What’s your destination? Next to me!
I’ve tried in the past to quit Facebook, but was urged by friends and family to return. Lately, however, I find myself less and less interested in the whole thing. I’ve been absorbed by other activities like exercise and extensive reading to even want to participate any more. Thus I’m going to quit Facebook forever in a couple days. If anyone who doesn’t already have my phone or email wishes to contact me, I can be found at the following email address. Moreover my blog at http://journalofdoubt.com will always be a repository where I chronicle my quotidian life.
It’s not that I have anything against Facebook; as many on here know, I have participated in it with great enthusiasm for years. Nowadays as I approach my 55th birthday, I feel it’s time to move away from such an active online presence and return to a more distant and private lifestyle before the Internet made everything so public. I assure you all I have never felt better both physically and mentally in my life. It’s just time for a change. I was always more than happy to make my life such an open book for all to see, but now I think I’d like to get back some of the privacy such an online presence diminishes.
Peace out. I wish you all the best. You know where to contact me. I will disable my account Friday.
Sophistry: noun: the use of fallacious (highly untrue) arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.
Here’s today’s insanity from NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who, like VP Mike Pence, looks like the Nazis in The Sound of Music chasing the Von Trapp family around the Alps [hat tip: Billy Crystal]:
Wayne LaPierre: “What they want is more restrictions on the law-abiding,” LaPierre said on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington. “They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security.”
1. Everyone is “law-abiding,” even psychopaths, right up to the moment said psychopaths open fire on large crowds of innocent people with military-grade weapons. Take that maniac in Las Vegas last October. Up until he smashed open the window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and fired his bump-stock-enhanced AR rifles at the crowd of Country Music fans below, killing 58 and wounding over 800, why, he was as “law-abiding” as any other person; after all, he legally purchased over 45 weapons in the previous year and passed every background check—you cannot get more “law-abiding” than that. And then he wasn’t when he pulled that trigger and unleashed hell on the crowd below. Can we please put this logical fallacy of “law abiding” to rest? It is a specious argument. Every person is technically law abiding until the moment he comes unglued and kill others. Who, we citizens ask, is the next psychopath to go from law abiding to total kill-kill-kill crazy in a matter of seconds and unleash hell with assault rifles and high-capacity-mag pistols on groups of innocents? Please explain this distinction, Wayne. Oh, right, there is no universal algorithm or pattern where you can predict when and where the next law-abiding idiot starts killing others. Ergo, the access to guns of mass casualty infliction is the issue, not the “rights” of the individual. Get rid of the guns and the slaughter will definitely diminish, even disappear. That is a logical fact, Wayne.
2. If what happened in Parkland was a “failure of school security,” what about what happened in Las Vegas? What was that a failure of, except to prevent a single citizen from buying over 45 military-grade weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo, checking into a hotel incognito, and murdering 58 people? Was that a failure or “security” too, Wayne, or just the fact you and the NRA encourage any and every fucking idiot in the USA to purchase a shitload of weapons and ammo for the so-called protection of liberty? What liberty was that asshole in Vegas protecting, Wayne? Again, can we dispense with the logical fallacy arguments? The easier security solution to prevent the thousands of gun murders every year is to get rid of the guns. Outlaw them. Seize them all. Now, this may seem impossible, and maybe it is, but, logically, that is the most correct answer to all this gun violence. Ask Australia. That brave country did exactly that, outlawing semi-automatic long rifles and seizing them from private citizens. Turning our schools into armed prisons? Insanity. Arming everyone in America into a giant Mexican standoff as a means of security? Really, seriously? You’re fucking insane, Wayne.
What’s so frustrating about the so-called public discourse on gun violence is that, for far too long, these specious arguments haven’t been rightfully ridiculed for what they are, a load of horse shit. Our right not to be shot by maniacs, as far as I know, greatly exceeds the rights of so-called “law-abiding” psychos for purchasing weapons designed for soldiers to kill lots of enemies in a war. Let’s not bullshit the citizenry of this country over this; Second Amendment rights are one thing, but how about the right to live free from nut jobs shooting at you with weapons that have no truly utilitarian use in the hands of private citizens?
How about the right not to get shot by a psychopath while attending a concert in Las Vegas? Or while attending church in Texas? Or watching Batman at a theater? Or having a work Christmas holiday party? Or dancing at a disco with your friends and loved ones? Or going to school or college in Colorado, South Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, et al.? Or just walking down the street? Your right to bear arms, Mr. Pretend Patriot Douchebag Wayne LaPierre, doesn’t trump my right to live peacefully. So while I think there’s lots of debate to be had about the validity of the 2nd Amendment—and the restrictions we as a civilized country should employ to prevent the thousands of gun murders every year—let’s not forget that the fundamental rights of a US citizen are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not to own a murderous war machine like an AR-15 rifle. Please, Wayne, with the silly bullshit arguments otherwise.
Disco. Let me start by saying it did not suck. The only people who screamed that epithet in the late 1970s were monumentally douchie morons who dressed badly and couldn’t dance. They hated Disco because they were afraid of the unabashed sexuality and unbridled personal expression that dancing to this sensual, beat-driven music afforded so many people. Whatever. I was a teenager when Disco Fever struck the USA, and I loved every goddamn minute of it, all the crowds gathering to dance to this amazing and sexy music, bodies contorting, spinning, rubbing, bumping, and boogying. I kissed a girl for the first time to “How Deep is Your Love” by the Bee Gees; that was not unusual in 1978. Disco did not suck if one embraced its magical energy and let go of inhibition. Dancing to me is such an important aspect of my life even now, some 40 years later.
Straight, gay, black, white, latino, Asian, whatever, Disco was for everyone. It was the celebration of life and the truest, most sacrosanct democratic principles of liberty, fraternity, and equality.
Anyhow, here are ten of my favorite Disco songs. I could list hundreds, but these are my go-to songs. Enjoy.
1. Dance With Me – Peter Brown
2. I Feel Love – Donna Summer
3. Everybody Dance – Chic
4. Stomp – Brothers Johnson
5. Shame – Evelyn “Champagne” King
6. Love Thing – The Whispers
7. Born to Be Alive – Patrick Hernandez
8. September – Earth, Wind & Fire
9. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmeralda
10. The Groove Line – Heatwave
Charlottesville, VA, Saturday, 12 August 2017. Do these gentlemen look like “peaceful” protesters merely exercising their Constitutional right of the people to peaceably assemble? Many are wearing body armor, dressed in military-styled camouflage uniforms, and toting military-styled assault rifles.
To police SWAT snipers: Aim for the fat guts protruding from the body armor. Center mass. Most of these idiots would accidentally shoot each other in a real skirmish. For the amount of money these yokels have spent arming themselves like they’re Army Rangers, they could have taken a nice vacation somewhere sunny and warm with the wife & kids. Or paid off their piles of debt to banks and credit card companies. Or just saved it for retirement.
My advice to you “militia” dudes: If you go out looking for trouble, trouble will certainly find you. Sadly, lots of innocent people will get hurt due to your insanely stupid concept of “vigilante” justice. You’re not chivalric knights or even patriots. You’re just a bunch of silly wannabe cops and/or soldiers who never had the moral and physical courage to actually serve your country. I imagine the guilt and self-loathing is immense because you didn’t serve, couldn’t serve because you were a fat, out-of-shape loaf, or you were just too fucking lazy. We the American people do not need your “protection.” What we really want is for you to put away your popguns before you hurt innocent citizens.
We have an Army,
Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard defending the USA, the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. We have plenty of police at the local, state, and federal level. We even have a National Guard–the well-regulated militia of which the Second Amendment of Constitution addresses–comprised of willing citizens who have sworn to serve and protect the citizenry here at home, and lately they’ve served overseas fighting our wars to boot.
Moreover, an overwhelming majority of these brave American military and police serving and protecting us are good, decent, upstanding American citizens, our neighbors, our friends, our family. Plus they are magnificently trained in their work well beyond what most civilians can even imagine. Most importantly, they have sworn an oath to abide by the US Constitution and uphold the laws that our democratically elected representatives have passed. I still believe these brave Americans are protecting us well enough.
We do not live in a militarized police state. Not even close. I have been to such places, like East Berlin during the Cold War, and I can personally bear witness to the massive difference between a militarized, tyrannical police state and the current state of freedom and democracy in the USA.
What we don’t need are private citizens running around in vigilante posses like they’re Rambo the Ranger. You’re not Rangers. You’re not soldiers. You’re not cops. You’re nothing close to that. You’re play actors in military garb like cosplay goofballs at a comic book convention, with questionable mental stability while toting dangerous military-grade weapons, and, most importantly, without a lawful mandate for your actions and behavior. You’re a danger, threat, and menace to the peace and well being of civil society. You’re the problem, not government or the “them” you think is coming after you. It’s all in your head, Rambo Fatass.
The only threat to any of you is your delusional mind that has led you to think you’re capable of “serving and protecting”–and against what, against whom, exactly? Your fellow citizens, a vast majority of whom don’t give two shits about you, let alone pose a threat to you?
I really have to ask: What great tyranny or grave injustice do you face? Being forced to pay child support? Highway tolls? Taxes, some of the lowest in the industrialized world? Being asked not to smoke indoors in public places? Facing the lowest violent crime rate in generations? Yes, the USA has its problems, like all civilizations great or small, but overall your chance of survival and living in peace is greater here than just about anywhwere on Planet Earth. BIG LOL on all your paranoid, existential angst, dude. You don’t need an arsenal, you need mental health counseling and a physical fitness program. Take away that dangerous weapon you’re waving around and your balls shrink to microscopic size.
Personally, I do not fear these chumps. One-one-one, unarmed, they are harmless little cunts to me. I certainly don’t fear their popguns. There’s nothing about these morons that sparks one electron of fear in my nervous system. I pity them as misguided losers searching for a manhood and masculine identity they’ve never quite gained.
These days all the rage is going on YouTube to show off the survival gear and weaponry one packs just in case zombies (or those pesky Liberals, EEEK!) take over the world. Well, like any good “Prepper,” I’ve put together my own kit and I’d love to show it off.
1. Food. This is easy, 500 Tabasco-flavored Slim Jims and 50 packs of Twinkies. I’m set. Once in the field, like any good hunter/gatherer, I’ll seek out the closest Chili’s.
2. Water purification. Screw that, I’m bringing my Ronco Doomsday Preppers Beer Maker in Woodland Camo™. They say one cannot live without water; well, beer has water in it, right? I’m set.
3. Clothing. Three pairs of undies and my trusty Ronco Skidmark Removal Pen™—a MUST in any prepper’s bag. Plus to keep warm at night I packed my Batman jammies.
4. Knives. Of course I have my trusty Ronco Combination Ninja Sword and Pube Removal Shears™. Dude, I’m civilized, I’m not living in the wild with hairy and icky ‘nads. And a Ninja sword, hot diggity-dang, how cool is that? It can be a machete, can opener (if I don’t take off a few fingers first!), and back scratcher.
5. Weapons. I’ve got my trusty wrist-rocket slingshot and 500 marbles. That should make the zombies pause, bitches! I want to bring my Soviet-made RPG launcher, but my friggin’ beer maker takes up all the space. Beer or rockets? What would any prepper choose? Beer, of course.
6. Misc: My kazoo to make sweet music, a deck of porno playing cards I got in Amsterdam, nose hair clippers, my Scooby Doo flashlight, a fake turd to scare off interlopers to my camp site, and a can of Silly String for no reason but because I’m psycho. And beer. Have I mentioned the importance of beer vis-à-vis surviving Armageddon?
7. Tactical Adaptive First Aid Kit (AFAK): A couple of Power Ranger band-aids just in case I cut myself shaving my pubes, a bottle of Robitussin, and that complementary pack of Kleenex I stole from my hotel last week. I should add condoms to this kit, but, hey, the world’s ending, so the clap or a couple of knocked-up camp groupies ain’t gonna matter. And when the prepper babes hear me play Adele’s “Someone Like You” on the kazoo while sitting around the campfire, camouflage survival panties will drop.
8. Hygiene. I’m a metrosexual prepper, so I need the following inventory:
The Right to Choose
A short story
©1984 Matthew C. Scheck
Like any footloose and fancy free, lifelong bachelor, I had always taken my freedom for granted because I knew no alternative. Then one day I got a phone call, and after saying “hello” the young girl on the line said these words: “You don’t know me, but you’re my father.”
My first thought upon hearing this news was that telemarketers were developing new strategies to get the attention of people. How insidious! How clever!
“Huh?” I managed to reply after a moment of stupid silence.
“You’re my biological father. My Mom is Anne Foster. Do you remember Anne Foster?”
“Anne Foster? Good God, yes, of course…She was my best friend at Army Medic School…God, like 20 years ago…”
As soon as I said those words I knew this girl on the phone was my daughter. Anne and I had never actually dated—although we were deeply in love with each other from the moment we first met—and we only spent one night together as lovers, the last before we parted ways and never saw each other again. I nearly drowned in the tidal wave of memories that washed over me as I stood there with the phone in my hand.
Like every other classmate of mine at the 91B Medic School at Fort Sam Houston, I came to the school directly from Basic Training. I was the last to arrive for my class, as a horrible ice storm in the Midwest had delayed my departure from Fort Knox for three days. When I got to Fort Sam it was a Friday night, and my class had been given a weekend pass, so no one was in the barracks when I showed up.
After I unpacked my gear and changed into civilian clothes, I wandered down to the recreation area, or “dayroom” as we called them in the Army. It was dark and quiet there, lit only by a large television. The only person in the entire room was a tall, very well built, beautiful blonde girl, casually dressed in a pair of running shorts and a University of Maine sweatshirt. Since I hadn’t seen a girl—any girl: fat, tall, skinny, ugly, beautiful, blonde, brunette, whatever—in eight weeks, I was immediately lusting for this lovely stranger.
“Wow,” I said to her when she noticed my presence and looked up, “I thought I was the Omega man for a minute and all humanity had died. Thank goodness someone else is alive.”
She smiled. “Yeah, everyone’s out. As soon as the First Sergeant announced everyone had a weekend pass, it took about five minutes for everyone to get the hell out of here.”
“Except me. I’m trying to be a good girl. I have a boyfriend I love very much back home, but after being in Basic Training for eight weeks, I’m afraid to face any temptation right now.”
“I had a girlfriend I loved very much before I quit college and left for Basic Training. I believe her last words to me were, ‘How could you do this to me, you bastard, I hate you, blah, blah, blah.’ I guess I don’t have to be faithful to her since she dumped me and I haven’t heard from her since. And it’s funny, when I first saw you my first thought was that I haven’t seen a girl in eight weeks.”
“You’re funny—and that’s sad, I’m sorry.”
“Sad because my girl dumped me or sad because it’s been so long since I’ve seen a female?”
“You’re funny too. By the way—I’m Alex Garrity.”
“Anne Foster. Nice to meet you.”
“Where did you do Basic?”
“Fort Jackson. How about you?”
A long pause followed this as we stared at each other as if we’d just seen the opposite sex for the first time in our lives and we liked what we saw. I could tell from her wantonly lusty expression and my massive erection that there was a definite attraction between us.
Finally, after in my mind I ravaged this beautiful girl in every depraved, perverted, and kinky way imaginable, I spoke. “Tell you what, Anne. This place is pretty depressing. How about I try my best not to tempt you and we go get a beer somewhere, as friends of course. I am totally dying for a beer.”
“Sounds like a plan, Alex.”
We had many beers that night but did not act on our attraction. Although I was immediately in love with her, and she would have easily fallen prey to my wiles had I seduced her, I respected her fidelity. Every time I thought about tearing off her clothes that night, I imagined myself as her boyfriend back home, and I realized I wouldn’t want some asshole making me into a cuckold like this, so I stifled any attempt to sleep with her.
From that moment forward she became my best friend at medic school. Due to a fortuitous twist of fate, we sat next to each other in class because our seating was arranged in alphabetical order. We literally spent all our time together both in and outside class. Next to a few innocent pecks on the cheek and some friendly handholding as we explored downtown San Antonio, we enjoyed a very chaste and platonic friendship. She even told her boyfriend back home, Devin, about our friendship, and he seemed to approve. I could see why too, because she was a very trustworthy person in every way. Devin was a lucky sonofagun.
I slept with a few girls while I was there, but none made much of an impact on me other than as outlets for my sexual longing for Anne. Most people in our class refused to believe that Anne and I were just “friends,” and the ones who knew better would often tell us, “Why don’t you two just fuck and get it over with?” Obviously that was my wish too, but I was too afraid to ruin our friendship by making sexual advances. Mostly I just jerked off at night thinking of her, or screwed other girls but only thought of her during the act, then spent the rest of the time wishing she’d come to her senses and love me back.
I was in the Regular Army while Anne was in the Reserves. After medic school she was heading home to finish her last two years of college at the University of Maine. She and Devin were engaged and were getting married that summer. My future was less certain—God knows where the Army would send me after graduation.
As graduation from medic school approached, we found that we became more dependant on each other. We realized that after school was over we would never see each other again. I began dreading that day when we’d part.
I was insanely in love with her. Since she appeared to love Devin so much, I kept my feelings deeps inside myself and just enjoyed the fact I could spend any time with her. Being with her and not being able to kiss her and hold her was torture, yet I would gladly take whatever part of her she would give me, and this platonic relationship of ours brought me more joy than the many relationships I’d had in my life that I consummated.
The night we graduated our class had a party at the enlisted club on the base. During the course of the drunken celebration, the DJ played a set of slow songs. I grabbed Anne’s hand and dragged her onto the dance floor. We were both mildly drunk and caught up in the moment. We held each other close and slowly danced. She had never looked more beautiful and yet so sad.
“I’m going to miss you more than I can even begin to describe,” I told her.
She held me tight and started crying, burying her face on my shoulder. After a while she lifted her head, her eyes filled with tears, and made a declaration: “Alex, I love you. But I love Devin too. I don’t know what to do.”
Upon hearing this news I kissed her. What I could have done the first night I met her I now did with great gusto. We practically sprinted back to my barracks room and had the wildest, most athletic and passionate and romantic sex I have ever had in my life. We declared our love for each other over and over again. After many hours of this, we passed out in each other’s arms.
When we woke a few hours later, we held each other in silence and stared at each other. I silently prayed Anne would make the right choice—me—so we could spend the rest of our lives together. I knew she loved Devin and that her whole life—family, friends, school—was back in Maine. To ask her to give all that up and run off with me was too much to ask, even though I loved her deeply, madly, and truly beyond belief. It was her choice to make. I had decided the first night we met that I wanted to marry her. I didn’t beg her to choose me, nor did I even ask. I just held her that night and hoped she would choose me.
She chose Devin and her life back at Maine.
In the morning we parted ways and never kept in contact—not one letter or call, ever. I thought about her every day for the first ten years, and after that I still thought of her often, but only if something triggered the memories, like a song from that era, or a whiff of the kinds of perfume she wore, or whatever else reminded me of her. That fucking song, “Always Something There to Remind Me,” came out that summer after she and I parted ways, and I still cannot hear it without breaking down and bawling like a little girl.
My life has gone well except in this one aspect. After the Army I went back to college and got an engineering degree. I have carved out a fairly successful career as an engineer, which has provided the means for me to live a very comfortable and self-indulgent lifestyle. I have dated many beautiful women and have lived with a few, but I’ve never been close to getting married. Now that I am forty, alone, and feeling rather needy these days, I wouldn’t mind getting married if the right woman came along.
“Alex—Dad? Are you there?” the girl on the phone—my daughter with Anne—asked.
“Does Devin know?” I asked.
“No. Mom and Dad—Devin—divorced nine years ago and they don’t really like each other much these days, but she never told him even when she caught him cheating on her and left him. Honestly, I don’t like him much for what he did to Mom, and knowing now he’s not my Dad has been more of a relief than a shock.”
“When did she tell you.”
“Can you believe last night? We were arguing about abortion, and when I kept screaming at her how it’s the woman’s right to choose, she broke down and confessed her secret to prove it really is woman’s right to choose, but not the way I thought of it.
She told me about you and how much she loved you, and how she married Dad—Devin—because she was pregnant and scared, and despite the fact I was yours and not his. She would have searched the world over to find you and be with you, but she didn’t leave Maine because she was terrified that you wouldn’t want her. After that we cried for hours—and I’ve been up all night preparing myself to talk to you.”
“How’d you get my number?”
“Mom had your mother’s number all these years. I called her just now and she gave me yours.”
I was stunned. It was as if my entire life had been wasted. All I had to do that one fateful night was ask Anne to stay with me and she would have. I chose to let her choose without trying to influence her decision, and because I didn’t try hard enough to convince her to stay with me, we ruined the next twenty years of our lives.
“I—I—I…I don’t even know your name.”
“Alexandra, but everyone calls me Alex.”
No danger here, move along, these are “real” Americans peacefully exercising their rights. God bless! Cue Lee Greenwood song. Lock and load, patriots!
Criminals! Traitors! Riot! Call in the National Guard! OMG! That Oriental kid knows Kung-Fu! Be afraid!
See? Get it? The distinction is so clear! Someone alert Sean Hannity that a revolution is afoot here. These dirty Liberal hippies are a bunch of traitors.