Monday, April 30, 2007

Birthday Party: the spiritual side

We gave a surprise birthday party for a friend Saturday night. I was the event planner. I rented a bowling alley and pool hall. Everything went well, and people seemed to have had fun. They complimented me on helping put the event together. Yesterday, I tried to put the evening into perspective.

I enjoyed being the event planner as it was a labor of love of sorts. Up until the past week, I had a crush on the person whom we gave the party for, which in a way is odd, since I have known her for years, and until a few years ago had no such feeling. The party broke the spell and the crush. That is a good thing.

You may recall a short post I made about finally realizing that crushes are not good things either for the person who has the crush or its recipient. I have come to see a crush as a fantasy that makes a person merely an object of desire. I suppose that can be innocent and nontoxic, but when the person is a friend you have known for a long time, there is something cheap and tawdry about it.

What remains is the love of a good friend, someone I admire in many ways. However, describing and defining what that love amounts to is a new question. I frankly do not have the inclination or energy to work through it as a priority. I am just relieved to have escaped a rank piece of silliness on my part.

I now view the birthday in a more spiritual light, for it was a labor of love with no motives beyond wanting my friend to have a very special evening with her friends and family. I do feel good about myself for having helped move it along, but that is merely subsidiary.

I also mentioned in a previous post that I lacked spirituality and felt somewhat impoverished by it. I am a skeptic so religious spirituality is of no use to me. I fortunately discovered Robert C. Solomon’s short book, Spirituality for the Skeptic. The book impressed me. Solomon, who died earlier this year, calls spirituality the thoughtful love of life. He claims the foundations of spirituality are love, reverence, and trust. Solomon’s spirituality draws from Hegel, Nietzsche, and existentialism.

Solomon’s view of spirituality does not run counter to science or religion. He states the case for how they are not only compatible, but also enhance each other. That seems an important attempt given the war between religious fundamentalism and science. The religious who see humanism as the great evil in the world would do well to reflect on what Solomon has to say. Bigoted attitudes toward skeptics does not seem spiritual to me. Authoritarian attempts to force religious belief may create appropriate behaviors at times, but it never changes a single heart or mind. It seems banal to say it.

The passionate love of life seems a more reliable motive than dogmatic beliefs, whether it is in the personal sphere or the public sphere. We should not deny spirituality to anyone.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Squirm, Baby, Squirm

It happened much to my surprise. Congress has sent a bill to the president calling for a timetable for leaving Iraq, which the president will surely veto. Let everyone go on record over the war. Let the pro-war faction squirm during the next election and find new jobs.

Take me out to the ballgame and the bar, or the dirty old man dials it up one more time

It was another nasty day at the Wrigley Field yesterday. The wind, cold, and rain drove us to the nearby Goose Island Brewery bar after the fifth inning where we watched the end of the game. A young woman who was tending bar caught my attention, as she was pretty, had a wonderful smile, and bright Betty Davis eyes that lit up the room. I could not take my eyes off her. Fantasies help break up the monotony and make the day lighter. I never would have thought I would grow up to be a dirty old man yet I have. I suppose if one is nontoxic in one’s approach that it is not that big a deal.

After that, my great friend Tom and I went to a bar near his place. During the evening, I mentioned that I still had not met his girlfriend and looked forward to doing it. He called her up and she joined us even though it was past nine o’clock.

She is very attractive in the broad sense of the term. I can see why he has fallen in love with her. You also have to admire someone who will join two guys for beers after they have been drinking since noon.

Well, I am supposed to go to the Sox game tonight. Guess what? It is another cold, windy, and rainy day. However, it is baseball and you should not forsake baseball just because of inclement April weather. The real problem is that the beer does not taste as good when you are sitting in a cold rain with the wind howling off the lake.

Oh well, I resign myself to fate today. Maybe, I will meet the woman of my dreams at the ballpark.

Now, I must finish the four cups of espresso I have made to jump-start myself.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cubs baseball: one more time

It’s cold and raining, but I am going to Wrigley Field again today. My dream is that the Cubs will actually win a game. Even if they don’t, I plan on having lots of fun. Is there ever really a bad day at the ballpark if you dress appropriately and get drunk?

Politics, Ideology, and Spirituality

As you know, I have recently decided to explore spirituality. My goal as a secular humanist skeptic is to develop my own spirituality to improve the quality of my life. The exercise has led me back to reading Hegel, Nietzsche, and Hume.

I have been speculating if there can be a politics of secular humanist spirituality—one that counteracts the toxic message delivered by the most loathsome of the right wing Christian leaders. My intuition tells me it is possible. Developing the rhetorical devices and strategies to deliver a new spiritual message might take many decades.

What passes for religion in the U.S. is not spiritual in any meaningful sense of the word. Many people are proud of their ignorance and hatred because their so-called religious faith has led them to it. This, of course, has spilled into the political sphere.

Other people have passed into New Age nonsense to gain a foothold on spirituality. That in its passive way is just as toxic as the right wing Christian message, for it leads to passivity and a denial of the power and necessity of political ideology.

There has to be a third way. One can embrace science and philosophy without scientism. One can be spiritual without deluding oneself about the nature of the universe.

Opportunism: a polemic

The NYT reports that Bush and Cheney chide Democrats on Iraq deadline..

Well the president and vice president are the masters of political opportunism. They ought to know.

The majority of Americans want a timetable for leaving Iraq—the sooner the better—because the president and vice president have prosecuted the war on deceit and a failed strategy.

The president, vice president, and Bush cheerleading squad cannot deal with the lamentable facts. They should no longer be allowed to gamble with the future of the U. S. They should realize that accountability, responsibility, and results trump blind ignorant faith when it comes to practical affairs.

The president believes god speaks to him. Well, if she does, why doesn’t he listen?

Spirituality and Cubs Baseball

I went to the Cubs game last night. A chilly wind blew in off the lake. In the 7th inning, it started to rain. The Cubs dug themselves a hole earlier in the game they could not get out, but we stayed to the end. It was a spiritual experience fueled by beer and whiskey.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Solomon: Spirituality

Yesterday afternoon, I discovered Robert C. Solomon’s Spirituality for the Skeptic: the thoughtful love of life. I find it agreeable. It may be because it confirms my suspicions rather than makes me think. Sharing the same speculations is not all bad.

Seminar: Nichomachean Ethics

I might join a seminar on Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics this summer. I keep having these internal dialogues and debates about the value of seminars. I might be ready to do it—participate with the necessary attention span. I must break from my lethargy.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Certainty and Your Last

Live everyday as if it is to be your last, for one day you will surely be right. Breaker Morant

Death is the most certain thing we know. That is a good thing, for we would never take a dare or a chance without it.

Total Piece of Shit: the postcard

I spent last night carousing with a young woman (even though that was not my intention) who is going through a very trying time. I wish I would have had some words of wisdom and comfort for her. That ain’t me though, as I am a self-absorbed piece of shit.

Dead Babies

I know what you are thinking. Lynn, it’s only the NYT, a despicable liberal left wing rag, but this is what the NYT has to say.

In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South.

The ominous reversal has raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors.

No shit? How the fuck did that happen?

Well, it’s Sunday morning and all the god-fearing folks are going to church. They can ask for forgiveness and donate to the Republican and Democratic parties the next election and I am sure Jesus will fucking forgive them.

Even we less spiritual folks, such as me, will turn a blind eye and fucking find a way to weasel out of the whole deal.

Can anybody say, “right to fucking life?”

Can anybody say, “hypocrisy taken to the fucking extreme?”

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Get emotional then write down the feeling

I have been working on a play for several months. I decided to plan the thing out before I started writing—something I never do. The work is going horribly. Even though I am an analytical person who enjoys mathematics, I cannot write analytically. I need to tap my emotions and say whatever comes to mind.

I was eating lunch and drinking margaritas with a friend yesterday and he advised me to just sit down and write the play, which I began to do this morning. I felt a great burden lifted from me.

I wish I could tell you what the play is about, but I do not know myself. Jean Paul Sartre, Simone Beauvoir, and Albert Camus are in it. So are a young Frenchwoman and an American reporter. A friend asked me if he could be in it too. That seemed like a good and necessary idea for the story, so he is in it too.

There you have it. I feel good about this play again. We’ll see how long the feeling lasts.

Crushes? Never!

I should never develop a crush on anyone. Crushes are debilitating. The large amount of mental energy wasted is never worthwhile even if the person returns my affections. Crushes are games I play. The crush is always over when I get what I want.

A New Me?: a postcard note to self

I should construct a spiritual life for myself. As I am a religious skeptic, that will take some work on my part. I do enjoy my excesses. I am quite lazy when it comes mending my ways. However, I feel the need for a new identity and narrative about myself.

Loathing and Enjoyment

From Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground:

Tell me this: why does it happen that at the very, yes, at the very moments when I am most capable of feeling every refinement of all that is "sublime and beautiful," as they used to say at one time, it would, as though of design, happen to me not only to feel but to do such ugly things, such that... Well, in short, actions that all, perhaps, commit; but which, as though purposely, occurred to me at the very time when I was most conscious that they ought not to be committed. The more conscious I was of goodness and of all that was "sublime and beautiful," the more deeply I sank into my mire and the more ready I was to sink in it altogether. But the chief point was that all this was, as it were, not accidental in me, but as
though it were bound to be so. It was as though it were my most normal condition, and not in the least disease or depravity, so that at last all desire in me to struggle against this depravity passed. It ended by my almost believing (perhaps actually believing) that this was perhaps my normal condition. But at first, in the beginning, what agonies I endured in that struggle! I did not believe it was the same with other people, and all my life I hid this fact about myself as a secret. I was ashamed (even now, perhaps, I am ashamed): I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last--into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one's own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into.

How does one find some way out of this consciousness and condition? Some form of spirituality might do the trick, however, if one is a religious skeptic this spirituality does not come ready to hand. Or does it? The world looks just the same whether god is in it or not. That is the case in ethical space also.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Reality: the feeling of what happens

This poem is contained in A Book of Luminous Things—Czeslaw Milosz’s international anthology of poetry.


I am the poet of reality
I say the earth is not an echo
Nor man an apparition;
But that all the things seen are real,
The witness and albic dawn of things equally real
I have split the earth and the hard coal and rocks and the solid bed of sea
And went down to reconnoiter there a long time,
And bring back a report,
And I understand that those are positive and dense every one
And that what they seem to the child they are
[And that the world is not joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].

Czeslaw Milosz has this to say about the poem:

The strong presence of a thing described means that the poet believes in its real existence. That is the meaning of a programmatic and unfinished poem by Walt Whitman. “I Am the Poet,” which rehabilitates a “naïve” approach and rejects philosophy’s unfavorable opinion on the direct testimony of our senses.

A Book of Luminous Things

With a Postcard

With a postcard, you can tell someone how much you enjoyed the latest book she wrote. Or you can say thanks for loving me because I really love you too. Or you can try to describe just how the brilliant cobalt morning sky has turned you on. Or you can say I wish you were here—right now.

Dialing it up in the city

I dialed up the Jagz—a rock band composed of friends—at the Liar’s Club with Lucinda and Billy—two of my favorite people. Later, I had breakfast with Lucy at Tempo, my best all-night breakfast joint. Then it was morning. Some nights regrettably pass too quickly.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Arrival

Many congratulations to Cuppa and Anvilcloud on the birth of their first granddaughter!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tax Day

Tax day. What more can you say?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Iggy Pop in Concert

I saw Iggy Pop in concert with the Stooges last night. Iggy is in his sixties, does not wear a shirt when he frenetically prances about the stage, and is in good shape. I was distracted from the music by the fans at the show, but it was fun.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fantasy Baseball; Real Clock Time

I woke at 2:45 in the morning. Fortunately, I have fantasy baseball to pass the early morning hours even on those nights when bats still inhabit the belfry.

One of the players dropped out of my Pippin’s league so we decided to conduct a random draft of his players. I spent the morning working on the draft and getting results communicated. Being the league commissioner is taking more time than I imagined. Things should settle down by the end of the week when I have the team broken up and redistributed.

I can see now that I will have to prioritize how much attention to give my five teams. The Pippin’s league, where I am in first place, comes first. I have spent a fair amount of time on one of my other teams. It is in position to move up in the standings from its current seventh place. That team will get second choice. I don’t know how much time I can spend on the others.

I had my daily lineups set early this morning, but fortunately noticed that the games in the northeast were canceled. Fortunately, I reset my lineups in time for the start of today’s play.

This is crazy. I suppose that was the point. Do another crazier thing and see what happens.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Essence of Blogging

I think I have found the essence of blogging; it’s all postcards and letters sent to the general public. Even the most serious and ponderous posts are merely that. I like mail.

Vonnegut and Fantasy

What is on the agenda today? Study Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and try to learn how to write well. Is it another one of my wasteful and futile fantasies? I hope not; I want it.

Romance and Accessibility

I simply have to think aloud about her. Sorry, but that is it.

I spent a long time meditating on what first attracted me to her after knowing her for years and not caring at all. After I recently took some random photographs of her, I realized that her smile and eyes did the job. She is very photogenic. Her smile adds new meaning to “light up the room.”

It has to be more than that. Something lies beneath the pure sexual arousal she stirs. If I could take a few photographs of that, I might discover it if I studied enough.

I wish I could figure out why I am letting her do this strange and wild thing to me even though I know it is futile. I suppose it does not matter. Someone else will pass into view. Then I’ll pursue the next new thing. That’s me—the child who lives for the moment.

Somebody accessible better come along soon before I go crazy thinking about her.

Aristotle, ethics, fantasy baseball, and romance

I am now managing five fantasy baseball teams. My mornings begin with reviewing my teams, which is taking a lot longer than expected because I am officially a fantasy baseball nut. My priority remains, of course, winning the Pippin’s fantasy league.

The 2007 Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Forecaster sit beside the computer. I am trying to read them both cover to cover to arrive at baseball player values. I should have started over a month ago. Oh well, the season is still young.

Like this crush I have on a woman I know, I need this. Need? OK, want.

Aristotle in his ethics discusses needs versus wants, at least in my interpretation. Needs are the essentials such as food, clothing, shelter, education, etc. Wants are things like playing fantasy baseball and having crushes on women who will not give you the time of day.

If she said she was crazy about me and wanted me to drop fantasy baseball as my current mania, I would skinny it back to the Pippin’s league and let the others languish. If she really loved me, she would not ask me to drop the Pippin’s league. She never will be crazy about me, so I do not need to worry about that. That is too bad, for I am custom made from head to toe, and I am worth it.

Romance and baseball glory are fantasies. They are things we may want, but they are definitely things we do not need. If you have all the things you need, you do not think about them. Your wants take top priority.

It is so strange how that works.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Iraq Parliament Bombing

The bombing of the Iraq Parliament indicates that not all goes well in Baghdad after the much-ballyhooed troop surge. The default condition for regime change is not democracy and capitalism, a lesson the Bush Administration has failed to learn.

What is the rationale for continuing to occupy the country? The Bush Administration has reverted to the old reliable “Iraq will become a haven for terrorists if we leave.” That rationale cost the Republicans the 2006 election because fewer people believe it each day and for good reason. The proposition is false. The U.S. presence in Iraq has created a training ground for terrorists. Al Qaeda loves the U.S. occupation.

What I find perplexing is the position taken by those who fear terrorism the most. They seem to think that conventional warfare will prevent terrorist attacks. The argument, “remember 9/11,” fails to embrace reality.

What concerns most is that the Bush Administration is completely incompetent when it comes to fighting terrorism. Mismanaged priorities and projects abound. They do nothing right. Thoughtful conservatives are as concerned about it as are the most vociferous leftist critics. You cannot be a conservative and support the Bush Administration. Bush admirers are merely blind admirers and not much else.

Some Bush admirers will say covering events such as the bombing of the Iraq parliament is some kind of liberal conspiracy. They will go to extreme and elegant lengths to tell you that the media does not report the good news coming from Iraq. There is a good reason for that. There is not any.

Until the Iraq Occupation ends, it is futile to discuss other political issues. U.S. foreign policy and national welfare is disastrously bound to it. The occupation defines the U.S. and predicts a dire future for it.

Stem Cell Research: the Bush don't fund, don't ban policy

Michael Sanders in the Boston Globe discusses the inconsistent moral position—“don’t fund, don’t ban”—President Bush has taken on stem cell research. It is short and worth the read no matter where you stand on the issue.

President Bush takes many inconsistent moral stances. Peter Singer did a good job of analyzing them in his The President of Good and Evil. Each time the President tries to take the moral high ground, you get a whiff of hypocrisy or inconsistency. Of course, people are hypocritical and inconsistent at times. Some care about it. The President never seems to care.

He is a man who is difficult to take seriously.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Somebody Fill Me Up

It’s cold and the streets are wet. Writing in the middle of night, my eyes too tired to read, I think of all the productive things I could be doing instead. Something about writing fills me up as nothing else can. Even women cannot do it.

Criminal Mismanagement

The U.S. is extending tours of the Army in battle zones to 15 months. Many face their third tour. The extension further shows the criminal mismanagement of the war. Time to leave.

Kurt's Voice

Kurt Vonnegut died. The first book I read of his was Slaughterhouse Five when I was in college. I read it in one sitting while tripping on acid one night. For a long time I was a big fan. I reread his Breakfast of Champions, one of my favorites, last fall. It had not lost any of its glitter.

He had a unique voice. How many people can say that? His voice oozed acid. He is one of those people who made me wish I could learn how to write.

Let’s not get started on writing at this early hour of the morning. I hope you are sleeping well. I ain’t.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Soul: converting to religious skepticism

My mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. She reached a stage where her caregivers could no longer successfully spoon-feed her. This led to weight loss and susceptibility to disease. She eventually caught a chest cold and died from it in less than 24 hours. We did not try to put her on a life support system since she had a living will requesting not to.

My mother was a serious Christian. I spent most of life as a Christian, although a fallen one. However, about the time we admitted my mother to a care facility I became skeptical of religious claims. The conversion has not caused me any distress.

One reason why I am a religious skeptic has to do with the nature of the soul. It would seem that to believe in the immortal soul one is committed to mind/body dualism. As I watched my mother’s mental faculties deteriorate it refuted mind/body dualism. The brain is the soul. When it goes sour, so does the soul.

I believe in Darwinian evolution. Because of that, I believe our brains evolved just as the other parts of our bodies. This does not leave room for the disembodied soul.

You can be religious, I suppose, without believing in the immortal disembodied soul. Yet not many religious people hold that belief. One of the defining characteristics of religion is the belief in immaterial spirits.

The immortal disembodied soul denies what we commonly observe when there is trauma to or disease in the brain. I cannot force myself to deny this basic observation and evidence.

To be religious one has to take certain philosophical positions even if one does not rationally reflect upon them. Such is the case with mind/body dualism and immortality. Turning pragmatic, I like my belief in the evolved completely embodied mind, which is the origin of the belief in the soul. It fits well with my other beliefs. I prize a consistent set of beliefs.

Watch the death of the brain and you will watch the death of the soul. Live everyday as if it is your last, for one day you will surely be right.

Try to balance altruism and selfishness as best you can. That is, if value your fellow beings.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cobbled Together

From NYT.

Tens of thousands of people marched to the city of Najaf today, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, to protest the American occupation of Iraq.

The demonstration, which has remained peaceful, was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days.

Col. Steven Boylan, an American military spokesman and aide to the commander of all American forces in Iraq, praised the peaceful nature of the demonstration, saying Iraqis “could not have done this four years ago,” the A.P. reported.

Democracy in Iraq is cobbled together in strange ways. So is death and destruction.

Don't expect quick results in Iraq

The surge in US troops has not created an island of stability for Iraqis in Baghdad. US commanders will not make predictions. Those expecting quick results will be disappointed. We ride the whirlwind; it is time to get off.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Prize Possessions

I received Easter postcards from two of my all-time favorite women this week. They sit beside me as prized possessions as I type. The small gesture stands greatest in stature. The surprise pleases most—
such as love.

Not an Easter egg hunt

Canada geese leave quite a mess. This weekend people will hunt for their eggs in the Chicago parks, and destroy them. The effort is not an Easter egg hunt since Canada geese will attack you when you rile them. Be careful this Easter.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

President Bush, me, fantasy baseball, tilting at windmills, and of course, persistence

Once the baseball season starts, my day begins with managing my fantasy baseball team. This year it is two teams. One might say I fritter away my time, which I will not argue with because I am somewhat ambiguous about the exercise.

This year I am the Commissioner of a league whose members are patrons and employees at my local bar. I also belong to a public league. Once I join a fantasy league, I remain devoted to it for the whole season. I am doing abysmally in my English Premier Football (soccer) League, but I am trying my best even though I have no chance of turning in a respectable score. That highlights one of my personality traits. I am persistent when I begin an activity or project. I am like President Bush in that regard. I suppose that is why I often display an antipathy towards President Bush because I see a lot of him in me. (Wow, I cannot believe I just said that.) Is Iraq a sort of fantasy game to the President? I wonder if historians will eventually judge it as true even though it sounds corny and bizarre to say it today.

My blog is an exercise in persistence. Many days I should let it lie dormant, but I can’t. I need to express myself to the public even though my public is smaller because of it. I wonder if I put my need ahead of the need of my readers.

I now have two MS Word blank formats that I use to write my posts. One is a 4 by 6 postcard. The other is 6 by 9 stationary. I use a script font. It makes me feel as though I am handwriting my posts as a postcard or letter to you. For some reason I need the immediacy and intimacy of doing that. That is another odd admission.

I have no idea where my life is headed, yet I feel energized over the past week in ways I never suspected. A feeling of destiny seems to lurk in the background. All I know is that I will work on my fantasy teams and writing each morning before the sun comes up. A kernel of an idea may be contained in the activity.

One of my goals this summer is to win at least one of my fantasy baseball leagues. The only question is whether fanaticism and persistence can overcome lack of brains and knowledge. That seems frivolous upon inspection. However, I suspect we all have our personal wind mills at which we tilt.


I spent the evening yesterday carousing with an attractive woman while her fiancé slept off a vicious drunk. Of course, I helped get him drunk. One thing I can do well is get people wickedly drunk while I remain standing. Golly.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Getting Hotter

The latest UN study reports the poor will suffer most from global warming. The lousy record of the US does not inspire confidence about reducing greenhouse gases. Once the oil is gone, things will change. Enjoy the ride now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Failure of Enlightenment

Some claim that Enlightenment values and goals failed. However, values and ideologies compete against each other. Failure to carry the day does not show the values to have been undesirable or wrong. It is not over.


A Democratically controlled Congress has attached a rather tame rider to the most recent Iraq spending bill. The US must inform Iraq that we are pulling out at what appears more than a reasonable date given the Iraqi governments failure to control political and sectarian violence in the country. This is consistent with the 2006 Congressional elections when a majority of the public expressed their desire for troop withdrawal, sooner rather than later. The President promises to veto the bill.

This is a good thing. This forces everyone in Congress to state his or her views on Iraq. That will be useful information in 2008. Let’s see who plans to get elected on an open ended proposal to continue military operations in Iraq. Let’s see who wants to thwart the will of the citizens.

Each day events in Iraq refute attempts by supporters of the Iraq Occupation to give a clear statement of the mission in Iraq or show any substantive progress. Many supporters of the occupation fall back on the old standby that this is merely Bush bashing and left wing media manipulation. They have not fooled anyone with the ruse. Those who oppose further occupation, from across the political spectrum, may have many different reasons for pulling out, but the call for withdrawal grows louder each day because the reasons for doing so grow each day.

The rationale the Bush Administration continues to use is that leaving will create a safe haven for attacks against the US. Yet staying in Iraq creates a recruiting and training ground for those who would attack the US. The mission sustains itself: create the situation you attempt to eliminate. The move is either irrational or designed to be self-sustaining.

The Conservative movement that lobbied vociferously for the invasion and occupation lies in tatters. The camp supporting President can no longer call their selves Conservatives, for they are the remnants of the group who blindly idolize President Bush no matter what he does.

The Conservative movement, always a coalition adept at banding together to promote disparate causes, has now split apart. One searches for a coherent policy coming from the Bush Administration. One finds a policy designed to invest President Bush with unprecedented power and reward business, political, and right thinking religious cronies. Power and cronyism rule.

Meanwhile, violence and destruction reign in Iraq. The assault against prudent governance, basic rights and freedoms, and democracy continue at home.

Iraq is a country headed for third world status despite sitting atop one of greatest pools of oil wealth in the world. Yet some don’t care about that, for they have to prove they were right either through convoluted logic or force of arms.

False Spring

My hands are cold, which makes typing difficult. However, I could be somewhere else where things are not so placid, serene, and safe. Lucky me. I wonder if the lucky feel guiltier than criminals do. Winter has returned.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Baseball Fever

I am going to Milwaukee this afternoon for the Brewers/ Dodgers game. I joined a second fantasy league yesterday, which is crazy. Surfing the Internet for baseball stats consumes too much of my time. I have baseball fever.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Virtue of Vanity

I sat next to an attractive young woman at the ballpark yesterday. She was with her brother who was celebrating his 29th birthday. They were both very nice and a lot fun.

We chatted several times during the game. She seemed earnest and she certainly was engaging. I like talking to attractive women. It has become a hobby with me. As hobbies go, it is a fun one.

At my age, my long hair gets me more looks than short hair does. I at least get a first look. I was not getting that when I had short hair.

Vanity works positively sometimes. I do not feel as if I am an old man even though I know I am. For instance, I get along very well with all the people in their twenties that I know. Young attractive women talk to me more often. Some even hang out with me.

Of course, you are who you think you ain’t. Who am I? The question plagues me each day.


I went to the White Sox home opener yesterday. The Sox lost to Cleveland 12-5. I do not have the emotional investment in the White Sox that real White Sox fans have because I am life-long Cubs fan. I like them and wish them well as long as it is not at the expense of the Cubs.

The Cubs lost in Cincinnati 5-1. Spring has truly arrived. I am glad of that.

I jumped into the lead of my fantasy league after yesterday’s games. Even though it is only one day, I find it gratifying. I’m the league commissioner, which means I am still trying to fix the glitches after our draft.

I’m going to Milwaukee for a game on Wednesday.

I am currently reading Sam Walker’s Fantasyland, his story about participating the world’s toughest fantasy baseball league. So far, it is an excellent read for a fantasy baseball player, and there are millions of those.

I bet the Cubs and White Sox to win the World Series in the futures betting.

All of that is a preamble. Baseball is still my favorite sport. I grew up in the era when all the other sports were not the big deal they are now. I suppose that accounts for my continued interest.

They play baseball everyday. I always have something to look forward. Everyone should have something to excite his or her interest each day. The first thing I do when I wake up is review my fantasy results and set my lineup for the day. It does not take long most days except those when a player goes on the Disabled List or when I need to dump a poor performing player.

After that, I have to do some writing of some sort. I have to because I do not feel right all day long when I do not. It’s as if some part of me is empty.

That leads me to wonder what is more trivial: writing that goes nowhere or following baseball. I suspect qualitatively they are on a par with each other. I do what I do without much reflection anymore. I need a couple of things in my life that remain as constant as the thunderstorm passing through the city. I do not feel as if I live in a fantasy world. The whole thing seems concrete, something graspable, and worthy.

This blog seems worthy even though I have botched it badly.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Abandon Ship

Michael Dowd, former chief campaign strategist for President Bush, has broken ranks with the President, citing his lack of leadership. He also called for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Smart move, Michael, for the ship is definitely sinking.

Fantasy You Know What

I started a fantasy baseball league with some of the patrons and employees at the local bar. I’m excited. I plan on winning.