Dec 112017

The story of Keaton Jones has gone viral. Keaton is bullied at his Tennessee middle school, and he made a heartbreaking and powerful video telling you all about it.

I wasn’t bullied much as a child, but enough to remember. I wasn’t the bully much as a child either, but that’s what sticks with me much more now. I can only claim immaturity. I have no defense for the behavior. As I said in my Rocket City Mom piece:

I think back to those times I bullied someone else now, and I wish I could tell you I remembered it as cathartic. If I had derived some emotional or mental relief from it, it wouldn’t justify it, but at least it would be a little more understandable. Alas, no. I did it as mindlessly as it was done to me, my empathy circuit firing minimally or not at all.

I have reached out to three of the four people I bullied—the ones I could locate—and eventually heard back from all three. Each of them thanked me for reaching out, and each of them forgave me. Each of them seemed to be a happy and well-adjusted adult. I’m thankful for that, as well as their forgiveness.

No adult in my life at the time was aware I was bullying these kids. I don’t know whether they told their parents or not. Whatever the case, I bullied with impunity. It’s a good thing I didn’t have more of a taste for it.

The problem is on more hearts, minds, and lips these days, and that’s a good thing. But you know kids still get through the cracks. At the end of his rope, Keaton made a video. What would he have done without a supportive mother? Without the chutzpah to craft a powerful message?

I think we’re spending a lot of sociocultural energy right now on stupid crap; on problems that are either greatly overstated or not problems at all. I don’t think bullying is one of those. I think bullying is worthy of every bit of attention it gets.

Even jaded old jackasses like me like to keep at least a candle or two of hope lit. If we are to entertain the idea of genuinely improving the human condition, how can this not be a primary input into it?

Thank you, Keaton. Hang in there, big man.

 Posted by at 11:36 am
Dec 102017

I first became acquainted with Brickell Men’s Products from my experience in the Chisel Shave Club. Included in my box was a small bottle of Brickell aftershave lotion.

Brickell products are expensive. But it takes me forever to use two ounces of aftershave, and it’s excellent. So it’s a minor luxury of which I partake. Costs me about $3 a month.

When I explored my options for purchasing more, I found myself on the Brickell web site, where they offer a free sample box. Therein are small quantities of 15 of their products, for which you pay only shipping and handling of $6.95. I said sure, why not? There is value in acquiring a small bottle of the aftershave for my travel kit, and I’ll check out the other stuff too. Plus, there’s a $10 coupon for a future purchase.

Some of the products are for vainer men than I. “Restoring eye cream” and “reviving day serum”? Well, they’re in cool little green jars I can repurpose. That’s probably the primary value for me. Others, like the lotions, I expect I’ll use but stay with my current products. And then there are a couple I’m not sure what to make of.

Like the beard oil.

What the hell is beard oil? I’ve had a beard for most of my adult life and I’ve never oiled it. There’s a long list of ostensible benefits on the Brickell beard oil page, but it sounds like answers to questions I don’t have. It’s also $25 an ounce. If it were liquor, a fifth of it would cost over $600. If I tried to run my car on it, it would cost about $41,000 to fill up.

Does that sound like something I need to get involved with?

I mean, what if I put it on my beard and it gets “addicted” to it, like people’s lips do with ChapStick? It could be a downward spiral from which I’d never recover. “In the end he was spending $10,000 a month on beard oil,” people will say as they shake their heads and exchange knowing glances.

I think I’ll just leave the packet on my shelf as a caution.

 Posted by at 12:02 am
Dec 082017

We had our septic tank pumped this morning. (Sorry, no photos.) Lea thinks I waited until December so I could say “Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!”

Nope. Just the way it happened. And it actually wasn’t (full). Stacy, the gentleman with Greenbrier Septic Tank, told me it was in excellent order. I was delighted to hear this, particularly given that this was the first time we’d had it pumped since it was installed when the house was built 17 years ago.

Is this the worst blog post I’ve ever written? That you’ve ever read? Well, you get what you pay for. Have a good weekend. Go Army!

 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Dec 072017
  • Well, I wish our first genuinely cold Saturday was full of football, but no matter. I’m still going to make chili, and we’re still going to have a fire.
  • The worst commercials of the 21st century are the “some people still like cable, just like some people like…” Direct TV commercials. They are deeply unfunny, demonstrating no understanding whatsoever of the whats and whys of humor. There is no rational reason for anyone involved in the decision to air these commercials to remain employed.
  • I am pleased Alabama is in the college football playoff. I am pleased that we should be much healthier on defense by the time we have to play. I am displeased with the timing of our defensive coordinator taking the head Tennessee job.
  • AM Booth’s Lumberyard‘s club sandwich, about which I have endlessly waxed, has inexplicably been removed from the menu. I discovered this yesterday, when I went to have it and get new photographs for my Huntsville menu all-star series (now on hold while I decide whether to go ahead with a different initial entry). I have the manager’s contact information and will be prominently complaining.
  • I’ve started working on the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force web site, with an aim toward keeping it informational and making it a link folks will hopefully pass around. Watch in the coming weeks for more improvements.
  • Supposed to snow tomorrow, but only a little bit and well south of here. I’d say your current bread and milk stores are probably sufficient.
  • Thursday miscellanea posts are apolitical, and this one shall be as well. But I’ll tiptoe a little more closely to it than usual and say that I’m ready for folks to have some different bees in their bonnets.
 Posted by at 10:41 am
Dec 052017

I probably said I wasn’t going to talk about this anymore. I’m sure I believed it when I did. Now I’m differing with myself.

Here’s how I initially started this post:

I’m certain I have more friends and acquaintances who are not talking about Doug Jones and Roy Moore than I do who are.

But wow, does it ever seem like the ones who are have nothing else to say right now. And I think way too many of those are forgetting that thinking, reasonable people shall find

But I went to Facebook after that, where I was going to write a capsule status on the topic. Instead, my post wound up over there.

I have reproduced it here for your convenience.

I mixed it up on Usenet newsgroups for 14 years, and I was proud of the fact that I didn’t use a killfile. I thought killfiles were crutches of cowardice, employed mostly by the undisciplined.

I carried that logic into Facebook for a long time, refusing to unfollow anyone. But it doesn’t really apply, because there were two big differences back then. First, on Usenet, there was a tacit understanding that if you said something, you were ready to defend it. And second, though we would argue for literally weeks, we did so mostly respectfully.

Now you can draw your own conclusions about why I led with that, but I’ll say this next: some of you are acting so damned ugly about this stupid election that I literally cringe when I read what you write.

There are thinking, reasonable people who are going to vote for Doug Jones. There are thinking, reasonable people who are going to vote for Roy Moore. And there are thinking, reasonable people who are going to do neither. There is a path through each option, and you have friends, neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates, churchmates, and relatives who aren’t going to choose yours.

That does not make them bad people. It makes them people who have reached a different conclusion from the one you have reached.

Furthermore, despite what too many of you have apparently conditioned yourselves to think, western civilization does not hang in the balance on December 12. Whatever happens, life will go on. And life going on shall include continuing to interact with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates, churchmates, and relatives.

That will be harder if you’ve accused them of, oh, complicity in infanticide or pedophilia, say, or if you’ve questioned their intelligence or faith.

An informed citizenry should pay attention to what its government does. But there isn’t a single thing that happens in that fetid cesspool inside I-495 that is important enough to cost us personal relationships. If you believe otherwise, it is my view that you might could use a recalibration.

Guess what? We’re all still going to be here December 13. And guess what else? We’re all still gon’ be ‘posed to be lovin’ one another.

 Posted by at 11:52 pm is using WP-Gravatar