Aug 202017

The best advice on viewing the August 21 solar eclipse is to do it.

Watch the eclipse.

Experience it first. Document it second.

Guess what? It’s going to be cool. Guess what else? Many millions of people will be consuming the experience at the same time you are. Everyone will have remarkably similar photos and video. And, there will be plenty of professional photos as well.

I’m certain it will be a huge social media event. I’m also certain that it’s difficult to imagine an event less amenable to such.

Take some shots for yourself. Your kids standing in your driveway the day it was nighttime at 1:30 in the afternoon is a good one.

But you don’t have a scoop, OK? So don’t rush to document it at the expense of experiencing it.

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Aug 182017

I stalked a woman once.

Well, not really. That sounds like I followed her around and took photos or something, and I didn’t. I spooked her, though (regrettably).

She was a regular customer in the service department at Madison Books & Computers, bringing machines in for her employer. She was an attractive blonde, maybe a couple of years older than I was (so, 24 to my 22). I was nursing a shattered heart from a broken engagement, which made me behave erratically because the various parts of my emotional self were firing unpredictably, with different intensities and efficacies.

So, as part of figuring out how to date again, I decided it would be a good idea to write this woman (I’d give you her first name, but I don’t remember it) a few anonymous letters over the course of a couple of weeks, leading up to telling her who I was and inviting her to lunch in the last one. Great plan. How could she resist my verbal charms?

Now I don’t remember what I wrote, which is probably my memory protecting me from cringing so severely that my face might really freeze like that. I imagine that even in the gay old early 1990s, there wasn’t really any way to do what I did without the creepy factor being the overriding one.

What I definitely do remember is that I named the time and place for lunch, and made it clear that if she didn’t show, that would be the end of it. So if she wasn’t interested, she could simply do nothing. Instead, I got a phone call from someone who said he was her boyfriend, politely asking me to stop contacting her. I assured him I would, and that was the end of my stalking career.

That was a really odd time, between Tammy and Lea. I did manage to see some high-quality women for a while. I clumsily alienated some others. It was like I couldn’t quite remember the melody of a song, but then I’d get a piece of it, be much too relieved, and sing much too confidently, generating new nonsense for me to navigate. However good or bad the movie was, “getting your groove back” isn’t a bad way to put it at all.

And of course, none of this is a lament. I’m much happier today than I ever imagined was possible.

But I’m sorry I spooked you on the journey, blonde woman.

 Posted by at 10:02 am
Aug 172017
  • Glen Campbell was one of my very first heroes, because “Rhinestone Cowboy” was my first favorite song. What a tremendous career! I’m glad that his mind is again his, and God be with his family and friends. RIP.
  • Two escapees from Three Springs, a juvenile prison in our area, murdered a construction worker at our neighborhood Publix on Monday. (They are now in custody.) If you are local and want to join a group seeking Three Springs’ closure, it’s right here.
  • The 2017 Village of Providence Car Show, benefiting Still Serving Veterans, is set for Sunday, October 22. You can register a vehicle in advance here for $15.
  • I’m overdue for a #hsvhotwings review. Paul and I tried to go to Big Shake’s yesterday, but the wait looked to be at least 30 minutes. I may let that cool off for a month or so. Note that it is next to the Subway on Martin, and much closer to Wall-Triana than Zierdt. I don’t know how “Martin & Zierdt” has gotten traction, but it’s most of a mile west of that intersection.
  • Looks like it’s going to get crazy out there for eclipse glasses. There was so much traffic at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center this morning that I thought there was a celebrity appearance or something.
  • The grand $22 underwear review is in progress. It will probably be out next week sometime. Thankfully, it shall be completely devoid of photographs of me modeling the garment.
  • Only nine days until college football. Only sixteen until the first big Saturday.
  • IndyCar is at Pocono this weekend. If you want to see a genuinely entertaining spectacle with real race cars (225 mph) on the Tricky Triangle instead of the NASCAR snorefest, tune into NBC Sports Network at 1:30 CDT this Sunday.
 Posted by at 11:07 am
Aug 162017

Say you’re watching a cooking show. If, in step three, the chef pisses in the mixing bowl, do you care what comes in step six or seven? Or even what he’s making at all?

And here we have the problem with the so-called “alt-right.”

“They” say some appealing things, frankly. They tend to be federalists. They support a strong national defense. They tend to favor lower taxes. (These would be analogous to steps one and two of the recipe on the cooking show. It’s easy to nod along with steps one and two.)

But then step three comes—the piss-in-the-bowl step. It’s something about the blacks and the Jews.


And these alt-right people claim considerable common cause with mainstream conservatism. How many “UNITE THE RIGHT” signs were at that foolishness in Charlottesville? (You should translate those signs as “LEGITIMIZE US.”)

In the early days of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. noted that he had similar “clowns in his house.” He used his nascent (but already influential) magazine to effectively evict them from conservatism.

President Trump faces a similar issue today. He must break conclusively and unambiguously with the alt-right, saying these are not our people. He must stress that alt-right support for him damages his agenda, not helps it. And finally, he must flush his administration of alt-right apologists and/or sympathizers. That means Steve Bannon has to go.

It is a considerable understatement to call Donald Trump an atypical president. And despite my refusal to support him, his brash unorthodoxy is something I have thought might be an effective weapon against the ongoing metastases of political correctness and identity politics. I hope it still can be.

But he must take this trash out first.

 Posted by at 10:34 am
Aug 142017

Sunday morning, my pastor told me he wants me to talk more. (Well, he told all of us.) He was specifically talking about the kind of talk I really don’t like—that which we do largely or solely because we’ve conditioned ourselves to be uncomfortable with silence.

I don’t mean talking with anyone you see regularly, whether you know the person’s name or not. If you’ve bought coffee from and shared a smile with someone once or twice a week for a couple of years, then sure, you might chat a bit. I might too.

No, I mean in the elevator. Or standing at the gas pump. Or anywhere else you’ll encounter someone you’ve never seen before and will almost certainly never see again. And I don’t mean when you actually have something to talk about. You want to ask about his car or his watch? Great!

But talking just to fill the silence? No. Stop. Try cultivating tolerance for the silence instead. We don’t have to be buddies, you and I. We’ll do our basic automatic threat assessments, and that really can be it.

I’m going to try to keep an open mind and heart as this sermon series progresses. As of today, though, I’m not sure endeavoring to talk more is a good channel for my spiritual energy. That’s not me closing myself off to a potential growth experience. That’s me knowing myself.

 Posted by at 11:32 pm