Thursday, December 28, 2006

Outrage of the Week

Here is a child who clearly did not read my Gettysberg Address series.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In Praise of Leonard Cohen, In Praise of 2007

Many times, as I am painting, I listen to the genius that is Leonard Cohen.

Perhaps it is Cohen's nearly toxic mix of the melancholy and the poetic that draws me in. I have been told that my paintings have a similar air of poetic sadness about them. Perhaps his gravel filled voice, not unlike my own, helps gives me my artistic voice. Perhaps the fact that we are both just over 5'5" makes us naturally kindred spirits.

Perhaps, alas, and especially during this time of year, I am just some Joseph looking for a manger.

I realize my life has been nothing if not a continuing trajectory toward excellence, and would not change that life a whit. This is one effect of reading Aristotle, and taking him seriously. I realize many of my fans envy the life I have led, what with the fawning admiration of young coeds, a fighting record nearly unblemished, a body of scholarship unparalleled, and my ongoing and increasingly successful fight against the social injustice.

The only thing missing from my storybook life is, it sometimes seems, a famous blue raincoat torn at the shoulder.

In a spirit of candor, I must admit that Christmas and New Year's holidays always sadden me just abit. Having grown up an orphan, I have no family but the faithful Mr. Bo Jangles. Having lived a life so many do in fact envy, making "friends" has never been easy. Unless I am in the Octagon, most of my activities are solitary pursuits.

I readily acknowledge that it is hard to hold the hand of anyone who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.

But do think of me, my SAGE fellows, as you revel with your families and friends through the year end holidays. Use my example, perhaps, as your inspiration for your New Year's resolutions. Tip your glass in my lonely direction, remembering, always, that the rain falls down on the works of last year's man.

I shall return in 2007.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Bombs, More Scotch, and More Patricia Deyton-Knox Please

Bo,

My good friend, I meant "bizarre" in only the best possible sense! Surely you must realize that I meant no offense but perhaps suffered from a need to do; as you point out, thinking can get in a man's way.

I must confess, life in these Bushian times is so depressing for a man such as myself. We have far too much thinking going on and not much doing. More troops, less troops; Rumsfeld is in, Rumsfeld is out;We like the little Arab people, we hate the Arab people. Its enough to drive a man of action insane! There can be little doubt that when the festivities started we were rolling. Hell, we knew we had to do something so we just did it! We're the United Freaking States of America baby! Truly, we had the Afghany formula right; Screw with America and we bomb the shit out of your stinking little country. Why we can't seem to apply this same formula to the "insurgents" (read pissant little cowards) is far beyond my pay grade.

I've been in the D.C. situation room, I've sat in conference as some toady tried to determine if a proposed action would upset the "delicate balance". These people know nothing! They're always talking about "maintaining the balance", "the balance is so delicate", and "letting a little steam of to relieve the pressure". They never can seem to comprehend that when you're walking around with a bomb, usually the best thing to do is blow that mutha up where it's safe before it blows you up! Hell, that little toady? That bastard - right now - is trying so hard to determine the balance with such precision that he can't even see that the whole pile of shit is about to collapse on top on his sweaty little head.

Which, I guess, is a long way of saying I was projecting my professional frustration on my Fellows here at SAGE. Was I wrong to do so? Perhaps in tenor, yes. But can anyone say that my point was far from the mark? I think not. Great to see your post today, you might have a quibble with my message, but dammit Bo, you know how to come through when duty calls. I've always admired that about you.

Listen, I was thinking. That PDK chick is kinda hot when she gets a little of the old smoky elixer in her (I'm talking scotch son); you remember the night after the Seahawks won the NFC? Yes, hell of a party she threw - a most memorable night indeed. Perhaps she needs a couple hardy gents to take her to dinner and get the ole creative juices flowing.

Whaddya think, Bo?

X

Wise Words

Especially the last line: "And, Mr. President, in the absence of a terrorist attack that threatens worldwide commerce, the shopping habits of Americans are really and truly none of your business."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Call To Arms

In response to my fellow Fellows whining, I post a call to arms.

Personally I think the blog suffers from nothing other than commitment. Good Lord people it takes very little to pound out 300 words on virtually any subject there is and hit "post". We can scrap the project if you'd like and I'll reinvigorate the POH (I have a wonderful co-branding opportunity under way thanks to the prolific Mr. Smith), but this would register as something more than a moderate disappointment with me.

We've managed to assemble a stable of wildly creative (Cap'n Fritters? The Old Mule, Brookson, Patricia and that cute little guy.....I mean what the hell!) reasonably talented writers who lack one small item.

Guts! Perhaps this is because two of our founders are from an area of the country that built a monument to those with the gumption to leave, but I hate ascribe the blame to them and use the excuse solely for the opportunity to get in a stolen line from the Simpsons. The fact is that we simply need to put pen to paper and crank out the wild tales that I know we are capable of. But it's going to take a good 20 minutes a day people.

Lets face it, My Ann Coulter stuff was brilliant. Danger, guns, sex and one of America's most loathsome personalities all wrapped in to one squirm inducing tale. Hell, we even had murderous A-Rabs! Could I buy a comment to help the narrative along? Nope. Bo's Lincoln tale, while completely bizarre and not nearly as good as my effort (keep that to yourself) was terrific, yet we had trouble mounting the effort to support the guy! He even posted a picture of that drooling beast the little guy calls a companion!

The truth is, in the time it takes to type "I'm busy with work" or "I'm applying for grad school" a comment could be posted. In the time it takes to post two more excuses, some original writing can hit the web and continue our quest for an audience.

To quote the late, great John Blutarsky, "Did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! No! Lets.....go! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

So there you have it folks. 353 words, 12 minutes, numerous grammatical errors but still sufficiently rousing to incite at least one of you to comment. The questions is do you have the guts?

X

Friday, December 15, 2006

Projects Best Aborted

I dabbled in a little project for the past year or so, something of a pulpy dystopian thriller--a civil war between the Reds and Blues: feminazis ally themselves with radical Muslims, homosexuals, atheists, Marxists and inner city gangstas high on crack cocaine to do battle with megacorporate cyborgs and rural Christianists brandishing shotguns and rattlesnakes, themselves cranked up on crystal meth. Largely incapable of either fending for or defending themselves, suburbanites find themselves caught in the middle, huddled in their McMansions, attempting to master backyard agriculture in order to survive (the gas tanks of their SUVs are of course empty), but are quickly dismayed to learn that their genetically modified seeds were only good for one season.

For a while it was great fun, but though it was largely a cautionary tale I eventually realized I could not possibly write such shit, and certainly no one would want to read it.

And then I learned of this. Orson, to claim your little book is an admonition to both sides regarding political fault lines is sadly disengenuous. I'm disappointed in you. If you now prefer the role of propagandist to novelist, then accept the mantle with the gusto of Mr. Hannity, and stop this incessant whining regarding your supposed ostracism from literary circles. You're welcome at my house again anytime so long as this unbecoming braying ceases.

The fact is that much of the supposed divisiveness that exists amongst our fellow citizens is manufactured and perpetrated by a tiny group of politicos whose looks and talents were insufficient for employment elsewhere in the entertainment industry. They serve up bellicose insipidity for an audience that opts for the news channels, talk radio, and blogs rather than an acerebral program elsewhere on the tee-vee or (better) proper edification via a good book. Whilst we should not risk understating the stupidity of the average American, the vast majority of the populace remains largely non-partisan and simply wishes to be left alone. If a citizen votes (a big if), it is generally for the party he or she perceives to be more likely to keep them from being bothered, whether by the government, big business or self-appointed adjudicators of morality. Such animosity as would lead to actual armed conflict exists largely in the minds of a very few. The rest of us may look with some dismay upon the yard signs displayed by our neighbors, but we nevertheless exchange pleasantries over the fence as we accept from them a sackful of rhubarb in exchange for zucchini. Which is why, in the end, such works as Orson's do serve a momentary purpose before they become dated curiosities, unintelligible to anyone happening upon them a few years hence: they shock us out of the now. And then they go in the trash.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life and Texas Hold 'Em: Overview

I did not imagine that my inbox would be bombarded with so many kudos and accolades for this series. Not since my fighting prime in Tokyo, when I submitted Don "The Predator" Frye in rear naked choke, have the cheers/cyber-cheers for P.D. "Bo" Steed been so loud.

It seems there is a hunger for knowledge about poker--and, let's be candid, life--that has my fan base in a tizzy. This, in turn, has caused a number of (assuming I am getting real pictures) not unattractive female correspondents to inquire about the possibility of some very "personal" poker lessons. To stem the rising tide of these prurient emails, I feel compelled to make explicit the same message I have sent to more than a handful of similarly assertive coeds here at The Law School: with the demands on my time from Mr. Bo Jangles, my painting, my Lincoln scholarship, my anti-Heightism efforts (including a heartening spate of advocacy marches and candle light vigils)--and now my training and focus upon the upcoming World Series of Poker, I simply do not have time for liasons of any kind, whether "dangerous" or not.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but perhaps the frisky likes of Major X or Captain Fritters have time for poker bimbos. I am afraid I do not.

In any event, let me give a short overview to orient my readers to the lessons involved in this series on Life and Texas Hold 'Em.

Texas Hold 'Em is nothing more than a series of poker hands, and every hand of cards can be broken down into three stages: Stage One is the period before the hand is played; Stage Two is the period while the hand is being played; and Stage Three is the period after the hand is played.

Likewise, life is nothing more than a series of difficult choices, and every choice can broken down into three stages: Stage One is the period before the choice is made; Stage Two involves executing or acting upon those choices; and Stage Three involves the time after a choice is made.

To conclude today's overview, here is a question for the more philosophically minded of my SAGE fellows, assuming one of them can find his or her way to a keyboard between now and the time President Obama is sworn in: does the fact that one cannot control the cards he is dealt eliminate responsibility for the way those same cards are played?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Life And Texas Hold 'Em: Introduction

My poker playing prowess is well known, and well documented, if one is willing to look in the right places.

Less well known is the fact that the "big boys" in Vegas have essentially blackballed me from its finer poker rooms, primarily because I have shamelessly thumped them in nearly every game in that town for the past twenty years; but alas, in must be admitted, also because of certain indiscretions on the part of Mr. Bo Jangles, especially as regards a certain poodle named "Kipsey," who, at least at the time, was owned by that insufferable Steve Wynn, whose fondness for Picasso only confirms his status as a cretin.

I have become, because of this discriminatory blackballing (one cannot completely eliminate the specter of Heightism from the equation), mostly a poker "theorist," and I have coached some of the best and brightest poker players in the world. Those people you see on ESPN? More than a handful of them learned their lessons from me--in exchange for a handsome hourly fee. Indeed, most of the Young Guns of Poker are imitating my playing style, whether they know it or not. One of my favorite activities, having finished another oil or a watercolor painting, is sitting--Mr. Bo Jangles in my lap, a little something in a glass to help "take the edge off", ESPN on in its full HDTV splendor--and watching my mentees and acolytes do their thing. Even pale imitations of the Master can be inspiring.

Friends, here are the facts: every hand of poker, especially Texas Hold 'Em, requires no less than 27 different considerations. Every hand. Learn these considerations, and you will have mastered Texas Hold 'Em.

Friends, here is a secret: life is just like poker. Master the principles of Texas Hold 'Em, and you are well on your way to mastering the principles of life.

In deference to the overwhelming demand from my fans, I shall, in the coming weeks, share these facts and these secrets with the substantial readership of this blog, free of charge. I anticipate finishing this series just as Mr. Bo Jangles and I take the Hummer across country to enter the 2007 World Series of Poker. (Who knows, perhaps I shall "live blog" the event...)

Yes, friends, P.D. "Bo" Steed is getting back in the game in 2007. I expect the Poker World is already atwitter.

The "big boys" and Kipsey had better look out!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Armed Motorage, Martha, and Litvinenko

Brookson,

A healthy dose of caffeine this morning eh, my good man. Excellent! It lifts the soul; and enlarges the mind. You are a coffee achiever!

Regarding your thoughts on armed motorage and just revenge: As you know I've often argued that only a select few - namely me and those I anoint - should be allowed to "pack heat". This way I would be able mete out justice with a quick and effective pop, pop from my 45. There is little doubt that crime would decline, civil discourse would increase, and I would be a lot less pissed off in general. All good things as your friend Martha likes to say.

By the way, I know our dear Martha will be catering your "Holiday Festivities For Those Who Celebrate" party there at the U and I would greatly appreciate it if you could do me a favor. As I think I mentioned to you, I paid her a visit at Bedford during all that unpleasantness. Really, it was the least I could do after I critiqued her Quiche (you must admit I was charitable when I described it as "eggy") at your "Vernal Equinox Party For Whatever Really Happened When That Guy Took an UnExpected Walk". I don't want to (and really can't) get into details, but I left a couple items of a personal nature behind (all those women with all that pent up desire!) and I believe she is going to leave them with you since, alas, we're yet again not speaking (All I said was the prison diet did her well - Soooo touchy!) Any way, if you could just keep them safe until my visit in the new year, I'd greatly appreciate it.

While I've taken a moment to stop in, I'm wondering, have you been following this polonium dust up (get it?) over in London? Most interesting don't you think? Sort of causes the mind to wander a bit towards thoughts of the old days when nothing was as it appeared. As you well know, if we want to find the answer we must not look where the magician is pointing.

Just who could possibly want to discredit the Ruskies at a time like this I wonder. Gosh, I can't think of a single person can you?

Dos vadanya!

X

Monday, December 04, 2006

Irate

I am most out of sorts today.

Anyone who believes in humanity's capacity to rise above its animal origins would have one's faith sorely tested upon venturing forth on ice-covered Missouri roads.

One might be tempted to forgive the provincial ignorance of those who have not witnessed the prompt and competent road-clearing in Chicago or New York, and thus refrain from adequately funding emergency services for fear that moneys will be squandered on gambling and hookers (as they are in the aforementioned cities, but the roads are passable); what one cannot forgive, however, is willful abrogation of all proper driving safety. Several times on the way to my campus office today I fantasized about being armed so that I might cap off the tailgaters blithely chattering away on their cellphones (no doubt about some reality program on the tee-vee last night).

I was in fact expected in my office on Friday, despite almost 20 inches of snow a warning from the city and county constabulary to stay off the roads. Even though most students were capable of walking in relative safety, classes were canceled, but the campus was not, and thus any absence would be subtracted from my sick leave, a situation I find intolerable. Once during my career at South Central Louisiana State University the entire campus was closed for the day because the temperature had approached freezing and all were terrified that there might be some ice somewhere; I find it laughable that Columbiana University thinks itself so much more important that it must demand that all faculty risk their necks to mill about their offices. I fired off an e-mail to my department chair and the university president that I would not be in, and what's more, my refusal to do so was in fact a great favor to them, for I would be sure to file a lawsuit were I to be injured in an attempt to drive in such hazardous conditions. I received no response. I have not yet heard of anyone suffering injury in the course of such action, but if I do I will be forwarding them my attorney's contact information.