Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tar Baby

Reach in
deep into the sap of me
until you find a piece of amber
fossilized by the heat seeping off
the magma of unerupted fury
that runs beneath the silent, tectonic pressure
of stress-taut muscles and fear clenched teeth.

Reach in 
until your arms are lost 
up to the elbows
in my darkest self and strangest secrets.

Reach in 
and close your eyes
until you know me without them.
Sight will only blind you 
when you're seeking in the dark.

Reach in.
Burn yourself on the worst of me,
then heal,
and never let me go.

Monday, December 23, 2013


You can have my heart.
I'll give it all away.
You can have your freedom
to wear someone else's chains.
I don't have to have you
to love you like I do.
I will watch as you move on, dear,
if that's the road that calls to you.

I'm the quiet, watching one,
the pillar you can lean on
when the world knocks you off your feet.
And I will be, indefinitely,
a foundation to support you,
but a foundation is hard to see.

I've always been the patient one.
Maybe that's why I'm still waiting,
but I have so much to give someone
who isn't in a hurry.
I'd rather you took the time 
to know my darknesses, dance my light,
waltz around my yin and yang,
and love me for both the black and white.

For once I want to be the chosen.
When it comes time for you to choose
don't leave me the way you always do,
cracked but not quite broken.
For once I want to be the chosen.
When it comes time for you to choose,
choose me for the rooftops, the dreams come true.
Choose me for loving you enough to let you go,
the first time and the second.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Windmill #3: Honesty

Being honest with ourselves may be one of the most difficult tasks we’ll ever face. We shroud the truth in layer after layer of obscuring false trails, afraid to look it in the eye. Our truth is a Gorgon, we fear, and in that fear we are already petrified.

I see it, buried in the spaces between words and lines as a friend spills out line after line of truly personal details. There is an edifice built around everything she is not saying, a vault where the reality of the situation is tucked away. That truth, the one buried, is ultimately empowering, but all the signs on the walls of this monument say, “Here Be Dragons,” “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.” The signs are lies penned in fear and the stone walls of this cairn is only a house of cards.

I see it in my own self-reflection. The truth is a mountain, its peak veiled in clouds and I carve passes to either side, so close to reality that it’s hard to say I’m not on the mountain. But I don’t climb. I don’t take pick and piton and rope and set out to surmount my trepidation. How much easier to walk the paths along the gentle slopes at the base.

This mountain isn’t just a metaphor. It is Mount Fuji, the mountain I stared at from my apartment balcony for a year and never ventured to. I was afraid of it. Not the lightning storms that killed four that summer as they attempted what I did not. I was afraid of the aches and pains and too-taut muscles of my body and the strain I might put on them. The same fear I used as an excuse to avoid a military career. The excuse I use to avoid taking up running for exercise. I’ve always been one who claimed I didn’t have fears. It isn’t true. The truth is I have many fears and I’ve been afraid to face them. If I face my fears, I might be ashamed by them. I am afraid I will let myself down.

Fear is exhausting. It’s fatiguing. It wraps us up in a safe little word and we’re so excited to be sheltered that we don’t know that our breath is constricted, that our chest rises and falls, but so, so shallowly.

What amazes me most about this is how much simpler the truth makes things. How unfettered we are when we accept the truth and weed out all the crap that hides it.

What amazes me is that I’ve used so much flowery, vague language and metaphor and kept myself from truly talking about what I actually want to explore. This one’s going to take a while.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The War - M0RG4N

I haven't fallen in love in ages
think it's due to this war that wages
between my too complacent present
and my discontented past.

I've been too caught up in ghosts
with diamonds on their fingers
you'd think they'd start to fade in time
but something lingers, something always lingers.

I never saw myself here
wearing out familiar trails
on a too familiar map
I never saw myself here
walking down these worn out roads
with no company but my own

My heart's all out of shape these days
all hope and good intentions
but no real exercise.
My heart's all out of practice
and I'm too tired to go the distance
to do more than fantasize

I never saw myself here
wearing out familiar trails
on a too familiar map
I never saw myself here
walking down these worn out roads
with no company but my own

I haven't fallen in love in ages
think it's due to this war that wages
on and on and on and on
between my present and my past

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

She Ain't Perfect - M0RG4N (lyrics)

She Ain't Perfect 

When she smiles 
her teeth ain't straight 
but I don't care, (be)cause 
when she smiles 
I can't see straight
Got something 
on her cheek 
looks like a bruise beneath 
the makeup 
when I ask, she laughs 
the blemish, it don't detract 
Like Bruno Mars says 
she’s amazing 
just the way she is
And I don't have to have her 
just want to treat her like she matters 
I love her diamond 
and I love her rough 
she's beautiful 
from every angle 
don’t know if anyone else can see it 
but she's cut just right for me
I love her diamond 
and I love her rough 
her charisma is a prism 
casting rainbows on the walls 
its her flaws that make her flawless 
and I don't care if she is square 
beveled, pear, or princess 
she's cut just right for me
And I don't have to have her 
just want to treat her like she matters 
I love her diamond 
and I love her rough 
she's beautiful 
from every angle 
don’t know if anyone else can see it 
but she's cut just right for me

Monday, November 18, 2013

After the Fall

After the Fall

The evergreens, brave sailors all,
ride full sail into the first snow,
beams bent from proud masts
as they weather the season's storms,
charted on an immutable course toward spring. 

The deciduous, already winter-moored,
make of the forest a quiet harbor
where boats rock gently in the breeze.
These are the ships of summer,
all signs of life tucked away
beneath the blizzard's taut tarp
while icicles form stalactites on twiggy spars
and grasp their bony frames.

The earth below, now a sea of frozen waves,
drifting frost-jewels flooded across a new-hushed world.
Cozy, it turns and dreams 
beneath its blanket lily-white
waiting still for ever colder nights
when she, the world, 
and her snowy forest fleet
will glimmer in the moonlight.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Woman, how we have failed you.

I’m not the perfect man. I’m no prince on a white horse. If I’m a knight at all, I’m a knight in ill-fitting, dented armor. I have lost my fair share of jousts. I’m picky, and on the surface, I seem shallow. I have my preferences and at face value they very well may seem like appearance is far too important to me. I won’t apologize for them, because they’re mine, and I am content to like what I like. If you’re curious, my taste in women is like my taste in music. Eclectic, but with a preference for a general type. I like petite women, but that’s neither here or now. (And alternative rock, if you're really curious.)

What I am not, is the man who is going to tear you down because you don’t suit my tastes. I owe you more respect than that, whoever you are, however you’re built. I owe myself more respect than to treat you like you have failed me by not living up to my expectations. The problem here isn’t you. It’s the man who expects you to fit his expectations and takes it out on you instead of owning his opinions and preferences. 

Woman, I am sorry. How we have failed you. How we have broken so many of you with our failure to take responsibility for our own tastes. How have we broken so many of you? Who taught you to have such misplaced respect for the thoughtlessness of men? What men in your past failed to build you up as you deserved, what women failed to teach you to respect yourself beyond the weight of a man’s opinions?

This apology isn’t license for complaint. I have no sympathy for the woe-is-me of the dissatisfied pouring out their bitterness on Craigslist. The rampant insecurity is, quite frankly, exhausting, and exponentially less attractive than any physical feature that is either in excess or lacking. Whoever said the most attractive thing a woman can wear is her confidence had it right. (That goes for men as well.) Wear it like baseball player’s lucky underwear.

Woman, I can give you nothing but my own perspective. My raw, honest, 90-degree from the stereotype perspective. If you take something from that perspective, I don’t want it to be simply the literal weight of my words. Take the understanding that different people want different things. Take the understanding that there’s someone out there who thinks your body is beautiful, who loves your broken nose or your button nose, someone who desires a woman just like you.

One of my major incongruities with the drooling, poorly mannered slobs who treat women as though they are tools for masturbation rather than partners in life, activity, and joyful acts of mutual exploration, is that I’m not particularly fond of large breasts as a rule, and certainly almost entirely against the concept of aesthetic surgery excepting reasons of health and reconstruction. I have an eye for subtle detail and smaller breasts do not detract from the natural shape of a woman’s structure. I enjoy their sensitivity, the lasting nature of their perkiness, and find the most fascinating curve of a woman has much more to do with the line of her ribs as it gives way to the valley of her waist before rising with the swell of her hip.

It astounds me how many of the women I meet who take my breath away honestly believe the mirror is their worst enemy. Women blind to the fact that every eye in the room has noticed her, whether she’s in yoga pants or an evening dress. Women convinced that they are, in their own words, undeserving of attention and simply unattractive.

Who did this to them? Who cut them down? Who cut them short and belittled their beauty as they grew? Who was it that failed to get the message when they read the story of the Ugly Duckling and pecked at her self-esteem until she failed to recognize the swan when her feathers finally turned white?

It makes me livid.

I am sorry we have failed so many of you. You deserve better. You deserve to wear push-up bras, water bras, no bra and have the gentleman for whom you want to take them off enjoy you as you are. You deserve to have him be happy you let him see you without one in the first place instead of being a total cock-fuck who thinks its okay to treat a woman like she’s just the grass on this side of the fence. You deserve to know, without getting vain or prideful about it, that you are beautiful and desired by men who want you, just the way you are.

Woman, how we have failed you.

I can’t give you anything but a promise to be the change I want to see in the world. I’ll hold that door for you, I’ll treasure your gifts to me, offer you my vision of the swan you are and ask for nothing in return. I won’t take you for granted. I won’t tear you down when you’ve granted me your vulnerability, passion, and intimacy. When I teach, when I talk, I’ll try to be the actions louder than words, an example, and pass on the respect you deserve from other men. When the moment calls for it, I. will. demand. it. from them. You deserve no less.

I recently started teaching a new follow how to dance. She asked what she owed me in exchange for her first lesson and I told her the pleasure of her company was enough. The truth is I’d do it just for the chance to stare into her eyes. They may be the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve seen in my entire life. And that's enough.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Why It's Better to Date a Dancer (Expanded)

Based on a few of the comments I received on my last post, I decided to expand on some of the ideas I put forth. If you don’t know me, I’m a social dancer. I’ve been dancing for 12 years and I spend on average 6 hours a week dancing and/or teaching dance. My focus right now is a dance called West Coast Swing, which I enjoy due to its relevance in contemporary settings; Maroon 5, Matt Nathanson, John Mayer, Katy Perry, ZZ Ward, Rihanna, Daft Punk: all those and more have music I dance to. That being said, if we use language as a metaphor, I am at least conversational in waltz, American tango, foxtrot, swing from Lindy to East Coast, salsa, cha-cha, bachata, and can fake my way through many, many more. My experience is beside the point, however. I provide it merely as credentials.

For those of you who didn’t encounter the last post, it was entitled “Why Women Shouldn’t Date Men Who Can’t Dance”. While I think that is true to a degree, (nothing is absolute), I believe it is worth everyone’s time to learn to dance and the reasoning behind that opinion significantly informed the last, more playful piece. As I write today, I’m going to refer to leads as male and follows as women, which is the traditional form. Understand however, that I can both lead and follow (and have spent a lot of time recently improving the latter), and it is very clear to me that the best dancers can and arguably should learn how to do both. Furthermore, though I speak through a heterosexual lens, that doesn't mean my words don't have value if you mix the pronouns to whatever satisfies your tastes.

One of the points I made in my post was that men who dance tend to have better manners and more respect for women. An example of this can be found in the based-in-fact movie, Take the Lead. In the movie, Antonio Banderas’ character uses this information to convince a school board that ballroom dancing is important for their children. You see, in dance, men learn how to touch women without being sexual or violent. Dancing is about learning how to move your follow without force. It’s always very clear in a dance environment when a lead is new. Particularly when that lead can most accurately be described as yanking his partner around. Almost invariably however, such a the lead is truly interested in learning, what was once yanking his partner around settles into a subtler, more confident connection.

Of course, like any other environment, we are all human. There will always be those who think they know what they’re doing and refuse to change. But I think most good teachers care about their students and the health and well-being of the follows in their classes, and do their best to ensure that most learn to be considerate dancers. It's also perfectly ok for a woman to say no to a man with whom it hurts to dance.

One of the aspects I appreciate most is the culture of social dance scenes. Similar to men learning how to touch a woman with respect, the whole culture transcends the meat market attitude that rages through Western nightlife. I can ask a woman, -any- woman at a dance if she would like to dance with me and there’s a 98% chance she will say yes. She doesn’t assume I am trying to get in her pants. If she judges me based on my appearance, it doesn’t really matter. We’ll spend three minutes moving, spinning, playing, and creating a mostly silent conversation together and when its over, say thank you and move on to the next. If we both enjoyed it, we’ll probably do so again before the end of the night. If not, there are plenty of others to dance with.

Now, I’m not a prude. I appreciate sex, sexuality and sensuality in movement, and sexy women. West Coast Swing in particular is frequently a sensual expression of the self, in both movement and music. Between some dancers, tango can practically (or literally), be foreplay. It’s the context that bothers me in other venues, the assumption that men are nothing but horny dogs who are out to rut with any female they encounter. I’m passionate about dancing, I love it, and it’s disappointing to be out somewhere and want to dance with someone and be turned down with that look in the woman’s eye that suggests she thinks she knows what you’re after. That just doesn’t exist in my personal experience of social dance.

This is, to use a cliché, just the tip of the iceberg. Though the details vary from scene to scene, etiquette is an important part of social dance, one where supposedly old school manners are still alive. A request for a dance is supposed to be polite, and I’ll often offer my arm as I escort the woman I’m dancing with to the floor. Not everyone does the following, but I also tend to ask a woman’s date if he minds if I ask her to dance before doing so. I don’t do this with every couple, but you can develop a sense of where it’s most appropriate to do so. Of course, I do it with the full expectation he will say yes; the social dance scene is not one for the jealous. But then, if your partner can’t stand to give you up for a 3 minute spin around the floor, that may be a sign.

There are also personal physical benefits. Dancing teaches things like body awareness, improves balance, and since we’ll all be there someday, it’s worth mentioning that it has a 74% or so effectiveness in preventing memory loss due to aging. It’s also great exercise. I don’t really like to exercise, but when I’m dancing I don’t notice it happening. The exercise is a side effect and I do it 6 hours or more a week. Win-win.

Finally we get to the meat of it. My passion within my passion: Connection, the true language of dance - the ultimate body language. This where a man takes a woman in his arms and moves her. The aspect of dance that is truly conversation. While the traditional roles are comparably the man speaking and the woman listening, that image only touches the surface. The lead has to be aware of several facets all at once: the floor and the space available on it, his partner’s ability and connection, where her weight is placed, their relation to the beat of the music. If he isn’t paying attention, if he isn’t doing his share of listening to his partner the dance can become awkward, physically uncomfortable, make her trip over herself, etc. He also needs to be firm, clear, and decisive. If his side of connection is lax or he can’t make up his mind, the follow finds herself confused. It is always a lead’s job to dance to his follow, not to judge her on her ability or test it excessively.

The woman isn’t suddenly released from the responsibilities of awareness because she has decided to follow her partner for a few minutes. The lead has his back to half of the room, so she has to do her part to keep him from accidentally backing into other dancers. She also has the responsibility of controlling her movement and distance in order to not fling herself wildly out of control or risk breaking the connection. Her key duty, however, is to listen. Has his weight asked her to move? Has he stopped her movement or redirected her direction? Has he queued a turn or lead a pause matching a break in the music.

What we have, then, is essentially two people who are dedicated and focused on working together to create a three minute long project. They are concentrating on communicating to do it, not trading blame but each taking responsibility for their own part and performing it to the best of their ability. Most of this communication is silent. It is founded in mutual respect and conducted throughout with that respect in mind.  Social dancers are basically individuals who regularly practice developing satisfying relationships with each other in ways that can translate into romantic relationships in a very healthy fashion.

 I’d like to note, before I close, that I have seen many couples in my years of teaching and there have been those I would almost guarantee didn’t, or won’t, stand the test of time. The individual behaviors betray all kinds of details about their relationship and personalities. Sadly, most such couples never come twice. I won’t say that dance is some kind of panacea, but I do think that learning the kind of communication that dancing requires would have helped many of those relationships.

Also, let’s not forget that physical connections create endorphins. More frequent physical connections with lovers generally equates to a better sex life, and the kind of intimate connection that one can create through dancing with another person can only enhance such things. I’ve always been fond of saying that I can know a woman and her body better in three fully clothed minutes than most of her lovers ever will. Maybe it’s a little arrogant. My experience in both realms suggests otherwise.

So, in spite of feeling like I barely skimmed over the surface of the topic, it’s no wonder that I think everyone should learn to dance. And that women shouldn’t date men who can’t or worse, won’t, dance. (Not to mention that every female dancer I know finds immense joy in dance and I don’t understand why anyone would deny themselves that joy in a relationship.) As for women who can’t dance, as one commenter asked, the answer is the same for everyone: it’s worth your while to learn. You won’t regret it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why Women Shouldn't Settle for a Man Who Can't Dance

I was browsing through the personal ads on Craigslist out of boredom and ran across a clever one that actually piqued my interest. (That's probably 1 in 100 at best.) The ad requested a short essay for any interested party, so for fun I went ahead and wrote the following. I meant it playfully, but, I also mean every word. I believe everyone who can should learn how to dance.

Ultimately, an essay on why a woman shouldn't settle for a man who can't dance would be an extremely long one that explores in-depth all the benefits of dance, of learning to do so if one doesn't know how, and the rest of the topic, but a research paper's quota of words might not make for the best means to reel in a lady's imagination.

There are many reasons a woman should hold in her list of standards a man who either dances already or is willing to learn. First, the obvious: she'll never miss a turn around the dance floor at a wedding, or any other such more formal function. Equally, having a man willing to dance provides a woman with many more excuses to wear that dress that has been collecting dust in the closet than any woman with a lesser model. Also among the more pleasant benefits is that he's likely to have better manners than most men, more respect for women, and he's probably not inclined to spend all his time on a couch.

Then there are the more subtle reasons, arguably more important. A man who dances should, if he's a good dancer, be skilled at connecting and communicating in a partnership. Any dance is a conversation. A language all its own - the ultimate body language. Each dance has its own rhetoric. It also involves frequent physical contact that can be more intimate than any a pair of lovers have ever experienced. There's a good reason that dances such as Argentine tango are used as tools for couples therapy.

One might put forward that dancing together is one of the most beneficial activities any couple can engage in. The list of pros is nigh endless, and far outweighs any cons. With so many advantages to dating a dancer, it's hard to imagine why any woman who enjoys dancing herself (and it seems most do), would choose to settle for one who doesn't.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mi Tango

Mi Tango

I have not loved you without patience.
But perhaps I did not love you
more than I loved my honor, my morals. 
I did not love so distractedly
that I forgot myself. I did not let go
and lose myself in passion,
not in yours, nor mine.
Perhaps, though I loved you 
through more turning moons,
spinning suns, and revolving earths,
though I loved you through more
fresh snowfalls, windswept leaves, summer storms,
and early crocuses than I care to count,
perhaps I kept my fires banked
for fear that we might burn,
perhaps I never loved you
as much as you deserved.

Friday, October 18, 2013



What good would a heaven be without you?
Who cares about eternity if we never meet?
What good would a heaven be without you?
I am Jericho, be my horn.
I am Jericho, be my horn.

All these dreams are nothing without you.
They can never happen if we never meet.
All these dreams are nothing without you.
I am Jericho, be my horn.
I am Jericho, be my horn.

Somewhere out there there's an angel waiting.
Let me fly into the sun, how willingly I'd fall.
Somewhere out there there's an angel waiting.
I am Jericho, be my horn.
I am Jericho, be my horn.

As someone who studied the reading and writing of poetry a lot in college, I frequently find myself reading my own work at a much deeper level than others might. The truth is, as one of my professors once said, my poetry is deceptively simple. Even this poem, with its frequent repetition (worth noting in and of itself), contains a significant amount of weight in its few words.

Though a strange endeavor, I want to approach this poem the way another reader might. As though the author is "dead," as it were. This, for the uninitiated, is the literary world's way of saying we as readers can never truly know the author's intended meaning without sitting down with the author or having copious notes or other documentation laying it out for us. 

First, reading the poem, I am not certain if it is a prayer or a plea. There is clearly a romantic tone, as the poet uses language suggesting a worldly relationship. However, the use of Christian imagery and references make it unclear if the author is making the plea to a woman, a specifically Christian woman, or to the Christian God. Is the poet asking purely for the love of a woman, or permission to love something beyond the realms of the emotional. The lack of clarity may suggest that the voice in the poem cannot, or does not, differentiate between the two. Caritas may be the kind of love the voice is seeking. It is reminiscent of John Donne, who treated material love as spiritually transcendent and spiritual love as materially fulfilling. 

The diction in the first line also begs the question of prayer or plea. Heaven is not capitalized, which suggests the author doesn't hold the typical Christian respect for the term, and as such, isn't referred to specifically as the Christian heaven. He states, "a heaven," which suggest that the eternity in question could belong to any faith, though that seems unlikely given the other specific imagery in the poem. Though to be fair, it could be considered Jewish imagery, but my exposure to Judaism isn't a strong and as a reader, it doesn't awaken those ties within me. 

It seems likely that this poet then, is either an atheist or agnostic with a strong background in Christianity. This likelihood makes the sense of prayer extremely interesting, as if the speaker in the poem were begging for an opportunity, not only for an end to the haunting loneliness of the poem, but   for a reason to believe in something larger. It's also extremely possible that, assuming as we should that the diction was very specifically chosen and intended, the poet just enjoys playing with tropes, or is truly so romantic as to make the desired love into an almost religious experience.

This brings me to what I consider the strongest and most interesting line in the poem, "I am Jericho, be my horn." It is clearly the most important to the poet as well, as it makes up six of the fifteen lines of the poem. Without refreshing my knowledge of the story of the fall of Jericho, I am reminded of a story of a city with strong walls that held against any assailant. One individual is given a magic horn that, when blown, topples those walls, turning them to dust in an instant. This image suggests that the poet, or the character he is writing as, identifies himself as having high walls, or strong defensive traits that somehow help to keep him from something he wants. Perhaps these defenses are self defeating, as he openly pleads for someone else to "be my horn." In other words, to miraculously break through those defenses and, we can assume, bring the kind of love he desires in.

I'm only going to touch on the second stanza, as it is the weakest of the three. It serves mostly to reinforce the idea that the poet has romantic goals that have yet to be fulfilled, and the figure to take part in fulfilling them has yet to be defined. It is interesting to note that the context of the prevailing line, while still maintaining the imagery explained in the previous paragraph, manages to take on new colors with each situation. This stanza is the earthly one, with the kinds of earthly hopes and dreams that are instilled within most of us from an early age.

The final stanza takes both the religious tone of the first and the earthly tone of the second and combines them. The opening line transforms this unknown woman into an angel, a common enough theme. Given the poet's suggested lack of belief in such things, it's an interesting choice, however. The next line makes that choice even more intriguing. 

The author writes, "Let me fly into the sun." This is a bit of a turn from the Christian imagery, invoking as it does the Grecian myth of Icarus, but not entirely. We've already been lead to imagine an angel, and Icarus' character is a human who flew on feathered wings. He flew too high and the sun melted the wax that gave him the power of flight. The poet clearly knows this, as the next clause states, "how willingly I'd fall." Yet this suggests the fall of angels, the romantic notion of falling in love, as well as Icarus' ill-fated descent from the sky after reaching too far and too high. In five words, (counting "I would," as two), the poet has recognized his humanity, a sense of the divine in himself, a willing departure from the divine, a desire to fall in love, and the possible folly of all his desires. 

The poem finishes once again with what may be best called its refrain. "I am Jericho, by my horn. / I am Jericho, be my horn." It asks, the sound of the word horn echoing into the silence of its passing, for no more or less than it asked at the beginning. The poet is flawed, is human, is hopeful, is both touched and separate by the spiritual or divine, has guarded all that he is behind the high walls of an impregnable city, so high and thick that perhaps he has trapped himself within them and sends out his voice in supplication to something or someone to set him free.

As it is said, that which seems simple, rarely is.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wizard's First Rule

“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
― Terry Goodkind, Wizard's First Rule

There’s a (sadly) accurate theme that philosophers (we’ll call them that), the world around have been intensely interested in over the last 40-50 years. It’s likely that the subject goes back much further to the Greeks and beyond, but for the sake of brevity we’ll focus on the modern and contemporary perspectives.

To sum it up, let me offer a quote from Robert A. Heinlein, one of the fathers of modern science fiction. “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

The entire global community has a shining example of this in today’s government shut down of the most powerful nation in the world, and they find it mind boggling. Admittedly, so does the general population of that nation, from erudite to high school drop out. With some exceptions, who remind us that Heinlein’s quote will be apt until the day the race ceases to exist.

These exceptions bring to mind a much more in depth exploration into the definition of stupidity and the makeup of the group of such people. As written by the economics professor Carlo Cipolla, the number of stupid people in any given group is always represented by the variable s. It can only be represented as a variable due to the fact that the number of stupid people in any given group is always more than one thinks it is.

For those of you who don’t mind some light reading, his essay explains it all quite impressively. http://www.ecotopia.com/webpress/stupidity/

Though written originally written in jest, it rings remarkably true, particularly as we continue to explore contemporary examples of the phenomenon.

Some time in the last decade or so while Jimmy Kimmel was still on The Man Show, he spent the only segment I ever saw petitioning to help end women’s suffrage in America, just to see who would sign it. If you weren’t aware, women’s suffrage is the 19th amendment of the Consitution, giving women the right to vote. I can’t find the clip to share with you, but lets just say the results of the attempt just goes to show how uneducated people are. Many, many women signed it and I did find several examples on youtube (that I didn’t watch), repeating the experiment.

Fast forward to today, when Kimmel hit the streets again to ask people which they preferred, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. The results were astounding, with a fascinating ability of individuals to support one over the other. You can see it for yourself here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/jimmy-kimmel-obamacare-prank_n_4022424.html

It is important to recognize, however, that this particular brand of stupidity isn’t one sided. There were plenty of people in recent polls on both sides of the spectrum too oblivious to know the two items were the same damn thing. Democrat or Republican, the quantity of stupid people in the group is still more than you think.

We can only wish that this had been staged, but tragically, that’s not even necessary in today’s environment. And with the exposure via media and accessibility of information today, it seems inexcusable. Alas, people would rather call data sources propaganda than read and learn. It’s a good thing s is unquantifiable or the numbers might be significantly depressing.

It’s disappointing that in this time where not only do we have to concern ourselves with some of the finest stupidity of our era, that we simply have an excessive population from which to draw an even higher degree of stupid people.

I don’t know that there’s anything to be done about this unfortunate aspect of life other than to be forewarned and forearmed. Be aware and, as the Boyscout’s say, be prepared. The best we can manage is to make an effort to hold ourselves individually to a higher standard and not fall victim to the flood of ineptitude. We can always argue for more and better education, but I’m not certain that will ever be more than a thumb in the dyke; at least not outside some utopian dream world where everyone values learning.

As much as I wish I could apologize for the apparent cynicism of this post, as evidence shows, it’s simply realism. All I can say is,

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

I can’t say it any better than that.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bathed in Thought

I am inspired to write for the first time in a long time. Not by a
lady or a burning topic I'm aching to put out my opinion on, but by
myself. My thoughts and the attitudes and actions I have taken. They
swirl brightly in my quiet evening as I lie in bed waiting to sleep.
So bright that I decided to spill them gratuitously onto the page.

These aren't the words I was inspired to write. Not yet. Just a
documentation of that which led me there. I had a breakthrough on a
scene that is proving troublesome to rewrite under the paradigm I've
set for myself and I'm ecstatic, though perhaps, no. I am happy to be
writing this.

It all began with a shower. Or rather the shower was the catalyst that
put several puzzle pieces together for me. You see, showers are the
one time when I feel most relaxed and my thoughts flow as freely as
the water over my skin and muscle. One might say that the shower is
the only place I ever achieve actual meditation.

I was ill this week and I secluded, squirreled myself away in the
cabin and didn't bathe for a period of days that is somewhat
embarrassing to admit. Or would be if I were the type to be
embarrassed. I finally bathed today and washed away the grime and funk
and the beast in its den away. I wrote a poem while in the shower,
about the topic. As the lone wolf swirled toward the drain with the
suds, I was born again human.

All the things I have been reading came together beneath the heat and
sensation of the falling water. The poetic phrasing of Anne Rice 's
the Wolf Gift mixed with a study of sleep I read and curled up in the
heat to incubate together. My thought processes became poetic,
philosophical, insightful.

On my way home from a movie, I thought about the sentence, There are
no absolutes, until I was happy with my answer.

When tonight came, I thought again of the study I read, the suggestion
that the last things you think about before you sleep are etched into
your unconscious for hours. This has been on my mind at night since I
read it and I have begun trying to change what is on mine. This
matches well so the month I took of from visual media violence, which
is frequently an aspect of my daily life between sci-fi fantasy shows
and video games. In order to come down from the games I played this
evening, I took another shower to relax and warm up.

As I lay in bed, my mind turned toward what I would like to be doing
with my life as opposed to what I am. The results of that line of
thought were satisfying, and passed from one line to another like a
train smoothly switching tracks at a junction. My new rails led me to
thinking about the scene in The West Wind I'm currently rewriting.
Beginning the scene at the end and having my characters talk about
what happened prior will be a much more satisfying approach than
trying to have them live every moment of it. The scene I was
describing wasn't that important and I was struggling with it.

Of course, this meant I was too awake to sleep, so I chose to write
instead, and happily so.

I have come to a few conclusions that I hope to follow in the hopes of
creating a happier situation for myself:
Shower at night, every night to take the pressure off the mornings and
set my body and mind into a warm, relaxed state for sleep.
Look into massage school. I truly want to be a Renaissance Man. For
me, that includes making a living. Massage may be one of the
professions I could do to round out my list.
Look into teaching dance more seriously. Find out how much Zach
charges for Wedding Choreography in Spokane and charge less. Find a
space to teach in.
Write. Write more. Finish The West Wind. Write the Eugenics Inc. short
story. Write the other two novels you know are waiting.

I don't think I am meant for the corporate world. For one career path
to follow toward extinction. I want to earn my living from my
interests the same way that I am interested in them: with variety.

The variety, I think, will be the key to my success. A basket full of
baskets full of eggs. Just thinking about it, I can feel some tension
leaving. Time to plan the next adventures.

But for now, sleep, half followed by this darling oversized puppy of
mine. She's a heartthief, fair warning.