Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Planet of Doofuses

"Beware of wolves who come to you in sheep's clothing.
You will know them by the fruit they bear.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a bad tree bear good fruit."

If I had the power, I might rename the earth, "Doofus." Now that I think about it, I do have the power, but it's only in my imagination, so the name change will stay there and no place else.

I wonder if the plural of "doofus" is "doofuses" or "doofi"? I like "doofuses" myself; it sounds more accurate. And what exactly is the correct definition of "doofus"? To me it means "lovable moron." It's what you call someone who is an amiable klutz. You look at them and shake your head.

I'd like to rename the earth "Doofus" because the whole world is full of lovable morons. Mostly. Unfortunately I'm included, although I like to think I'm a lovable semi-moron. It could be worse. I could be one of those retarded monkey-people running the elevators in Brave New World. Although if I had to be a monkey, I'd rather be one of the flying ones in The Wizard of Oz, even if I had to dress like a bellhop.

If the world wasn't full of imperfect lovable morons, it wouldn't be in the shape it's in, with one step back for every two steps forward. It wouldn't be in the shape it's always been in. Religion is right: people are imperfect. Fallen.

One of the reason people are doofuses is because they follow the wrong people. I could quote Dostoevsky or Shakespeare to buttress my argument, but I won't. As is my wont, I'll use cartoons as an example, since I spend more time watching them than reading Richard III.

There is an archetype in cartoons I call the "would-be world conqueror." Examples? Marvin the Martian. Brain, of Pinky fame. Simon bar Sinister from the Underdog show.

Here's where things get scary. All of them have what I call an "amiable but stupid sidekick." Marvin has his robot dog. Brain has Pinky. And Simon has Cad, who can do little more than say, "Duh...okay, boss!"

On the other hand, heroes almost never have sidekicks, and when they do, they're not stupid. Did Underdog have a sidekick? Superman? Batman had Robin, but Robin never said, "Duh...okay, boss!"

The problem with the would-be world conquerors is grandiosity and hubris, which are the same thing and, in my opinion, the worst of the inborn imperfections in humanity. These conquerors always want to be God, like Satan did. And they always want to be worshipped, like Satan did. All you have to do is look at real-life nutcases like Herod or Nero or Caligula. Caligula went so far in his nuthood as to declare himself a god.

These days we have a president who claims God has chosen him, and that He talks to him. The difference between his imperfections and those rulers who were much worse is not one of kind, but only of degree. Grandiosity and hubris are a slippery slope, and those afflicted with them almost never know it.

What do these cartoon characters tell us? Something really very disturbing. Anyone who wants to conquer the world is never going to have a shortage of misguided - indeed self-deluded - people to follow them. It's not a case of one Brain and one Pinky; it's one Brain and several hundred thousand, if not millions, of Pinkys.

For good or bad, we are herd animals, social and imitative. As such, we play follow the leaders. Some researchers understand this; it's why the one of the most firmly established principles (especially in propaganda) is for the masses of people to look to a leader to solve their problems.

Or, as Robert Higgs so eloquently expanded on it: "An adequate answer might fill a volume, but some elements of that answer can be sketched briefly. The essential components are autocratic government, favorably disposed mass culture, public ignorance and misplaced trust, compliant mass media and political exploitation for personal and institutional advantage."

Many people may not take cartoons seriously, but I do. Cartoons are just modern-day myths; good ones are just as accurate as any ancient myth, because they tell the same stories and same truths, just dressed in modern clothes. Marvin the Martian is just an animated version of Ares, the Greek God of War. Brain, in his own way, is just as loony as Satan.

If you think it isn't true that wackos who wants to conquer the world will never have a shortage of goofballs to follow them, ask yourself how many people said "no thanks" to Hitler and Stalin? More German and Russian soldiers died at the Battle of Stalingrad than all of America's wars combined. Had I been there, I would have snuck away. If I could. I wouldn't die for Brain or Marvin the Martian, or any demented human acting like them.

The real heroes never have doofus sidekicks because they don't want anyone slavishly obeying them. Only people who desire to conquer want slaves. The real heroes, whether in cartoons, or old myths, or in real life, want people to be free, and to be responsible for themselves. Even it if means not wearing a seatbelt.

When Superman said he was defending, "Truth, justice and the American way," he wasn't asking for anyone to say, "Duh...okay, boss!" to him or anyone else.

Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, in his book, Leftism Revisited, understood what knuckleheads many people are. He also understood why an earth full of doofuses follow the people who lead them to their deaths. The reason, he wrote, is because the "Children of Darkness are more clever than the Children of Light."

What Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote is true. Many people are more liable to follow someone evil than someone good, as long as those who are evil "hide from the light" and pretend to be good. That's why the Children of Darkness are more clever than the Children of Light. Because evil always disguises itself as good. Worse, it appears better that simple good, because it promises so much more.

Marvin's dog, and Pinky, and Cad, are a bunch of sleepwalking dimbulbs who can't tell the difference between good and evil. All three are just symbols of the human race in general. Amiable but stupid. Lovable morons. Doofuses.

The heroes, the Children of Light, always demand that people take responsibility for themselves. The Children of Darkness always tell people it's not their fault; it's someone else's. And when those supposedly at fault are gotten rid of, then peace and justice will reign. It never happens, though, because the fault lies in ourselves.

If you want to look at it from a Christian viewpoint, it was Satan who blamed his problems on everyone else, and who wanted to rule. And it was Jesus, who when he was offered political power over the kingdoms of the world if he would just worship a deluded and incompetent buffoon, declined. He also suggested people change their own "hearts and minds," instead of trying to force others to do so.

The Children of Darkness - not only in the past, but now - promise glory and grandiosity and political power over the kingdoms of the world. It always ends up in death and destruction, as hubris always does. One of the reasons - maybe the main one - is that ultimately the Children of Darkness are incompetent. Nemesis is always the penalty for hubris. Brain and Simon and Marvin always fail. Brain usually conked his head and staggered around dazed. Marvin sometimes even disintegrated himself, although, like Ares, he was always resurrected.

What lessons from all of the above can we find for today? Well. . .we have people in the administration who are "hiding from the light" and not telling people the truth. They are trying to conquer a large chunk of the world, and promising honor and glory. Even though one only has to look at the story of Jesus refusing political power over the kingdoms of the world, a lot of doofuses still believe the Children of Darkness and are following them, even though they're incompetent and will fail.

Even something as simple as children's cartoons are telling us these would-be world conquerors are bound to fail. Not at all surprisingly, as the plans of these conquerer-wannabees unravel, they're rapidly failing, although in their self-delusion and hubris they can't admit it to anyone, including themselves. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of Pinkys and Cads who still haven't opened their eyes. Until they do, they will remain doofuses.

I'm the King of America!

I hereby declare myself King of America. And all my new subjects had better take me seriously, otherwise I’ll quit and let the Democrats and Republicans back into power. And no one is his or her right mind wants that, right? Personally, I’d rather get a nice paper-cut on my lip with some lemon juice poured on it.

As both the late Catholic anarchist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, have noted, a constitutional monarchy is far superior to any other form of government (it’s not perfect; it’s just the least of all the evils. No, that’s not true; the least evil would be no State at all, but I serious doubts about that ever happening.)

Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote the relationship between a monarch and his citizens is much like that between fathers and children, and Hoppe has made persuasive arguments that since kings in a sense "own" the country, they’ll take better long-term care of it than a democracy, which invariably looks no further than the next election.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn, quoting Rivarol, had this to say about the difference between monachy and democracy, "...a monarch can be a Nero or a Marcus Aurelius, the people collectively can be a Nero, but they can never, ever, be a Marcus Aurelius" (my view is that the population may expand, but intelligence might be a constant). He also wrote, in Leftism Revisited, "Outside of Switzerland, there has never been a republic that did not become a monarchy. Only the ignorant, the insular, or provincial can consider a republic or democracy – both antique forms of government – ‘modern,’ or a monarcy ‘obsolete.’"

Hoppe writes this about democracy: " ...democracy has been the fountainhead of every form of socialism: of (European) democratic socialism and (American) liberalism and neo-conservatism as well as of international (Soviet) socialism, (Italian) fascism, and national (Nazi) socialism."

He has this to say about monarchs: "...a king, because he ‘owns’ the monopoly [the country] and may sell or bequeath it, will care about the repercussions of his actions on capital values. As the owner of the capital stock on ‘his’ territory, the king will be comparatively future-oriented. In order to preserve or enhance the value of his property, he will exploit only moderately and calculatingly. In contrast, a temporary and interchangeable democratic caretaker does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his advantage. He owns its current use but not its capital stock. This does not eliminate exploitation. Instead, it makes exploitation shortsighted (present-oriented) and uncalculated, i.e., carried out without regard for the value of the capital stock."

Concerning the weasels who run democratic governments, he writes, "the selection of government rulers by means of popular elections makes it essentially impossible for a harmless or decent person to ever rise to the top. Presidents and prime ministers come into their position as a result of their efficiency as morally uninhibited demagogues. Hence, democracy virtually assures that only dangerous men will rise to the top of government."

Friedrich Hayek noticed the same thing in chapter ten ("Why the Worst Get on Top") in his 1944 masterpiece, The Road to Serfdom, when he wrote that "the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful" in any society that sees government as the answer to society’s problems. "Seeing the government as the answer to society’s problems" is one of the best one-sentence definitions of democracy I’ve run across.

Unfortunately, democracy is the worst form of government there is. All you have to do is look at the one hundred million to two hundred million people were sacrificed in the that "Age of Democracy" known as the 20th century.

If you’ll look at history, you’ll find that King George III’s abuses of the American colonies were but a small fraction of what the – yech, blech, I can barely bring myself to say it – "federal" government does to the citizens today. We’d be far better off if the entire modern Black Thing just disappeared and George, as loopy as he was, was still king.

My first action will to be to close down most of the government. Since the average serf – I mean American – is paying about 40% of his or her income to the government, out goes the IRS. No more tax-forms! People will pay no more than three percent of their income to the government. Maybe a sales tax.

Department of "Education" – gone! All public schools are immediately closed down, then the grounds are salted, and the teachers peppered. All schools are now private. No more special interest groups mauling each other, trying by the force of law to impose their curriculum on students. Unfortunately, I’ll have to be a little harsh here and fire every leftist in every college. And every economics, history, law and political-science professor who doesn’t teach anything but the free market and political liberty. Alan Dershowitz can stand on a soapbox in a park and howl to his heart’s content (in England they call these kinds of people, quite correctly, "nutters").

Since all government will be a fraction of its current size, most judges can hit the streets and get honest jobs, instead of tranferring citizen’s wealth into the State’s pocket (Thomas Hobbes correctly noted, "Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money").

Any lawyer or judge who doesn’t understand the concept of Natural Law (what used to be called "the common law"), and doesn’t realize that law is discovered and not invented, is obviously unfit for the profession. They can drive a taxi or be a carpenter, as I used to do.

Department of Energy – poof! The mud flats in Alaska are now open to exploration. And anywhere else in this country. If anyone is worried about pollution, companies will by law not be allowed to pollute anyone’s property. That’s what the law was supposed to do in the first place, but rarely did. It almost always looked the other way when businesses polluted people’s property. Said it was to protect people’s jobs, which were more important than other’s private property (never mind the fact that without private property there are very few jobs).

More nuclear power plants will be built. If people don’t like that, then the unleasing of the free market will create all kinds of wonderful alternative ways to create energy. Maybe billions of flying squirrels on treadmills, trying to get up enough speed to take flight.

All the troops we have in 144 countries – home they come! I mean, what exactly are our troops in Portugal protecting us from? All political connections with other countries are now severed. If private businesses want to trade with foreign countries, fine. No more foreign aid, which almost always goes to the rulers anyway. Which they then used to oppress and murder their own impoverished citizens.

All welfare is immediately ended. That means not just the "poor," but also corporate pigs sticking their snouts into the public trough. All the private charities that will spring up can help the poor to get back on their feet. No more subsidizing unmarried teenage girls to pop fatherless babies onto the public dole. If they can’t support them, then open the orphanages back up. They did a fine job in the past.

All gun control laws are now repealed. Anyone can carry a weapon, concealed or unconcealed, in public. If people want to own Tommy guns, wonderful. They’re stupid weapons, anyway. You can’t hit anything with them. Shotguns are much better (machine guns make holes; shotguns make craters, or will even remove your head completely. So guess which one is legal now, and which one isn’t?)

All drug laws are now repealed. No more sending billions to narco-terrorists in foreign countries. No more wasting billions trying to stop drugs from getting into the country.

And no conscription, either, every again. Waste all my valuable citizens in worthless foreign wars? Hey, they’ve got better things to do, like invent a flying car so I can go to the Moon and hit golfballs!

The Clintons will immediately be charged with treason and/or war crimes, as will Tom Daschle, Richard Gephardt, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Janet Reno, Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, and Robert McNamara. Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz will never work in any government agency again. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will be parachuted into Cuba. Okay, maybe I’m exceeding my authority, but cut me a little slack, will you? Even kings aren’t perfect.

All illegals are now immediately deported. All Third World immigration is cut off except for the most educated or intelligent (hey, it’s my country, and I want the best, not the worst). Since the Democratic Party no longer exists, they can’t attempt to import the entire Third World into the U.S. in order to keep themselves in power, even if it will turn the entire nation into the Balkans. Not that they ever cared in the slightest.

The airports are completely privatized! No more waiting in lines longer than football fields. No more pathetic -- no, worthless!--attempts at security. If passengers and pilots want to carry pistols with frangible ammo onto the plane, that’s up to the airlines. If they want to fire Muslims wearing diapers on their heads, great! (If the Mideast is their "Holy Land," then it should be Paradise to live in. So why are they here, and in Europe?)

All anti-discrimination laws are repealed (I’ll have to admit, it’s been a hoot watching airport "security" disrespect Americans with blond or red hair and blue or green eyes while Arabs loaded bombs, uh, I mean suitcases, into the luggage compartments of planes, or else inspected carry-ons to make sure weapons were, oops, I mean weren’t, allowed on. Such are the wonders of federal anti-discrimination laws.)

All ridiculous rules and regulations hobbling the free market are now eliminated. The gold standard is reinstated. Inflation will cease to exist. Without inflation, the business cycle will disappear. No more recessions, and certainly no more depressions. Alan Greenspan will be placed in stocks in public.

All "federal" lands will become private. I might just give them away (and certainly not to the rich). In fact, all land will be privately owned, and none will be owned by any government. That includes all streets. So the meter dweebs can get real jobs.

As annoying as the liberals and fascist/socialist war-mongering armchair-general neocons in the media are, I’ll still allow complete freedom of the press. However, since all liberals and necons are wusses, I will cork all of them on the arm and make them cry like girls.

If anyone is abused by what little government is left, he or she can appeal to me directly. And believe me, I’ll almost always favor the citizen. Then I’ll go to the government official and kick him in his nuts. Just like Eric Cartmann in "South Park."

Can anyone imagining any of this happening under any democracy? Nope. Not even in the next 50 years. How about a republic? Fat chance, since Lincoln started the destruction of it. See how great it is to have a King, even if he is a little eccentric?

That’s enough for my first day as King. Then I’ll take a break and act the way royalty is supposed to act: gamble, drink, wear a tux and bowtie, try to look as mysterious and cool as Sean Connery when he played James Bond, fool around with the royal floozies, and wave to the crowds from my ducal Chevy Cavalier. But first, I have to find a gold cigarette case.

Hey, it’s a hard job, but I’m more than willing to stay with it.

Wet Hair Throughly, Apply Shampoo

I had put one of my electrical outlets to such use for so many years the holes in it became so enlarged the plugs would wobble, causing my stereo or computer to shut off. Finally, I bought a new outlet, pulled the fuse from down in the basement, pulled the old outlet, rewired the new one, put the fuse back in, and hooked everything back up. It works just fine.

I can rewire an 110-volt electrical outlet without instructions, but my shampoo says, "Wet hair thoroughly. Apply shampoo to scalp and gently massage into hair to work up a rich lather. Rinse completely. Repeat, if necessary." I guess the manufacturers assume I would sit in the bathtub, staring at the shampoo bottle, completely stumped. Do they also think I might blow-dry my hair while sitting in a bathtub full of water? The sign on the hair-dryer warns me I should not do this.

Why aren't there instructions on soap? Instead of printing it on the wrapper they could stamp it on the soap itself. They could be holes all the way through so you could always read them until the soap was just a sliver. By then, though, you should be able to remember how to use soap.

I can deal with instructions on how to shampoo my hair, because they are a little bit funny. And at least I don't have to follow them. If I want, I can put the shampoo in my hand, then put it on my hair. Or I can put it on my head, then wet my hair. The possibilities are endless.

There is a limit, however, to how much I can tolerate. Sometimes I feel like I'm being nibbled by do-gooder mice.


I'm using caps because it is printed in caps on the bottle.

I would like to thank the government for informing me and everyone else that women should not get drunk while pregnant. I also want to thank them for educating me to the fact that if I drive while drunk I might not be at my best. I did not know these things. My parents never told me. Apparently, no one in society knew any of these things until they were printed on the backs of beer bottles.

I think every golf ball should have printed on it: DO NOT CUT GOLF BALL OPEN. THE INSIDES ARE POISON AND IF EATEN WILL KILL YOU. That's what we thought when we were kids. Besides, has any government agency actually tested to see if the insides of golf balls aren't deadly poison?

Or what about signs that read: DO NOT STEP ON SIDEWALK CRACK. YOU WILL BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S BACK. Has anyone tested to see if this is true? Crippling mommy is not something most people want to do.

And every can of Coke should have this warning: (1) DO NOT PUT YOUR TEETH IN COKE OVERNIGHT. THEY WILL DISSOLVE. (2) DO NOT PUT ASPIRIN IN COKE AND DRINK IT. IT WILL MAKE YOU DRUNK. We thought those things as kids, too. Has anyone investigated to see if they aren't true? These are potential, and obviously uninvestigated, dangers.

Maybe all bees should have little signs: THIS BEE CAN STING YOU ONCE BUT THEN HE WILL DIE. Hornets, on the other hand, should have this sign: THIS IS NOT A BEE. IT IS A HORNET. IT IS INSANE. UNLIKE A BEE, IT CAN STING YOU OVER AND OVER.


One of the things I always wondered about as a kid is those DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW tags on mattresses. I thought if I removed them somehow the cops would know and come and arrest me. I've always wanted to see this scene in a movie: "We're comin' in after you, Jonesy! You removed the DO NOT REMOVE tag from your mattress!"

"You'll never take me alive, copper!" RAT-A-TAT-TAT!

Could they have at least printed, It's OKAY TO REMOVE THE DO NOT REMOVE TAG IF YOU OWN THE MATTRESS?

I have a pipe which I occasionally smoke. A 12-oz. bag of pipe tobacco will last me six months. The last time I bought a bag the clerk asked me for my ID. This is simply ridiculous, since it is impossible to believe I am less than 21 years old.

"How old do you think I am?" I asked her.

"I don't know," she said.

What comes next is "Liar," but I didn't say it. But in cases like hers I would like to see her pants on fire.

On the back of the tobacco bag it reads: "WARNING: This Product Contains/Produces Chemicals known to the State of California to Cause Cancer, and Birth Defects and Other Reproductive Harm."

I like the vague scare about "Other Reproductive Harm." What it could be is left to the imagination. I have this image of a 12-year-old boy running into the house, sobbing. "Mom! Dad! I smoked a cigarette and -- and -- and -- it fell -- wah!" And then the Mom and Dad run around screaming, "Our grandchildren! Gone! Forever!"

I don't drink much beer, but the last time I bought some the clerk asked me for my ID. She was asking everyone, including Gramps in front of me. Seventy years old and being carded. I wonder what he thought about that.

She looked at my ID and began to type something into her computer. This is how the conversation went:

"Are you typing the information from my driver's license into your computer?"

"Just your birthdate. It's company policy. If I type my own over and over I'd get caught." She understood the stupidity of it.

I am reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Speaking of signs, I would like to see this one on all politicians: I WILL LIE TO YOU AND ROB YOU BLIND, ALL THE WHILE SAYING IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Now that one I would agree with.

Yikes! I Should be Dead!

Well, now, it seems to me that according to the gubmint, I should have gone belly up by the age of six, seeing that I never wore a bike helmet. And just how did I make it to 10, what with the chemistry set and the homemade bombs?

Apparently the way the gubmint sees it, they're Mom and Dad, and we're drooling babies who need to have our diapers changed. Heck, why don't we just make the entire world out of Nerf, huh? We'd be safe, all right. The flip side of that coin is we'd be so bored our brains would turn to mush right in our skulls.

These days, when I wander through stores, I can't find any of those fiendish toys I had as a kid, the ones liberals think were created by all those nefarious companies looking to make a profit at the expense of one or more of my digits. They weren't dangerous then (well, okay, just a little bit), so how did they become so dangerous these days you can't find them?

One of the toys I had, and wish I had kept –- because now it sells for $125 –- was my Mattel Vac-U- Form. It was a box with a hinged lid on top. You put a sheet of thin plastic in the frame and then flipped it over so that it fell on a heated plate with a model on it. I suppose it got to about 130 degrees -– Inferno in a Shoebox! The heat softened the plastic so it took the form of the mold. You could get a nasty burn, if you were stupid enough to stick your finger on the plate! And hold it there!

Now that I think about it, it was a rather dumb toy. The TV ads claimed you could make helicopters and airplanes that flew. Har. I made bugs and frogs. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I wish I knew what happened to mine. Dang, I really do wish I still had it. When no one was looking, I'd still make cicadas and toads. And chase my sister around with them. The same sister who hit me over the head with a frying pan. And bashed on the same head with one of her roller skates.

Then there was the chemistry set my parents bought me at a local store, the one which I had no intention of using other than to make explosives, but of course did not tell my parents that. They apparently entertained the futile hope I was going to be Jr. Einstein instead of a maniac who burned down the barn and set a wheat field on fire. Not to mention the fact that when I wrapped breadwrappers around a stick and set them on fire so the melted plastic went zip zip when it dropped, I dropped it on my own hand.

Try to find a chemistry set today at Walgreens or Walmart. You can still get them rather furtively through the mail, the same mail that my 11-year-old self brought a stiletto through, no questions asked by anyone. And did I dismember anyone? No, I did not. And in this particular case, I didn't even cut myself, not even once.

A fair amount of the chemistry bottles were marked POISON (in GREAT BIG LETTERS), which I guess is why you can't find them these days by walking in a store. Lawyers would have a field day when some parent claimed their retarded kid swallowed the contents of a bottle. Which I never saw any kid do.

Did I swallow the contents of any of those bottles? Nope. I was maybe 10, but I knew enough to realize you don't gulp down what's in a bottle when there's a skull-and-crossbones on it.

I don't remember too much about what experiments I did (maybe I didn't do any), except for some explosives I made, which I used to spectacularly blow up some airplane and ship models I had built. Those models are why to this day I can recognize the Japanese Zero, the P-38 Lightning, the Me-109, the Me-262, and the P-51 Mustang. All of which went flaming straight into the local pond.

Believe it or not, I still have a model of the P-38 sitting on my desk, although it looks like one of the pitiful models Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes put together.

And don't get me started on BB guns. I know a woman who several years ago became so hysterical her teenage son brought home a BB gun she called the police and had them haul it away. I guess she thought he was going to shoot his eye out, just like Raphie in A Christmas Story.

I knew exactly one kid who shot himself with his own BB gun. Sammy, who was skulking in the barns behind my house, without permission, and somehow shot himself in the lower lip with his own gun. I remember my mom trying to dig the BB out with a needle, to no avail. I assume the retard had to go to the hospital.

It never surprised me to find out Sammy was a liar and a thief. After all, he was on our property without permission. It also didn't surprise me when years later I found he had become a drunk who had croaked after guzzling a bottle of whiskey. Every kid I knew who was stupid as an adult started as a stupid, irresponsible and selfish kid.

The bike I mentioned? The rage in those days was one called the Stingray. Looks dangerous, huh? It was, pretty much. Once while riding on some kid's handlebars I somehow fell off and did a somersault onto the pavement. Another time while racing some other bikes two or three of us collided and fell over. The girls, who were playing nurse, carried us off the field of battle on homemade stretchers.

I won't even talk about the scar I still have on my left knee when I fell off of a minibike while out on the river levee. Actually, I did a somersault off of that one, too. That was because the throttle came off in my hand.

The most fun thing of all, more fun than the horses and the minibikes and the Styrofoam sailboat we got for sending in about 2000 coupons from packs of Kool cigarettes, was the rope swing -- Sea Snark.

We lived within hitch-hiking distance (yep, we hitch-hiked) of an old flooded shale-pit, about 90 feet deep, that my father used to swim in when he was a teenager.

The surface of the water was about ten feet below the bank, so someone had tied a thick rope, with a knot at the end, to a tree branch. We'd sit on that knot, some friends would haul back on that rope and whang us out over the water. Woo hoo! At the top of the arc it was probably a 15-foot-drop to the water.

I remember being at the top of that arc, looking down at the water, and thinking, "You know, that water's 90 foot deep, and my dad says there're old trains at the bottom of the pit." And then, wham!, I'd hit the water and go down several feet before making my way back up.

I only saw one kid get hurt. He didn't let go of the rope and fall to the water. Instead, he swung back, and went right into a sawed-off tree branch. All we wore were cut-off jeans, which he was wearing.

Whack! was the sound when the right side of his hip hit that sawed-off branch. He fell to the ground, jumped up, pulled down his pants – and we found ourselves looking at a black bruise the size of the stump he had hit. You should have seen the look on his face.

Next thing we know, he takes off screaming down the path, followed by his friends. I assume they took him to the hospital. I never knew his name, but I knew he got what he got by being stupid.

We had a lot of fun and adventure in those days. I had a friend recently admit to me how envious he was at the things I did when I was a kid. He had to suffer a nice, safe, boring kidhood, followed by a lot of lunacy in college. And even in adulthood.

I wonder if kids have much fun now? Maybe things are safer for them, but what happens when they get a little older? Think they might go crazy from not having the childhood they should have had? From trying to stuff an entire childhood into a few years when they get older?

And God knows what all the prudes and spoilsports and other PC types would have thought of my Secret Sam Attaché Case, with the sniper rifle, hidden camera and the fake finger with a bullet in it. Why, if this thing was around today, the manufacturer would be hauled before Congress.

Personally, I'll take a little bit of danger and a whole lot of fun over being safe and bored any time.

I Pass Out In a Closet, Then am Very Ill

I was 15 years old when I first went to a party where we got our hands on substantial quantities of alcohol. It was like letting children loose in a candy store. There was that "forbidden fruit" aura around it. It didn't work out very well for any of us. One guy passed out in the front yard. Since we were in a semi-secluded area, with the neighbors quite a distance away, we just threw a blanket over him and stuck a pillow under his head. He lay there all night.

As for one, not once in my life, ever told me not to drink a quart of beer and a bottle of wine, especially one right after the other, within an hour. I even remember the brands – Budweiser and an awful (and awfully cheap) wine called Annie Green Springs, which didn't taste much better than mouthwash. About the only thing I remember is waking up and, when I opened my eyes, finding I was blind. Everything was totally black. Worse, when I felt around, I found I was apparently in a coffin. And, it seemed, some sort of a very usual earthquake was going on. Everything was spinning in circles. I couldn't see a darn thing, but I knew I was spinning around, all right. Blind, stuck in a coffin, in an earthquake. And barely 15 years old.

My friends told me the next thing they heard is a voice from the closet yelling, "Let me out of here!" Somehow, I had passed out in a closet. To this day I have no idea how I got in there.

After the closet door was opened, and I staggered out (or maybe crawled), I realized everything was spinning around, not outside of me, but on the inside. And I knew I was going to be very, very sick.

I barely made it to the bathroom, where I attempted to barf up a lung. Then I lay down on the floor of the bathroom and fell asleep. Okay, I passed out again. I remember I was on my back, with my hands folded across my chest. All I needed was a flower in my hands, and I could have passed for a corpse.

As bad as that was, years later I read an account by the humorist P.J. O'Rourke where he had passed out while drunk and when he opened his eyes, found he had also gone blind. Only everything was white. Then he realized he had his head in a toilet bowl.

Someone finally came in the bathroom and woke me up. I think it was a choice of move or get thrown up on. There were several others essentially in the same shape I was in. I made it to a recliner in the living room, where I lay, with no desire whatsoever to move.

Then, something happened which made me think that God was chortling over the whole escapade. A lesson in responsible alcohol use, you could say. A girl asked me to dance. I almost looked behind me. Who, me? Obviously, she thought I was a lot cuter than I did. Maybe she was drunk, too. After all, studies have been done that shows when people drink the opposite sex becomes 25% more attractive. I figured if she was drunk enough, I could probably make it up to the level of Hop Frop from the Edgar Allen Poe story.

She was dressed in the traditional week-end manner of girls in my high school – cut-off jeans and a halter top. When you're 15 years old, that sort of look gets permanently imprinted not only on your mind, but apparently in your genes, where it gets passed on to your kids.

She actually held out both hands and pulled me to my feet. Good thing it was a slow dance, since I can't dance. All I had to do is wobble back and forth, with her supporting me more than me supporting her.

The song that was playing on the record player (yes, record player – there were no CDs then) – the Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes For You" – is also permanently stamped into my brain. It always bring to mind the fact that was the first time I had my hand on a girl's bare back. And even through all my sickness there was still that intense, numinous feeling that I can only describe as awe ("My love is a kind of blind love...I only have eyes for you..."). That's when you realize what the lyrics in all those songs mean.

Here's where things get really funny. During the song she looked up at me with a look I had never seen before, but I knew I was actually going to get a kiss. Instead I found all the slow dancing had done some unfortunate things to my insides.

Instead of kissing her, I blurted, "I'm going to be sick!" and turned and went for the sliding door. The bathroom was too far away. Since it was cool outside, the sliding door was open.

The screen door was not.

I suspect I looked just like Peter Boyle's version of Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein, when he ran from the Blind Hermit who had poured hot soup in his lap and then lit his thumb on fire. With my left hand stretched out in front of me, and my right hand clamped over my mouth, and stumbling toward the door (but not going "Argh! Argh! " like Boyle, but instead "Mmmph! Mmnph!") I crashed through the screen door at a full-tilt boogie, bending the frame and pulling the whole door lose from the jamb. The door fell in front of me, which I then stepped on and put my foot through. It was like I was wearing a gigantic snowshoe I couldn't get off.

And then I fell down, and up came the Cap'n Crunch I had for breakfast, those horrible chokeburgers (aka "hamburgers") that all schools serve, and I think a couple of hangnails. Everyone is the living room cheered, whistled and clapped.

I never did get that kiss.

Ever the good soldier, at about 1 a.m. I marched home, feeling about as depressed and stupid as I had ever felt in my life. I collapsed in my bed until 1 p.m. the next day. Usually, on a Saturday morning, my mother would wake me up by banging the vacuum cleaner against my bedframe, but this time she didn't do it. Maybe when she opened the bedroom door she could smell the booze oozing out of my pores.

I didn't feel so hot when I woke up. I didn't feel anywhere near right until Saturday afternoon. I realized what I had was that mysterious disorder known as a "hangover." I didn't go anywhere Saturday night.

After that unforgettable Friday night, I very quickly learned to moderate my drinking. These days, it consists of a weekly glass of German white wine known as Auslese. And about half-a-dozen times a year, Guinness Stout. And since that night, I have never, ever thrown up anywhere near a girl again.

But for many of the kids, during high school and college...they were as irresponsible as could be. The college I went to used to have drunken riots downtown.

It took me years to figure out the problem. Much of American culture – and especially the busybody know as the State – unfortunately desires a Utopia that consists of getting rid of biological pleasures like alcohol. This, however, is impossible. Utopia on earth is impossible. Religiously speaking, it's blasphemy, and rightfully so, since the Utopian dreams of the 20th century led to the deaths of almost 200 million people.

There is no Heaven on earth, and there is no perfection on earth. Yet, for some reason, many Americans think there are solutions to age-old problems. There aren't; there are, as Thomas Sowell has pointed out in A Conflict of Visions, only trade-offs.

A true conservative understands there are very few solutions, but many trade-offs. The Utopian (and the leftist) believes there are solutions, almost always embodied in the laws, force and coercion of the State. Some Americans think they can ban what they see as imperfection, through the force of law. Make a law, and the problem will go away. Har.

Prohibition was one of those attempts. Everyone with half a brain knew it wouldn't work, and would only increase crime. Unfortunately, Prohibition pretty much created organized crime, which we still have with us today.

The foolish prudish attempts to deal with alcohol use among teenagers by telling them not to use it – especially coupled with the idea they won't use it if you don't give them any knowledge about it – is what led to that first party I attended. None of us knew a thing about alcohol. Not one adult – including our parents – had told us a thing about the responsible use of alcohol. I guess they assumed if they didn't tell us anything about it, we wouldn't use it.

Boy, were they wrong.

Some years ago I was talking to a French man about alcohol use in France. He said children were given water with a little bit of wine in it, and as time went by, more wine was added until it was pure wine. Wine was traditional with meals in nearly every home, he told me. And alcoholism in France? I asked him. It exists, but nothing like what I've seen here, he answered.

In other words, French children were taught the responsible use of alcohol at a young age. In the US any adult who gave their children wine would be arrested and have their kids taken from them. And parents who responsibly buy alcohol for teenagers and then monitor the parties – as they should – also end up arrested. I guess it's wiser for the kids to get the booze themselves, without adult supervision, and then pass out in closets and front yards.

Another time, when I talking to some German teenagers, they told me they could drink in bars at 16, but couldn't drive until 18. That way, they had two years to learn to drink before they were allowed to drive. In the US, it's the other way around: you get your license at 16, and even though the legal age for drinking is usually 21, it's a joke and everyone knows it. So what we end up with is 16-year-olds drinking and driving and having no idea how to handle it.

Occasionally I'll get someone telling me Prohibition was a good thing, for religious reasons. My answer to them is that they should read the favorable things the Bible says about the responsible use of wine. Best of all, they should read what the Gospels says about Jesus drinking wine while at parties. And I've never read a word in the Bible about alcohol being illegal.

I once had a minister tell me Jesus didn't drink wine, and didn't turn water into wine. He said it was grape juice. I told him that without refrigeration and pasteurization all grape juice automatically turns into wine. Maybe horrible wine, but still wine. There was no grape juice thousands of years ago, not unless freshly pressed and immediately consumed. He told me Jesus still turned the water into grape juice. I consider his attitude...irresponsible.

I was involved in raising three kids whose parents were divorced. Their father wasn't around much. When they were teenagers they used to ask their mother – and me – to buy them alcohol. We did. The rules were clear: they drank only in the house when we were there, they could not drive, and their friends had to stay until the effects wore off. They obeyed us, even though things did get kind of noisy in the basement. Not one of the kids involved ended up with an alcohol problem. None of them drink much, since it never had that "forbidden fruit" aura around it. Which is what we get when people try to ban it.

When I was younger I was puzzled why some foreigners were so amused at certain attitudes in America. After all, isn't this the greatest country in the world? The one to which everyone wants to move? As time went by, through, I actually became embarrassed at some of the attitudes in this country. It's the irresponsibility I see, you know.

The Evolution of the Shopper-Babbler

I find the explanations of evolutionists very dubious. Critics who claim they are "just so stories" are right on the mark. Example? For decades they claimed the reason men had beards was to keep their faces warm in winter. Now they're saying the real reason is to whisk sweat away in summer. Which is it? Summer or winter?

Another roll-your-eyes-up-in-your-head explanation I ran across recently is for what we un-PC-types refer to as "babbling females." Everyone who is honest about it knows most – but not all – women have an abnormally large babble-part to their brains (which I suspect takes the place of the part of their brains that knows how to do anything less than a 15-point parallel park). Why? I don't have a clue, and neither does anyone else.

To be fair, I'll point out that men have a babble-part to their brains, too. Some men have one bigger than most women. I'm one of them. I have male friends who babble so much that in the middle of a conversation, they will stop and say, "Now where was I going with this?" I am, however, talking about generalities: most women babble a lot more than most men.

The explanation for women's babbletude, which I decided was ridiculous after about two second's thought, is to keep tigers and bears from eating them while they were gathering nuts and berries. Supposedly the talking was to scare away predators that would otherwise munch on them.

Hmm. Could be, I suppose. Although if I was a tiger searching for a meal, and I heard a bunch of women talking, I would think, "Note to self: snacks! And lots of them!"

My conclusion as to the truth of this theory: oh, pooh.

Another theory I ran across recently about the purpose of yakking was to emotionally bond. With whom? Other women? It sure isn't with men. Men are driven nuts by women who won't shut up.

There! I said it! Listen up, girls! Men do not bond through non-stop babbling! It's why they sit in the recliner in the evening with their eyes glazed! They're trying to tune everything out. Male and female brains are different! It's about time everyone ignored all those left-wing feminists (whether male or female), admit the differences (which everyone knew in the recent past) and deal with them!

It's not like they're such horrible differences that will cause eternal enmity between men and women, the way feminists want. These differences can even be joked about. Like this:

For a few months I used to eat dinner every night, at her house, with a woman I knew. This is essentially how it went:

Woman: Babble babble babble.

Me: Uh huh.

Woman: Babble babble babble.

Me: Yeah, I know.

Woman: Babble babble babble.

Me (falling face first into my bowl of Cap'n Crunch): Uh.

Woman: Babble babble babble.

Me: Burble.

Woman: Babble babble babble.

Anyone who is also honest knows that most women have SHOPPING and ON SALE stamped on their DNA. Those who don't believe this are invited to get in between women and a bin of ON SALE shoes. It's entirely possible you could have your arms ripped out of their sockets.

The evolutionary explanation I heard for shopping also had to do with nuts and berries. When women shop it's just a modern version of gathering food. The first question that occurred to me: what do buying shoes and Beanie Babies have to do with collecting nuts and berries? Answer: nothing.

And nuts and berries are free! Which are then supposed to be eaten. How does that explain a woman I know, who paid for "about 100" Beanie Babies, which she keeps in a box under her bed? ("His name is Tangles, he's a kitty, and he's so cute!") I can imagine some evolutionist, pontificating in all seriousness: "Well, the Beanie Babies do represent nuts, which she is storing in a safe place to eat later." What is she, a squirrel? And she's not going to eat the Beanie Babies, which, unlike nuts and berries, are certainly not free. Does this theory apply to closets full of shoes? The Beanie Babies represent nuts and the shoes represent berries? Puhleeze. A break from this silliness, okay?

For that matter, if men were supposed to evolve as hunters, wouldn't all men like shopping? Isn't shopping just a form of hunting? Instead, all the men I know can't stand to shop. I can't walk through a mall for more than 15 minutes without this strange fatigue coming over me, one that sends me to the nearest bench (if I can find one that isn't occupied by some other guy trying to desperately recharge his batteries).

Someday, some genius is going to realize the way to make an easy multi-million is to open a place in a mall were all the men can gather while the women shop. They'll be able to drink a beer, smoke a cigar, and watch sports on TV. It won't have tables and chairs, just recliners. I would call it, "The Boy's Treehouse," and put a sign out front: "No Gurls Allowed."

We can leave out being served by nubile young women, since this would cause a lot of problems when the shoppers were finished and came to retrieve the non-shoppers. Instead the servers could be nice mom-types who might even serve chicken-noodle soup if one of the boys wasn't feeling so hot.

If malls aren't going to allow these male gathering places, the least they can do is have lots of comfortable couches and chairs instead of those hard, straight-backed benches. Lots of couches and chairs.

What kind of evolutionary theory can explain women spending two hours wandering through half the stores in a mall while men go in one store and out in 15 minutes? Shouldn't it be the other way around – the men hunting through the mall while the women gather together to enbabble each other?

The whole evolution-explains-everything belief is just a little bit ridiculous. In 1,000,000 B.C. did Og lie on a pile of furs in his cave watching the fire while his wife complained, "Why don't you talk to me?" Somehow, I doubt it.

Okay, Richard Dawkins and all you other hard-core evolutionists – I'm all ears. I'll wait as long as necessary for an explanation. I'm sure there will be one forthcoming very soon. I'm also sure it won't make any sense, just like Dawkins' fairy-tale about flying squirrels evolving by regular squirrels crashing headfirst into the ground, leaving the jumpier squirrels around to sprout wing-flaps.

In the meantime, summer's coming. I think I'll grow a beard.

I Will Never Vote Again

This is it; I've had it, I quit, no more. I've rearranged my thoughts and they have decided I'm never voting again. It only encourages politicians. It's like feeding French fries (oops, sorry, Freedom fries) to one of those obnoxious yappy little dogs; if you feed them they're going to keep begging, and if you quit they growl and give you dirty looks and tell you all the awful things that are going to happen to you... but never do. My response: the same as in the movie Something About Mary when Ben Stiller ducked and the family-jewels-chompin' dog flew out the window and then found he had several vertical stories to travel down to the hard, hard horizontal ground.

I voted for Dubya even thought I had serious reservations about the rather simian cast to his inbred head (I now call him "the Chimperor"). The whole family appears to have been pithed and is now retro-evolving right before my eyes, which is good, because in a few dozen years they'll all be harmless amoebas, although with narrow, rudimentary heads and squinty eyes. Then they can sit on their tiny little microscopic couches with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other, and curse at whatever episode of Spongebob Squareturban they wish.

I cringe every time Dubya squints his eyes and wrinkles his forehead like he's giving birth to thoughts that are really hurting him as they shoot down his brain-canal. Is that what foreigners really think Americans are? A bunch of gooneybirds flying over to the Middle East and whacking hornet's nests?

Dubya looks as if he could be one of the bit actors on Planet of the Apes, only with the minimum amount of makeup. At first he appeared to be just an amiable, aimless sort of guy, with a puzzled expression that reminded me of an organ-grinder's monkey who vaguely knew something was wrong, but hadn't yet realized someone has stolen his cap. If it hadn't been for the war, I believe Bush would have been a happily mediocre President, pushing though a tax cut that would give me enough money to make one-and-one-third car payments. And that's for a Chevy Cavalier, which is sort of a glorified go-cart. Now Dubya's turned into a self-appointed Prophet of God.

When someone talks to God it's called prayer. But what's it called when the President of the United States thinks God talks to him? I don't have a punch line because it would have to be a joke to have a punch line.

My vote wasn't so much for Dubya as it was against the Gorebot, whom I truly believe to be a one-foot-over-the-line-and-the-other-slipping, not-quite-certifiable lunatic trapped inside a mutant version of Pinocchio. Gore is a perfect example of what the word "preposterous" really means: having your front where you back should be. It shows where Gore's head is located as a permanent fixture. Let's just say he can't sit down without smushing his nose. Just as bad, he appears to have been born with his brain not only put in backwards, but also upside down. Unless some wiseguy-joker aliens did it, and that wouldn't surprise me at all.

I knew there was only about .00000000001% of a chance my vote would make any difference, but who knows? The election could have been a draw, and my vote could have been the one that tipped it! It's one of those fantasies I have, like winning the lottery or being the star of Revenge of the Nerds.

Now, I've decided I'm never going to vote again. Since the State is a vast, disorganized criminal enterprise, I've decided the only people who make it to the top are A) criminals, and B) clueless knuckleheads who the criminals put up to be President. These are the kinds of people with whom I certainly don't want to share a Kodak moment. Why should I encourage criminals by voting for them?

Bah, I'd rather be ruled by the Mafia. Even if Marlon "Mumbles" Brando did have tissue stuffed in his mouth in The Godfather I'd still rather deal with him than Dubya or the Gorebot. Or Hillbillyboy and his big-booty Satan-girl wife. Ah, decision, decisions. It's like choosing between thumbscrews and a cattle prod.

I've decided politics is a rat-race. The problem with it is that whoever wins is still a rat. Even if the rats do wear suits and ties.

If the only choices I have are John Dillinger or Bugsy Siegel -- or Mortimer Snerd or Alfred E. Newman -- why should I vote for any of them? From now on, I'm going to assume all politicians have cooties. No, wait -- they are cooties. I'd like to stuff nearly all of them into a spaceship and shoot them to a planet where they would be treated like the Zanti Misfits in the original Outer Limits, You remember the one -- the episode about the big ants with human faces? Where people were stomping on them with their size-12 Army boots?

I used to say that the only people worse than politicians were child molesters. I've decided politicians are worse. They harm hundreds of millions more people. Child molesters are immoral and illegal; politicians are immoral but unfortunately still legal. I keep having all these weird thoughts, like God was really hung over when he created politicians. And then the next day He goes, "Oh, Man...did I really do that?"

As for the difference between child molesters and the leftist, chickenhawk, armchair-general warmongers known as neocons, child molesters at least have equipment that the neocons lack, which accounts for the cowardice that compels neocons to stand on the sidelines and babble worthless advice while others fight and die ("Okay, now throw the ball here. Now, throw it over there."). These are the kind of sleep-walking weenies who could accidentally destroy the earth, then say, "Uh, sorry...I didn't mean for that to happen." That wouldn't be good, because the earth is where I keep all my stuff.

I have ceased watching news or talking-head programs on TV, because every time I did this is what happened: "(Expletive)! (Semi-Blasphemous Expletive)! (Physically Impossible Self-Referential Expletive)!"

I've decided that the State is much like a runaway train with no brakes. Sooner or later it's going to crash. For example, the ancient Greeks noticed that republics turn into democracies, democracies turn into tyrannies, and tyrannies turn into monarchies. Right now, we appear to be in between democracy and tyranny. I plan on hiding if this happens, and if it does happen, will pass the time doing something useful, like turning a canoe into a grandfather clock, a trick I learned from the Red Green Show.

Whenever politicians start bursting with ideas, the country always suffers. Is that phrase in the Bible? It should be. And now we've got the neocons coming up with what they think are completely foolproof plans to conquer a double-digit percentage of the world. They are clueless to the fact that complete fools (which is what they are) cannot come up with completely foolproof plans. And they have no idea of the ingenuity of the complete fools they are attempting to conquer! As Yogi Berri said, "It ain't over till it's over, baby." And apparently this war isn't going to be over for a long time.

The people supporting the plans for an American global policeman -- an American Empire -- are a big ugly Critters mass of self-deception, hubris, and blindness. Tell them they're wrong, and they won't believe it. Prove them wrong, and they still won't believe it. It's like trying to talk to one of those stuffed, mummified cats under glass at an Egyptian exhibition at the museum ("Sorry, but my brain was removed 2500 years ago.").

They think they can violate Natural Law and change the cultures of other countries through mass murder, mass destruction and mass theft. They think the invaded aren't going to fight back and instead welcome us with open arms as liberators? ("Yeah, I know, you killed my family, but, ah, what the heck, it was an attempt to free them from tyranny.") Violating Natural Law and saying "It's for a good reason" is the same as someone religious thinking they can bribe God. ("Ah, come on, it's for a really noble cause. Hey, now wait just a minute!" ZZZZOTZ!)

Our "government" is getting way too big. That's what always happens when States follow the Empire route (which is the Road to Hell. And that's not a movie with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.). And it doesn't even matter anymore who you vote for. The State just keeps getting bigger and badder. And what happens with the big, bad State? Well, in 300 BC Mencius wrote, "When good government prevails men of little worth submit to men of great worth. When bad government prevails men of little power submit to men of great power."

Or, if you want to take a hop over to ancient Greece, this is what Dionysius of Halicarnassus said in 20 BC: "A good government produces citizens distinguished for courage, love of justice, and every other good quality; a bad government makes them cowardly, rapacious, and the slave of every foul desire." Hey, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Richard Perle, don't you try to run! Smack.

Speaking of smack -- as in smackdown -- the story is that Norman Podhoretz once cornered Jackie Kennedy and professed his infatuation to her. If you've ever seen Podhoretz you'll realize he wasn't beat with the Ugly Stick -- he is the Ugly Stick. Apparently she fixed him with the icy eyeball, and like a pin through a bug, skewered him and put permanent holes into his deluded self- importance with, "Mr. Podhoretz, exactly who do you think you are?" I'm going to have to think of a new word to describe people like Podhoretz -- gork, maybe. A combination of "dork" and "geek." Soon after Podhoretz was involuntarily enlightened with the truth about himself, he begins his trek to the right, only taking his leftist baggage with him. What next? Maybe William Kristol thinking he has a chance with Julia Roberts? He wouldn't stand a chance with Rosanne Barr before plastic surgery. He was, after all, beat with the Norman Podhoretz Stick.

Oh, yeah, this is just great. We're now being ruled by the tribe of monkeys that Rudyard Kipling called the Bander-Log. Every once in a while they got together, shook the treetops and yelled, "We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the Jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true!" And of course reality falls right into place if you just yell at it long and loud enough.

Dang it, I should be King. I'd follow the wisdom of what King James I said in 1620: "I will govern according to the common weal, but not according to the common will." Democracy -- ugh. Democracy's what put Clinton and Bush into office, and almost saddled us with Gore.

My being King might just happen some day. It's on my list, although pretty far down. Way far down, actually. The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes said it best: "God put me on Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind I will never die."

But voting? Forget it. From now on I'll give the answer that the cowardly, warmongering chicken-hawk armchair-warrior Dick Cheney gave when asked why he avoided military service during Vietnam (with four deferments!): "I had other priorities."