Saturday, February 25, 2012


It's my opinion that "is this glass half-full or half-empty?" is a lousy metaphorical question to use when determining an individual's penchant toward optimism or pessimism. The query requires an answer that doesn't allow for context or circumstance.

For example, one might look at a glass of water and think:

As I gaze upon yonder tumbler, I am reminded of the infinite possibilities offered to me by the Universe every day and of what a lucky individual I am to be alive. But it is nearly midnight and if I drink too much water, I'll have to get up in the middle of the night and pee.

I should also consider that the world is hovering on the brink of a global water crisis and remind myself that the tap I take for granted today may one day produce nothing but a rusty squeal and a lump of despair in my parched throat. If I allow that glass to go to waste tonight, I'll feel mighty guilty when the spigots run dry. Hmmm, perhaps I should drink half the water...but if I leave the other half behind, mosquitoes will breed in it and we'll have malaria for Easter.

In the example above, what label would we apply to a person who drinks some of the water, pours the rest into a houseplant and then retires to bed, where their fitful sleep is disturbed by dreams of drought and interrupted by the need to urinate? Are they a pessimist? An optimist? Environmentalist? Middle-aged?

We will need more data before we make a conclusion regarding their outlook on life.

Let's ask another question:

Is your bubble half-balanced or half-unbalanced?

Obviously, that is an absurd question, since anything that is 'half-balanced' is, by definition, unbalanced.

A better question might be: "Are you crazy or what?", but for purposes to be explained later, let's stick with the question of balance.

On the dark end, we have the craziness born of despair, bleakness, anger and hatred. A person on this end might collect automatic weapons, ski masks, political manifestos and home-made snuff films. They may belong to a dangerous cult. Their dungeon doesn't have a "safety word".

On the other end , we have the starry-eyed and dangerous delusion that "all you need is love". That might sound like a harmless philosophy until we look at four historical figures who have spread that message: Jesus Christ, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, namely.

Of those four, all suffered unfavorable legal judgment(s), all were victims of assault, two were stabbed at least once, two were murdered, one was crucified and one loved Yoko Ono.

A person who lives at the light end might be identified by their collection of magic crystals, political manifestos and allegiance to opportunistic con artists posing as leaders of fringe religious cults. Their Dungeons and Dragons character rides a magical unicorn named 'Patchouli'.



Words are confusing and using them can lead to mistakes. Complex ideas are best explained by slipshod charts, alliterative slogans and the gratuitous misuse of the word 'paradigm'.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce the New Paradigm of P-Harmonic Positioning:

Here's the chart. It's a simple combination of the "glass" and "bubble" questions asked above; x represents the balance of one's bubble, y represents the fullness of one's glass:

Here are some examples of words that begin with 'P' and where they might be positioned on this chart:

In the lower left corner we have "Postal". This is where the people of the sort who brought us Columbine and, more recently, Mumbai, are positioned. They have no hope and even less balance. What little power they have is invariably used destructively.

(Note: War Profiteers would be in the upper left corner, their glasses are full, but their power is still of the destructive sort)

In the middle we have "Pragmatic". This position posits : "I understand that the problems of the world are very serious but I can't do a lot about it. I won't admit it publicly, but I'm secretly glad that most of the bad news happens somewhere else."

In the upper right, we have "Prey". This is a perilous realm of good intentions and positioning oneself here is a risky, yet at times necessary, proposition. People positioned here make positive changes in the world around them. They also make excellent hostages.

What's your position?

Friday, September 30, 2011

You Dumb Bastard

If you ask me, the worst thing about this economic downfall is having to look at my son's stupid face every goddamn morning.

Chip crawled back home after he lost his job and after six months it doesn't look like he'll ever move out again, which chafes my ass plenty. Eighteen years of his mopey horseshit was enough, if you ask me.

But no one ever asks me. That's why I have to tell people what's on my mind, on account of never being asked what I think. And that ain't just my opinion either, it's a goddamn fact- just ask my wife if she cares what I think about anything. Goddamn cow will roll her eyes and sigh or maybe she'll laugh, but you'll know she doesn't give a shit about me either way. I mean, just look at this house. It's a mess, I tell you. I married a goddamn slob, is what. Look. I bought this house for her and does she give a fuck? Do I get any respect?

Hell no.

Respect is a funny thing. Some guys think that respect is just another word for fear, and that they can earn respect just by being a bad-ass or even flat-out mean. That is bullshit, if you ask me. What I'm sayin' is, I am afraid of my boss, but I don't respect the fat cocksucker one damn bit. My kid Chip is afraid of me, but he damn sure don't respect his old man, not one damn bit. No amount of me hitting him is gonna change that. But it can make me feel better.

So I walk over to the kitchen table where the kid always sits, his head always in his hands, his eyes always looking at the damn floor.

"You dumb bastard!", I tell him. I smack the top of his head, just to make sure he hears me.

"Did you hear me?" Another smack.

"Ow. Geez. Pop, you don't have to hit me."

"Hell I don't. And don't tell me what to do. I'm still your father and I'll kick your ass whenever I want."

"Fine. Kick my ass. I don't care," he mumbles.

His mumble-mouth bullshit pisses me off. The dumb kid has been mumbling his whole goddamn life; we spent a fortune on speech therapy when he was in grade school and it didn't do him a damn bit of good. The goddamn quack doctor told us he had "esteem" issues. She told me my son should go to a head-shrinker. A shrink! Goddamn quack was lucky she was a woman, otherwise I'd have knocked her on her ass and kicked the shit out of her. But I have too much self-respect to go around hitting broads, so I saved the ass-kicking for Chip. No son of mine is going to be a nut-case, not if I can help it.

"You stupid turd", I said to him one afternoon after his speech therapy session. "Your therapist thinks you have some kind of fucked-up esteem issues. Like you are crazy and need to see a shrink. You know that shit pisses me off, don't you? Crazy ain't cheap, boy. You planning on being crazy your whole life?"

He mumbled some crybaby shit that I mighta paid more attention to if I'd known he was gonna shut up and stay quiet for two years. The boy just flat quit talking , wouldn't say a goddamn word no matter how much I yelled at him. I even spanked him one night when I was drunk and he didn't say jackshit. Him not talking caused some trouble at school, so we pulled a few strings and moved him into a special school for dumb kids; 'dumb' as in they can't talk, not dumb like they are stupid. Chip is plenty stupid, but he ain't really dumb in the other sense, he was just acting that way because of his esteem issues.

Anyway, after a couple years away at the dumb school, Chip started talking again and his teachers thought it was a miracle or some kinda holy-angel-halliyooha horseshit. Seems we forgot to tell them about Chip being able to talk in the first place and hell, they were so happy with their new miracle that I didn't have the heart to tell them about Chip's esteem issues.

Plus, me and the wife made a few thousand bucks telling our "story" to fat suckers on crappy TV talk-shows, so I guess it was a miracle, since it paid for our trip to Las Vegas and I always figured it would take a miracle to afford that.

But I guess our story got boring to the TV people pretty quick 'cause the TV shows called less and less often, then stopped altogether . For a while, we tried to fatten Chip up so we could make him lose a huge amount of weight and go back on TV with a new story, but Chip wound up getting sick and all we got out of it was another bill to pay.

Goddamn insulin ain't cheap, either.