New Year's Resolutions

I don't really do new year's resolutions. And considering my past I can't see any reason to start. What would I resolve? To lose weight? I worked out with a personal trainer for a year and a half. Do you know how much weight I lost by working out with a professional physical fitness expert and conspiracy theorist?

Zero. I lost zero. I didn't lose a single solitary pound. I didn't gain any either. I didn't look or feel any different. I had already worked out for years prior to hiring him. I just thought maybe he could do what I could not, which is to get this weight off me that my knee surgeries seem to have put on me. But he couldn't.

Body pump
So then I fired him and joined a "bodypump class" where all we did was nonstop exercise with no resting for an hour at a time. I did that for a year. Again, zero pounds came off. My body did not change at all.

I could promise myself and everyone reading this that I will lose weight this coming year, but I think there is a medical problem making that impossible. No resolution, no trainer, nothing has been able to do this. NOTHING.

Medical Problem - before and after treatment
What else might I resolve to do?

Don't worry, be happy
Be happier? Puh-leeze. 8 years ago I told my friends that if I didn't have a family by the time I reached my birthday 5 years ago then I would buy a Shelby GT500 Mustang. That birthday came and went. 5 years later, instead of the Shelby I bought the Dodge Challenger SRT8 that is sitting in my garage right now. It was an attempt to help me deal with the sadness of not having a family. It didn't work. But it's probably best that I got the Challenger instead of the Shelby. The IRS is punishing me pretty hard for it, regardless of which car I got.

I could go down a long list of cliche new year's resolutions and give reasons why I won't bother with any of them, but I won't. The only thing I can resolve to do this coming year is to make some big changes in my relationships. I don't know what that means exactly. Maybe it means breaking off old connections and trying to make new ones. Maybe I'll turn my back on the past and look to build a totally new future, alone if necessary or hopefully with a new group of friends. I don't know. Everyone around me has their advice. Then they change their minds. Then they say they just don't know what they would do in my situation. And I just don't know either. No one really knows what I should do. But one thing I know is that no new year's resolution is going to make much difference.

The other thing I know is that this isn't the post I was sitting down to write. At all.

What the hell am I writing??
Its fucking cold outside! We had snow flurries all day today, and freezing rain off and on all yesterday. The icy wind had been hard and continuous for several days.

I spent most of today outside in the freezing cold maintaining my vast collection of antique redneck vehicles. My 4x4 had a flat tire. Then I noticed one other tire was extremely low, like 12 pounds of pressure kind of low. Then I looked at my pickup truck and it was low on all 4 tires. But at least they were all low by the same amount, so they are maintaining an even pressure at the same rate. That's something. I started up my old high school car, my horse manure green Chevy, and I ran it with the tail pipes sticking out of the garage. I was freezing so I thought I'd be smart and just open the garage door slightly higher than the back end of my Chevy. The rest of the garage I kept closed up. Yeah, that didn't work so well. The wind is strong and cold today. It blew my exhaust back up inside the garage and made the whole garage stink like a badly tuned old car. The garage stank and I stank. Stunk? Stank. We both smelled really bad.

Since I was smelling like car exhaust anyway, I decided to run my old Chevelle. It has some seriously big ports in those big block Chevy heads and always makes the whole place smell like gasoline after I run it, so since I already had a serious car smell wafting through the air I figured "what the hell." I climbed into the Chevelle and started cranking the motor. Rrrr-rrrrrr-rrrrrr. The battery was low. Instead of stopping what I was doing and charging the battery, I kept on turning the key. Charging a low car battery usually takes hours. I didn't want to shower and then run the Chevelle tomorrow, making me smell like car farts all over again. I wanted to get it all done TODAY. So I forced the issue. Rrrr-rrrrr-bang!-GGGGGGGKKKKK. Shit! I think I just fucked my flywheel.

This engine was built with 12.5:1 compression. That's high even for a car with aluminum heads and electronic fuel injection. But this car doesn't have aluminum heads OR electronic fuel injection. It has cast iron heads, a carburetor and a long list of devoured flywheels that I have had to replace, along with starters. I really do need to put a pair of new aluminum heads on this car. And in the meantime I need to check the timing of this engine and see if I can perhaps back it off a little to make it easier to start. You can advance your timing for better horsepower with old V8 cars to the point that you can barely start the damn thing because the ignition is firing the plugs too soon. I probably need to check that out. Of course, that means getting all smelly again since you can't check engine timing without starting and running the engine. Dammit.

Storm Woods? Doesn't he play for us?
As I write this I'm watching a college football game that seems surreal to me. There is a star running back on the field name Storm Woods. He's some kind of big deal, the proverbial big man on campus. And his name is actually Storm Woods. He sounds like a comic book character. As if that isn't enough, his team is named The Beavers. Seriously, who thought this was a good name for a football team? Storm Woods, Beaver running back. Yep, I keep expecting Dean Martin to march onto the field at quarter back and Jerry Lewis to do something zany on the sidelines as a stereotypical male cheerleader and comedy relief. If this game were being shown in black and white I'd swear this was a 1950s movie. Storm Woods? Beavers? REALLY???

So last night I got out my Rocksmith XBox DVD and put it into the XBox. I plugged up my 1980s Eddie Van Halen Stratocaster (copy) and started trying to figure this real-guitar game out. I had played it very little a year ago. I wasn't especially good and I didn't play it enough to get good. This time I played a song, didn't like how I did even though the game said I was 95% accurate, and when the next song ended and said I was still 95% accurate and I wasn't happy, I looked around for an option to play that same song again. Sure enough, I found it. You can play the same song over and over again until you're satisfied and that is exactly what I wanted to do. So I played it again.

Ah, but Rocksmith is keeping score of how you did and when it detects that you have seemingly mastered something then it throws NEW shit at you. So the more I played the same song the more it threw extra stuff at me. So every time I played it, it was different. Then they threw random notes from a guitar solo at me. Not the entire solo, just random notes from it. Whaaaaaat??? So I got worse and worse, even though I was actually doing more stuff than I had been before and playing more of the song than I had before. The hard thing is that you don't know what the notes and chords of the song are and there isn't a way - that I know of - to find out so that you can practice up or at least prepare for what's coming at you. You're learning a song by having notes and chords thrown at you on the fly with no sheet music or tabs to look ahead and see. So it's like "here's a song for you. I'll throw it at you note for note and you play it and try to keep up." Yeah, so it gets hard.

Oh you think you got this? Wait till I hit you with new shit, guitar boy!
But it isn't like I had anything better to do, and I was practicing guitar for 2 straight hours without really feeling like I was practicing. It was less boring than sitting alone with sheet music in a corner somewhere doing just as badly and possibly having no idea what the song is supposed to sound like. With Rocksmith you not only hear the song being played around you as you struggle to keep up, but you hear the rhythm and the beat, too, and you have to play in sync with the rhythm or you get penalized. Keep up with the beat, loser, or the game will yell at you. Well not literally 'yell', but it throws up messages on the screen warning you to keep up.

Until I did this, strapping on my guitar and standing up to play for several hours, I had no idea of how exhausting it must be for a live band to stand up there and play all night long. I think my next new guitar is going to be made of ash wood because that shit is light. Now I know why many of the more expensive guitars are made of that wood. If you really do play music for a living a heavy guitar can break your back. Ugh!

Ash bodied guitar - nice sound, nice looks, won't break your back
So anyway, I need to do more of that tonight. It's too cold to go outside and I don't have anywhere to go anyway. I need to crank up the XBox and play some Rocksmith. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll be a half-decent guitar player if I keep this up?

Not too bad on guitar

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to anyone and everyone who reads this blog. I can't believe I'm still writing it after all these years. It hasn't been the best year, by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn't mean it can't be a kick-ass Christmas even so!

I've already spent a semi-sober evening hanging out with a wild bunch of old high school friends in a club meeting, greeting, hugging and laughing with some of the most awesome people I ever knew, and many I never knew, but do now. I highly recommend it if you can swing it. I was lucky to go to a high school where most of the people were pretty exceptional and the girls were all hotter than a girl has a right to be. They've aged pretty well and still know how to have a good time.

For Christmas Eve I spent the day talking with family and friends from way back, and the night hanging out with my old basketball coach and his wife and some of their friends while we talked and laughed and had a good time.

I guess this Christmas I have tried to focus on spending as much time as I possibly can with people who matter to me, people I value, and people I might not get to see again in the future. We don't know what the future will bring, but this year I'm more keenly aware than in years past how much I value the people I grew up with.

Hug all the people who matter most to you this Christmas. Make sure you take whatever time they give to talk to you and listen to whatever they have to say. You might not see them again next year. You never know. And for God's sake, take a few pictures and videos of them! You'll miss them when they're gone.

Merry Christmas!!!


Steve in Memphis

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Jenny McCarthy gets in the festive spirit as she poses in bed wearing a Santa hat for racy new shoot

Now that's a Christmas gift! Jenny McCarthy gets in the festive spirit as she poses in bed wearing a Santa hat for racy new shoot

There are probably a lot of men out there who would like to see a Playboy cover girl wrapped and waiting under their tree on Christmas morning.
And Jenny McCarthy showed them all just what they would be missing as she posed for a racy new festive photoshoot in just a white sheet and a Santa hat.
The blonde actress proved that she still knows how to live up to male fantasies as she jumped into bed for the German magazine spread, posing in her tried and tested sultry style.
Festive treat: Jenny McCarthy strips off for a racy new shoot, wearing just a sheet and a Santa hat
Festive treat: Jenny McCarthy strips off for a racy new shoot, wearing just a sheet and a Santa hat
She might have just hit the big 40, but Jenny looked just as sexy as she did 20 years ago, whipping off her clothes and jumping into the big white bed in the buff.
    With her trademark blonde hair tied into a sleek side ponytail and with wisps falling around her face, the star seemed to be embracing a slightly more mature and sophisticated look, compared to her usual all-out glamour girl style.
    She kept her make-up relatively toned down, opting for large smokey eyes and just a touch of nude lipstick, making the most of her flawless complexion.
    Still got it: She might have just turned 40, but Jenny proved that she's still as sexy as she was 20 years ago
    Still got it: She might have just turned 40, but Jenny proved that she's still as sexy as she was 20 years ago
    Still got it: She might have just turned 40, but Jenny proved that she's still as sexy as she was 20 years ago
    Sexy Santa: The former Playboy model poses for the shoot for a German magazine
    Sexy Santa: The former Playboy model poses for the shoot for a German magazine
    Yum yum: Jenny gets to grips with a bowl of strawberries, while still wearing her festive hat
    Yum yum: Jenny gets to grips with a bowl of strawberries, while still wearing her festive hat
    With the crisp white sheet tied around her chest, showing a hint of cleavage, the comedienne proved just why her career had kicked off with her renowned naked Playboy shoot in 1993.
    And in a bid to make the photo shoot a little bit more festive, the star added a red, furry Santa hat and tucked into a less Christmassy bowl of fresh strawberries.
    Jenny, who has been single since splitting from sportsman Brian Urlacher in August, loves to stay in shape and seemed happy to show off the results of her labour.
    Toned down: Jenny opts for soft make-up with smokey eyes and a touch of nude lipgloss
    Toned down: Jenny opts for soft make-up with smokey eyes and a touch of nude lipgloss
    Sultry star: Jenny embraces her sexy side as she poses in the buff in a giant white bed
    Sultry star: Jenny embraces her sexy side as she poses in the buff in a giant white bed
    Sultry star: Jenny embraces her sexy side as she poses in the buff in a giant white bed
    Vamping it up: The star, whose new TV show launches in February, knows how to turn on the sex appeal
    Vamping it up: The star, whose new TV show launches in February, knows how to turn on the sex appeal
    She's has been making sure she's fit and healthy as she's just announced she's getting her own late night talk show on VH1, which will air in February.
    'I have been waiting to come back to TV for a long time and late night seemed to fit my kind of dirty personality,' she recently said.
    The star also spoke out about her sex life recently, saying: 'As soon as my boobs started to resemble a sack of potatoes I knew I had to learn actual techniques to distract any guys from seeing my own aging sack of potatoes.'
    Flawless complexion: The model and comedy star shows off her perfect skin as she wears natural-looking make-up
    Flawless complexion: The model and comedy star shows off her perfect skin as she wears natural-looking make-up
    Flawless complexion: The model and comedy star shows off her perfect skin as she wears natural-looking make-up
    In bed with Jenny: The star seems happy to strip off for the saucy new shoot, despite being wrapped in a sheet
    In bed with Jenny: The star seems happy to strip off for the saucy new shoot, despite being wrapped in a sheet

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    Breast Wishes for Christmas

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    Adam Lanza
    Last week Adam Lanza, a deranged distraught t/differently-abled 20-year-old, took an AR15 rifle and shot his mother as she slept. He then walked around the corner to the school where she worked and shot to death 20 6-year-olds and 6 teachers. At some point, and for reasons we may never know, the stopped and pulled out a handgun, which he placed against his own head and fired, killing himself.

    The Left
    Predictably, the "progressives", those who like to refer to everyone else as "reactionaries", are reacting with calls for the elimination of the Bill of Rights and total dictatorial powers to be granted to their most beloved president This is similar to their reactions to losing any presidential election,such as in 2000 when they reacted immediately by calling for the elimination of the Electoral College. It's worth noting that they take exactly the opposite position on abortion (keep your laws off my body) and never mention the electoral college when they win elections. It's reactionary. It's emotional. It's short-term thinking.

    Let's ignore the typical and expected responses on the Left for a moment and just focus on what really happened as far as we know it.

    Adam in school
    Adam Lanza suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, a problem that makes it very difficult for him to connect with other people, communicate effectively, or understand human nuances like sarcasm and humor. Basically he's Sheldon Cooper, difficult to get along with but not impossible, only more so. His disability separates him from everyone else, creating a barrier that he can't overcome. He was known to suddenly withdraw deep into himself at school for no apparent reason. I have a friend who suffers from mild Aspergers. His life has been difficult at times and can be extremely frustrating and lonely. But overall he is fine. But Adam's Aspergers was not mild.

    Adam Lanza is said to have been highly intelligent, especially with computers. He could relate to the machines in ways he couldn't relate to human beings.

    Adam also suffers from a rare genetic disorder that renders him completely incapable of feeling pain. Its actually a dangerous condition because a person suffering from it can experience an injury that needs immediate medical care and not even know it until it is too late. They can accidentally harm others and themselves severely without meaning to.

    Adam's father Peter Lanza
    Adam's father left in 2009, when he was 17. Apparently his father is wealthy and pays a fortune in alimony to Adam's mother, nearly $300,000 annually  It was said that he couldn't deal with Adam anymore, but I don't know if that is just a rumor or officially known to be true. The Lanzas were very private about their personal problems, both in their marriage and with Adam. Either way, the exit of his father no doubt left a hurtful effect on Adam that can't be ignored. Adam can't relate well to people and one of the 2 people who know him best left the home and did not return.

    With Christmas nearing, which is a time of family and a time of being sad for family that has left you, Adam was almost certainly thinking about his father and why he left. Whether he left because he couldn't deal with Adam anymore or not, most children feel deep down that they are in some way responsible when their parents divorce. For Adam, that pain would be a feeling he could not express.

    Lanza House
    Adam's mother didn't talk much about Adam, but did admit that she did not feel that she could ever leave Adam at home alone, even to go to the bathroom. She was said to watch him every minute. Why, exactly, was never known. Apparently Adam could flip out and hurt himself. He was known to have episodes that seem to come randomly, with no warning.

    The Guns
    The guns Adam used belonged not to him, but to his mother, Nancy. And all her friends say she did not buy them for him. She bought them for herself because she liked to shoot and was good at it. She allowed Adam to handle them because she hoped that it would teach him responsibility and apparently from what anyone saw, Adam took pride in showing how responsible he could be with handling the guns. Nancy Lanza, owner of the guns, apparently bought the guns following the divorce because she felt it was now entirely up to her to protect herself and Adam with her husband gone from the house. And she was right. But she did not count on Adam being the person she needed protection from.

    Adam's mother Nancy Lanza
    At some point, Adam waited for his mother to fall asleep. Then he snuck out her guns and used one of them to shoot her to death as she slept. Based on everything people who knew the Lanzas have said about how careful Adam was with the guns, it seems inconceivable that he did this accidentally. Either way, immediately after shooting his mother to death, Adam walked next door to the elementary school. Apparently he bypassed security measures by breaking a window and sliding inside the school through it. Then he went to a  classroom and shot 20 children and their teacher. From there he went to other rooms, shooting 4 more teachers. He tried to get into a room where the principal, I believe, is said to have barricaded the door using her body. He shot through the door, hitting her 3 times and killing her. After this, at some point, he simply stopped shooting, pulled out one of the handguns, placed it to his head and pulled the trigger.

    It is hard to know what exactly was going on in Adam's mind during all of this. The FBI says it was all premeditated. I don't doubt it. Personally, I think Adam's parents' divorce hurt Adam more than people knew. I think the coming of Christmas, which his family always used to spend together but now would be spending apart, brought up emotional pain that Adam simply couldn't handle. Once Adam decided to kill himself, he apparently chose to take others with him before he went. Understanding this kind of emotional turmoil, pain so deep that it leads to a willingness to kill family members, random strangers including children, and then yourself, is more than I can do on a blog. I can only imagine that he must have been in absolute hellish agony to do this, knowing the entire time that he was going to end by killing himself.

    In the aftermath of the shooting, the typical divide is taking place. The Left is calling for an instant ban on private ownership of firearms, eradication of the 2nd Amendment, and dictatorial powers for the President. Basically, their view is that we must do "something" and that even if that something accomplishes nothing with regard to the actual crime, it at least feels good to have done this symbolic act of passing a law that won't accomplish anything.

    The Right is responding in the usual way by saying, "hang on, banning guns won't stop someone like this. All it does is punish law abiding citizens who never hurt anyone. It's wrong-headed and totally violates the Bill of Rights."

    And along the way, as Left and Right argue, they quite predictable throw in lots of little jabs at one another, loading their arguments with words and phrases that have an obviously biased and insulting meaning directed at the other side. This wins no one over and simply increases the divide between the two sides.

    Why is there such a wide gap between the two sides? Why can't they see each other's point-of-view?

    The other day an article was published detailing how researchers have concluded that women do, in fact, nag men a lot. In fact, women nag and complain to men more than twice as much as men do to women. When they looked into the reasons why, they found that women are small-picture-oriented, which is to say, they look at the little details of things and focus on them to the exclusion of the big picture. Men, on the other hand, tend to be just the opposite. Men tend to blow off the little details and focus more heavily on the big picture.

    "The floor is dirty. Why can't you ever see how dirty the floor is without me pointing it out to you?"
    "Did you put out the candle you left burning in the bedroom while you were so focused on the floor? You nearly burned the house down yesterday with that candle."
    "Don't change the subject!"

    Dirty floor - little details, small picture oriented towards cleanliness. Not unimportant, especially if you're going to have babies.
    Burning down the house - big picture, dirty floors aren't as important as the house being on fire. Not unimportant if it is your responsibility to insure the safety of your entire family.

    The Left is overwhelmingly female. The Democratic Party is totally dependent upon the votes of women in order to win elections. Their positions on issues always reflects the views of a substantial number of women, especially young and single women who are more small-picture-oriented than older women. Democrats like to divide America up into small groups and pit them against one another. It's like the movie "Mean Girls" where a powerful clique of girls not only causes trouble for the school as a whole, but also for individual girls who don't play along or fit into the mold the Mean Girls want them to fit into.

    The Right is overwhelmingly male. The Republican Party is totally dependent upon the votes of men in order to win elections. Not that you'd know it from the positions they take once in office and the compromises they make with the Left. But that is why the Tea Party sprang up. It was a male reaction to a betrayal of their values by the Republican leadership. Overall though, the Republicans tend to take political stances that are focused on the big picture, the nation and the world as a whole, not small groups neatly divided into small issues.

    Researchers on the topic of charity found time and time again that while Leftists will talk and sing songs and hold hands while crying over some charitable need, they don't actually give much of their own money to the causes they claim to feel so strongly about. They will, on the other hand, call upon Big Government to "solve" the problem by forcibly taking money from others and applying it to their pet charitable cause. Leftists are infamous for not paying their own taxes while decrying about "The Rich" not paying "their fair share." The Right, it is consistently found, donates the lion's share of funds to charities. But the Right does not often shout at others to give more, or sing songs about the need to "feed the world", or call upon Big Government to force anyone else to donate to their pet causes.

    It's like a teenaged girl who expects Dad to pay for stuff she wants, but calls a need. The girl freely expresses her wants and desires to Dad, but it is Dad who silently pays, usually after examining the girl's arguments and determining whether it is a true need or just a want. He looks at the Big Picture. She looks at many small details such as how having it would make her feel.

    The girls of the Media
    So how does this relate to Adam Lanza and the loud cries among the Media, dominated by women and Democrats, for gun control?

    Putting all political rhetoric aside, gun control calls such as this always arise in reaction to some shocking incident.  Every day in Memphis someone is shot and killed, or stabbed and killed, or run over intentionally by an angry ex or a gang banger, and often children are among the victims. But no one cries out for new laws in response to this. It is literally every day. It is not shocking. A lone gunman walking into a school and shooting up twenty 6-year-olds and six teachers, though, is very unusual. It is thus shocking. It has been years since we last heard of someone going on a rampage and last time it was a Muslim terrorist shooting our soldiers in the back. In fact, the last several mass murders have been Muslim terrorists shooting Americans in the back. That doesn't shock us anymore. But this incident does shock us. And so, we react.

    The Left reacts with small-picture thinking. They call for new laws that we know won't do anything to help any of those kids or their families and won't even prevent another madman from going into another school and killing anyone. It is a call for a "feel good" response from our politicians, our Big Government. The Left looks to Big Government as their husband or father. They are the teenaged girl and they want Dad to make them feel like everything is going to be OK. They want Dad to do something that they know won't really address the problem, but soothes their upset minds. They want something symbolic.

    Nothing is more symbolic than a law that says it is wrong to go into a school and shoot up kids. We already have such laws. We have many laws already on the books, all of which were broken during the commission of this crime. We already know a politician making an emotional speech declaring a ban on something that honest citizens use to defend themselves against madmen and tyrants alike will not accomplish anything good. In fact, it could very well result in something very bad. But that requires Big Picture thinking to see.

    The Right reacts with big-picturing thinking, totally ignoring or even failing to comprehend the small-picture views of the Left. They see millions of law abiding citizens relying on their privately owned guns to defend their own lives and the lives of their own families from lunatics like Adam Lanza who could just as easily have walked into someone's front door and started shooting up their families instead of going into a nearby school. They easily imagine the impotent feeling of being in that house and watching their wife and children being slaughtered as they stand helplessly by, unarmed and unable to stop him, before dying alongside everyone they care about.

    Nanking Massacre 1937
    More than that, though, they see all over the news one story after another, year after year, of tyrants across the world who force their way into power, either through military force or election fraud, and then promptly disarm the citizens with the claim that it will make them safer to be disarmed. Then those "great leaders" engage in a war on those very citizens they disarmed, slaughtering them en masse, killing all who dared to oppose their rule, all who stood on the "other side" politically or in religion. Always there is some group of citizens that a tyrant wishes to punish, to eliminate, to slaughter. And always those tyrants disarm all The People in order to make this slaughter possible. This happens over and over again, all over the world, all through history. It always works this way. A person would have to be blind not to see it.

    But that is Big Picture Thinking, and a person who does not think that way simply does not see this anymore than a Big Picture Thinker comprehends why Small Picture Thinkers want a symbolic gesture from elected leaders pretending they are going to punish the shooter, even after he is dead, with some meaningless and harmful new law that eliminates the rights and freedoms of millions who had nothing to do with the crime.

    Why are Catholics overwhelming Leftists? Catholicism is filled with symbolism and traditional gestures which have very little meaning according to the actual words in the Bible. They provide a feeling of security, a sense of being in control even in circumstances in which a person has very little control. Religions all through history have discovered this need among people, a need to have gestures that in reality mean nothing, accomplish seemingly nothing, but provide a good feeling to worshipers which they value. It is a feeling of control.

    Witch doctors dance to bring rain. It does nothing, but those who desperately need rain feel good watching the dance performed. Priests sprinkle water on a baby, saying the child is absolved of sin by the water. It accomplishes nothing, but the parents feel good knowing that they have done all they could to assure that if their child dies somehow, he will go to Heaven. When the child grows older they put a St. Christopher medal around his neck for the same reason. Die wearing the medal and you go to Heaven. It isn't what Jesus said, but the ceremony makes the parents, who truthfully can do nothing to secure a place in Heaven for their child, feel good. In politics, Democrats make speeches laying all the sins of another onto someone else, a banker or an inanimate metal gun or people who simply think differently, and then promise to pass some new law that punishes that banker, gun or conservative, for sins they did not even commit. Jewish Rabbis used to perform this same ceremony using a goat. All the Jews of a town would lay hands on an goat, declare the goat to be guilty of their own personal sins, and then beat the goat and drive it out of town. This, they felt, absolved them of their own sins. It accomplished nothing, but they felt good for having done it. It is where we get the term "scapegoat" from.

    In China, the communist government maintains total weapons control. Citizens have no rights at all. They don't even have the right to defend their own lives. They have no guns. And yet, for the past few years, China has experienced an odd crime wave involving madman taking knives into local schools and hacking up the children and teachers they find there. Often these madmen end their rampage by taking their own lives. Authorities in China seem to be at a loss to explain why this keeps happening. They also have found no way to stop it from happening again and again. A man with a knife never runs out of bullets.  The News Media in the US barely mentions these murderous rampages. There was another one just a week or two ago. Sometimes the madman uses a bat or a hammer or some sort of makeshift club or sharpened device that we would call a shank.

    The idea of a child being murdered by a madman is the ultimate nightmare to a parent, or to anyone planning to become a parent. It is the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Our reactions to such a thing is always very strong and very emotional. We are shocked. We are upset. We want to know what happened and why. We want a solution to the problem of how this could have been prevented. If we are short-term thinkers we are willing to accept most any solution, even one which does not work and only makes us feel better in having participated in creating it. A symbolic new law that declares it to be bad to gun down children makes us feel better if we helped fight for this new law, even as it does nothing to protect future children from future madmen. If we only think small-picture then that good feeling is enough. We are satisfied. We walk away from the problem feeling that all is right again.

    But if we are big-picture thinkers then we are not able to feel at all soothed or secured by a new law that we know won't protect innocents, won't punish or even slow down the guilty, and will instead punish the innocent and disarm the intended victims. A law that in the big picture actually increases the danger an average citizen faces, disarming him and preventing him from protecting himself either from a lone madman with a gun or an army ruled by a madman with a desire to kill all who dare to disagree, is totally unacceptable and alarming to a big-picture thinker.

    And that is why The Left wants new gun control laws in response to the Connecticut school shooting and The Right is not only opposed to them, but altogether alarmed by them.

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    Boardwalk Empire star Paz De La Huerta goes naked for Playboy magazine

    'I celebrate nudity every day': Boardwalk Empire star Paz De La Huerta goes naked for Playboy magazine

    Paz De La Huerta covers Playboy magazine - but not herself - for the new issue of the gentlemen's magazine.
    The 28-year-old actress poses completely nude in a beach shoot for famed photographer Mario Sorrenti.
    Former Boardwalk Empire star Paz opens up about her love of nudity in the accompanying interview - saying it is something she does not have an issue with.
    Provocative: Paz De La Huerta poses completely nude for the cover of the January/ February edition of Playboy magazine
    Provocative: Paz De La Huerta poses completely nude for the cover of the January/ February edition of Playboy magazine
    Last month the actress was pictured undressing in the middle of a car park in Miami.
    And if there was any doubt about her lack of bashfulness when it comes to baring all, then the Playboy spread certainly clears up her stance.
    In the cover shot, Paz leans forward protectively while sat on a rock with the ocean crashing around behind her, strategically placing a hand in front of her.
    She told the publication she was proud to grace its pages.
    Not shy: In another frame the actress stands naked on decking outside a house covering her assets with her arm whiles striking a seductive pose
    Not shy: In another frame the actress stands naked on decking outside a house covering her assets with her arm whiles striking a seductive pose
    We can sea you: In this frame Paz straddles a log with the ocean crashing around behind her
    We can sea you: In this frame Paz straddles a log with the ocean crashing around behind her
    'Cindy Crawford and Marilyn Monroe have appeared in Playboy. I celebrate nudity every day. It's our first wardrobe,' she reasoned.
    Paz first posed nude for Sorrenti around 11 years ago.
    'I did my first nude shoot with Mario when I was 17,' she revealed. 
    'He made me feel beautiful, and I really feel it was on that shoot that I overcame my fear of being naked.'
    In another shot, Paz stands naked on a decking area outside a house while in another she straddles a log with the sea in the background.
    The actress appears in the January/February 2013 issue of Playboy.
    Shameless! Last month she stripped off her floral bikini in the middle of a public car park in Miami and inadvertently exposed herself
    Shameless! Last month  she stripped off her floral bikini in the middle of a public car park in Miami and inadvertently exposed herself

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    10 Really Random Things Because I'm Sick and Delusional

    I've been sicker than hell the past 3 days and mostly laid up in bed or on the couch. This comes just 2 weeks after being sicker than hell already. I think both times its been the flu, but the symptoms have been different. This one is much more painful than the last. I feel like an old man and I can't even lay in bed without pain.

    I'm staring at the walls here, but when I close my eyes I drop into weird semi-dreams. I don't know what you'd call them. I'm not entirely asleep, but the images that cross my mind can't possibly be anything other than dreams. It's all memories of the past that twist into funky dreams. And then I wake up again. This has gone on all morning. I'm pretty sure I dreamed I was flirting with Brigitte Bardot. I didn't get anywhere, though.

    So in the course of having all these funky dreams, I decided to blog. I don't know if this'll turn into a 10 things about me or what, but that's what I'm going for.

    1. In the course of my life, I've asked out 3 beautiful girls named Susan, all within about a year of each other. They all shot me down, 2 by just flat blasting me to pieces right to my face and the third by running away and hiding from me until she felt I was sufficiently discouraged to never ask again. This about sums up my life in a nutshell. Oddly, I am still friends with 2 of the 3 Susans. And to this day I am sure if I were to find myself in a position to ask either of them out again they'd respond the same way as before.

    2. You know how they say as you get older your memories get embellished so that they go from "I was a baseball player" to "I was a great baseball player?" Yeah, well I've gone from "I was a baseball player" to "I was a great baseball player" to "I really sucked at baseball." I don't think this is how its supposed to work.

    3. I bought the Challenger as an attempt to cheer myself up over how badly things have gone off-course in my life and how few of my dreams ever came to pass. It hasn't worked. On top of that, I'm being hit with a massive tax bill from the IRS as my punishment for trying to pay off the car so quickly. So you can add nearly $10,000 to the total price of the car because the federal government wants a piece of the fun. That's on top of the $4500 I had to pay in local taxes.Yay.

    4. I tried to catch a glimpse of the Geminid meteor shower last night. I hadn't had much luck with meteor spotting in the past, and this was looking to be no exception. I saw 2 or 3 brief glimpses. And then, just as I was ready to hang it up, a really big white streak went all the way across the sky. It was huge. That was pretty awesome.

    5. I realize that its Christmas-time, but holy hell, my credit card bill is nearly $3000 for this month alone, and that's without carrying over a balance from any previous months!!!

    No, I'm going into work. I'll be fine.
    6. I keep trying to go into work despite feeling like hell. I don't know how many days off I have left for the year and I plan to be out the entire last week of December. But it hasn't gone well. Today my boss just responded "don't come in. You'll just get sicker." So I guess I'll be here on the couch (or running to the toilet) for the rest of the afternoon, having weird dreams and then trying to blog them before I forget.

    Don't forget to flush
    7. Speaking of running to the toilet and meteor showers, I could've launched myself into outer space with the force of what has been coming out of my ass all morning today. I don't know where the explosive diarrhea came from. This is new for this bout of flu. But I guess it felt that constant pain, headaches, an ache in my stomach like a bulletwound, and violent chills just weren't good enough. So it added this rocket butt effect just for fun. So excited about that.

    8. So I guess this isn't really 10 things about me in the usual sense. I mean, usually its 10 things about me in general, rather than 10 things right this second that are going on or coming out my butt. Sorry, like I said, I'm sick and my brain is on the boil right now. Also, my left eye feels like I've been punched or something. This usually precedes a lovely migraine. Oh why not? Let's run the full gamut before the weekend and get it over with. Maybe I'll use this as a good excuse to break into the Jagermeister. It's a painkiller that requires no prescription.

    9. Looking in the mirror I'm thinking the 2 back-to-back bouts of the flu have taken an awful lot of muscle out of me. I look awful. I look sad and deflated. If I ever do get well I need to get back into the gym. I haven't felt motivated to lift weights since returning to Memphis last February. I guess the failure to escape took a lot out of me. It's a wonder I haven't become an alcoholic. Then again, with the bills I'm looking at, I couldn't afford it.

    10. I have failed at guitar. I don't know what it is about being in Memphis that sucks all the art right out of me, but I played when I lived in Alabama and just can't seem to pick it up the minute I arrive back here. I haven't drawn or painted since leaving Alabama to move here the first time. I keep trying to write, but that's not going anywhere. I wrote three-quarters of a fairy tale and then just stopped because I hadn't gone where I'd intended. I have a detective novel rolling around in my brain, but each time I try to write up a basic outline of the characters and story I get to the same point and then just stop. I can't seem to move forward. There is something about being in Memphis that just seems to take it all out of me. I don't know what it is, but perhaps a lowly blogger is all I'm ever going to be.

    Helen Mirren - Age of Consent
    I watched a movie the other day that was filmed almost entirely in Queensland, Australia, back in the 1960s. It was Helen Mirren's first ever movie role. In the extra features they talked to one of the guys who did some of the underwater filming at the Great Barrier Reef there. He said he filmed there all the time in the 1960s because the water was so super clear and everything was so colorful. He said he never films there anymore because it is all cloudy and green now and the corral is bleaching. He said it isn't nearly as beautiful as it once was. That made me sad. I still want to visit Australia and see that for myself, but apparently for every day I don't get down there the view is changing for the worse and I am missing out.

    This, of course, got me to thinking about old Australian bloggers I used to know, most of whom don't speak to me anymore. Anyone here remember Fingers or Smack or Shrinking Kitty or Steph? Yeah, none of them have anything to do with me. Steph stopped speaking to me about 6 months ago or so. No real explanation. She was just gone. With Smack I have no idea. Kitty never liked me. And Fingers, I think he was just interested in Steph and when she turned out not to be who we thought then he no longer had any need for me. I don't know. That's a shot in the dark. What do I know? This is the murky shit that floats through my head while I'm sick at home.

    So anyway, this is what a flu-inspired blog post looks like. I haven't read back over it and I don't plan to. It is what it is. I hope it isn't pure shit, but it probably is. Feel free to leave whatever comments you like. They don't even have to relate to this post. As random as it is, why should they?
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