Monday, September 28, 2009

'Your favorite Beatles song'

Better late than never - I wish I'd thought of this suggestion before all the big Beatles hype surrounding their video game and discography re-release earlier this month:

If you consider yourself someone who believes governments in general are too intrusive, consider answering as follows should anyone ever ask you what your favorite Beatles song is:


Let me tell you how it will be,
There’s one for you, nineteen for me,
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah yeah, I’m the Taxman.

(If you drive a car car), I’ll tax the street,
(If you try to sit sit), I’ll tax your seat,
(If you get too cold cold), I’ll tax the heat,
(If you take a walk walk), I’ll tax your feet.

‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
Don’t ask me what I want it for
(Ah Ah! Mister Wilson!)
If you don’t want to pay some more
(Ah Ah! Mister Heath!),
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeeeah, I’m the Taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.
And you’re working for no-one but me,

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Friday, September 25, 2009

'All government of every stripe'

I'm not that familiar with Glenn Beck the radio/TV host, but if the stuff he's quoted as writing in here is any indication, not wonder TPTB are working to destroy him.
Our collective experience since the Founding has taught us that all governments of every stripe are fascist in nature. They will gobble up as much money, resources, and people as possible unless adequately checked. Governments are never static; they always grow. Communism, fascism, socialism, imperialism, and statism are all different ends accomplished through the same means: totalitarian, absolute government control over the individual. All these 'isms' simply reflect the mistaken belief that progressively larger governments are needed to address our problems.
Thoughtful insights.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mortgage on my life

"Ramble Tamble" is such a great rock song that I never bothered to look up the words until this morning. I mean, its purpose was to blow out your speakers, get the juices flowing and otherwise dive headlong into the best album Creedence Clearwater Revival ever delivered.

It's full-bore rock and roll for seven minutes, jangly guitars and John Fogerty shouts and all, wrapped around an extended slowed-down instrumental bit in which Fogerty wrung every inch of pathos out of his guitar. Who cared what he was shouting?

Got curious this morning after I clicked on the "Play" arrow to get my juices flowing. Googled "Ramble Tamble lyrics."

Move! Down the road I go. Move! Down the road I go.

There's mud in the water, roach in the cellar, bugs in the sugar, mortgage on the home, mortgage on the home.

There's garbage on the sidewalk, highways in the back yard, police on the corner, mortgage on the car, mortgage on the car.

Move! Down the road I go. Move! Down the road I go.

They're selling independence, actors in the White House, Acid indigestion, Mortgage on my life, mortgage on my life.

Move! Down the road I go. Move! Down the road I go - ramble tamble, ramble tamble, ramble tamble.

Now here's the thing: It's not great poetry, but the words fit the music perfectly. For 40 years I've been listening to this song, and the jangly guitars convey a pent-up frustration that needs to be released, a conviction that there has to be more to life than this. Now, I realize, that was the point.

Most men live lives of quiet desperation, the man said. Fogerty said the same thing in seven minutes of abandon. Ramble tamble, indeed.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

B.W.'s Book Report: The Lost World

If Professor George Edward Challenger was the only memorable character he ever created, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle still would be a mighty figure in the field of adventure literature. Instead, of course, Challenger is — rather than being the main achievement of Doyle’s career — simply further evidence that the man who invented Sherlock Holmes was a creative genius.

The Lost World introduces this remarkable amalgamation of bombast, persistence and confidence and conceit with a flair: He engages the narrator, reporter Ed Malone, in a fistfight, largely for no other reason but that Malone is a reporter. The altercation leads to the street, where a police officer breaks up the fight. When Malone chooses not to press charges, a friendship of sorts begins. Doyle brings Challenger, Malone and two other adventurers — Lord John Roxton and Professor Summerlee — to South America in this first and most well-known of five tales about G.E.C.

Creators of the film versions of this tale usually feel the need to introduce a woman into the cast of four men in pursuit of Challenger’s fantastic tale of dinosaurs living in the South American jungle. In the fabulous 1925 film we are introduced to Paula White, daughter of the late Maple, played by the charming Bessie Love. She adds a point of conflict, as both Roxton and Malone have their eyes on her. But as you’ll see if you’re encountering the story for the first time, there’s hardly time in this lost world for such matters.

The scenes of a brontosaurus walking the streets of London and creating general havoc have inspired countless films ever since, but the filmmaker’s reinterpretation of a brief moment in the story’s climax marks another departure from Doyle’s original vision. That one might have been necessitated by technical realities, as the group’s return to England does have a lot of talking in it, and “talkies” were a couple to three years away.

The modern reader needs to make a few accommodations to Doyle’s era, as the author introduces a supporting cast that includes a loyal, friendly and simple-minded “negro,” as well as shady and “swarthy” foreigners. These references date the narrative a tad, but there’s a good reason The Lost World has remained a legendary tale for nearly a century now, generating at least three more film versions and even a television series: It’s a wonderfully rousing adventure story.

You may have noticed that the book cover pictured does not match any of the editions that have been available over the years. That's because I've been reading The Lost World as I prepare it to take a place next to the other print-on-demand publications in the growing Richardson & Bluhm stable. It will be available within a few days.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

The other side of 'Refuse to be Afraid'

I admit it, I laughed.

More of this demotivation at Where else?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A better dream of freedom

It's amazing how often you'll hear an idea for a new law from someone who claims to be in favor of freedom. Of course, usually these self-proclaimed sons and daughters of liberty have already been elected to office, so they've already made some adjustments to their views of what freedom is.

It's still true that the US of A is a place where you can criticize The Powers That Be without being shot or imprisoned — most of the time. Of course, you can't do it in the presence of the Big Boss. Yikes, shouting "You lie!" to the emperor while he was giving a speech. That sort of thing just isn't done.

America is the place where your rights are fully protected as long as you don't infringe on other people's rights — like the right to smoke-free air, the right to free health care, and the right not to be exposed to someone else's religious beliefs. Your property is your own to do as you please with it — as long as you get the proper permits and inspections and pay the property tax. You can travel at will all over this great nation — after your person and luggage have been examined and ransacked. Unlike past empires, we have no ambitions to impose our will on conquered territories — pay no attention to the hundreds of military bases established all over the world.

Some of us have a better dream of freedom: "No one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatever; nor ... advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else." I know, good luck with that. I still think a society based on that principle would be a lovely one to live in. The tricky part? By definition no one can be forced to live that way.

For some time I've been working, in fits and starts, on a novel about the creation of such a society — even put out a couple of chapters I have since set aside. The novel is starting to come together at last. No promises, though — I've done that before and missed the target.

That's not my main point today, anyway. Rather, it's just a reminder to beware of anyone who proclaims a devotion to liberty while advocating for a new restriction on liberty. Yes, I know I'm reminding you to beware of people you encounter pretty much every day. That's how pervasive the assault on freedom is. That stuff about "eternal vigilance" isn't far from the truth.

But in the end, the Zero Aggression Principle is about a very personal kind of freedom. You don't have to wait until some utopian society is created. You simply live it. And no one can take that away from you.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Information is freedom

In the opening pages of our eBook Refuse to Be Afraid (Why haven't you downloaded it yet? Just click on the little blue cover and it's yours), we tell the story of a "big cliff" along Lake Champlain and a little boy who went over the edge screaming with fear, only to collapse in laughter at the bottom because he discovered the drop, invisible through thick brush, was only a few feet. He landed, unharmed, on the shore below.

Information is freedom. Fear kept little Warren from simply relaxing his grip on the side of the hill and sliding to safety. He'd have been off that cliff very quickly and avoided several minutes of sheer terror. Of course, he wouldn't have a lesson that has stayed with him for 50 years, either.

Fear of the unknown keeps us paralyzed. It makes little drops seem like huge cliffs. It turns an annoying little speedbump into an unclimbable mountain.

Afraid because you don't know what might happen? Educate yourself. Find out all you can about the path ahead, or the potential obstacles, and they will shrink in your mind — more important, you will discover ways to get around or plow through the obstacles. That's because information is freedom. The truth will ease your fear and set you free.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Still free, eight years later

"They can take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom." - William Wallace, in Braveheart.

You can give away your freedom by acquiescing to draconian security measures and other personal intrusions like those that have been added to our lives over the past eight years. Actually treating everyone as a potential criminal or terrorist was nothing new in the US of A; the events of Sept. 11, 2001, merely provided an excuse to accelerate the process.

I always found it ironic that these anti-liberty measures were enthusiastically implemented by those who, with a straight face, said the attacks were staged "because they hate our freedom." If crushing freedom was the motive, the attackers succeeded to a point.

But your freedom is so hardwired into you that no one can take it from you without taking your life.

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way," Juan Ramón Jiménez wrote, memorably quoted in the opening of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. When everything else is in restraints, you can still think free.

"You can't take the sky from me." - Joss Whedon, "Ballad of Serenity."


Thursday, September 10, 2009

5 step plan to help America's youth
deal with the real world

1. Go to the medicine cabinet.
2. Grab the Ritalin and any other mood-altering medicine.
3. Dump pills into toilet.
4. Flush.
5. Deal.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The last president

So his agenda is finally made clear ...
"I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last."
For some time it's been clear this guy is hellbent on steering the U.S. of A. into bankruptcy, and now he says it out loud: He's determined to be the last president of the U.S. of A.

At least now we know what we're dealing with.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The first hour

From Dan Miller's 48 Days to the Work You Love:
Be very careful how you start your morning. You are planting the seeds for what the day will hold. If you get up late, grab a cup of coffee and a cigarette, fume at the idiots in traffic in your rush to work, and drop down exhausted at your desk at 8:10, you have set the tone for the day. Everything will feel like pressure, and your best efforts will be greatly diluted.
Miller writes about getting a good night's sleep, spending the first 30 minutes of the day on reading and reflection, then working out while listening to an audio book that involves "mental input and expansion." "I carefully protect that first hour of the day, making sure that all input is positive, creative and inspirational. Many of my most creative ideas have come from this protected hour of the day, often when I am in a full sweat."

You may have a different way to clear the day out in your mind and get started. But get the first hour down, when the mind is newly clear and a blank slate, and the rest of the day will flow more smoothly.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Almost ... TOO quiet!

Almost all of the bloggers I regularly check out have been not writing much of late. I almost feel as if everyone agreed to move out and forgot to mention it to me.

Should I join the Facebook crowd and the Twits, and ease out of the blogging bit? Or should I buck the crowd and keep on sharing my odd thoughts with the dozen or so who have stayed with me on the journey? Why is there air anyway?

Perhaps railing against the fear mongers and tyrants has become old and repetitive, and some find it fruitless. I could insert a cliché here, like "it's always darkest just before the dawn," or that nugget about good people failing to act, but I have no magic words to restore hope and freedom.

(Huh. I always thought hope and freedom were the words that went together. I knew "Hope and Change" sounded a little suspicious ...)

Everyday life may have sidetracked a bunch of the folks along that there right rail, but I'll keep coming back with a word or two of encouragement. See ya next time. Oh, and the fear mongers and tyrants? They're just scared little boys and girls who can't handle concepts like liberty that expect people to be responsible grownups. Don't take them so seriously.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Comics worlds conglomerate,
and Vin tackles Teddy

Growing up with comic books, Marvel Comics and Disney Comics were worlds apart. Rather, Disney was what little kids read, and Marvel was what you grew into. It was much later that I discovered there was some sublime work being done by the Disney creators, too. But they were two different worlds.

No more. In this era of greater and greater conglomeration, Disney and Marvel are now conglomerated. Howard and Donald under the same web-footed roof. Cinderella meets The Thing. Of course Walt's heirs sucked up Pixar some years ago. Buzz Lightyear? Hulk smash! Emperor Zurg versus Dr. Doom for domination of the universe ...

It's about the movies and the theme parks, though. As Mark Evanier put it so well Monday, "the publishing of comic books (those things on paper with staples in them) at that company is a few notches less important than it was last week. And it wasn't all that important last week."

Oh, and thanks to my curiosity about Sen. Harry Reid's latest display of arrogance, I wondered what Vin's been up to, and I browsed my way into to the best single article written about Sen. Kennedy in recent days — or perhaps ever. Enjoy.

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