Thursday, January 20, 2011


Keith Richards LifeI have a couple of books to write about. I’ll write about Keith after the first one, but I wanted to have that picture lead off this entry!

One of my Christmas gifts was The Passage by Justin Cronin. Events begin in the not-too-distant future. A scientific expedition is in the jungles of South America searching for a virus that will have an almost-inconceivable impact on the human race and on aging. As so often happens with these scientific expeditions, things go horribly awry. In a government research facility in the Colorado mountains, the virus is studied, experiments are conducted, guessed it...things go horribly awry there, too.

Fast forward about a hundred years, and we find a very different America. Of course, I won’t go into any details, because I have some family and friends that are currently reading this, or planning to soon. But suffice it to say that this post-apocalyptic world is very bleak indeed. There is a pretty interesting cast of characters here, and they generated quite a bit of sympathy in me. Even the bad guys had a certain “I guess you can’t really blame them” factor, because it’s hard to judge someone in such an extreme situation.

The action sequences were taut and descriptive; the suspense generated was nail-biting. The straight-up narrative is interspersed with an occasional diary entry, a technique that I always enjoy. A few nights ago, I reached that “tipping point” in a book, when you want to read non-stop so you can find out how it ends. I stayed up until 5:30 one morning reading it and finally had to stop because I was getting a little insane in the membrane. Even then, I was so fascinated by this book that I had a hard time going to sleep! I finished it the other night, and it was one of those where you say, “Awww, man!” (I won’t tell you why!) Highly recommended!

Now to Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life. After the intensity of the previous book, I needed something fun and thought I’d start this one. I’m glad I did! I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but I am charmed, charmed I tell you! First of all, he’s hilarious. His description of getting stopped in Arkansas in the early ‘70s is a riot. He writes of his family life—you can tell that he has great affection for his family—and says this about being an only child:

…you’re basically exposed to the adult world unless you create your own. The imagination comes into play then, and also things to do by yourself. Like wanking.
HA! Keith! He’s developing a love for music at a young age, and writes about his grandfather’s acoustic guitar:
Even now, to open a guitar case, when it’s an old wooden guitar, I could crawl in and close the lid.
I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy this one a lot. He writes matter-of-factly and with great humor. This guy is just...well, he’s just the incarnation of rock and roll. He seems kind of sweet, but he’s so badass, too. It reminded me of this video. I believe it’s the very first video I ever posted on my blog, and it still delights me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Nanny nanny poo poo Well, it didn't take long for my theory to be proven...that the mentally weak and easily manipulated will often result to childish insults and name-calling.

What's next? I'm waiting for something viciously biting and devastatingly crushing like "Nanny Nanny Poo Poo Head." Cousin Shane and I were laughing about it, and he said that when he heard about it, he thought, “Grow the fuck up!” Seriously.

[putting on my amateur psychologist's a beret, if that helps you imagine it] I believe this is called "infantilism." [exaggerated finger quotes] Such juvenile behavior is the last resort of those who don't have enough substance or enough wits about them to mount any sort of legitimate case (especially in a court of law) or actual argument.

I believe it's also what is called "projection." [more exaggerated finger quotes] One's own inadequacies and short-comings (and I DO mean short!) are projected onto the object of hate or disdain. A person feels that they are woefully inadequate and they lash out at others instead of recognizing their own weaknesses. A perfect recent example: Sarah Palin releases a video on the day of President Obama's speech about the tragedy in Tucson, and instead of talking about the victims and the tragedy of their loss and injuries, she makes it a diatribe about how SHE is the victim of media attacks, and wonders, in the words of Charlie Brown, "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?"

One more turn on the psychology carousel...I think that would be considered narcissism. [absence of exaggerated finger quotes] True narcissism, the kind that is devastating to most if not all personal relationships, the kind that can only find succor with someone who is willingly and easily manipulated.

It didn't play well in Palin's case, and it doesn't play well in real life. Rather than admitting their own culpability in the matter, it's always everyone else's fault. In Palin's case, don't blame everyone else because you have such a tin ear that you don't comprehend the mood in the country, you're such an idiot that you don't bother to research the speech that your handlers write for you, and you're so unconcerned about gunshot victims that you focus on yourself rather than them.

In real life, don't blame me for your inability to handle things in a reasonable manner, and don't blame me for the fact that you backed yourself into a corner, leaving yourself no room for negotiation. Don't blame me because you suck at money management and have squandered thousands on your hobby of the month or whatever struck your fancy at the time, rather than socking it away for what it was truly supposed to be for. Don't lash out at me because you let time slip away from you and were so desperate that you took whatever deal immediately came your way. Don't get pissed because you handled the whole thing stupidly, badly, and blinded by anger. Don't blame me for the anger of those around you; YOU are the one who fostered that anger, YOU are the one who contributed to that atmosphere of discord and hate, and YOU are the one who had the most influence and ability to change its direction. It's not my problem that people didn't want to be friends with you because of your past behavior, and it's not my problem that you have a hard time holding a job because of your current behavior. I have nothing to do with that. That would be you…all YOU.

I know this doesn't make much sense to most of you, but bear with me, and I'll get back to the usual soon. I've found that certain things I'm seeing on the national stage are mirrored in certain things I'm seeing on the personal stage, and I find both ridiculous. I said the other day that they were also boring...probably a bad choice of words. It's hard to get bored when you're called names and blamed for things over which you had no control. I guess 'tiresome' would be a better word, or as my friend Stan put it in a comment, 'predictable.' It really is utterly and completely predictable.

One final note to the name-caller. Does your wife know that you're calling me a spinner? Considering the circumstances, I really think that's highly inappropriate. And really...crackuh, please. Not only would you be way out of your league, I prefer my necks to be decidedly of the non-red variety!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A thousand words


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Deception Perception

Real eyes I find it interesting to see the different interpretations of various events.

Whether it's the shooting in Tucson, which political party truly cares about the country, whether or not the health care law will help or harm our country, eyewitness accounts of crimes and criminals, or just personal issues, we all have an opinion, and we all have a perception that is influenced by our own biases and prejudices, as well as those of who surround us.

I suppose it's all a fascinating psychological study for anyone who wants to explore it, but that's not my field. I enjoy reading articles about cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and downright delusion, but I'm not qualified to give an authoritative take on it. Just my opinion.

I'm always willing to cut certain people some slack. I know that much depends upon the atmosphere in which you were raised, and I know that parents can be an affirmative or a destructive influence on their kids. I know that it's hard to break away from seeing things a certain way and to question belief systems that are deep and pervasive. I know that kids can be easily manipulated, especially when in an atmosphere of emotional turmoil and blackmail. I also know that as we get older, it's harder to question authority and to question truths that we have been conditioned to believe.

It's much harder for me to forgive young adults or middle-aged people who still have the ability to question and question HARD. Those who shouldn't be so set in their ways that they have become incapable of seeing other points of view, or having any sort of reasonable discussion about issues. Those who are either so blinded by their own hatred or so mentally weak and malleable that they can be easily manipulated by others. It's not unusual to see these types resort to puerile insults and name-calling.

No matter that events are twisted to justify their own misconceptions; no matter that their own actions are ignored or minimized; no matter that despite years of insults and anger, others are still expected to not only jump when demanded to, they are expected to ask, "How high? How much?"

Welcome to Reality™. Words and behaviors have consequences, and treating people badly, with rancor and disdain, will not make them do what you want them to do. Spin it whichever way you want, but such behavior will come back to bite you. You'd think some people would have figured that out by now. Apparently not. Don't come crying to me because you screw yourself over time after time, don't give me a sob story about how everyone hates you and everyone else is horrible, and quit bitching because you backed yourself into a corner that you can't get out of. Your bad behavior and ongoing bitterness are your own problems. Your poor negotiation skills are the result of years of misdirection and mistreatment, and an inability to let go of a grudge.

It's fascinating from a psychological viewpoint. But it's also kind of pathetic. And frankly, quite boring.