What would Mohammed do? Just about anything, apparently, provided it’s petty, pathetic and cruel.

“We were watching horse racing by simulcast at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the Preakness Stakes, and everything in the place seemed to be old and dirty and badly maintained. No skin off my nose. You can leave your bankroll in a carpet joint just as easily as in a sawdust joint, and I lost my gamble a couple of years ago anyway.”Photo by: Fisherga

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

Baltimore, Maryland, May 12, 2015

“They sure have let this place go to hell, haven’t they?”

Iggy said that. I’m sure that’s not his real name, or not his full name. Given ‘Iggy’, my guess would be Isaac or Ishmael, but I didn’t probe for better information. He was sitting one seat away from me in the cheap seats, close enough to chat, but not too intimate. Which was well, since Iggy stank. Not like a man who had showered that morning, then worked up a sweat before stopping at the track on the way home. No, he stank like a man who hasn’t worked in a month and hasn’t bathed in two.

“My pops started bringing me here when I was a kid, on the days I got to stay at his house. It seemed like high style back then, the gambling elite. But they haven’t put a dime back into the business since then.”

That was an exaggeration, but not an outrageous one. We were watching horse racing by simulcast at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the Preakness Stakes, and everything in the place seemed to be old and dirty and badly maintained. No skin off my nose. You can leave your bankroll in a carpet joint just as easily as in a sawdust joint, and I lost my gamble a couple of years ago anyway. But I can’t walk past an open race track or sports book without stopping in to handicap the handicappers, and Iggy was a prime specimen of degenerate gamblitude.

“Fuckin’ kikes have let this whole neighborhood go to shit.”

I had no idea how to react to that. Iggy was Jewish, I (more…)

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Xavier’s destiny: Fatherhood and the manly art of manliness.

But the main job of being a father is simply being around. I’m not congratulating myself for what I did with Xavier, because I knew it was temporary. He didn’t have a father all of a sudden, he just had a weak little prosthetic, and that only for a while. But I taught him what little I could of the manly art of manliness, what little I know. A little bit of swagger, not too much. A little bit of strut, just a touch. A little bit of courtliness, rough around the edges. A little bit of mischief, creeping through the hedges. A man rolls up his sleeves and gets to work, and you can say it with a smile if you can’t say it with a smirk.Photo by: Kenneth Lu

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

March 13, 1996

“Madre de dios…!”

Mrs. Marquez said that, and it seemed a fair estimate to me. Everywhere we looked in the overlit room we saw things of wonder and beauty and uncontested menace. Despite the din, I heard myself groan, and I wasn’t utterly sure I’d done the right thing. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death in a grade school cafeteria is one thing. Pushing an underfed eight-year-old boychild ahead of you is another.

The road I walk is the path that separates the straights from the crooks, the pencil-fine line that splits the people we call “decent” from the sneaks, the freaks and the side-show geeks. I have a scruple or two, painted and waxed, so I don’t quite fit in among the bungled and the botched. And yet I do have an itinerary, and I don’t have much of an agenda, so the quality folk are never dismayed to see the back of me. Neither fish nor fowl, always on the prowl, quick to resign from any community that would even consider having me as a member. This is the life I’ve chosen for myself, after all, and I’d be daft to beef about it.

Still, there are Other Matters to consider. Among them: I’ve been nineteen-years-old forever, but I’ve (more…)

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Cultivation is expectation: Sane, middle-class adults cannot be converted, only cultivated.

Why are tactics aimed at converting adults futile? For the same reason that cultivating virtue in toddlers is so propitious: Attitude is everything.

Me from Church last week:

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President Biff Tannen in four words: Accidentally like an übermensch.

“What? Me, president?”

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie Story

Thursday, January 26, 2017

“So here’s the idea,” said Manny Kant. “It’s the ‘Big’ trope – boy wakes up in adult’s body – but with a twist.”

“Seen it, done it, took a bath on the action figures.” That was The Movie Mogul’s clipped retort. He’s a big, imposing guy, so he’s The Movie Mogul because, if I told you his name, he might punch me in the nose. He’s the big boss of a small film studio – some production, mostly investment and distribution – lots of indies, lots of awards – and they throw dollars around like blocks of ice. He said, “What else ya got?”

Manny was caught short – and it could be he’s losing his edge. He’s certainly grayer than I’ve ever seen him: Not just the threads of gray in what used to be jet black hair, but gray in his skin, too – gray in his soul, maybe. Wearing a gray sharkskin skinny-suit didn’t help. He might have seemed merely desperate in Lower Manhattan, but he was a man out of time in the sculpted greenswards of a suburban Los Angeles office park. “But you haven’t let me tell you the twist!”

“You came to me with one idea?” The Movie Mogul demanded. “You finagled this appointment, and all you had to pitch was one tired, played out gimmick? Fine. Hit me with your twist and get out.”

Manny stood up, but I don’t know if that helped his case. The Movie Mogul’s office might be in an unimposing location, but it’s a very imposing space. Huge, for a start, with The Movie Mogul’s desk, a sitting area and a conference table all surrounded by vast wide-open spaces. The soaring windows look out onto the greensward, with a view of the freeway in the distance. The furniture is Danish Modern, black and chrome. Standing up seemed like a misstep to me, because the chairs are so low and deep that you sit in them by falling into them, and, as Manny demonstrated, you get up by clawing your way (more…)

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If you want for there to be fewer abortions, show the world how wonderful children make it.

If you expect for kids to know that children are worth raising, first you will have to convince them that a child is something worth being.Photo by: Pedro Klien

Yesterday on Facebook, I linked to an article called 10 Ways You Can Contribute To The Pro-Life Cause. It’s mainly practical tactics, with only a little bit of shaling and propitiation, and I’ve proposed similar ideas in the past.

At the same time, we are told that abortion rates are at the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. Some of that drop, I expect, is Fad Mechanics, a math that should exist if it does not. It’s sick to think that abortion could be a fad, but, if it was, I’m glad that part is waning. What remains, we can hope, is the growing awareness that rhetoric cannot trump reality, that you cannot shout down remorse no matter how hard you try.

I am over being dismayed by the silence of the libertarians on abortion and its consequences. With each funeral they excuse themselves from attending, they underscore their enduring irrelevance: No fathers, no families. No families, no future. The ideas may live on. The people – and the movement – are simply temporarily unexpired.

There is obviously only one ontologically-consonant stand on the self-willed slaughter of one’s own offspring – true of organisms, true of mammals, true of men. People will let themselves be lied to, but we all know better. Accordingly, if you want to do something to prevent abortions, eight of the ten ideas in that article can have real-world efficacy.

But the real challenge is to change the minds of the people who might at some point consider having an abortion, so I can give you a more comprehensive – more leveraged and more scalable – solution to the problem:

Make children feel welcome in the world by showing the world how wonderful children make it.

Our children kill their children because we have taught them that children have no value in the world, that they are a burden and a curse, a booger to be flicked away when no one (more…)

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Donald #Trump is Prince Hal, not Henry V. Here’s how you can spot the tells.

Cleaning up this mess? That would be women’s work.

Cleaning up this mess? Now that would be women’s work.

Once more unto the breach:

This weekend’s events demonstrate that newly-anointed President Donald Trump is an Incandescent temperament, not a Driven personality.

(Say whuuut? If you’re new, here’s the Cliff’s Notes on DISC my way.)

To Church:

Filling in the blanks:

Donald Trump’s fatal conceit? You can’t fake leadership.

Seeing Claudius from Hamlet as an overmatched Incandescent.

By taking account of the Driven and Incandescent empathy strategies discussed here, it will prove possible over time to predict what Trump will do and to posit what an actually-Driven personality would do instead.

What if Trump tries to fake the Driven strategy? That’s what he’s been trying to do all along – all his life! – “by gut.” But you can’t fake leadership, and you can’t fake magnanimity for long. Humiliation rankles the Incandescent in ways none of the rest of us can fully understand.

Accordingly: Trump will out.

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Making a #MyKindOfBenedy-making machine.

Like everything else, the art of romance is upside down. Righting it is simply a matter of demonstrating why well-working real-life romances work so well: Because there is a man in charge.Photo by: Andrew Crump

Like everything else, the art of romance is upside down. Righting it is simply a matter of demonstrating why well-working real-life romances work so well: Because there is a man in charge.Photo by: Andrew Crump

A while ago I wrote about using the Judds’ song “Why Not Me?” as a sort of chorus for understanding a type of second-chance-at-love love story:

As story, it’s “Thunder Road” inverted, which I think is fun. But as cinema, it’s a sweet rom-com aimed right at the sweet spot in the rom-com marketplace: People who are ten years late to the wedding chapel. Showing how to make that kind of romance endure happily will prove to be a growth industry.

In preference to thinking about Trump, I thought up a story like that in the shower yestermorning, and in the process thought about a way to build a #MyKindOfBenedy content machine.

First the yarn, a 90-minute feature:

Mister Peterson’s Dowry – a romantic comedy of manners and marriage

The chorus, revisited repeatedly throughout, is a couple in formal attire making passionate love in a snowed-in car. We see their furtive frenzy progressing against windows blanketed in snow.

The couple is rushing home from their participation in a wedding party – rushing in the vain hope that they will miss the snowstorm. When they become trapped and are obliged to wait, they are thereby engaged in an encounter neither one can escape.

She’s 30 and the divorced mother of two kids. He’s 32, never married. They’re seeing each other exclusively, and she wants to know – in light of the matrimonial celebration – when he’s going to commit.

The ensuing conversation, fleshed out with flashbacks, is his negotiation of the terms on which he will marry her: “You’re recruiting me. I’m not recruiting you. What do you have to offer me compared with what I’d be putting at risk?”

The story is male leadership in marriage, so he secures the dowry he needs to secure all of their futures, with the consummation of their love-making being the seal on their bond – their marriage.

And seven of those words – “the story is (more…)

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