America’s Most Educated: “We know you only want what’s best for your kids. And you can’t have it.”

There is a fate in America thatis even worse than education:Re-education.Photo by: David Goehring

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

October 19, 1996

Little Tommy Carruthers wasn’t looking for trouble. In fact he was looking for a way out – and fast. He was being kissed by girls, and it was making him cry. Little Tina Galvin and her best friend, Little Kelly Martin, were playing a game they call “Kissy Girl.” In “Kissy Girl,” the little girls pick out a little boy. Then they chase him around the playground. Until they catch him. And kiss him. Little Tommy didn’t just get kissed, though. He got in trouble. And that’s how he came to the attention of… America’s Most Educated.

Little Tommy thought he was running from shame. He thought he was running from ignominy. In truth, he thought he was running from the wet, sloppy kisses of a pair of shrieking little girls. He didn’t know he was running into a life of crime.

For Little Tommy was guilty of sexual harassment. How could that be, you might ask, when the little girls were forcing their attentions on him? It’s because sexual victims are necessarily always female. And sexual predators are necessarily always male.

And, as little Tommy discovered, there is a fate in America that is even worse than education:

Re-education.

Little Tommy was assigned to a gender sensitivity class. He will be trained to control his predatory impulses. To contain his savage, six-year-old libido. He will be compelled to run a gauntlet of gender sensitivity trainers. They will poke and pinch and slap and grope at him. In that way he will develop empathy for the untold millions of females who have been poked and pinched and slapped and groped against their will. And he will be put on Ritalin. For obvious reasons.

But Little Tommy’s story pales by comparison to the strange odyssey of Pamela Finch. One day she was a bright, attractive eighth grader. An honor student. Co-editor of the school newspaper. The next day she was a notorious druggie.

Pamela thought she had a right to pursue relief from her adolescent menstrual (more…)

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#MyKindOfBenedy from my own catalog: Gambling on a hundred “Rocky” stories in Las Vegas.

Pulling a hundred “Rocky” stories out of one broke gambler.

The Willie stories are full of movies.

Not all of them are benedies, of course – I’ve only been thinking this way for four years, and I’ve only had the terms benedy and maledy for two – but many of them are built to tell you a movie-like story in just one short scene.

An example? “A father for Christmas,” a story I’d love to see as a Christmastime movie-of-the-week. You can swap in anyone you want for Willie in the script, but that encounter at the bus-stop can be the chorus for the whole film, with the story of the father told as back-story, side-story and front-story – projections of the future.

There are whole swaths of stories that could be sliced off to form serial franchises. The Traindancing stories are written with that in mind, and the entire back-story of The Naso Diaries has never been explored.

Individual stories present franchise opportunities, too, especially of the streaming telenovela kind I talked about the other day.

So consider “A peek inside the head of a Headliner.” I summarized it before like this:

A down-on-his-luck gambler turns a grungy job driving a cab into a career as a headliner in a Las Vegas casino comedy club – with a shot as his own sitcom.

That’s “Rocky” in Vegas with jokes, a sweet 90-minute benedy, and I would love it on Netflix just like that, the story the Headliner tells to Willie rendered as a movie.

But the Headliner’s story is a story of stories, and each one of those events, and many he implies or omits entirely, are also interesting.

So a 1,500 word story could become a 90-minute movie – or a season-long telenovela – or a five-season telenovela arc.

As before, I hate repetition. The way to make this work is not to sell the same thrill over and over again but to sell the character’s transition through time. Each stage of his progression is interesting, and each can be propitiously mined for stories.

Let’s say an hour of television is 5,000 words. That seems kind of sad, but film (more…)

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Dear binge-TV-programmers: A series like “Thriving through Harvey” would hold my attention.

“You and what army, Harvey?”

I hate serial fiction – franchise movies, series TV, multi-book sagas.

That’s funny, considering that I’ve written at least a hundred stories about a serial character – Brother Willie.

Even so, serial fiction bores me pretty quickly because, unlike a Willie story, a ‘series’ story is really just the same story over and over again.

It’s a labor-saving device for the writer: Why tailor a new suit every time you go out when the same old duds will do? But it’s a labor-saving device for the reader, too: Why bother to break in a new outfit when the old clothes are still so comfy?

I’d hate to have to think of all the different ways I hate those notions. I’m never at risk of having to write that way: A consolation of my obscurity is that I am from every side unassailed. But I hate it all on the receiving end, too. I can take the first telling of a serial yarn, sometimes even the second, but as soon as I start to feel worked – pandered to – I’m gone.

But: I like the telenovela format. Not the soap-operatic stories you see on Spanish-language TV, but simply the idea of telling one big story over the course of one season of television programming. Not the same story over and over again, season after season, like “Mad Men.” One story, one season, one work.

That format works as broadcast TV, but it works even better for binge-pimping stream-programmers like Netflix or Amazon.

Witness: “House of Cards” would be more satisfyingly surprising with the normal seven days between episodes, to give you time to forget the repeated tricks and tropes.

But a true telenovela – a novel-length story told in 15 or 25 hours of TV episodes – is the perfect format for binge-watching: It rewards continued attention without annoying repetitions of story arcs and plot devices.

Here’s one I’d love to see as soon as possible:

“Thriving through Harvey – Texas is why they made Texans.”

There are hundreds of wonderful benedies in last week’s news – including this one about the delightful exuberance (more…)

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Splendor on – and in spite of – Labor Day.

Labor Day is a holiday established by people who hate human productivity, who hate the human mind. It is a day set aside on the calendar to celebrate and sanctify indolence – and violence.Photo by: Karen Horton

This is me looking back on looking back on a Labor Day a long time ago. The first extract was written on Labor Day, 2005, as the City of New Orleans was demonstrating for all of us that dependence on government is a fatal error. The second extract was written a year or two before that. And the Labor Day I am talking about there was years before that. Even so, every bit of this is perfectly apposite to the world we live in now – more is the pity.

This is me from elsewhen. I think about this every year at Labor Day. I spent much of the weekend working on business planning issues, macro, micro and meta. I remember from the days when I had a job how much I relished long weekends, because I could build so much on vast tracts of uninterrupted time. I did a bunch of money work last week, but my weekend was virtually my own – to fill with the work that too often takes a back seat to money work. Off and on we had Fox News on in the office, and the whining, pissing and moaning was an effective counterpoint to my entire way of life. My world is where the Splendor is, no alternatives, no substitutions, no adulterations, no crybaby excuses:

The time of your life is your sole capital. If you trade that time in such a way that you get in exchange less than you really want, less than you might actually have achieved, you have deliberately cheated yourself. You have acted to your own destruction by failing to use your time to construct of your life what you want most and need most and deserve most. You have let your obsession or anger – over what amounts to a trivial evil in a world where people are shredded alive (more…)

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Sympathy for the underfathered: How the right art will cultivate better lives for our children.

I have good news: The world outside your mind is a a glorious paradise of infinite possibilities. The right kind of art will show you – and your children, and everyone’s children – how to see it that way from the inside.Photo by: Josh Pesavento

By now I have too many brutally funny names for underfathered humans: The Trans-Aborted. The Missed Appointments. Adult Babies.

Full disclosure: I am one of the underfathered. It’s good odds you are, also. Your own parents, too, probably, and certainly mine. The Marxist war on fatherhood predates Marx, which is saying something in the brisk world of global atrocities. By undermining and eventually eliminating the father’s moral authority over his family, the Marxists have all but succeeded in eliminating the Hoplite freehold – the actual bedrock of Western Civilization and the last redoubt against tyranny – returning humanity to its pre-Hellenic glory of satraps and slaves and mountainous mass graves.

How did Marx go one-up on Archimedes? By moving the Earth the other way, for spite. But give the Marxists their due: It’s a devastating accomplishment, particularly taking account that it was done entirely by subterfuge, right under everyone’s noses.

Where do self-responsible adults come from? Self-responsible fathers. Let us deny mothers nothing, but we deny fathers everything when we refuse to take notice that the less fully-committed fathering children have, growing up, the longer they take to, you know, grow up.

Not always, not everyone, blah, blah, blah. Why are our kids so fat, and why are they fatter year-by-year and generation-by-generation? Why are they so scattered, unfocused – lost? Why aren’t they raising self-responsible kids of their own? Why are only the least-fathered among them even half-fecund – allowing for all the abortions? Why do our children grow up to be adult babies?

The father too much absent from our minds will now say: “Duh!”

Easy problem to fix, though, right? Just put dad back in the driver’s seat. It’s his romance from the first, necessarily, and his marriage, his offspring, his family, his freehold, his estate. This is the way monogamy works, and it is the (more…)

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What to do with the end of an endless Summer: Smile, study me and thrive!

Driven-sociability. It’s not just worth reading about: It’s how we survive.

The curse of long holiday weekends is that time can hang heavy on your hands. Still worse, every source of new online content goes off for it’s own bar-be-que. Apparently, the true purpose of the internet is wasting your time at work – not engaging you when you actually have time free to invest.

I have the cure for all of that. I’ll give you two Netflixable benedies first, since the best benefit of having time off is spending it with the people you love.

So for a date-night movie, I like Begin Again. And for the whole family, Chef rocks – especially on the kind of Ds virtues we saw so beautifully in the Houston floods.

Meanwhile, I had a Splendorous Summer. I always do well this time of year – Nine empathies was born on Labor Day weekend three years ago – but this year has been especially good for me.

Accordingly, if you want to spend some time improving your mind this weekend, I commend you to me. That’s a vanity, I know, but I have no idea what to do about it. I repay effort, but you can only find that out for yourself by making one.

DISC-my-way is the place to start, since the notation system will show up everywhere else. The big work this Summer was ThriversEd – the DISC of educational philosophy – but I’m also worth reading on leadership and marriage.

Humanity is Ds. We saw that this week in Houston: When every wealth of every other DISC strategy has been stripped away, the only wealth that endures is the Ds frame of mind – the drive to survive for me and mine.

Why should you be studying me? Because I have the map for getting our civilization back to it’s best expression: Driven-sociability.

It’s not just worth reading about: It’s how we survive.

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Wealth is invested capital? Intellectual capital? Humanity’s sole wealth is the drive to survive.

Leadership beckons: When no one knows what to do, humanity’s sole benefactor is the man who does.

Watched any news this week? A good week for Trump, a bad one for KimFatty, total devastation for every-other-day media whores like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. The flooding in Texas took over the television, and hardy middle-class Texans took over the coverage.

How? With that Driven-sociable frame of mind: “I’m looking out for my own – my wife, my kids, my pets, my neighbors.”

It was all D. In an emergency, the Driven temperament we’ve spent the past 30 years trying to drug away is all that matters. I, S and C do what they’re told, often poorly, while the D’s figure out what to do and then get it done.

Strip away everything innessential, and what’s left is the essence:

Wealth is not invested capital. Absent the human capital to invent and sustain it, invested capital rusts and rots.

But wealth is not just human capital either: Knowing what to do and actually getting it done are two different things.

The wealth we own in such abundance that we never take the time to account for it is brought to us by the Ds temperament – and by nothing else in its absence.

That’s what we saw this week in Texas:

When everyone is wiped out materially and financially – when no one has anything except treasured trash bags full of rotting treasures – the richest man is the one with Ds frame: “Nothing gets better until we make it better, so let’s get to it!”

When everyone is devastated emotionally – distraught over lost loved ones, lost treasures, lost opportunities – the happiest man is the one who can’t seem to remember yesterday because he can’t ever forget how great everything is going to be tomorrow.

When everyone is crushed by the poverty of the spirit – plummeting from a never-doubted comfort to the misery-making mud in an instant – the most generous man is the one who sheds hope – by delegating tasks. “How do we know things will be better soon? Because you’ll be making them (more…)

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