Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Masquerading as a man with a reason"

Here we see Sylvia Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, poet laureate of England and marital cheater .... that should say something, should it not ?? The fact that Hughes was made up of equal parts poet and worm might have hastened Plath's suicide, but she seems to me to have been the type of individual who would have kept thirsting for death until she found it. I think booze, boys and confused ambitions/aspirations fed her depression and .... well, enough speculation for now.

 A rifle, a watch & a book
(still waiting to be read)

I am where you often can find me .... lost in thought, drifting, dreaming, wondering, thinking about yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I have been living in the same location –- physically, if not mentally -- for four years, two months and twenty-five days. (But, who is counting ??) I need a change, I need a reason, I am overdue to make a decision or two or three or ....
So .... anyway .... I have been on the road for a couple of days. I bought another rifle. It is identical to the second rifle I ever bought. I was sixteen. I sold it when I was eighteen. Now, that rifle is back with me, in a manner of speaking .... or, as I usually say .... sort of .... whatever .... symbolism often reigns for me.

I bought another Rolex, too. A Sea-Dweller. I can now have accurate time to a depth of 12,800 feet below the surface of any "wine-dark sea." Do you suppose I will ever find myself there? Toys/trinkets/trifles, whether they serve a purpose or not. What can I say ??

In the meanwhile, here are a song from Black Sabbath to fit my mood and a few more thoughts about Sylvia Plath:

I have not picked up Plath's novel, "The Bell Jar," for days now, and I barely am into it. I decided, after reading a biography and additional material about her life, that I really do not like her as a person. That makes it difficult to read her work because this novel is very autobiographical in nature.

I have been amazed to learn of her apparent intelligence and talent, but also about the opportunities handed to her thanks to that intelligence and talent. As a college student, she worked hard and seemingly spent her summers playing tennis, sunbathing and dating, while she held some typical student jobs such as waitressing. She was nineteen when she spent the month of June as one of twenty student "guest editors" working for the magazine Mademoiselle in New York City.

She does not come off as a sympathetic character to me. More like a spoiled kid. In fact, life seems to me to have been pretty much of a promiscuous, protected picnic for her until she married, and the pressures she experienced to that point largely were self-induced/self-imposed.
Then, she has a break-down, attempts suicide, undergoes electric shock treatment, and goes off for further study at Cambridge University in England.
A marriage to a man who cheats on her, a novel, some success with poetry and two children later, she kills herself at age thirty.

The man Plath married, Ted Hughes, was more-or-less an established poet who went on to be poet laureate of England. I have not read any of his work, either, that I can remember, nor can I recall even hearing of him. My interest in poetry seldom reaches into the contemporary (that since 1950) and, in some ways, ends with T.S. Eliot and a bit of Dylan Thomas.

Back on point: I will finish Plath's novel and, maybe, that will change my mind about her and, maybe, lead me on to write a few follow-up paragraphs in a later post. I need to read some of her poetry, too, and, hopefully, will gain some insight from it. At this point, however, I do not understand why/how she became a role model for young women .... but, I never have claimed to understand women of any age. If anyone can explain the logic of Plath's mythology, I would appreciate it.

Neither do I understand why I get curious about things such as this or about individuals such as Plath and go off on apparently inconsequential, pointless tangents away from my own life and living.

Perhaps, as Sir Richard Francis Burton, a British writer with whose work I am more in tune, often said: "The devil drives."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"I just want to show you what my politics are"

Three books. Whoops, I guess there are four. To begin this story, there was a column recently in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press written by a young lady who is just discovering the works of Sylvia Plath. It occurred to me I never have read anything by Plath, either, who is sort of a feminist heroine and who committed suicide in 1963 at age thirty. Plath is just the kind of novelist and poet whose head I would like to have gotten inside of, so I ordered two books, her novel, "The Bell Jar," and a biography, "Pain, Parties, Work -- Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953," by Elizabeth Winder. I may (or may not) write a post about Plath after I finish the books. I really am being drawn into them. I also had begun reading (now interrupted), "I, Ripper," by Stephan Hunter. It is a novel revolving around Jack the Ripper (another individual whose head I would like to have gotten inside of) and a reporter trailing him. The book beneath them all is, "Minnesota in the Civil War and Indian War -- 1861-1865." I will skip the subtitles. It was published in 1892 and cost me a pretty penny. It consists of official reports and correspondence, including mention in a few places of one of my ancestors who rode with the Renville Rangers and became an officer with the 2nd United States Cavalry. I have been re-reading it, a bit here and a bit there. The music is the song, "Politician," performed by Cream in Royal Albert Hall, first in 1968 and second in 2005. If you listen to the lyrics, you will understand why it fits in with my words. Cream was the late Jack Bruce, on bass and front man; Ginger Baker, on drums; and Eric Clapton, on rhythm guitar and vocals.

Words spoken by Senator Thomas Jordan
in the novel, "The Manchurian Candidate"
by Richard Condon -- 1959:

"Would I block you? I would spend every cent I own, and all I could borrow, to block you. There are people who think of Johnny as a clown and a buffoon, but I do not. I despise John Iselin and everything that Iselinism has come to stand for. I think, if John Iselin were a paid Soviet agent, he could not do more to harm this country than he's doing now .... If you attempt a deal with the delegates, or cause Johnny's name to be brought forward on the ticket .... I will bring impeachment proceedings against your husband on the floor of the United States Senate. And I will hit him, I promise you, with everything in my well-documented book."

I know, but ....

I know politics are boring to some. They should not be, but they are .... so, if you think the next presidential election to be a boring topic, skip the rest of this post and thank you, for your partial attendance ....

It is a long, long, very long way until the political season in the United States actually gets into the picking and choosing stage. But, it is getting increasingly entertaining, the next debate among contenders for the nomination from the Republican Party is just a few days away, September 16, and I have a few thoughts. First, on the Republican side of the ledger:

Early on, I had been leaning toward Jeb Bush, the son of the forty-first president and brother of the forty-third president, as my "prohibitive favorite." He has been largely invisible since leaving the Florida governorship about eight years ago, and, I guess, I never did have a firm opinion about him beyond hearing a lot of people singing his praises.

After watching him in the first GOP debate, in news conferences and interviews, disappointment is my word of choice. He has been slow, inarticulate, stumbling and stuttering in presenting his positions and viewpoints.

Donald Trump, to me, would be even more ridiculous as president than Barack Obama has been. It would be replacement of one narcissistic, egomaniac with another. Obama has been an outlaw president, which, in theory, could not be without the presence of an emasculated Congress. Trump, no doubt, would be an even greater disaster.

Ben Carson simply does not have enough real-world experience to do the job, but would make an exemplary member of the next president's cabinet. Carly Fiorina falls into that category, too, and her corporate leadership experience could be put to good use.

Ted Cruz might be my man, because of his Hispanic ties and his religious background and beliefs, but mostly because of his intellect and his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. This paragraph, undoubtedly, will be continued as the election draws nearer.

Marco Rubio and (unfortunately) John Kasich are the only others among the Republicans who are of consequence at the present time, although I sort of wish Chris Christie would catch on, too.

Next, on to the Democratic Party side of the ledger:

There are not enough negative adjectives in the dictionary for me to use in regard to Hillary Clinton. Without using too many of them, I believe she is a habitual liar (or should that be pathological ?? .... either way, it seems to be a "politically genetic" trait among the Democratic hierarchy these days), morally bankrupt (she is a good match for her husband in that sense), a coward and .... well, we will stop there.

A while ago in another post, I mentioned that I could vote for Jim Webb. He has good experience in government, as the one-time Secretary of the Navy among other posts, and he has an absolutely exceptional record as a combat Marine Corps officer in Vietnam. In that sense, I think of him as a for-real giant among giants.

Then, too, there is "Good Time" Joe, Joe Biden. (That comes from an old joke about Joe.) Apparently, Biden is considering entering the race. The thought that frightens me most about him is his age, which also frightens me about many of these wanna-be presidents on both sides of the political aisle.

The difference between Biden and his current boss -- Barry, Barack Obama -- is that Biden understands there are many brilliant, dedicated individuals with years of vast experience available to assist and to advise him, while Obama has never learned -- even after nearly seven years as president -- that he is not the smartest guy in the room.

Other than that, Joe, Joe Biden has proven through decades of public service that he is the type of individual who would always put the best interests of the nation ahead of his own wishes or legacy or ambitions -- again, just the diametric opposite of the current resident of the White House.

And, Biden would not abandon Americans to be murdered by terrorists in Benghazi or anywhere, as did the current darling of the Democratic Party. Hmmmm .... I meant Mrs. Clinton, but the words apply to Mr. Obama equally well.

Otherwise, ignore the other current contenders among the Democrats.

I suppose I will be updating this from time-to-time ....

Monday, September 7, 2015

Caught up in you & music & Marx & Mill

The featured celebrities of this post are, from top left and proceeding clockwise, Karl Marx, Barack Obama, John Stuart Mill and a security-conscious centipede who refused to reveal his true identity .... I call him Centi Actual ....

Three sort of villains & a good guy

I remain lazy.

So, what else is new? Everything and nothing. It might be time to get another dog and to pack up a couple of rifles and to head into the hills and to live off the land -- happily ever-after.

The world, it seems to me, is pretty much on a direct line to hell and the United States and Western Europe are leading the way by abdicating even a semblance of leadership. As for the playboy capital of the world, known to most as the United Nations, the word impotence was invented to describe that organization. It is a horrendous failure and rip-off in terms of securing world peace.

Barack Obama and his ilk proclaim global warming to be the greatest danger facing the United States and the world. Really .... he has said that, several times. Never mind that thousands of men, women and children are being barbarically murdered by Islamic extremists and thousands more have become homeless refugees to escape a real and actual and immediate threat to their very existence.

This is not ignorance; it is deliberate malfeasance of responsibility and a subterfuge for the purpose of increasing political power. Obama and his cohorts are preaching Marxism in Twenty-first Century form.

Anyway ....

Anyway, besides feeling lazy I also remain in a nostalgic mood. In that sense, I am putting up one of my favorite bands, 38 Special, and its live performance at the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, way back in 1999. Seems like yesterday. Well, I guess it sort of was yesterday -- a blink of the eye, for some of us.

If you sometimes look at the screen and wonder if somehow this video moved from 38 Special to Lynyrd Skynyrd on stage, you are not hallucinating. There is a reason. If you do not know it -- the relationship between the two bands, I mean -- do as I sometimes say: Do your own research, baby. It is half the fun.

Along the same lines, if the name Sturgis, South Dakota, does not ring a bell, check it out. Washington, D.C., might be the center of the political universe (sort of, in the minds of its occupants, at least) and New York City might be the artistic capital of the world (sorry, Paris and London, in the minds of its occupants, at least), but the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is pretty much the center of the cosmos for a few days every summer.

If you have a yen to go, you are too late for this year; the celebrating ended back on August 8.
One of the more interesting times at the rally was when Elizabeth Taylor showed up there with Malcolm Forbes (the magazine magnate) in 1987. Forbes was a biker, and even gave a pink Harley-Davidson to Taylor. Did not know that, did you ??

So, then .... rock on, guys .... love the hair .... love the hats .... love the boots .... and, see the rest of you in a day or two or three ....

The difference between John Stuart Mill & me

I have been a declared agnostic since age fourteen. (I understood my beliefs earlier than that, but was hesitant to openly express them.) When I was young, I used the John Stuart Mill argument while verbally clashing with others, including clergy. For those who say life/the earth/the universe could not exist had there not been a creator, Mill replied, to the effect, if there must be a creator, who created the creator.

All I know for certain is that while accidents happen, life/the earth/the universe are not here as the result of an accident. All these things can only be part of a design, part of a purpose, part of a dream. Maybe, after death, if not in this life, I will know the truth.

Like others, I cannot answer Mill's question, but I no longer care about it. I have "matured" to hold my own position regarding life here on this earth and will discover, knowingly or not, what is on the other side when I arrive there.

In the meanwhile, I will patiently wait with a snarl on my lips (well, sometimes a smile or a smirk) and a Colt 1911 in my back pocket (for sure about that), for I am not among the meek and have no wish to inherit this earth. I suppose the meek could be the rabbits and the sheep and the centipedes.... well.... more power to them .... from my perspective, they can have the earth .... at least as it exists in the here and now ....

Something special ....