They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...


These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Jun 24, 2016

Book Review: The Curse of The High IQ by Aaron Clarey


So I bought this book the other day, and I use the term book loosely, if memory serves the author even referred to it as an essay. It's a short read, only took me two days to get through and I wasn't trying all that hard.

Now I don't think I've ever done a book review before, but I think I might start. If nothing else it'll keep me reading which will keep me from thinking about other things.

Premise: The basis of this book is simple, there are normal people, there are dumb people, there are retarded people, and there are abnormally intelligent people.

The abnormally intelligent people account for a very small percentage of the population and the more intelligent the person the smaller that percentage gets. Now the world is built for the masses, which are the normal and dumb people in the middle of the pack and the lower end. The book basically explores all the different things that an abnormally intelligent person would deal with in trying to negotiate a world that is entirely too dull for their superior intellect.

Now if you ask me I'm a pretty smart guy. I got a 25 on the ACT test, and I've had my IQ measured at 120. Which, according to Mr. Clarey is above the 1st standard deviation of the IQ scale putting me in approximately the 91st percentile. Meaning, per the tests, I'm smarter than 91% of the people I run into everyday. Working in a prison that might push my average a bit higher but it's a special condition that skews my day.

So, by the numbers I am part of the lower IQ end of the group that this guy is talking about and some of his conclusions are valid. Yes, school has always been a chore for me. I could figure out the material within a few minutes of being introduced to it and the things that school demanded like blind conformity and sitting idly by in a classroom while the teacher wasted their time trying to teach the dumbasses that were in the room with me was tedious to say the least.

And yes, I've run into bosses my entire life who were dumber than a box of shit. 

Some conclusions were a bit sketchy, like his ideas about nihilism and sublimation. Nihilism = bad, sublimation = good. The principles were sound, but he takes it too far sometimes.

Now let's just talk you and I for a moment, I don't know very many people who think they, themselves are stupid. I'm assuming that you reading this don't think you're stupid. But that begs the question, if everyone or at least most everyone walking around thinks that they're pretty smart then how do you manage a population that is convinced of it's own superiority? Myself included, I've got a few tests and numbers to back up my intelligence claims but they are still nothing but claims. There has to be a way, other than observation to separate the intelligent, from the dull.

I would like to see a world that catered to the intelligent more. I think we may have to dispose of every television and movie producer in order for that to become reality, but a small price to pay, am I right?

I recommend the book. If nothing else it'll get you thinking about whether you are as smart as you've been led to believe. 

Were there any drawbacks to the book? Sure, like I said for the most part his evidence is anecdotal. His statistical methods are sound, but where he got the data from is another story. And then there is my chief complaint with this book and the characteristic that kept it at 3 stars.

His use of two words.

Ergo: conjunction, adverb 1. therefore.

and

Ennui: noun 1. a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom

The words by themselves are fine. Nothing wrong with them, he used them properly and in context, but this motherfucker could not stop saying those two words.

That being said, hearing those words over and over reminded me of Dead Poets Society. When Robin Williams character told his class that you shouldn't say "very tired" you should use, "exhausted" don't say "very sad" use "morose"

Basically, using those over and over again, regardless of how smart this cat is showed a bit of intellectual laziness that is hard to overlook when the entire premise of the book is just how smart he is and how hard it has made his life.

Had this guy busted out his thesaurus and found a couple of new words I would've been able to give him 4 stars for this, but the use those two words contributed to my ennui while reading. Ergo, he only gets 3.

Jun 21, 2016

Back from the Abyss...

So my brain and I have been duking it out pretty badly lately.

It seems like every time I come close to getting a handle on my self and my life, good ole AssCrackIstan rears its ugly head and knocks me off track.

Basically, it breaks down like this. I'll be having a nice day, got a lot done at work, having a nice conversation with the princess while the baby is running around touching everything, even stuff I was unaware was in my house, and all of a sudden BAM, cut to Waza Khwa and a set of mortars are coming in, or going out, whichever, followed by the inevitable trip in my trusty MRAP which will get stuck in some pile of shit somewhere and then some asshole who wants his 72 virgins will come by to take a shot at the title.

Then it's downhill from there. I get angry. So I talk shitty to the princess. She didn't do anything at all, if anything she's been the most wonderful person on the face of the earth by dealing so graciously with all of my horseshit. Then I get in my head, and I stay there for a while. Anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time knows that the last place I, or anyone else for that matter needs to spend any time is in my head.

This was so much easier in Chicago. No shit, I had a counselor who was awesome. He easily saw through my bullshit and got to the heart of things, and because of that I was much more well adjusted. I even think going to see him is part of why my writing dropped off so much. I didn't have anything I needed to say, I dumped it all on him as opposed to you dear reader.

Then there were the pills that the VA was gracious enough to provide me with. Don't take that as sarcasm, I really need them. I see how I am with them and can barely imagine what I'd be like without. But since I've moved to southern Illinois now there's a VA, so no problem with the pills, but there's no Vet Centers within 2 hours of this place. I'd have to go to a civilian shrink to do this here.

Sorry, I don't want to go to a civilian shrink. I don't want to go to some guy or gal who's practice is built on helping farmers deal with their anxieties about the rain this season, or whatever. That's not the point. I want someone who deals with guys like me. And unfortunately, that's just not going to happen here.

I mean, I should probably not piss and moan too much. First of all, it's not Afghanistan, I've got a job, a wife who loves me and puts up with most of my shit, a beautiful daughter who doesn't know much other than she loves her mommy and daddy, and for all intents and purposes I've got my shit together, not exactly wired tight, but together nonetheless.

So here's hoping I can find a shrink who knows what I'm going to be telling them. And here's hoping that they know how to see through my shit and ask those questions that lead me down the yellow brick road to what's actually the problem.

In any case, I'm going to try. Like I tell all my vet buddies who get down on themselves, and it's some advice that I should most likely take myself.

"We owe it to those who died to live well. They gave their lives so we could all be free, and the most insulting thing we could do is not take their gift."

I love you Mom...

Jun 5, 2016

The Easy Way Teddy...

So what's been happening in my life? Not much, got a baby on the way, due in July or August. The wife is good, the other kid she's good, getting a little bratty but such is life. The house is good, we're not broke, food is on the table so I guess there's not a whole lot that I can complain about and yet, like so many people I spend a lot of time thinking that things should just be easier...

It shouldn't be so hard to make money, or at least it shouldn't be so hard to make enough money. Food shouldn't be so expensive. Gas shouldn't be so expensive. Housing shouldn't be so expensive, day care and blooblittyblah blah blah.

I wish it were easier to have a happy marriage. Anyone who's marriage is happy knows that one of them is a metric shit ton of work. Hard work. Sacrifice and compromise and putting everyone else in front of yourself.

I wish getting/being in shape were easier. I'd probably have to get up at 4 am now, workout for 30 minutes or so, pray to baby Jesus that I don't wake up the pregnant wife or the domestic terrorist that I call "daughter". And maybe just maybe I might drop a pound or two.

I could go on and on with this, but you get the idea.

How easy is it for me to blame the family for my shortcomings. How easy is it for me to blame the economy for my finances. How easy it is for me to blame "insert cause here".

How easy is it for us, especially us vets to blame the war or a war, or the IED or the TIC or whatever for our problems. We can blame the army for the disintegration of our marriage. We can blame everything and everybody for everything.

Was it ever supposed to be easy? I mean we all want it to be easy. Nobody wants to do hard shit. Well some people do, but they're definitely the 1%.

I am not going to try any motivational nonsense on you or anyone else. I'm about the last person who can claim any authority on that subject. But here's the thought that's been running around in my head lately...was it ever supposed to be easy?

Did the good Lord, or Buddha or the Big Electron or the sun god Ra or whoever came up with this 3rd rock from the sun and the people that inhabit it, did they mean for it to be easy?

Maybe the point is that it's supposed to be hard. Maybe we just don't know what we can take, and what we can do because we spend all our time wanting it to be easy as opposed to realizing just how hard we are or can be.

God isn't done with you. You're reading this, so God isn't done with you yet. I'm writing this so God isn't done with me yet. I'm wondering if I'm hard enough for this. That question may have been answered by that last breath I took there...

I love you Mom...

Mar 29, 2016

I'll take Detroit over Kabul any day of the week and twice on Sunday...

So, a while back I challenged myself to write 500 words a day. That didn't happen. Not even close.

Now, in the interest of not being completely full of shit I'm not going to do that. Suffice it to say I want to start writing again, I know that I should start writing again. My mental health pretty much demands it.

Where to begin...

Couple things happened since we last spoke.


  1. Mom died.
  2. Got a promotion.
  3. Moved from Chicago to Southern Illinois (may as well be Cuba)
Now that we're all up to speed let's get on with it. Every single stinking day it seems like someone somewhere is getting shot, blown up, taken hostage or some other variation of terrorist fuckery we've all come to expect.

And I'm wondering can we fight these pricks?

I'm sure we've all wondered it at one time or another. Do we, as a society have it in us to defend ourselves anymore, or have we crossed the precipice into a politically correct and morally bankrupt nation that is more worried about Caitlyn Fucking Jenner and its contribution to...well nothing than standing up and defending the nation that made Caitlyn Jenner possible?

Unfortunately, except for a few (we happy few) I think we've crossed that precipice. 

Someone scrawls Trump 2016 on a park bench and people lose their minds and are calling for charges. Muslims continue to shoot, bomb and otherwise fuck with everything and people are still calling for understanding and not to blame Islam.

Okay, I don't blame Islam. I've read their koran and it does say all that shit about smiting the necks of the infidels or alternately making them pay to practice their religion so long as they do it with the lights out and under the bed where no one can see them. But on the flipside, the Bible has some interesting things to say about what we should do with adulterers and people with tattoos and I'm pretty sure there's some nonsense in there about people eating meat on Friday...could you imagine going to hell for that?

But Muslims that's another story. It's been said before, but it bears repeating. The Muslims are the ones who are terrorizing the world. Paris, Brussels, New York, and a million other places where the body count wasn't high enough to hit Fox news. All Muslims. Not a few of this, a few of that, not a Mormon, a Christian and a Jew walking in to a bar to blow it up...nope...all fucking Muslims.

I'm reminded on a fairly regular basis by my lovely wife that racism is not something that I want to teach my children (of which there are two now. Ain't that some shit!) And she's right. She tells me that I'm better than that. On that point, I'm going to have to take her word for it.

So should I try to say all the usual bullshit about it just being Muslim extremists? Nah, because if there is one thing I know for sure, in order to rally the kind of support it will take to defeat these fucks will take an identifiable enemy.

That's where the terrorists can use our own political correctness and our seemingly undying need to be nice to everyone against us. There isn't one reasonable person on earth who would tell you that the world is a nice place. That would be the height of naivety. But when it comes to something as serious as this we still want to play nice.

I've fought this enemy. I've shot at him, and he shot back and vice versa. But even then I was hamstrung by some of the strictest rules of engagement you could imagine, all in the name of preventing the one thing that actually means anything to a Muslim terrorist...death. They may want to martyr themselves. So be it. I say we beat them to it. You want to kill yourself for your faith, no need, I'll be happy to do it for you.

Until we realize that our need to soften our language and our culture and our society until every bit of offensiveness and grittiness is removed in the name of making sure that there is not one person that feels the slightest bit disenfranchised or put upon or offended or whatever else the whiny babies are screaming about this week. That is what is going to kill us and our society. Our inability to stand up and say, no you're wrong, the United States and the western civilization that we had a huge part in building is better than the Caliphate ever was, or ever will be. 

I'll take Detroit over Kabul any day of the week and twice on Sunday...

Jun 11, 2015

A Son's Wish For His Dying Mother...

I saw you in the nursing home again today. They keep telling me it's a rehabilitation facility but I don't see any drunks around. You were sleeping when we walked through the door.

Your other son, your granddaughter and I.

It is so very painful to see you like this. I remember you when I was a kid, so strong, so vital, such a royal pain in my ass. I remember you chasing me down the block at a full sprint and catching me to boot. I remember you hitting me so hard that I had welts on my back for a month. I remember you constantly doing this and cleaning that and driving here and working there and now all you do is lay in bed and watch Fox News. (Which isn't healthy for anyone)

Your liver has failed. Which causes your ammonia levels to rise. Which turns you into a shell of a person. When your ammonia goes high you can't talk, you can't reason, you can't do much of anything but shake your head yes and no. They can keep the levels down with whatever the hell they do for you, but it's still a matter of time. New liver or prepare to evacuate soul.

You tell us that you're going to try. You tell us that you're going to give it your best shot. For chrissakes your granddaughter hasn't even turned 1 yet, and I can see it in your eyes and I can hear it in your voice...you'd rather this all be over.

I'm going to be 37 here in a couple of weeks, and I don't want to be an orphan. There's too much that I still need you for. Check that, there's so much that I still want you here for.

The baby is going to need her grammy to spoil her. There's only so much spoiling a kid can get from one set of grandparents. Ya need two to get the full effect.

I've never been in a world that didn't have you in it, and it's pretty well impossible for me to wrap my pea brain around the thought of you being gone. But it's coming. It's definitely on it's way. I'm pretty sure I saw the grim reaper reading a magazine in the waiting room, but in that place there's no way to tell who he's there for.

All I want is for you to be happy and at peace. I don't want you to have to struggle and hurt. I just want you to be at peace. Whether that's alive or dead, I want you to have peace.

There's never been much of that in our family. Some goofy shit is always going on that disrupts any semblance of calm we ever had, but that's between you and I.

When the time comes, I want to be able to put the baby on the bed with you for a few moments so you can tell her how much you love her and feel the soft touch of her hand and if we're real lucky she'll say "grammy" prior to check out time.

I want my wife to sit down next to you, so you can thank her again for being there since I'm going to need her that much more after you're gone. I want to see her kiss you and tell you she loves you. And when you thank her for the baby and tell her what a good job she did, I hope she tells you not to worry about it, she'd be happy to do it again.

I want to be able to see my brother tell you that he loves you and is going to miss you, and that he promises he'll try to do better after you're gone and make you proud of him. Then he can kiss your forehead and say goodbye.

Then I want to sit down beside the bed and hold your hand, I want to be able to tell you not to worry I'll take good care of the family and I'll make sure the baby goes to college and that she makes it to church every week (actually the wife will do that, but it'll get done.) I'll tell you I love you and I'm gonna miss you too. Ya know all the usual stuff.

Then I hope I can just hold your hand, I hope you fall asleep, and I hope sometime after that you squeeze my hand, smile just a little and then go.

No pain. No heartache (for you anyway) and no struggle.

Just calm and peace...that is all I wish.

I love you Mom...

Mar 29, 2015

500 Words A Day...

Alright, mo-frackis.

I'm trying to create a new habit to get back to writing.

500 words per day.

Help me out with comments and chides.

Begins tomorrow...

May 27, 2014

Dear Charlie,

Note: I've got a baby girl on the way. The wife is 4 months or so along and we've got a little bundle of joy coming around November 7, 2014. My wife has been pestering me to write her a letter for a couple days so here goes...

Dear Charlie,

I don't really know where to begin with this. I found out that you were coming one day after having worked 16 hours at work. I came home and your mother had a little jewelry box waiting for me, ya know like the ones that bracelets or watches come in. I peeled it open and there was a little stick letting me know that you weren't a glimmer in my eye anymore.

Once my mind was able to process rational thoughts again, which took about 4 minutes or so, I hugged your mom just as hard as I had ever hugged her and thanked the Lord above and whatever God may be that you were coming.

Then I immediately started to worry. Was I gonna be a good dad, were you gonna like me, were you going to be healthy, and on and on and on...My mom, your grandma was nice enough to inform me that that was never going to go away.

Then it was on to the parade of doctor's appointments and reading pregnancy books and listening to everyone and their brother give you advice on how this or that should be or how it should go. I'm certain that by the time you can read this you'll have figured out that anyone who tells me what to do can kiss my...can't swear anymore. I've got a baby girl now.

The fact is, I've made my peace with the fact that I am not going to have any freaking clue what I am doing when you show up in a few months. I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna learn, and you're going to teach me. It's just the next adventure that this life has for me, and you, your mom and I are going to go on this one together.

I'm going to screw up, there's no doubt about it and I hope you can forgive me. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter because I found out what love at first sight was the first time I saw you go all ninja on the uterus wall when they were trying to get a good picture of you in the womb. Shortly thereafter I heard your heartbeat, and that little sound became my everything.

Now sooner or later you're going to start to hate me, which is fine. If you didn't, I wouldn't have done my job. But you'll come around sooner or later, and always remember that no matter what it is, no matter what happens, no matter what you do, no matter where you go, I'll always be there for you. I'm not going to be easy on you, sometimes I am going to be downright hard on you, but everything I do I do for you.

By the time I'm done with you, you'll be able to shoot a gun, catch a fish, mount a door, change your oil, change a tire, skate, tackle, throw a punch, and everything else I can teach you. You'll know how to think for yourself and question everything and everyone.  Your mom will be in charge of teaching you all the lady stuff. It's just as important but I can barely match my pants and my shirt, and 95% of my shirts are black so...

I'm dedicating my life to making sure that you can stand on your own two feet and don't need anyone to do for you. I want all your decisions to be made for love, not for necessity.

Needless to say, you're about the size of an avocado right now and you've been kicking your mom's butt since we found out you were in there. If you wouldn't mind taking it easy on her from here on out that'd be great, she gets a bit cranky.

I've got a few months before you get here, and a few years before you can read, so I'm going to keep writing to you. I like to write about my adventures, and I think you're going to be the greatest adventure I've ever been on. Luckily, I've got your mom to come with us. I love her more each day, she gets bigger and I love her more. All I can think of anymore is what it's going to feel like the first time I hold you, the first time I look into your eyes, and the first time you wrap your little fingers around my finger...

So here's to you kid, I'll talk to you again soon.

I love you Charlie...

...Dad



Feb 27, 2014

It's Funny...

How much we can put into one thing to the point that we think the entire world is going to come screeching to a halt if it doesn't work out the way that we want.

In my case, that's a job. A new job at the same place that I'm working now.

I started working a day or two a week in another department.

I started getting a master's degree in the discipline in which I was working a day or two a week in.

I went almost all the way through when they announced a full time position in that department.

I wrote and rewrote my resume probably 25 times in the span of a week.

I applied to the job.

I sent in every piece of paperwork required and I even went so far as to get dual consideration for the job.

I was considered competitively and I was considered as a veteran.

NOw I'm sitting here waiting, and about 3 days ago they announced a list of names from which the CEO can choose for this job.

I'm one of the names.

I've been literally driving myself insane thinking about who they're going to pick, when they're going to pick them and will it be me, will it be someone else. And on and on and on.

Like I said though, its funny how much we can put into one thing. To the detriment and disregard of everything else.

The sun's gonna come up tomorrow. Job or no job.

Marcus Aurelius once said, "You have power over your own mind - not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.

This is the words I've been pondering all day today. And I'll say this, it's gotten me to forget about that damn job for a little while.

More to come.

Later,

I love you Mom.

Feb 18, 2014

Nobility...

So sayeth the Huffington Post.

Is it our number 1 problem? In my eyes yeah it has to be. There's really no way around it. Our labor force participation rate is at its lowest point since the great depression.

63% of working age Americans are working or looking for work.

Personally, I would've found it utterly depressing if 63% of the working population were employed, but that's also counting the ones who are looking. Now that my friends truly sucks.

Where do I feel the problem lies? Like so many things...pretty much every thing, this problem is coming from both directions.

This is why America is in such a pickle lately, we can't seem to come to the middle on anything anymore.

Republicans vs. Democrats, Old v. Young, Male v. Female, Gay v. Straight, Rich v. Poor and whatever other polar opposites you can think of  just about every American would be more than happy to stand up and take one side or the other and for some reason nobody wants to give a little to get a little or to compromise in any way, shape or form.

Everything gets done in the middle people. Nothing gets done on either side because when you are on the right and doing things on the right, you are working directly against those on the left who are doing things on the left and you smash into one another and nobody moves a fucking inch.

Now if the right comes up to the center line, and the left comes up to the center line and both start pushing in the same direction instead of right into one another then something might actually get accomplished. Seems pretty simple to me, but what do we do? I'd like to introduce you to the most ineffectual congress in the history of this great land...and its you and I who elected these do nothing, worthless cock knockers!

The old don't want to give up any of their wonderful old fart benefits (social security, medicare, early bird specials), but they also don't want to get the fuck out of the labor force so that the youngins could have a job!

The young want to work, no really, but they don't want to earn anything or wait their turn. You don't walk through the door and become the CEO.

The rich want to make more and more profits off of everything they do and sell, but they don't want to pay the wages to their employees so that they could afford to buy the shit they make!

Women want equality of well everything...and damn you if you don't open the door for them you're rude, and damn you if you do open it for them, you're a sexist.

Gays want all their rights, which is whatever. I feel quite simply that gay should be exactly the same as straight in everyone's eyes. I don't give a flying rat shit what you put where when you go to bed. I don't wander around telling everyone that I'm straight, would you please get over this nonsense. And all the bigoted people out there who think that homosexuality is wrong, you keep your yap shut too, nobody gives a shit what you think.

Republicans want there to be no social safety net, or minimum wage or anything that helps anyone ever. Democrats want cradle to the grave government cheese for all.

Ya see what I'm getting at?

One of the best quotes from Braveheart is something that people will never remember because pragmatism and the ability to actually get shit done isn't celebrated, as opposed to gallantly smashing your head against the wall (Ted Cruz) is considered heroic by certain sections of the electorate.

You admire this man, this William Wallace. Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage; so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to compromise that makes a man noble.

Jan 6, 2014

I've Been Reading a Lot of Motivational Nonsense Lately...

I've always had a problem with motivation. The problem being that I am not very motivated. Never have been. I'd go so far as to call myself lazy. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. Lazy.

Now I've learned a lot about visualization of your goals. Which cracks me up, because visualizing myself as a a Roman emperor with a harem laid out at my feet is pretty funny all by itself.

I've learned about goal setting. Which is simply making a list of the shit you aren't going to do. I take that back, the list thing actually works kind of. I mean there is something very psychologically satisfying about checking things off the list.

And I've learned a whole bunch of other shit about time waiting for no man, and bank deposits and work, and in a year you'll wish you had started today and all that yada yada yada.

And not one bit of that shit really got my ass in gear. The funny thing is I think that I'm motivated by inertia. Inertia is the only thing that'll get me moving. Ya know, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. And motion if you ask me, is life.

When you stop moving you stop living. And I've done my very best to stop moving in the past. Now luckily for me I've got a princess that loves me that has grabbed me by my flipping ears and dragged me into motion for the past few years which has worked out famously for me.

The only way I can describe her is thus, somebody at our wedding asked me if she got lucky with me. To which I replied, "She did alright...I did better."

Now for whatever reason, and I haven't even been able to put my finger on it just yet, I'm hoping to though. Over the past two days I've finally gotten my ass into first gear. I'm writing again, I may be writing about complete bullshit but I'm writing which is better than not. And I've spent a few minutes on the treadmill and I've gone to work, done some homework and I've managed to actually use damn near every minute of the day that I've been given.

Has it been perfect, nope not even close. I still fall down and spend some time watching the Vanilla Ice Project and poking around tumblr checking out all those bodybuilder chicks, don't ask me I have no idea.

But I feel like I'm a huge boulder and I just started rolling down the hill. I haven't got that much speed going yet, but it's in the mail and when it gets here, whoa baby get the fuck out of the way this isn't going to be pretty.

So that's what I've taken out of that past two days.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Dale Carnegie was apparently a pretty smart dude.

Once you get your ass moving, everything else will follow. Feels pretty damn good.