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 27, 2016

Chicago Sports, American Politics and Spectatoritis

So there's a disease from way back, I mean way back called spectatoritis. You can read about it HERE.

Basically, the thin and thick of it is this, we spend entirely too much time watching other people do things instead of doing them ourselves. For all intents and purposes we've become a bunch of spectators to life.

What does that have to do with Chicago sports? Simple, Chicago sports fans, like all other sports fans are spectators. Now why do I think that Chicago sports fans are more worthy of being written about than any other city's sports fans? Well, I don't, I only know Chicago sports fans because that's what I've been since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

I've come to a conclusion in my old age. The conclusion is very simple. Mediocrity shouldn't be tolerated. It really shouldn't. You shouldn't accept anything less than the best from yourself and from those around you. If they won't give you their level best they should be ruthlessly cut out of your life. I think most people can get on board with that kind of simplicity. Now it certainly doesn't happen. I mean how many of us can honestly say that we gave everything we had today, and did everything to the very best of our abilities? I'm going to say that it's less than 1%. I sure as shit know that I didn't.

Now that mediocrity and the acceptance of it is what brings me to Chicago sports. For the sake of this argument the Blackhawks have to be completely disregarded over the past few years since Rocky Wirtz took over. Take them back when the old man was running things and they'd fit right in, but the Hawks are definitely not a mediocre team. They are doing whatever they can to be the best in the league at every moment of the season. Okay, that's bullshit but they try really hard. They falter like everyone else but they put a whole lot more effort in than most Chicago teams.

What do you have left over? Cubs, Sox, Bulls, and Bears. Bulls were a dynasty at one point. Not to take away from that, but remove one player from that and they're middle of the pack at best. Bears have won only one SuperBowl, plenty of NFL championships but only one superbowl. Sox got one world series. Cubs are a monument to mediocrity.

What do all Chicago teams except for the White Sox have in common? They all sell out pretty much every home game. They all sell more merchandise than most of the rest of their respective leagues and they all enjoy some of the most fervent support among professional sports teams in the nation.

They also have some of the most miserable owners, Jerry Reinsdorf and The McKaskeys come to mind. They certainly have some of the highest ticket prices in their respective leagues and it will never get old for me telling people how much beer costs at a game in Chicago. So long as they're not from New York they look at me like I've got an arm growing out of my head.

Should we support our teams like that? I'm going to go with no. But that's my thought. I'll most likely be crucified or burned in effigy by my Chicago loving bretheren but so be it. Any team that has the audacity to charge over $100 for nosebleeds better be in the hunt for the superbowl every year. I'm looking at you Virginia!

I think the cost of a ticket should be determined by your record. It should go up and down with your wins and losses. Patriots can charge an arm and a leg for tickets, because they're worth it. Bears? Not so much.

If you're a defending champion, you get to charge a 5% awesomeness fee. If you were last in the league you have to give away all your 300 level seats.

Okay, so I may be going overboard but what I'm talking about is accountability folks. You, and I are held accountable for our actions and our sports teams should be as well.

Now politicians. In this season of presidential campaigning and the requisite mud slinging that comes along with that has basically shown the American people to be a little less than intelligent. At least if you're watching this election on Facebook which is what a whole lot of people do nowadays.

I'm not even really talking about the politicians, because at least to a point the news media holds them accountable for their words and actions. I know, I know, the media is a bunch of chuckleheads too who pretty much pander to whatever party they're looking to have win. However, at least if you want a balanced viewpoint you can watch Fox with picture in picture on MSNBC and try to listen to both and maybe come out the other end with some kind of actual information.

I'm talking about your average everyday people who spout off on Facebook daily about whatever issue and or candidate is near and dear to their hearts. Most of my friends, it's gun control. Which I care about to be sure, but I've also realized that luckily (as far as gun control is concerned) we've got a hopelessly divided nation and hopelessly divided lawmakers and so long as they all stay hopelessly divided then there isn't much to worry about. The worrying will begin when they can all get together, that's when we'll be in real trouble.

The worst part of people who are really against any kind of gun control (and I'm using gun control as an example, this applies broadly) is the level of horseshit they are willing and able to spew and believe. Example, "from my cold dead hand" This has become cliche since Charlton Heston said it, and I love hearing it from some yutz in a bar who can barely remember where he parked his volvo, or you hear it from the old guys who are having trouble controlling those tremors. Regardless of who's filthy sewer it comes out of I'd like to test that theory.

I think if you're willing to say it, you better be willing to back that shit up. Let's see if they'll stick to their guns? Send a bunch of armed cops over to their house, knock on the door and say we're here for your guns and let's see what they do. I'll give 10-1 they lay down like a $2 hooker.

Run your mouth on Facebook you had better be able to back that shit up in real life. If you're not, then shut your fucking mouth. Not to mention, it should be completely impossible to comment anonymously. You have something to say, if you're going to say it, sign your name to it. Otherwise, shut the fuck up!

Basically, all this comes down to is this. This nation has lost all sense of accountability and responsibility. Like these sports teams, we allow mediocrity. It's why there's like a 92% incumbency rate. We allow shitty politicians to get right back in office because we allow it. We allow it because no one will stand up and take the place of these fucktards. (I'm not exempt, I'm just as bad. So don't go challenging me to run for office. I'm included in all of this.) We would seriously cut down on the level of bullshit that people would be willing to spew if we held people accountable for their actions as well as their words.

You think you can run the country? Get your ass in the game.

You played 16 games and lost 12? I'm not coming to your games.

You said something about so and so on the internet? Don't be mad when they show up and smack you in the mouth.

I'm kinda losing my train of thought here, but  the principle is there. Every action, whether it be speech, writing, physical action or whatever, has an equal and opposite reaction, except when you live here, and that is complete bullshit.

I love you Mom...

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.


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...