Archive for January, 2017

Handicaps

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Jan. 30, 2017

Another puzzle. Why did President Trump, when he was running for the Republican nomination, make fun of a handicapped reporter? It was plain stupid. Whatever you think of Trump, he’s not stupid. It would be a serious black mark to a candidate’s character if Trump actually did this!!! Which is a question?

Fox New and a pro-Trump Catholic website reported he didn’t do any such thing.

“Trump’s spastic arm waving at a rally last November while mimicking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski drew swift condemnation from opponents who claimed Trump was making light of a disability. It’s followed him ever since. The Washington Post gave Trump four Pinocchio’s for his denials, and Hillary Clinton used a clip of the impression in a video released Tuesday slamming Trump.

“Catholics 4 Trump posted four videos—one of which dates back to 2005—in which Trump impersonates everyone from Sen. Ted Cruz to The Donald himself with the same, flailing mannerisms and goofy speech.”

So it seems at best the jury is still out as to whether Trump is guilty of mocking the handicapped or whether the liberal clergy, from Hillary Clinton to the Washington Post, are guilty of character assassination. At best (or least) it adds ammunition and credibility to Trump’s nearly constant complaints about the bias of the media in this country. It also reinforces a bit my nearly constant critical view of what I call the left-liberal clergy in this country and the world (see Bill’s Blogs, pages 74, 78, and 103).

Whatever the truth may be in this case I do have new respect for the handicapped whatever their handicap. That respect includes: the homeless in their propensity for alcohol; the many problems of druggies; the right’s sexist and racist dismissal of women, foreigners, and blacks; the left-liberal clergy in its propensity to libel Trump (and other contrarians); the veteran’s tragic amputations; and the unfortunate victims of all of the worst pains and diseases you can imagine.

The awful truth is we all have handicaps of some kind.

I thought of this subject when I was trying to make some pancakes last Sunday morning for the family and myself. My son Mike, who is helping us out now that I am still recuperating from my fall and hip operation, was kind enough to say the finished product tasted okay. But the process of making them was a minor disaster for me due to my handicapped incompetence.

Have you ever tried to mix an egg, pancake batter, milk, and water with one hand while holding on for dear life to a walker with the other hand? Or flipping pancakes in the skillet with that same hand-icap? Or for that matter getting the maple syrup off the hard-to-reach shelf in the cupboard, or getting the butter out of the refrigerator or getting a clean plate off the shelf, or getting a fork and a knife out of the drawer? Not to mention all the time maneuvering a pesky walker—and not forgetting to lock it (locking the walker takes two hands!)—each time you move and are in the remote danger of a fall that could send you back to the emergency room.

Believe me it was difficult. I realize that it was not nearly as difficult as many handicapped people face every day and activity of their lives. And most of them do cope without that much complaining. But it was hard eno.gh for me to give pause and make me aware of how lucky I have been all my long life with no really significant handicaps.

Until now.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. This blog is also significantly shorter.

Poverty and Religion

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Jan. 23, 2017

A puzzle. Why do people like to read books and see movies about the rich and powerful but don’t care that much that poverty is decreasing in the country and in the world?

Example: my blog last week hit a new low in readership. It could have been that it came on a holiday. But then it was a holiday for a preacher who dedicated his life to improving the state of the poor and downtrodden. I suspect this effort will fare even worse since Bill’s Law #3 (see Bill’s Blogs, page 08) points out that bad ideas in religion have a half-life of a least a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.
Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.Jan. 23, 2017

A puzzle. Why do people like to read books and see movies about the rich and powerful but don’t care that much that poverty is decreasing in the country and in the world?

Example: my blog last week hit a new low in readership. It could have been that it came on a holiday. But then it was a holiday for a preacher who dedicated his life to improving the state of the poor and downtrodden. I suspect this effort will fare even worse since Bill’s Law #3 (see Bill’s Blogs, page 8) points out that bad religious ideas have a half-life of a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.
Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.Bill’s Blogs, page 08) points out that bad religious ideas have a half-life of a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.

Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.

Poverty

Sunday, January 15th, 2017
Jan. 16, 2017

Poverty may come to me, that’s true,
But what care I–no,
I’ll get by as long as I have you.

The African-American jazz singer Billy Holliday helped make this song famous. She did have to worry about poverty as most African-Americans do. She knew about it from bitter experience with racial prejudice in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Harlem, and all points west. She also knew about it from alcohol, drugs, divorce (she never practiced what she sang), and prison. And she died youn­g.

Poverty though is in retreat in this country and, as a matter of fact, in all the Modern Age world.

“Did you hear the breaking news? Yesterday, 138,000 people rose out of extreme poverty. Another 138,000 rose out of extreme poverty the day before. And the day before that, too. Of course you didn’t, because a plane crash or a terrorist attack is news, but slow and steady progress is not. Even 50 million people rising out of poverty in a single year is not news.

“Since 1990 when social critic Naomi Klein [a prominent Canadian member of what I call the clergy], claimed that capitalism had lapsed into its most savage form, the people who lived in extreme poverty–according to a $1.9-a-day poverty line adjusted for inflation and local purchasing power–has been reduced from 37% to less than 10%.

“If this does not sound like progress, you should note that in 1820 [when the Modern Age was in its infancy] the world only had approximately 60 million people who did not live in extreme poverty. Today more than 6.5 billion people do not live in extreme poverty. So the risk of living in poverty has been reduced from 94 per cent in 1820 to about 10 per cent today.

“This happens to be the most important story of our time: poverty, as we know it, is disappearing from our planet.”

So writes Johan Norberg, Swedish intellectual, in the December addition of the Spiked Review with excerpts in the Wall Street Journal. Norberg is a fellow of the Libertarian-leaning Cato Institute in this country.

My only quibble with Norberg is that he doesn’t identify the main culprits in this change–the Agricultural Age and the Hunting/Gathering Age. Combined they make up 110,000 years of human gene and meme history! We still carry with us genes and memes that are conservative in the extreme (memes that are often called green and progressive today by critics like Naomi Klein).

A rare surge and synergy of capitalism, science, and freedom of religion is responsible for this decline in poverty. As yet we can’t do much about the genes but it is the memes we inherited from previous ages are presently giving us fits. Especially the meme that tells us that wealth is fixed in land, gold, slaves. Poverty is lack of same. We can change memes and should. Promptly.

We made a good start in abolishing outmoded memes when this country was founded in 1776 with the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for everyone. Yes, the U.S. is exceptional because it has led the way into a Modern Age of rising opportunity and freedom with a rare synergy of Capitalism, Science, and Freedom of Religion.

Slaves are out of fashion today (we made a down payment on changing this mene with a terrible and very bloody civil war that abolished it in this country and so set the world standard). But we never got rid of the idea that wealth is fixed (we also never got rid of the idea that one religion was the only true religion but I will save that to discuss next week.) Countries still fight wars and politicians still get power when they promise to give citizens more wealth.  Often they mean literally more land and gold (usually disguised in the West as charitable welfare, social security, minimum wage laws, etc.).

The truth is that wealth, which is essential for progress, is never from “trickle down” charity, but wealth does come from profitable work. In modern times this above all means efficient work–the kind of work the “deplorable” partisans of Donald Trump are famous for: mining, drilling, fracking, manufacturing, transportation, construction, agriculture, the trades, and management of same. In short, work that makes profits.

This is the kind of work that China, India, and most of Southeast Asia have used to bring people out of extreme poverty. It is also the kind of work that is out of fashion in this and other rich countries–the kind of work few talented young people in rich countries are not much interested in pursuing. The kind of work I myself, a college graduate with an advanced degree in philosophy, find unappealing. (Like the clergy I criticize so freely I much prefer work in communications, social work, environment, health, teaching, research, politics, science, and the arts. This work has its place but is often hopelessly inefficient in producing profits and wealth.)

It is the Trump kind that is the kind of work that feeds and supports us. It is in large measure this work that is responsible for our wealth and our progress both economically and environmentally.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is a prime example of the kind of work I am railing against in this blog. In this case I do think it has the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we got how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to abolish poverty both in this country and in the world.

(more…)

Why things fail

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Jan. 9, 2017

There is one scientific law that never gets the attention it deserves—the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In scientific terms it explains that in every exchange of energy, entropy always increases. No exceptions. It is kind of depressing. It predicts things will always fail.

Industry provides many examples. An article in Wired magazine pointed out that in, “Ford’s Tough Testing Center, the company evaluates nearly all of its non-engine parts, from seat belts to axle assemblies. The facility is a monument to a dark truth of manufacturing: Even the best-engineered products fail. Some percentage of all mechanical devices will break before they’re expected to. “Companies come to me and say they want to be 100 percent failure-free after three years,” says Fred Schenkelberg, whose firm, FMS Reliability, estimates the lifespan of products. “But that’s impossible. You can’t do it.”

“In 2009, Mohawk Industries—one of the largest makers of carpeting in the country—was forced to discontinue an entire line of carpet tiles when the tiles failed unexpectedly, costing the company millions. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson had to recall 93,000 artificial hips after their metal joints started failing—inside patients. [I just found out that my recent hip surgery was not due to any defect in the metal hip the UW Hospital put in 10 years ago. It was due to a weakened bone—my femur—that I broke in my fall and I had inherited some 90 years ago.] In 2011, Southwest Airlines grounded 79 planes after one of its Boeing 737s tore open in mid-flight. And just this past summer, GE issued a recall of 1.3 million dishwashers due to a defective heating element that could cause fires. Unexpected failure happens to everything, and so every manufacturer lives with some amount of risk: the risk of recalls, the risk of outsize warranty claims, the risk that a misbehaving product could hurt or kill a customer.”

In the political realm fellow travelers with Communism is a more important example. As I wrote in a blog a few years ago, “Most fellow travelers were sincere, intelligent, and had good intentions. They supported, and in many cases led, progressive movements that brought genuine progress in the West, including women’s liberation and civil rights. They also did their best, however, to blunt efforts to combat the international movement that wanted to remake the world into a socialist utopia where Marxist-inspired command economics would theoretically bring freedom and prosperity to all.

“The price of this mistake was high. Over one hundred million people lost their lives to the command-economy brutality needed to pursue a socialist utopia. Which never arrived. The price was paid in citizen massacres, slave labor camps and government-caused famines that added up to more misery and death than all the wars of the 20th century combined.  As a French fellow traveler, Paul Noirot, wrote in despair after the Cold War ended, ‘At the end of the day we built nothing that lasted: no political system, no economic system, no communities, no ethic, no aesthetic. We wanted to realize the highest human aspirations and we ended up birthing monsters.’”

The Second Law in everyday life also explains why things in ordinary life fail. Why you can’t unscramble an egg; why when you drop your peanut buttered bread it always drops peanut buttered side down; why, despite the ads, you will never win $5000 a week for life in a lottery. It also explains why wind and solar power can never replace fossil fuels

The last example demands a little explanation. Nature has taken a few million years to figure out a way to convert sunlight into food. The way nature chose we call photosynthesis. It is pretty efficient—1-2% of the sunlight reaching earth is converted into chemical energy by green leaves. When you compare that with modern solar panels, which have an efficiency rating of 10% or more in transforming sunlight into electricity, solar panels look pretty good.

But nature has a strong advantage. Chemical energy (as captured in fossil fuels) lasts a whole lot longer than electricity coming from solar cells or wind. Like millions of years longer!Of course we might improve the battery methods or invent some other way to store the sunlight panel-converted energy of electricity. But that is speculative and hasn’t happened yet. (Windpower has the same sunlight source and the same storage problems.)

Until, if ever, we solve the storage problems both wind and solar panels will continue to offer supplementary help but fossil fuels, especially when it comes to mobile energy, will continue to be our basic energy source for many years to come. Politicians can boast all they want and will about the large number of jobs created by alternative energy sources (wind and solar) but the search for chemically stored energy (fracking, drilling, and mining) will inevitably create far more jobs (and just as important, jobs that in the long run are far more efficient—that is profitable—hence adding to the nation’s wealth).

This gloomy fact need not discourage us though.

The other side of the second Law of Thermodynamics is the anthropologist Loren Eiseley who once wrote, “we are made of dust and the light of a star.”

In other words, the long road of evolution has led to you and me. This long and fruitful evolution effectively contradicts the gloomy Second Law. Our fertile brains have evolved from many many centuries (nay, many many millennia), just as fossil fuels have.

All of these structures—fossil fuels, plants, animals, and humans—are indeed made of  “dust and the light of a star” (our own star, the sun).

It is what it is. And that is pretty wonderful. And efficient. And profitable. And impressive.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. There was a (small) leap in the sales on my new book, Bill’s Blogs. I am grateful and no longer am moping.

“When I mope, I mope”

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Jan. 2, 2017

Another year! I woke up thinking of Johnny Cash or Tennessee Ernie Ford singing …

You load sixteen tons and what do you get

Another day older and deeper in debt

St, Peter, don’t you call me because I can’t go

I owe my soul to the company store

It may be the credit card company after this Christmas but the feeling is the same.

I know I have only a short time to live. It bothers me. In fact I can work myself into quite a mope about my age and prospects. Not great.

I feel so gloomy this New Year I’m going to cheat on this blog and let the late comic poet Ogden Nash have his say for me in his poem, So Penseroso,

Come, megrims, mollygrubs and collywobbles!
Come, gloom that limps, and misery that hobbles!
Come also, most exquisite melancholiage,
As dark and decadent as November foliage!
I crave to shudder in your moist embrace,
To feel your oystery fingers on my face.
This is my hour of sadness and of soulfulness,
And cursed be he who dissipates my dolefulness.
The world is wide, isn’t it?
The world is roomy.
Isn’t there room, isn’t it,
For a man to be gloomy?
Bring me a bathysphere, kindly,
Maybe like Beebe’s,
Leave me alone in it, kindly,
With my old heebie-jeebies.
I do not desire to be cheered,
I desire to retire, I am thinking of growing a beard,
A sorrowful beard, with a mournful, a dolorous hue in it,
With ashes and glue in it.
I want to be drunk with despair,
I want to caress my care,
I do not wish to be blithe,
I wish to recoil and writhe,
I will revel in cosmic woe,
And I want my woe to show,
This is the morbid moment,
This is the ebony hour.
Anoint thee, sweetness and light!
I want to be dark and sour!
Away with the bird that twitters!
All that glitters is jitters!
Roses, roses are gray,
Violets cry Boo! and frighten me.
Sugar is a diabetic,
And people conspire to brighten me.
Go hence, people, go hence!
Go sit on a picket fence!
Go gargle with mineral oil,
Go out and develop a boil!
Melancholy is what I brag and boast of,
Melancholy I mean to make the most of,
You beaming optimists shall not destroy it.
But while I am at it, I intend to enjoy it.
Go, people, feed on kewpies and soap,
And remember, please, that when I mope, I mope!

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. It would cheer me up considerably to see a leap in the sales on my new book, Bill’s Blogs.