Archive for December, 2017

Miss Otis Regrets

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Jan 1, 2018

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed.
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today. .

Cole Porter started this song with a picture of a conventional society girl but then he surprises you with a lurid tale of love gone wrong and tragic consequences. The story goes that the actor Monty Wooley bet Porter he could not write a song with the title Miss Otis Regrets. Porter took the challenge and the song ended up the hit song of 1934. It was recorded many times in coming decades by singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, and Linda Ronstadt.

When she woke up and found
That her dream of love was gone,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray.
And from under her velvet gown
She drew a gun and shot her love down,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.

When the mob came and got her
And dragged her from the jail,
They strung her upon the old willow across the way
And the moment before she died
She lifted up her lovely head and cried,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.

So we begin a New Year of blogs.

My wife Jane sang this ditty at a tap dancing recital a few years ago, When she reached into her dress to pull out the gun and shoot her lover down you could have heard a pin drop. The oldster audience (and a few youngsters) gave her a standing ovation.

Cole Porter was bisexual. He wrote dense, popular, and sexy lyrics and musicals. Jane and I often test each other’s memory for Cole’s songs.They have a staying quality.

As for Miss Otis Regrets it’s a good example of Oscar Wilde’s quip that ”life copies art.” Thirty or so years later a middle-aged “lady” competed with O.J. Simpson for the crime of the century. Jean Harris was the lady–a headmistress at a fashionable girls school in Virginia. She shot and killed her lover–a famous cardiologist in Westchester County and author of bestselling diet books, Herman Tarnower. Tarnower, like the lover of Miss Otis, had multiple sexual partners and didn’t conceal them from Harris.

The circumstances were almost identical to the mythical Miss Otis, except Jean escaped the mob and the hanging. Instead she got 25 years to life in prison. And this sentence was then reduced to 12 years by New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

The blame (or praise) for this change in punishment should go, in part at least, to modern feminists. Led by people like Andrea Dworkin, Katharine McKinnon, and Margaret Atwood (author of the popular and very sensitive The Handmaid’s Tale) they are fiercely opposed to pornography, pro-lesbian, against prostitution, pro-LGBTQ sex, and against all male dominance.

i don’t knock the Radical Feminists, but I do like my feminist friends who are not as radical. They tend to be more liberal, for sexual freedom, female pleasure, open marriages, affairs within marriage, are soundly pro-LGBTQ, anti-religious, and are generally not offended by pornography (in fact they, with some exceptions, often like it). They often are hurt by infidelity but they also are aware that it takes two to tangle and they tend to be tolerant.

As a defender of pornography and steadfast opponent of conventional religion it’s not hard to decide which kind of feminist I favor.

I also favor the courage and panache of Miss Otis last words. I dearly hope I can do as well.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

Noosphere, Dark Matter, and an After-life

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Dec. 25, 2017

I don’t believe in an after-life. Even though at year 91 on this earth I am close to finding out for sure whether there is any truth in it.

On the other hand, a friend of mine, Mike McCowin, (who, like me, doesn’t believe in heaven and hell) recently brought me an essay of his on dark matter that got me thinking. Perhaps I will be surprised! There just might be a kind of after-life in the mix of dark matter, dark energy, and the noosphere.

Along with many, if not most, scientists, and my friend Mike, I have always assumed our universe is composed of atoms and atoms and still more atoms. It turns out that’s apparently not so. Cosmologists now claim that this is true only about the universe we can detect with our eyes, ears, and our instrument helpers. There is another universe. known only by logic and reasoning from what we can detect with our senses, We can’t see or hear this universe, as we can’t see the religious version, heaven or hell.. Scientists call it the world of dark matter and dark energy. Mike pointed out in his essay that many claim dark matter actually makes up over 80% of the known universe! I would add that dark energy must power this dark matter!!

As for the noosphere, French scientist (a paleontologist given credit for taking part in the discovery of the Peking Man), philosopher, and Catholic priest named Pierre Tielhard de Chardin popularized the concept. He saw it as an extension of the geosphere (rocks and minerals), the biosphere (living things), and then the noosphere (human thoughts). Tielhard was fond of cryptic quotes, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” (reminds of a quote from the Irish Catholic artist Eric Gill, “An artist is not a different kind of person; a person is a different kind of artist.”).

Teilhard preached that the human race was evolving to eventually join the mystical “body of Christ” in an eternal noosphere.

As a fallen away Catholic now that’s a bit too big an idea to swallow for me now. But I do have to admit find it attractive at my advanced age. I further admit the very existence of the noosphere is a fine idea. And Dark Matter and Dark Energy are certainly real according to many scientists.

Talking about death and dying which we are, Jane and I have been watching Ken Burns’s two documentaries on the Civil War and WW2. Both programs were fine works of art. I congratulate Burns for making them. Both films feature a lot of violence, pain, and death.

In fact, they humbled me to think of the pain in my hip, toe, and general feebleness with age. When compared to the truly ghastly pain that so many veterans had to bear in the wars. For example, one vet in WW2 who did survive but nearly lost a leg with gangrene. The surgeon was about to amputate but had only iodine to treat him. The vet didn’t want to lose the leg so he insisted the surgeon stop cutting his leg off and simply keep pouring iodine into the open wound. It must have hurt like crazy but he did save his leg and survived to tell the tale.

I have never come close to that level of pain and courage (Other vets in both wars lost many an arm or keg from amputation with no anesthetic—an experience beyond my wildest nightmares.)

I have nevertheless benefited handsomely from my violence-free vet service in WW2. I had my college paid for when I returned from the war and now in my late retirement have a big chunk of my healthcare paid for by the VA.

Another vivid war example: after seeing so many dead bodies on Omaha beach a wise vet of WW2 said, “It’s not a lot of fun to see men die.” It reminded me of my uncontrolled sobbing breakdown when seeing the American cemetery above the Beach with its many crosses. Most of the fallen comrades were just my age in WW2.

Talking about eternal things, there are the mysterious computer “clouds” as well. I really don’t know much about computer clouds so I better skip them over lightly.

Whether any of this has anything to do with me and my future in the after-llfe, I’m content to wait and sing with Peggy Lee about atoms—and dancing,

“If that’s all there is my friend, let’s keep dancing.
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball if that’s all there is.”

Alas, one trouble is that I really can’t dance anymore. And I have never liked boozy parties.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For the curious looking for last-minute gift for people have everything but who care and want to know more about a life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science and society streamed free on YouTube.


Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Dec. !8, 2017

Words that signal high fog nightmares for people like me.

If it simply means respect for another countries traditions, music, dancing, and faiths that’s fine and good.  Even more—it is praiseworthy. But often in the US (and other modern Western countries), they signal much more than that. It implies identity politics and all that entails.


True believers in multiculturism and globalization claim if you don’t believe the nonexistent evidence for some of these identity faiths— you’re a racist! Furthermore, anyone who says Western Culture is superior is simply stupid and un-educated—probably racist as well!

I’m not stupid and uneducated. I am not a racist or a homophobe. I am a realist though. There really are significant differences in individuals, in roughly definable groups, or sometimes in entire cultures.

THeis is an exceptional country that has led the way into the Modern Age of science & technology, freedom of religion, diversity of cultures, and capitalist wealth. Not many countries can match that record.

Rher are other differences. Yes, Jews and Orientals are on average superior in intelligence, leadership, and past achievements. And yes, Islam is in cold fact an inferior faith! Especially in its exclusive view of God and lack of freedom. And yes, Africans and African-Americans are on average superior in many sports that require quickness, speed, stamina, size, and strength. And yes, females are different from males in many ways, including abstract thought and past achievements in mathematics, science, technology, and philosophy.

And yes, the US is an exceptional country. Not because its average citizens are in any way superior, but because it is the country that led the way into the Modern Age in 1776. And it still leads in the 21st century despite the bitter worldwide hatred of Donald Trump and his campaign to “make America great again.”

That’s not the end.

True believers in multiculturism also hold that other cultures, especially that primitive Hunting/Gathering ones are actually superior to modern western ones. Followers of this faddish idea (most of them blissfully ignorant of any connection) can be found in the current craze for tattoos and body jewelry—male earrings, studs in the nose and lip, and gobs of unisex eyebrow, belly button, genital, facial, and tongue jewelry.
id=”_mcePaste”>Even this is not the end.
On a more intellectual level True Believers in multiculturism

True Believers in Multicuralism and globalization think the US is actually the world’s most terrorist and imperialist nation on earth. They delight in dredging up obscure facts and inventing absurdly complex conspiracy theories to explain 9/11, Radical Muslim assault gun attacks, and the JFK assassination. They blithely ignore most Radical Muslim, fascist, or socialist atrocities.  Prominent among these are learned pop star scholars like Jared Diamond and Harvard professors like Noam Chomsky; not to mention not-so-learned Hollywood types like Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, and their many followers and fans.

This is still not the end.

These same worthies also promote ideas that the environment is fearfully polluted, we are fast running out of natural resources, and population, nuclear bombs, and global climate change threaten our very survival as a species. The fact that all of these faiths have precious little evidence to support them is beside the point. “Spend spend, and spend more tax dollars to add to the imaginary defects and crimes.” And “Never mind the higher taxes (the profit-hungry rich can afford it) and ever-mounting debt,” preach the progressive/green clergy.

Bill Stonebarger,  Owner/President, Hawkhill

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Dec. 11, 2017

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!

Aside from inflation, I’m glad I didn’t live in earlier Ages. I am like that old man. And I don’t even have a decent hat to beg with. But that song brings up thoughts of olden times and very pleasant Christmas’s charity, kindness, and forgiveness.

Memes from earlier ages are the base for charity, social justice, and social welfare in the Modern Age.  Personally, I think it would be better to give social security to everyone rather than just the old and disabled. In real ways we all are disabled. We are rich enough to do this. It would automatically make every family middle-class. It would still be charity, but the sting of dependence and the nasty side effects would lessen.

Be this as it may I do want to wish all my readers a great Christmas holiday and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For the curious looking for a last-minute gift for people who have everything but who care and want to know more about my life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (very cheap and, in my humble opinion, good reads)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some revolutionary ideas on science and society now streamed free on YouTube.