Thoughts At Large

Passionate thoughts on random topics

Month: June, 2015

Missionary to Mars

Revelations III

We are now less than forty days and forty nights away from the recently discovered and highly anticipated colonization of Mars. We have all read the incredible story of how a vocal portion of our nation is planning an unprecedented mission to Mars with the hope of creating, in the tradition of New England, New Mexico, New London, and New York, a New America. When questioned by this writer, one traveler said that Mars was chosen because it is the “red” planet, and should, therefore, be absent of any blue “libtards” and purple “homo sapiens” (presumably referencing homosexuals). 

The taxpayer funded and privately financed program is using untested, massive rocket ships to transport over 60 million Americans to this New America. The list of private financiers is as eclectic as it is determined, bringing the likes of Joel Osteen and Michael Bloomberg together, and while the former is determined to make sure he has a seat on the first ship to leave (Moses I), the latter is determined to make sure the former succeeds. Indeed, some financiers remaining on earth have picked up the tab for the previously despised (by passengers) FEMA to set up camps in “red” states to assist the secessionists in packing.

The ships, each named after either a character in the Bible or a chapter in the book will each carry passengers, food, essential equipment and “old” America’s 300,000,000 guns. In fact, in a strange demand by all passengers, despite their overwhelmingly homogenous nature (white, heterosexual, Christian, and obese) passengers have insisted that they be allowed to openly carry their individual firearms, even if they have 20 or 30 of them each.

The long journey will be catered by Papa Johns and payment will be in the form of the new country’s newly minted currency. Each bill of the “old” America has been re-crafted in the manner agreed upon by the passengers. For example, the $1 bill will carry the likeness of Jesus while the $5 has picture of Jefferson Davis, the $10 has a picture of “Saint” Reagan, and the $20 bill has a controversial picture of Ayn Rand. It is controversial, not because she is not a patron saint of the travelers, but rather that she is a woman. Another seemingly controversial, but agreed upon fact is that each ship will carry only enough fuel for a one-way trip.

Another honor to Rand is the fact that the ships are being built out of a new metal called Reardon Steel, after one of the characters on the new country’s mandatory reading list, “Atlas Shrugged.” The ships will be launched from a spaceport nearing completion in Texas. Due to the complexity of the boarding requirements, the organization Farmer’s Only is being contracted to confirm seating arrangements and offering to group men with eager women wearing cowboy boots for the long journey through, as one traveler said between chewing tobacco spit “city slicker-less space.” Ships Revelations I and Song of Solomon III will be housed entirely of young, unwed men and women (including Bristol Palin), leaving many unfilled seats for the expected arrival of “miracle space babies” along the way.

Once the final ship has left the Texas spaceport, leaving Texas essentially devoid of humans, the United States has said it has plans to develop Texas into a wildlife preserve and wind farm, rendering Texas, once the mecca of oil production capable of providing wind energy for the entire country. To make way for the wildlife preserve and wind farm, residents of Austin, the sole “blue” dot in an otherwise blood red state will be relocated to New Austin in the former Orlando, Florida area.

While this writer does not intend on joining the space secessionists, he wishes them well on their long journey to, as one traveler said, Jacob’s ladder.

Rights of the Living

Thomas PaineIn 1789, Thomas Paine wrote Rights of Man as a rebuttal to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. One of Burke’s arguments, and one he spends over 100 pages writing about, is how the English Parliament of 1688 granted certain rights “for themselves, and for all their posterity, for ever.” Paine takes exception with this and in the first few pages of Rights of Man refutes Burke’s assumptions brilliantly.

I would like to use these same arguments as a foundation for repealing the second amendment, which to my mind, is the only way we will genuinely affect the daily bloodbath that is guns in America.

In the preface to the English edition, Paine speaks of those who make their living by war. I will use this as a metaphor for the NRA, as they are but a mouthpiece for gun manufacturers whose products flood battlefields and street corners, both. About this, Paine writes:

That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between Nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.

Consider for a moment if we substitute Races for Nations in the previous passage. Now, how often have we heard those in government go on and on about how critical it is for “law-abiding citizens” to defend themselves against “thugs.” First of all, everyone is a law-abiding citizen until they are not, until they commit a crime. Second, “thugs” has become the code for our African American youth requiring neither an enigma machine nor anything more than a wink and a nod for conservatives to understand.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA misses no opportunity to speak before his epistemically closed audiences of Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh listeners when he frames paranoid image upon fearmongering image as reasons why “law-abiding citizens” need to arm themselves against “thugs.” He never misses an opportunity. As Paine wrote when slapping Burke for the same verbal diarrhea,

When the tongue or the pen is let loose in a frenzy of passion, it is the man, and not the subject, that becomes exhausted.

Indeed, later in the book, Paine smacks Burke again for misplacing his compassion. Likewise, as LaPierre is ordained to defend the firearm and not the victim of the firearm every time he blurts that nauseating phrase, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” or the equally noxious “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” I’ll quote two Paine lines:

He pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird.

And,

Prudent men readily recollect that mischief is more easily begun than ended.

LaPierre, ever the sower of tyrannical fantasies is subject to Paine’s logical argument when discussing what rights the founding fathers are owed. He makes a distinction of ruling by delegation, which he feels is appropriate, and ruling by assumption, which he does not. He writes:

The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave, is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.

Furthermore, he writes of the rights of the living superseding the edicts of the dead:

Every generation is, and must be, competent to all the purposes which its occasions require. It is the living, and not the dead, that are to be accommodated.

He expounds upon this a bit further into the text when he writes:

Those who have quitted the world, and those who are not yet arrived at it, are as remote from each other, as the utmost stretch of mortal imagination can conceive: What possible obligation, then, can exist between them; what rule or principle can be laid down, that of two nonentities, the one out of existence, and the other not in, and who never can meet in this world, the one should control the other to the end of time?

So, if there is no obligation of current generations to accept the laws of previous generations, except through their continued adherence to them, they are then subject to repeal. Paine writes of this tyranny:

It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, that although laws made in one generation often continue in force through succeeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repealed, but because it is not repealed; and the non-repealing passes for consent.

That the second amendment was written during the time of the musket and could never address a hand-held machine gun or any of the other wondrous killing machines we have invented to slaughter our neighbor is all the more reason why we need to repeal it and, if appropriate, write a new version consistent with the times in which we live. As Paine wrote it:

The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men change also; and as government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. That which may be thought right and found convenient in one age, may be thought wrong and found inconvenient in another. In such cases, Who is to decide, the living, or the dead?

Paine even quotes M. de Lafayette who, in appealing to the living said:

Call to mind the sentiments which Nature has engraved in the heart of every citizen, and which take a new force when they are solemnly recognized by all: – For a nation to love liberty, it is sufficient that she knows it; and to be free, it is sufficient that she wills it.

Laws are for the living, not the dead, says Paine. Might I add that they should be for the living to prevent the dead, as well? Paine was a bit of a smartass in his writing
and if I may repurpose one of his greatest upbraidings, I consider the NRA and its fearmongering, paranoid, disingenuous leadership to be “darkness attempting to illuminate light.”

I consider this as the framework and justification for repealing the second amendment, using the words of one of the most logical witnesses to two revolutions. Common sense may not be all that common anymore, but logic is universally appreciated.

When?

Enough

When will lives matter more than guns?

When will lives matter more than dogma?

When will lives matter more than religion?

When will we stop killing each other because we’re different?

When will debate, discussion, and conversation replace “stand your ground”?

When did America become so paranoid?

When will we begin to use compassion instead of condescension?

When will we see race as an opportunity to learn and not a reason to hate?

When will we see hatred diffused by associating rather than inflamed by isolation?

When will love of peace matter more than fear of peace?

When will love of peace matter more than love of war?

When will you stand up and say, “Enough!”

When will you act?

When?

Cancer, be not proud

Cancer

I can neither understand, nor accept that it is divine will that a disease was designed to kill its host and itself in the process, other than to surmise that if it is God’s will, he/she/it is neither the omnipotent nor benevolent being we were taught to love/fear in organized religion. And, further, that the process under which the individual must ultimately perish (and their family/friends give comfort and assistance) is neither compassionate nor illuminating. However, if you believe in a paradisiacal hereafter, I offer this twist on John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 10 where I substitute “cancer” for “death” and piss on its grave.

Cancer, be not proud, though some have called you

Mighty and dreadful, for you are not so;

For those whom you think you can overthrow

Die not, poor Cancer, nor yet can you kill me, too.

I cannot understand your suicidal need,

To grow without boundaries and murder your host

When to do so causes your own harm the most

Like a terminal drought caused by a nefarious weed.

You are a slave to enzymes, proteins, and desperate DNA,

And must with poison, war, and evil dwell,

And a warm embrace or gentle music can make us sleep as well

And better than your sting; why do you brag then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And cancer shall be no more; Cancer, you shall die.

In short, Fuck You, Cancer.

Lisa’s Birthday

at Versailles

at Versailles

Birthdays are often thought of negatively, an ugly reminder that Father Time is pushing you toward old age. But birthdays are not guaranteed and should, therefore, be celebrated. Old age is a result of outlasting many far worthier candidates for no worthier merit than drawing breath when others are denied the privilege. Why do I survive when Lisa will not?

Which brings me to the issue of how to celebrate Lisa’s birthday on Saturday, June 13th? It is not a reminder that Father Time is pushing her toward old age. It is this time an ugly reminder that birthdays are not guaranteed and are sometimes difficult to celebrate. Rather than presents and festivities, let me offer thanks and apologies.

Thank you, Lisa for first agreeing to go out with me when we were assistant store managers at Woolworths in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, at a time in the 1980’s when jobs were slim and women’s shoulder pads were large.

Thank you for staying up all night with me on Thanksgiving and agreeing with me to quit Woolworths because we both knew we were better than that; creatively, intellectually, and professionally.

Thank you for saying yes to the most important and terrifying question I’ve ever asked at La Petit Auberge, in Newport, RI in 1988. It was a perfect meal, a perfect evening and you were the perfect fiancé. Oh, how I wish there was the internet back then! I would have told the world!

Thank you for walking down the aisle of the Carmelite Chapel in Newport on September 9, 1989 to become my wife, or more importantly, letting me become your husband. You planned the day perfectly, including the weather. I’ve always wanted to take a time machine back to our reception to relive it as a guest. It went too fast and I missed too much. Wow, you were beautiful!

Thank you for sticking with me those first few years. I know it wasn’t easy. I know I wasn’t easy. For that, I’m sorry and forever regret the time spent arguing when I wish now I had the time back. But we made it and it formed the diamond hard phalanx we would use to fight anyone and anything that came against us.

Thank you for giving me the two greatest gifts in the world, one a perfect combination of your creativity and your beauty and the other a combination of your passion and your adorable, hooked nose. Together, they represent the best of us and stand at the precipice of adulthood with the entire world in the palm of their hands. And they stand there because you spent every day developing their confidence and talents. The world is theirs. The world needs them. On behalf of the world, thank you.

Thank you for standing by me while I struggled. I’m sorry. I wish life had a User’s Manual. How easy life would be if we could turn to page 37 or if there was an Appendix for Troubleshooting. But there isn’t. You were always there even when I didn’t want it, always my customer support when tech support should have been called.

Thank you for enduring the barbaric attacks on your body we dare call “cancer treatment” over the past eight years, all in an effort to be here for the kids and me. Even with that noble goal, I know that had the tables been turned, I would have curled up into a little ball and gone away long ago. Women endure things that men could never conjure in their worst nightmares.

Thank you for everything. You will not pass away. You will have been murdered by treasonous cells within your own body, suicidal cells replicating out of control, killer cells.

Thank you for creating my family, for taking and creating a new branch of the Fucile family tree. You have cultivated it and left it to your children as a proud and honorable name infused with all of the sap from the McIntosh bloodline. Shakespeare wrote in King Henry IV, Part II

King:               More would I, but my lungs are wasted so

That strength of speech is utterly denied me.

How I came by the crown, O God forgive,

And grant it may with thee in true peace live.

Prince Henry:  My gracious liege,

You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me.

Then plain and right by my possession be,

Which I with more than with a common pain

‘Gainst all the world will rightfully maintain.

And now, Woolworths is gone. La Petit Auberge is gone. The Carmelite Chapel is gone. But although your body may leave us, you will never be gone. You live in each of your children and in my heart. You live in all of the memories of every person upon whom you have made an impression. You were betrayed by your body, but you never betrayed your friends. We love you. I love you. Forever. Thank you.