26 Oct 2016 /

What am I kidding myself about today? A lot of things, probably . . .

Posted by on 24 Oct 2016

Praying for Sleeping Bags

23 Oct 2016 /
Praying to the Madonna of the Rosary, by Carav...

Praying to the Madonna of the Rosary, by Caravaggio, 1606-1607

I was having a conversation with someone last night about the efficacy of prayer . . .

“Prayers are always answered,” I was informed, “but sometimes the answer is no, or not right now.”

What’s the point of the prayer if God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway? Your results would be just as good if you offered prayers to me. Some of your prayers would be answered and some wouldn’t.

Has anyone done a study on this? A control group wants things but doesn’t pray for them, a second group prays to God for what they want, and a third group prays to a random entity — me, or maybe a shopping cart.

Would there be any difference in results between the groups? I’m going to say no.

It’s also hard to assess the efficacy of prayer because people never pray for anything tangible . . .

My son as a kid went on a camping trip with a church group where they wound up short of sleeping bags. I asked him did the church leaders pray for more sleeping bags and he said no.

People will pray for so-and-so to recover from brain surgery but they won’t pray for more sleeping bags.

The brain surgery patient being prayed for is going to recover or not. If not, that gets filed under “sometimes the answer is no.”

But everyone knows damn well that praying for more sleeping bags is not going to work.

Madonna Pledges Oral Sex for Clinton Voters

22 Oct 2016 /

Madonna Offers Oral Sex to Anyone Who Votes for Hillary ClintonMaxim

How old is Madonna? Will she have her teeth in at the time? Could I have her gargle a mouthful of Efferdent?

That would be different, like fucking a bottle of club soda . . .


What Qualifies One to Teach Leadership?

19 Oct 2016 /

My kid calls from San Francisco to see what’s going on . . .

“Well, I watched the debate, practiced my piano lesson, and now I’m preparing to teach a class tomorrow.”

“What’s the topic?”


“What qualifies you to teach that?”

Good question. Because it’s more of a workshop, not a class where I let people in on the secrets of leadership. We exchange ideas based on our own experiences and leave more prepared for whatever happens to us in the future.

I just saw a link to 4 Rules the Most Successful Leaders Live By. People love lists. The idea that there are rules of leadership — four of them to be exact — and someone has written them down?!

Because I have to make decisions in a limited amount of time, with a limited amount of information, and I don’t know what to do! Now here’s a list of four rules! My prayers are answered!

What I find if I click on these links — I can’t resist sometimes! — is not that the advice is bad, but that it’s simplistic and obvious.

For example, here’s the first rule from the link above: Don’t Waste Brain Power on Trivialities.

Is anyone advocating wasting brain power on trivialities? Why tell me not to do something that no one in their right mind would advocate in the first place?

That’s a good way to evaluate advice, by the way . . . if no one would advocate the opposite course of action, that is not wisdom, it’s banality.

EppsNet at the Movies: The Accountant

17 Oct 2016 /

The Accountant

The Ben Affleck character is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, which means, among other things, that he has no social skills.

I also have no social skills. It’s exhausting just to be polite to people most of the time, let alone trying to be fun and interesting.

I’d like to be diagnosed with something that gives me a medical excuse for not having to do that.

The Ben Affleck character also has some cool and useful skills that he learned from his dad, whereas my dad never taught me anything except how to hold a grudge (not always useful).

Rating: 4-stars

The Accountant

As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise.

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Cast: Ben Affleck Christian Wolff
Anna Kendrick Dana Cummings
J.K. Simmons Ray King
Jon Bernthal Brax

IMDb rating: 7.8 (15,122 votes)

My Answer to Creepy-Clown Hysteria

17 Oct 2016 /

Target halts clown-mask sales amid creepy-clown hysteriaChicago Tribune

Anybody surprises me with a disguise, it’s shoot first ask questions later.

Except “Is it Halloween?” … I ask that question first.

All other questions, later.

Clutching Your Pearls

17 Oct 2016 /
Clutching pearls

Oh, little snowflakes, when did you all become grandmothers and society matrons, clutching your pearls in horror at someone who has an opinion about something, a way of expressing themselves that’s not the mirror image of yours, you snivelling little weak-ass narcissists? The high moral tone from social justice warriors is always out of scale with what they are indignant about. When did this hideous and probably nerve-wracking way of living begin transforming you into the authoritarian language police, with your strict set of little rules and manufactured outrage . . .

God Bless Us, Every One

16 Oct 2016 /
Daniel's Prayer

I saw a Facebook status update this weekend asking for prayers for anyone with family problems, health struggles, job issues or worries of any kind who just need to know that someone cares.

The deal is that you have to copy and paste the status to your own Facebook page.

Full disclosure: I don’t believe in God or prayer, although I do believe that a lot of people need to know that someone cares about them.

That being said, depending on how lost I feel at any given time, I’m willing to try things even though I’m pretty certain that they’re not going to work. But I have not tried prayer.

Why would I need to post something on Facebook to indicate that I prayed for you? Because prayer is not a real thing that’s going to produce a tangible result in the world. So you have to tell people that you did it, otherwise they would never know.

Also, if you believe in God, don’t you believe that God is in control of things being the way they are? If you have struggles, as we all do, do you believe that the struggles were given to you by God? If I leave a sack of flaming dog shit on your porch, do you think I’m going to come over and stomp it out for you?

Do you believe that God says to himself, “I’m going to hit this person with a series of devastating blows, but if he asks me to ease up a little, I will”?

It seems perverse to me.

Shut Up About Free Speech

16 Oct 2016 /

Jesus and Mo

What is Life Telling Me Right Now?

15 Oct 2016 /

“You married a crazy person, you got old, there are women out there hooking up with everybody and you missed it, you dumb fucker . . .”

You’re Funny

15 Oct 2016 /

Yeah, I’m fucking hilarious . . . I’m not good at life, I’m completely alone in the world, but I’m pretty snappy with the jokes . . .

Brahms Shooting Cats

14 Oct 2016 /

Allegedly, Brahms would sit by a window with a bow-and-arrow-type weapon that Dvorák gave him, and shoot arrows at the cats in the street.


Lullaby, and good night, in the skies stars are briiight . . . GODDAMN CATS!!!

bow and arrow

Are You a Role Model for Today’s Youth?

9 Oct 2016 /
George Carlin

The first question in tonight’s debate was “Are you a role model for today’s youth?”

I suppose this was the leadoff question because we found out this week that Donald Trump said some bad things 11 years ago.

I’ve been surprised by the amount of phony outrage about that given that

  1. Hillary Clinton’s husband set the bar for how crudely an American president can behave toward women. Or maybe JFK set the bar — he was a pimp and a degenerate but politicians were afforded a lot more privacy in those days so it’s hard to say for sure who was the bigger lout. As far as Clinton vs. Trump, we have actions vs. words. Big difference to me between saying (for example) “I’d like to fuck an intern with a cigar” and fucking an intern with a cigar. The spectacle of Hillary Clinton saying that a lack of reverence toward women indicates a lack of fitness for public office is surreal.
  2. If there’s a heterosexual man who hasn’t made remarks about women that would harm his reputation if recorded and played back to the nation, I don’t believe I’ve met him.

Also, as George Carlin used to say, “If your kids need a role model and it’s not you, you’re both fucked.”

Shake it Off (aka Haters Gonna Hate)

6 Oct 2016 /

A Chinese woman tells me that being around white guys inhibits her ability to make edgy (i.e., racist) comments about white guys . . .

I reply, “White guys didn’t get to be what we are by peeing in our pants and crying for our mamas every time someone calls us a name. Haters gonna hate. That has been amply demonstrated. We’re just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake it off.”


Some people are offended by absolutely everything, some people are offended by nothing, and everyone else is somewhere in between.

The people at the easily offended end of the spectrum get most of the attention. People who hear a trigger word or a dog whistle that wouldn’t bother a normal person and they’re bleeding out all over the place like hemophiliacs. That’s where most of the focus is, it seems to me. It’s a distorted view of reality.

My son went to college at Berkeley. I’ve been there a lot and I can tell you that if 100 people are blocking Sather Gate to protest a microaggression, when you watch the news that night, you see the 100 people, as though that’s the totality of what was happening.

If you weren’t there, you might think “Wow, the whole campus is in an uproar!” but what you don’t see are 25,000 other people ignoring the 100 protestors, going to class and trying to get on with their day.

If you weren’t there, what you see is not really what was happening.

Sather Gate protest


Ten years ago, my son’s junior high school had a co-ed pickleball tournament. The results were posted on the school web site. If a team name contained any sort of cultural reference, the P.E. teacher in charge of the tournament wouldn’t put the name on the web site without deliberately misspelling some of the words.

For example, 3 White Guys and a Hindu became 3 Wite Gus and a Hidu, because identifying someone as white, male or Hindu would be unacceptable.

The team name 3 Blondes and a Brunette came through untouched for some reason. Why people allowed to self-identify as white girls (i.e., blondes), but not as white guys or Hindus I don’t know.

The weirdest one to me was 4 Asians and an Idiot, which came out as 4 Ans and an Idiot.

I asked my son, “Who’s the idiot?”

“Some white guy,” he said.

“Why is it okay to call someone an idiot but not an Asian?”

“It’s not racial.”

True . . . there are idiots of all races.


Those kids are all in their early 20s now. They’re just coming into the real world, the next generation, and I’m optimistic about the fact that despite schools and others telling them that they should be offended by absolutely everything, they’re not offended by anything.

They have a sense of perspective, a sense of humor, and I think they’re going to be okay.

Teen Solicits Clown to Kill Teacher

4 Oct 2016 /

Originally she just wanted a pie in the face but the clown upsold her.

“For another $50 I can use a FROZEN pie and kill her!”

How Are You Doing?

24 Sep 2016 /

I feel like I’m confronting the challenges of existence pretty effectively, with the following exceptions: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation, and meaninglessness.

Man Ray Chess Set

23 Sep 2016 /

Really liked this Man Ray chess set at MOCA . . . white has played e4 and waits forever for a response that’s never coming . . .

Man Ray chess set

Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough by DARPA-Funded Physicists

20 Sep 2016 /

Two separate teams of scientists funded by the Pentagon’s research arm have revealed significant breakthroughs in the field of quantum teleportation which could have a major impact on cybersecurity and encryption.

Forget security and encryption I want to disappear one place and appear someplace else. What’s the holdup on that?!

At the MOCA With a Rothko Fan

19 Sep 2016 /
Rothko at MOCA

Rothko at MOCA

My niece and nephew were visiting from Texas . . . I asked her what she thought of the Rothko exhibit at MOCA (see photo above) . . . Keep in mind she’s a petroleum engineering major from Texas . . .

“I love Rothko!” she said. “I used to have a Rothko calendar.”

I admit that threw me off a little. I had expected a lukewarm and/or noncommittal response . . .

“Did you find it had a certain ‘sameness’ about it?”

“No, he used more figures in his earlier paintings.”

“Oh . . . you know, I’ve never been to a museum with someone who actually knows about the art.”

“Ha ha, I don’t know that much, I’m just a fan,” she said.

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