A Terrific Ordeal

John Berryman said that for a writer any ordeal that doesn’t kill him is terrific. The fact that his ordeal did finally kill him doesn’t make what he was saying wrong.

Philip Roth

Polarizing Ideas

Analyzing the actions and/or writings of mass murderers in hopes of being able to blame one’s political opponents is not an admirable impulse. The El Paso shooter wrote that his views predate President Trump, but I notice that didn’t stop motivated people from blaming Trump and his “polarizing ideas.”

If we have to play this game, I think I could make an equally good case for “polarizing ideas” on the left. e.g., “When I’m president, I will decriminalize border crossings. People will be coming in from everywhere and when they get here, you’re going to be paying for their healthcare and education, all the way through college. Oh you’re trying to save up a down payment for a house? That’s too bad. Maybe they’ll take your job too. By the way, if you don’t think this is a good idea, you are a deplorable person. You’re a racist. You’re a white supremacist. You’re a Nazi. What do you think about that?” Is that a polarizing idea? I can imagine some unhinged person thinking, “What do I think about it? I’ll show you what I think about it.”

How Many White Supremacists Are There?

I see “white supremacists” and “white nationalists” being tossed around every day but I never see any reporting on how many Americans actually identify as white supremacists or white nationalists.

Why is that? Wouldn’t it be important to know?

I assume it’s because the actual number is too small to be taken seriously so it’s just omitted. The Flat Earth Society probably has more members. “White nationalism” is the political term of choice because it sounds a lot scarier than “an extremely small, poorly organized group of confused losers.”

Betsy Ross: American Badass

Unfortunately I won’t be rocking my Betsy Ross sneakers today as Nike is making product decisions based on the hurt feelings of the most sensitive man in America.

Hatred of a political party is erasing an iconic (female) figure in the founding of the United States of America.

Below is a photo of the Betsy Ross flag prominently displayed at the 2013 inaugural of Barack Obama, of whom I was not a great admirer, but who at least did not hold completely insane views like displaying the original Stars and Bars is an endorsement of slavery.

The Problem With Van Gogh is He Did Not Know What Sells

Van Gogh self portrait

Here’s an article by some artistic nobody on the subject of Art That Sells: Top Themes, Subjects, and Mediums for Best-Selling Art.

“As an artist,” he says, “I like to know what sells.”

Right! Leave the starving artist shtick to some other starry-eyed clod.

The article delivers on its promise, enumerating the most popular genres, themes, subjects, media, colors, sizes, etc.

“Sizes”?! Heck yeah, sell ’em by the yard.

Van Gogh, to my knowledge, did not sell a single painting in his lifetime. He did not “know what sells.”

Iy saddens me to think that if only we could reverse the hands of time and make the information in this article available to him, perhaps he could have made something of himself and still been alive today.

Robotic Artist Has Solo Show at Oxford

This Robot Artist Just Became the First to Stage a Solo Exhibition. What Does That Say About Creativity?


A robot painter has a solo exhibition on display at Oxford.

Van Gogh has asked that his gun be sent to Hell so he can shoot himself again . . .

Robot painter

Two People Who Look Younger Than 60

Prescription bottleThe pharmacist, in the process of checking my records, seems to have done a calculation on my age . . .

“You look much younger than 60,” he says.

“Thanks, so do you.”

“I’m 37.”

“Well, that explains it.”

BuzzFeed Journalists Walked Off the Job — What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind!

BuzzFeed journalists just walked off the job in 4 cities. Here’s why.


Seriously though, in the absence of BuzzFeed “journalists,” where can I find a quiz to learn if my cat is going to kill me?!

Bathtime With Sylvia Plath

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.

Sylvia Plath

And those few things can be cured by sticking your head in an oven . . .

EppsNet Book Reviews: Faceless Killers

Faceless Killers is the first novel in the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell, described as “Sweden’s greatest living crime writer” and “the dean of Scandianvian noir.”

I love a good mystery novel — a good mystery novel — but most mystery novels are very bad. I can’t even finish them.

Genre novels — mystery, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, etc. — have a built-in audience so the quality standard is well below the standard for a mainstream novel.

I did finish Faceless Killers, so it’s better than most, but it’s still no more exciting than a Swedish meatball.

If you’ve ever had an inkling to try writing a mystery novel, I encourage you to move forward with it. Your competition is mostly idiots.

Rating: 2 stars

And when they seek to oppress you
And when they try to destroy you,
Rise and rise again and again
Like the Phoenix from the ashes
Until the lambs have become lions and the rule of Darkness is no more

Maitreya, The Friend of All Souls, The Holy Book of Destiny

Non-Toxic Masculinity: Women and Children First

According to Titanic Belfast (“She was alright when she left here”), 72 percent of the women aboard Titanic survived vs. 19 percent of the men.

(In 1912, people were arbitrarily divided into only two genders!)

“Women and children first” — who came up with that idea? Men! Had they wanted to get in a lifeboat, they could have just pitched the women into the sea. But no . . .

You go ahead, honey. I’ll just stay here on the boat and drown.

Non-Toxic Masculinity

Amanda Eller, rescued from the jungles of Maui

I’m hearing a lot about “toxic masculinity” recently . . . in fact I rarely hear anyone talk about masculinity without the word “toxic” in front of it.

But I’ve noticed that when people get themselves into life-threatening situations — lost in the jungle, trapped in a cave, etc. — the volunteers who show up to attempt a rescue are always men.

I remember one guy died in the Thailand cave rescue. A volunteer — he didn’t even have to be there.

So I’d like to recognize non-toxic masculinity — bravery, strength, compassion — that gets things done in the world that women can’t or won’t do.

If I Were a Cardiologist

I drove through Carl’s Jr. for lunch . . .

“Would you like to try a Triple Bacon Cheeseburger?” the girl asked.

Triple?! A triple bacon burger!? The burger itself is 1,300 calories. If you go with the combo, it’s well over 2,000 calories.

If I were a cardiologist, I’d be sending a thank you note to whoever thought this up . . .

Fat Bike Riders

There are a lot of cyclists in Irvine . . . if you visit the local coffee shops on the weekend, you’ll see a bunch of them after their ride, usually in groups, all togged out like Tour de France participants.

While actual bike racers are very lean, these folks ironically are always among the fattest people in the establishment, a fact emphasized by their skin-tight attire.

I’m tempted to ask, “Why don’t you ride in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, given that 1) your racing togs just emphasize what a physical mess you are, and 2) no amount of aerodynamic material is going to make you a bike racer because you’re too fat.”

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’

Oliver Twist

SAT to Give Students ‘Adversity Score’ to Capture Social and Economic Background

The Wall Street Journal

We’re not even done reviling everyone involved in tilting the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background when the College Board announces a plan to . . . tilt the academic scales based on students’ social and economic background.

See You in Hell, Charlize Theron


[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

Warmest greetings from Hell!

I was leading a hot yoga class when Access Hollywood came on one of the TVs . . . they were raving about Charlize Theron as Mother of the Year if not Mother of All Time because her 3-year-old son announced “I’m not a boy” and this dingbat decided to roll with it and raise him as her “daughter.”

Even a crackpot celebrity trying to make noise and draw attention to herself must realize that a 3-year-old has no conception of what “I’m not a boy” means. Right?

Maybe he means he’s a space alien. Maybe next week he’ll decide he’s a golden retriever — then what? Put him on a leash and go for a walk?

See you in Hell . . .


He loved, was not loved, and his life ended in disaster. Let’s leave it at that.

Stop Screwing Around and Cure Something!

A doctor asked me if I watch Game of Thrones . . .

“No,” I said. “Shouldn’t you be spending your time reading medical journals instead of watching mindless entertainments?”

I feel like this is what gives disease the upper hand, medical professionals wasting their time watching television shows.

Stop screwing around and cure something!

Anderson Cooper Has Not Been Cleared of Russian Collusion

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper is saying that CNN has never made any claims against President Trump . . . I’d put my research team to work on that if I had a research team, but since I don’t, I’ll just point out that 99 percent of CNN’s panel guests for the past two years made claims against President Trump, which I don’t think was accidental.

There was a period of several months, for example, where Michael Avenatti was on CNN probably more often than Cooper himself, for no reason other than to make claims against President Trump. 

(Whatever happened to Avenatti, by the way? CNN seems to have lost interest in him.)

There’s a technical distinction between making claims against someone and providing two years of airtime to other people making claims, but it’s not a credible distinction.

Cooper also likes to say that President Trump was not cleared of Russian collusion, which is another technicality . . . a two-year investigation that uncovers no illegalities is not exactly the same as being “cleared.” There’s always one more rock somewhere that could be looked under, so it’s never possible to state definitively that nothing happened.

But “not cleared of Russian collusion” is a phony baloney phrase that can be applied to anyone. Has Anderson Cooper been cleared of Russian collusion?