Tag Archives: civilization

Gone To The Dogs, Baby, Gone

dog-art-is-not-deadI’m back in office (or, as I like to call it The Love Den) after a weekend of travel. Maybe I’ll do a travel post. Or maybe, like always, I’ll plan on it and never get it done. Anyway, this is my first post in a few days that wasn’t written by breaking my fingers on a tiny electronic keyboard on an iPad. As such, I’m pretty happy. -Ed.

Are things getting better or worse? My personal theory is that things have always been shitty and it’s a remarkably consistent thing. Were people more “evil” in¬†medieval times or in present day? My guess is that both were about the same. The only difference is that we¬†think things should be better today and when they’re not our brains incorrectly interpret the difference between reality and perception expectations as some kind of disconnect.

Our helpless brains then think things like, “Things are going to hell.” Only they’re not. The more things change the more they remain the same.

I remember when I was a kid. A service dog was something limited to blind and deaf people. These were highly trained animals that were rarely seen in public. And when they were nobody questioned their legitimacy. Why would we? What kind of freaking asshole would you have to be to take advantage of laws for disabled just because you want your pet to tag along when you go shopping or out to eat?

We also used words like “please” and “thank you” and held open doors for other people.

In today’s world an amazing number of us have no such ethical quandaries. We want something ergo the ends justifies the means. Period. The only criteria that must be met is that we want it. And, let’s be honest, that’s a pretty darn low standard to meet.

Park in a disabled parking space? I’ve never done it once in my life. A few months back I fell out of a boat and smashed my ankle on a rock while whitewater rafting. The damn thing still hurts like hell. I could have asked my doctor (if I had one) to fill out the paperwork for a temporary permit. Why the hell would I? I can limp the extra 20-50 feet just fine. What kind of an amazing prick must you be to think you are entitled to take a parking space from someone who really needs it.

I recently spoke with a person who freely admitted to doing it. And why wouldn’t they? In their mind there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. No recognition of ethical boundaries translated into no reticence about freely admitting what they had done. Their brain literally couldn’t comprehend their might be something wrong with such behavior. It would conflict with The Want.

This same person, though, had a major issue about people touching her dog. The dog is high strung and has a lot of anxiety. It doesn’t like to be touched except on its own terms. But when she took the dog out in public, like grower’s markets, strangers would pet the dog without asking and without permission. This was greatly upsetting to her.

Later, she took us to a public park where there were signs posted that said, “No dogs allowed.” It never crossed her mind that her dog shouldn’t be there. Run loose, doggie. Be free!

Her mind was literally incapable of discerning the reality of her beliefs and actions. Under one set of mores people were rude assholes for breaking rules and in the other she saw nothing wrong with her behavior. Both were able to sit comfortably in her brain at the same time and she never noticed anything wrong about it.

When I lived in San Diego I had a daughter who was deathly afraid of dogs. They would make her scream, shiver and become emotionally withdrawn. The fear may not have been realistic or logical but it existed nevertheless. As such, we didn’t take her to public spaces like dog parks. We’d search out public parks where dogs were prohibited. There was one of these near the ocean where we liked to go to fly kites.

There were other dog-friendly places. They even had their own beach. But invariably someone would show up and unload their dogs and let them run free. The dogs would rapidly approach us and the owners would say things like, “Don’t mind Fluffy. He would never hurt anyone.” Well I guess we have your word on that, don’t we? The word of a known criminal. Meanwhile the day was ruined, for us, with my young daughter back at the car and wetting her pants.

Well played. You get your dog area for backup and our space as your primary. You probably didn’t want to go there because there were too many dogs, right?

So are we bigger assholes to each other today or does it only seem that way? We certainly seem more narcissistic and masturbatory. But back then there less rule of law and other things in abundance like slavery, racism, gender oppression, genocide and more. Maybe as a society all we’ve done is redistribute the evil in new and interesting ways? Maybe the amount always must remain constant?

Smoking Hot Freedoms

smokingmomsThis is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.

Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.

I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.

But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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Where There’s A Will

Stop, gather round and listen!

Stop, gather round and listen!

I find myself thinking about recent comments by George F. Will regarding the topic of rape. Don’t worry. I have a barf bag handy. Thank you for your concern.

First, I have to ponder: How much consideration are you supposed to give comments from a grown man in a bow tie?

In case you missed it, much of the social media world has been in an uproar because Will wrote a piece that implied being the victim of rape and/or sexual assault is now a “coveted status.” (If you’re curious to know more you can google it up. You’ll likely find more information than was lost in the Library of Alexandria.)

For his part, the very next day Will was quippishly waxing poetic that “intellectual whiplash” from “crimson liberals” is an “occupational hazard.” Oh, boo hoo! Yes, he’s saying he’s the pundit equivalent of Emperor Palpatine. “Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen.” And no, these aren’t Will-ish air quotes, these are damn real quotes.

Ah, to be insulted by such a wordsmith. I was going to be offended but then I noticed the elegant use of language. You! Now I’m just happy about it. What an exhibition of rapier-like wit. Why, what a privilege and honor to be skewered by the likes of you!
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Here’s To Your Wealth

money-scamImagine only one human left on Earth. It can even be you, if you want. It can be a pristine Earth free of the ravages of any human stain or it can be an Omega Man-esque utopia with our hardscape marrings left behind.

As that proverbial last person alive, would you be wealthy?

I don’t normally write within the how to or self help genres. But today I am here to tell you how to acquire wealth. Real wealth. And by “real” I mean that which makes your peers weep tears of pain. What other kind of wealth is worth anything?

At this point I should probably make you aware of the EULA for this post: By opening and reading this far you have already acknowledged your consent that our friendly e-commerce nanites have transferred $14.95 from your account. Easy, fast, and convenient. Don’t worry. This is assuredly a premium experience.
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Growth Of Thorns

Is it just me or is growth perverted?

Is it just me or is growth perverted? O Face.

I used to think any form of growth was unsustainable. Just like a perpetual motion machine it’s one of those things that’s impossible. (One of my favorite words.) Then, just now, sitting here, one of my brain cells did something. (It can happen.) For lack of any originality on my part let’s call it my latest theory, k?

Tom’s Theory #42 – Societal Asshole Leech Theory (SALT)

The percentage of leech-based humans is growing over time. Or, the more advanced a civilization the higher the amount of leechage.

As far as we know, there is no causal relationship with the number of pirates known to exist, but admittedly further testing is required. This is a work in progress. (I was on a break.)

98% of all email is spam. Of those messages, 98% attempt to deceive or infect. (The rest merely sell growth products like Viagra, the greatest achievement of our civilization and, dare I say, the entire universe and space-time continuum.) My web server is probed and attacked by cyber-terrorists (mostly from China and Russia) 36 hours a day. There’s an entire subset of humanity that does not have jobs and produces nothing of value yet still has food, shelter, cigarettes, pets, cars, smartphones and internet access.

Is this amount of leechage really on the rise or is it merely my touchy empirical perceptions?
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Here Protection

hear-protectionSummer is still weeks away but we’re already beginning to feel the effects.

The local TV news, which consists of 18 minutes weather, 2 minutes news and 10 minutes commercials, has been telling us for months that practically every single day is setting another local weather record. In winter we had the warmest winter days ever. There have been lots of rainfall records along the way, including one just a couple of days ago. And now, finally, record heat days are occurring on a regular basis.

I think we’re setting a record on setting new records. Somebody check the records. This has got to be true.

Living in Portland means, of course, there is no air conditioning in our house circa 1950s. I think they hates them, they do. Maybe things were cooler in the 1950s so people didn’t think they were really needed? Bioswale floors, walls, ceilings and roofs constructed out of organic kale didn’t exist back then, did they?

Whatever the case, when the heat hits our house like an oven on broil, the windows, reluctantly, have to be placed in the “open” position. And that’s when the shit goes sideways.

Hello, neighbors.
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Police State

sleeping_policeI ask if you will agree with this humble hypothesis:

Actions without consequence tend to repeat.
–Tom B. Taker

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

If you stick a fork in an electrical socket and it shocks you, are you likely to do it again? If you touch a hot stove and get burned are you in a hurry to touch it some more?

Tell a dog to stay off the sofa and shoo him away a single time. The rest of the time allow him to lounge all over the bloody thing to his heart’s content. What lesson do you think the dog has learned?

Do you know about the most powerful force in the universe? It’s a child when improperly parented. That particular organism has the potential, in the right circumstances, to learn faster than any form of life we’ve ever encountered. Tell a child, “No, you cannot have the cookie.” Now comes the tricky part: Let the child eat all the cookies it wants. Maybe you’re busy playing Farmville. Maybe you’re composing your next tweet. Maybe, just maybe, you’re sick enough in the head to be doing it on purpose. Whatever. You can bet your life that the message has been received loud and clear. It’s the most instantaneous form of training we’ve ever discovered.

Try to teach them something important and it’s like pounding your head against a wall. But being assholes? That they absorb like sponges.

As I often try to do in my writings, I’m cleverly building to a point. It seems pretty obvious that a lack of consequences does not generally lead to good things. That child? She’s a future Chloe who has a shit fit on national television because her parents bought her a new car for her 16th birthday but it wasn’t an Escalade. She hates them, she does. Poor baby.

Have you accepted the hypothesis yet?

I was thinking about all of this when I violently had one of those aha moments. What if the precocious child in this story was the internet? And what if the role of mommy and daddy was played by the police? What might that look like?

Per usual I’ll begin with a charming anecdote and then slowly build up to the hate. Join me, won’t you? It’ll be fun!
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