Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Friday, February 16, 2018

Mormon Jesus

Dear Hannah,

Your brother is scheduled to arrive on 4/20, a day notorious for international pot-smoking and Hitler worship.  Neither of these things particularly appeals to me at this stage of my life, but a baby has to be born some time, and I thank God babies are rarely born on time.  We could have a total change of affairs and have him born earlier; and if we luck out, there's a chance we'll get him April 6th -- too early, in my opinion, but the ostensible birthday of Mormon Jesus, which in every sense seems to be an improvement.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The case for banning Facebook

Dear Son,

Because Origen cut off his gonads I consider him a failure.  St. John lists three sins of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and of these three Origen picked the most accessible, and of the most accessible he picked only part of it.  He felt it was easier to get rid of an aspect of himself than to master it; and this willingness to part with the balls God gave him supposedly made him more Godly -- until the pride of life led him to heresy.  If it isn't one thing it's another.  If you want to get the job done "right" suicide is always the best the answer.  The only way to enjoy excommunication is to have all your best parts intact.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these

Dear Hannah,

The best targets for swindlers are the youthful and the elderly; and the elderly prove it because they're the best at fooling themselves.  We know this because we asked a bunch of hundred year-olds how they got to be a hundred and got a hundred different answers.  One woman said it was garlic.  Another one said it was wine.  Others said not drinking wine and others said walks and none of them said medicine; and what we concluded is that a hundred year-old survives to a hundred by dumb luck.  There is no real science to survival and our survivors have proved it.  They were all shooting blind and got bullseyes; and the people who gave us good answers are all buried.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The new pacifism

Dear Hannah,

I can find something to admire in almost anybody "great."  Almost anybody.  Josef Stalin, Charles Manson, Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler all had something admirable in each of them; even if Josef Stalin was only beautiful when he was young, and Charles Manson was so magnetic he could get you to kill innocent people.  In order to get a lot of people to do something obviously and objectively terrible you have to have talent and some sort of charisma; and if you can get an entire nation to try anything as stupid as communism then God bless you -- you're special.  I'll want to take that aspect of you and pin it on myself; to be as eloquent, charming, brilliant, organized, relentless, visionary -- in a word, superior, in all these aspects, as you are*.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Do not look below a woman's neck
Do not tell a woman she's attractive
Do not kiss a woman without asking "May I French kiss you?"
(Do not call it French kissing because of stereotypes)
Do not have sex with a woman unless she signs a voidable contract every time you're undressing
Do not offer women money for sex
But women should be allowed to trade sex for money
Do not wink at women you do not know unless you have been winked at
And stop winking immediately when she stops winking
The time for winking has passed

Monday, January 8, 2018

America's Funniest People

Dear Son,

Sometime in the early 90's somebody made a show called America's Funniest People.  The premise was simple.  After the wild success of America's Funniest Home Videos, a show where people are repeatedly degraded by the forces of gravity and failed intentions, someone decided to pitch a novel idea: why not have the average American be funny on purpose?  The results could not have been more devastating.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thoughts on riding the bus

Dear Son,

I'm not saying every person who rides the bus is a villain, but at least 80% of all villains ride the bus.  Live or work by a bus station anywhere near the city of Seattle and you'll see that this hub of devilry is responsible for delivering the vagabond, the hooker, the lunatic and the junkie to a single location; and anywhere you see the green and yellow Trojan Horses gathering you'll probably see a corollary gathering of the police.  The police are there because something horrible has happened, and is about to happen, and is going to continue to happen.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Salvaging democracy

Dear Hannah,

Democracy is just like anything else that's good in life, and that means it has to be moderated.  To this a lot of Americans respond that we don't live in a democracy, we live in a democratic-republic, and I think saying anything this obvious and unhelpful should disqualify them for the vote.

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to lose the fight for your existence

Dear Hannah,

Breitbart news is absolutely infallible about one thing, and that thing is delivering the opinion of Breitbart news.  About the actual facts they're sometimes dubious; but the overarching meaning behind the presentation of those facts, and the gist of what they're trying to get at, are so transparent that even a twelve-year-old could spot them.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hell is also for do-gooders

Dear Son,

Those of us who are having a good time and want to continue having a good time all have a common enemy, and that is the person who wants us to have a bad time.  These people won't say it outright, of course; but to them the idea of you having a good time goes against everything they believe to be humane.  Not in a world where people go hungry, or where people get shot by psychopaths at a concert, or where little boys who think they are girls are called boys; or where the citizens of Flint ruined their water supply and nobody has bothered to fix it; or where Michael Eric Dyson was called the N-word as a baby; or where women as a whole don't earn the same as men as a whole, or where some coworkers grab other coworkers' backsides, or where some people make it on to magazine covers and other people are jealous.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Introducing Carl Lentz

Dear Son,

Carl Lentz is the latest punching-bag pastor offered to the American public by our leftist media, not because he's a game changer, but because he doesn't outrightly condemn abortion, Justin Bieber follows him, and most importantly he dresses like an idiot.  What are his teachings on sanctification, or in other words how a real Christian behaves?  Does he believe the Second Coming is around the corner and we should be ready for it?  Does he think that the Holy Spirit is speaking through him, or are his sermons just rehashes of two-thousand-year-old letters? And beyond this what do the people of Hillsong Church believe?  We'll never know, because nobody has bothered to find out.  Liberals asked the obligatory question on gay marriage* and made fun of his rapist glasses and gave the guy the psychological equivalent of a wedgie.  The American public is none the more informed because they read the paper to be entertained -- to occupy their two-minute attention spans laughing at a man who is not only probably better than them, but doing what none of them are attempting for anybody else: actively trying to save them from damnation.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Colin Kaepernick

Dear Son,

Colin Kaepernick's election as Gentleman Quarterly's Citizen of the Year brings up a number of questions.  What exactly it is that makes a good citizen is first and foremost among these, because Kaepernick has spent a good amount of his time saying the average American citizen is the worst.  It leads us to wonder what exactly a good citizen champions if it's not the citizens themselves; and if it's the reformation of the citizens, then maybe so be it, and if it's only a small and extremely fractious minority of the citizens, then wouldn't this make him a rebel?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Watching the enemy within

Dear son,

We've heard absolute power corrupts absolutely so many times that we're sick of hearing it; and like all the other truths we've heard so much that we ignore them, Republicans are terrible at applying it.  They believe that somewhere or some time on this planet a man held absolute power and because he was all-powerful he was all-rotten; and that when we find a man who has absolute power again we'll find another one like him -- a ruthless emperor, or maybe a Machiavellian pope.  In fact we don't need to look so hard, and what we find is that if absolute power corrupts absolutely, moderate degrees of power are capable of corrupting moderately.  The fact that we're now uncovering a massive conspiracy of perverts and rapists in Hollywood is proof that unlike what Republicans believed, social and economic power are nearly as dangerous to women as any sultanate.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How to hire like a psychopath

Dear Hannah,

Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith he was only a man, and because he was a man he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (which it doesn't).  The second was that businessmen act like homo economicus (when they don't).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A short review of Plantinga's "Knowledge and Christian Belief"

Dear Hannah,

When all is said and done the job of the intellectual is to challenge our perception of reality.  Alvin Plantinga has done this in his new book Knowledge and Christian Belief, not by challenging non-believers to consider the act of believing, but by challenging you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  What exactly is on the cover of this revolutionary book?  An orange square inside an orange square.  How exactly does it read?  Like you are looking at pictures of orange squares.  The title is bland and unsexy as a convent.  The arguments are precise and sterile as a surgeon's knife.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, martyr pig

Dear Son,

The mountains of sexual harassment allegations piling against Harvey Weinstein have led me to be skeptical about the concept of piggish behavior.  There are men who women enjoy fondling them and men women don't and the behavior of these opposite kinds of men, ninety percent of the time, is almost exactly the same.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A note on Canada's Holocaust memorial

Dear Hannah,

The most remarkable thing about the controversy over Canada's Holocaust memorial is that a Holocaust memorial is being built in Canada.  It is almost as remarkable as if Germany had begun building memorials to America's extermination of the Indians, or the Italians had begun building memorials to the Japanese enslaving of Koreans.  There is of course a controversy over the fact that the memorial failed to mention the Jews, but this (I think) is missing the point.  Canada didn't make the Jews wear little badges and then throw them into death camps.  Canada didn't gas Jews after blaming them for Communism or make their skin into lampshades.  The Jewish Virtual Library states that out of the 31+ million people living in Canada the Jews represent little more than a percent.  Yet the country that did not kill the Jews and is not comprised of Jews is building multi-million dollar monuments to Jews who then complain about the monuments.

Friday, September 22, 2017

RIP Ken Ham

Dear Hannah,

Ken Ham isn't dead at the moment I'm writing this, but he can't last for too much longer, and for all practical purposes of his ministry he has been dead for nearly a decade.  Mr. Ham may be rightly said to be the center figure of the movement, found in Baptist churches and other bastions of quackery all across the United States, insisting that the book of Genesis is literally true, and that the entirety of Christianity may be staked upon the entirety of this most indefensible book.  His non-profit, Answers In Genesis, currently hosts a mega-million dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky, and may be said to be gaining momentum at a time when the culture wars may safely be said to have been lost by him and everyone else who believes strongly in Noah's Ark, that sharing Bible verses on Facebook is an effective method of evangelism, and that gay people are responsible for America's natural disasters.  Their facilities are growing but the country to them is lost.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The meaning of life

Dear Son,

I'm no expert on the meaning of life, but if I had to venture a guess, I would start with finding a woman you like and repeatedly impregnating her.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

God's new Black Lives Matter book

Dear Hannah,

Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop, the latest manifesto of black American activists, has been approved by the Holy Spirit and thus it remains suspect.  Two thousand years have passed since the last books were approved by The Almighty, and since then we have had a lot of pretenders.  This latest addition to the canon comes to us from St. Martin's Press (so you know it's legitimate), has conveniently bypassed all our ecumenical councils, and is spiritually confirmed in the preface by none other than Dyson himself, a gay-affirming Black Lives Mattering NWA listening Baptist minister.  He writes,
God stood in my way when I tried to write anything, and everything, except what I offer you now. This is written to you, my friends, because I feel led by the Spirit to preach to you.
Against such confidence there can be no argument*.  Except...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Selling America out: our problem with businessmen

Dear Hannah,

The history of the body positivity movement can be boiled down to this: there weren't many fat people and then there were lots of them, and when the people with lots of money realized the people with lots of fat could make them even more money they hired Meghan Trainor to sing about the greatness of fatness.  She hit the jackpot and other people wanted to hit the jackpot, and now every clothing company is putting landmonsters into their magazines*.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Why Americans make terrible mothers

Dear Hannah,

Someone writing for The New York Times loves being a mother and that is why their readers hate her.  In perhaps the most robust, earthy, energetic essay they have recently published, titled Motherhood Isn't Sacrifice, It's SelfishnessKaren Rinaldi, a fertile, competent, joyful woman explains how having children isn't the worst thing to ever happen to a lady, which caused a host of inferior women to go bananas.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A theory of statue building

Dear Hannah,

Someone threw buckets of red paint all over a statue of Christopher Columbus and made me question the value of great-great-grandchildren.  The truth of the matter is that we love our children and their children; but when it comes to great-grandchildren we'll probably be too tired to fawn over them, and by the great-great we'll probably be dead.  If we're alive, at best they'll look at us as toothless, shaking horrors; and if we're dead, the likelihood of anyone talking about us is going to be small unless we've made the family rich or killed an army of the Hun single-handed.  To be a great great-great grandpa you have to be George Washington.  Anything less and you'll end up like his kids or his parents: sucked into the void of non-history and almost completely forgotten.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

In defense of objectification

Dear Son,

It's needless to say that women are a surprise, and that beyond this horny women are the most enjoyable surprise of all.  A quick glance through the erotic literature section in your handy internet bookstore will yield the fact -- not a theory, but a fact -- that you, as a man, had no idea what they were dreaming about when you were dreaming about them.  This can be proved not only by the extensiveness of the "shapeshifter romance" genre, about men who turn into animals and animals turn into men, but by the advertisement for Bearly in Control, an erotic novel by  the inimitable Milly Taiden.  It runs as follows:
For vet and animal whisperer Charli Avers, talking to bears is all in a day’s work. But when she finds a man—a very sexy, very alpha man—where a bear ought to be, the wild comes close to home. Charli is drawn to this mysterious stranger. She wants to help him piece together the past he can’t remember—even if that means shedding her human misgivings and embracing her more carnal desires. 
After shifting from bear to man, Barry believes he’s finally found his mate. Now he just needs to find himself. He doesn’t know much about the animal within him, but his human heart aches for Charli. She ignites his instincts to protect her from all danger—including their electric attraction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Portrait of a Trump abandoner

Dear Hannah,

The Republican primaries are the last hope of American civilization and the exact opposite of American Idol.  Every season of American Idol we started out with a lot of weirdos and we ended up with a winner.  In the Republican primaries we start out with a lot of winners and we wind up with a weirdo.  As such I voted for Trump because my wife made me do it*.  It isn't a glorious reason but it's true, and now that I've done it I'm glad that I did it.  Both of us were against him and then when he wasn't Hillary we were for him.  I'm still for him, except now I actually like him.  This is the joy of having low expectations.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sniffing out the sluts

Dear Hannah,

The existence of noses has plagued thinkers for centuries.  This troublesome appendage, supposedly fixed on the front of our faces, is so slippery in its features and varying in its power that Plato himself couldn't be found in any of his writings to have admitted its existence.  Is it hooked or is it straight?  Is it pointy or is it flat?  Is it brown or pink or freckled or black?  Is it hairy when you're old or hairless when you're young?  The Realm of Forms was ransacked and "noses" remained elusive.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rebels and pretenders

Dear Hannah,

The hippies are nearly always good for a laugh unless you have to deal with one, and then they are downright insufferable.  Most people who call themselves hippies are actually just for natural living and easy vibes; but in reality a hippie is a person who rebels against modernity; and beyond this it is a person who rebels against civilization.  They are against factories because they believe we came out of the grime and against soap because grime comes out of us.  I have no idea how this makes them natural but it's what they believe, and with this in mind it's a miracle any of them wipe themselves.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In defense of cultural appropriation

Dear Hannah,

The first thing you've got to remember in any discussion of cultural appropriation is that aside from a slew of top-notch performers and basketball stars, black people have contributed almost nil to American greatness because they weren't allowed to and they are painfully aware of it.  They have given us some good soldiers and some good fathers and occasionally a great writer or an actor; but when it comes to the things that we really give praise for, the conspicuous additions of generals and heroes and scientists and tycoons and theorists and spiritual leaders and directors and metaphysicians and literati and champion presidents; the things we really take pride in and associate ourselves with when we want to feel good about ourselves as a nation, the truth is that black men have contributed far less to us than we have to them; and when they really have contributed, their contributions have done more to advance black people than Americans in general.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Italy under siege? An exercise in skepticism

Dear Hannah,

"All good things must come to an end."

When you first hear this as a child you think that it means your ice cream is going to be finished and the sun is going to go down and you'll have to stop playing with your friend.  They never tell you that what it really means is that the first woman you fall desperately in love with is going to stop being in love with you and leave before you know what's going on or that one day you're going to stop having energy and it's never going to come back or that the place you grew up is going to become a hell-hole and a wasteland.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On being your own "yes" man

Dear Hannah,

When I was young I was terrified that people could read my mind.  Nobody had ever taken the time to tell me that 70% of all communication is non-verbal, and when people started reacting to how I was feeling I began to get panicked.  This was because I knew in my mind what they felt with their senses.  Only I knew with total surety what was hinted by my little behaviors; that the sea of feelings and desires and judgments and realizations bubbling and boiling and sometimes spilling beyond my consciousness were being made known by my hands and my eyes and the way I would hold my head; but they could guess it -- it was their business to guess it -- it was their interest to guess it; and this idea that the secret side of me could be made public without my consent led me to wonder if I was a psychic.  I believe this is what they refer to as "anxiety."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God still speaking through asses: a NYT breaking report

Dear Hannah,

The New York Times ran an article the other day called Does God want you to spend $300,000 on college?  But God couldn't be reached for comment, so the New York Times went to Notre Dame's Father John L Jenkins, and when Father Jenkins' response was unsatisfactory to the reporter the reporter went to himself.  It seems a better question would have been does God want us to pay reporters to look for God when we could just ask The New York Times reporters?  to which the answer would invariably be that He did, because The New York Times paid one.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sympathy for the pharisee

Dear Hannah,

I have a theory (and it happens to be the theory of the Catholic church) that the whole of Christianity would be different if people would just ask questions about the passages they read in the Bible.  For centuries this had been the rationale for keeping the public from reading them.  The clergy took one look at the average man and then considered that nobody knew Latin or Hebrew or Greek and then hid the Bible in plain sight and that was the end of it.  The argument about the unintelligibility of the words was second to the argument about the imbecility of man.  And the imbecility of man it turns out was less threatening to the church than his genius.  That is why the Catholics have a catechism.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thoughts on a comment of Nietzsche's

Dear Hannah,

The first thing I thought when I began reading masterpieces like Mere Christianity and The Federalist was I've got to tell this to everyone else.  It was the same reaction I've had every time in my life that I've ever learned anything great.  I wanted to be the first one to tell others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The opioid epidemic

Dear Hannah,

For a little while now I have considered our opioid epidemic God's punishment on Americans for being boring.  It's the drug habit fit best for a people who love ABC Family and eat Macdonalds.  It lacks the festivity of ecstasy and acid's feeling that you're being enlightened.  It has no cultural crusade because it is the byproduct and not the stimulant of a culture.

It has none of the party but all of the hangover.  It has the all the hallmarks of inevitable age and decline.  You can't drive and you can't poop and you can't get an erection.  You get it because you're in pain and then the thing that was supposed to make you numb is eventually the thing that hurts.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Equality as a social construct

 Dear Son,

One of the most brilliant things I've ever seen posted on Facebook was a picture of a hawk chasing a smaller bird and a caption that stated the following: Equality is a social construct.  In nature nothing is equal.

Monday, June 19, 2017

High school in the American consciousness

Dear son,

Americans like to believe that people grow up right after high school and to me this is proof that they're childish.  There is no reason to believe that a diploma means a change in behavior or that high school, a process involving almost zero dedication or danger beyond football and breakups, will force you to make any serious decisions.  The hormones you began it with are there when you leave.  A senior is really no smarter than a sophomore.  To expect adults by the end is an exercise in fantasy.  We expect high school to be over only because the high schoolers have left the building.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The whole point of cuteness (and a defense of Planned Parenthood)

Dear Hannah,

The really strange thing about cuteness is that it goes away.  Completely goes away unless you have a disease like Gary Coleman's.  One minute you're adorable as a kitten and then poof -- no more cuteness; no more inspiring that feeling that you've got to be hugged and squeezed and cuddled even though you're spitting up all over us and crying when we're supposed to be sleeping.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Civil wrongs

Dear Hannah,

What Americans seem to miss in our approach to homosexuality is that being attracted to men isn't acting like a pussy.  The two things are completely different and we have taken them for the same thing.  The ancient Greeks were warlike and gay and never batted an eye over it; and when Horatio Nelson said "kiss me Hardy" it was because he had just been shot in a war.  Nowadays you kiss a man and everyone thinks you must be effeminate; and the "inevitable result" of someone declaring his love for a man is that he must also be in love with Liberace.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Missing the old NAACP

Dear Hannah,

Sometimes when you tell an old joke the joke is on you.  There are some jokes that are so relevant that they have to be told until the end of all time.  Such are jokes about easy moms* and mothers-in-law, and when you tell a good one you can join the ranks of Cicero.  But there is no such thing as a joke about a great grandmother-in-law.  You don't go back in time.  You either target the mother-in-law or you leave it alone.  You can say you just shot a bear in your underpants and then question how the bear got there in the first place.  What you cannot do is tell that joke to an old person.  You have to start with kids or the whole thing is lost.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Dear Son,

Before I knew anything about Augustine I read City of God.  I'd heard that it was written by someone called a father in a religion where we were commanded by the Founder not to call anyone a father except our Father in Heaven; and although I hadn't any knowledge about Augustine as a person, I was told that it was written because Rome had fallen to the barbarians.  I picked it up and read all thousand pages.