Saturday, December 22, 2018

Plutarch's Lives

Dear H-,

Nobody needs to read 800 pages on anybody.  This is the conclusion I've come to after reading Alexander Hamilton and the first volume of The Last Lion.  They're simply too large to be useful.  Do I need to know, in the space of 200 pages, how Winston felt about his mother, or about how poorly he behaved in school, or how badly he wrote in first grade?  Yes -- maybe in 200 words.  In a good study Bible Jesus gets around 300 pages, about half of them are notes, and another quarter, maybe more, is repetitive.  Yet according to the Christians, God decided that was all we needed on Him.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Going tribal

Dear H,

People give several explanations for America's mental health crisis, and one of them is that we're Americans.  It sounds unpatriotic at first glance but at second glance it makes sense.  Sebastian Junger's brilliant theory, stated in his book Tribe, is that we weren't quite ready to be Americans.  We evolved in tribes that were small and close-knit, with little privacy, lots of shared hardships, and lots of equality.  Our brains were built for it and natural selection weeded out those of us who weren't.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

In defense of transgenders in sports

Dear T-,

So far from being against transgenders in women's sports I'm for it.  If possible I'd like for all sports to be integrated immediately.  For too long leftists have been telling us the sexes were equal.  Then a 230lb beefcake named Hannah Mouncey grew his hair out and started trouncing the women at handball.  Fallon Fox joined the MMA and beat the "ladies" to a bloody pulp.  Mack Beggs became a female wrestler, God bless him, and choke-held the girls until all of them cried uncle. All of them weirdos, and all of them heroes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

In terms of offensiveness

Dear M,

Dying for someone is much easier than living for someone.  That's why there are lots of people I would die for and few of them I would marry*.  I would die for my country but wouldn't live for all humanity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dorothy Day: wasted saint

Dear Hannah,

I don't know too much about Dorothy Day, but from what I just read in The Atlantic she was a jackass.  She hated that people owned property and ran businesses, and was a pacifist during World War 2.  She founded some 200 such Dorothy Day Houses for the "chronically unwelcome," and spent the latter part of her life channeling resources not to the lovable urchin, or to the good man down on his luck, or to mothers who got cut down by cancer, but to people she personally described as "terrors"-- who were likely to burn down her buildings, to punch her in the face, and call some innocent black man the n-word.  It's said she was an expert at picketing.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

For better and for worse

Dear T,

People say the internet is ruining us but I don't buy it. It's definitely ruining some of us. Those of us who are worse would have been watching six hours of tv every day and killing themselves with opioids and cheap beer anyway. The internet makes them look worse but the rest of us are improving.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Why Chris Hayes won't live next to black people

Dear Hannah,

MSNBC honky Chris Hayes says he's afraid of black people, and by saying it joins the ranks of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote a whole damn book about it; Jesse Jackson, who worried out loud one of them was going to mug or murder him; Al Sharpton, who left blackville the second he had the chance; James Baldwin*, who told us to love Americans and then exiled himself to France; Barack Obama, who lives in alabaster Kalorama and sends his kids to white schools; and Maxine Waters, who got so rich riling up her constituents that she was able to move away from them.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Dear Hannah,

Roseanne is a beautiful name ruined for two and maybe three generations by a horrible person.  She was hired because she was horrible and she was fired because she was horrible.  She said all the wrong things and got a show and said the wrong wrong thing and then lost it.  Comedy is the art of saying things that it's timely to say.  It's the art of offending people it's the right time to offend.  Roseanne wasn't entirely timely.  She likened Valerie Jarrett to a monkey and was kicked off her own show.  She was too rude in general for the 50's but this one comment might have made it.  She wouldn't have gotten a show back then but she might not have lost her best job.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

On being an amateur

Dear H,

I know I'm in love with this work because I feel I'm not worthy of it.  All of these essays are from me but they aren't me.  I feel they're infinitely above me.  Many of them couldn't be rewritten if I tried, and they represent a part of me so spontaneous and beautiful and ephemeral -- a snapshot of my soul, most usually at three in the morning; here for a moment and then lost forever -- that many times I wonder how they came out of me at all.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Your truths and mine

Dear Hannah,

Why do people say speak your truth?  I was always taught that if it's only your truth it's not true.  You might as well hang a sign on your chest that says lie to me.

Friday, October 5, 2018

#MeToo and the so-called "complexity" of women

Dear Hannah,

Crazy women like to call the average man a simpleton, but the truth as usual is far more sinister -- and far more fun. It isn't true that he only wants some things, like sex. His brain has simply weighed all the other options and decided some things are more important than the other things.  Which is why men who want men are so likely to get AIDS.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Saint Bezos' act of penance

Dear M,

Once you become one of the richest men in the world, the chief question on every liberal's mind is how will you atone for your richness?  The answer is you'll have to become less rich.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The soul of a company

Dear H,

A fine article from Henry Pierson at The American Thinker:
Jack Ma, chief executive of Alibaba, one of the world's largest companies and the global competitor of, says he has a plan to keep his company going for a hundred years.  It sounds insane but that's what he wants.  It's his baby.  He has no idea what the next twenty years will be like, whether some new kind of warfare will rearrange society as we know it, or whether some unforeseen technology will make his style of business completely obsolete, or whether the people who succeed him are going to run it into the ground.  But he has a plan, and God bless him, he's aiming for the stars.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The nonsense we remember

Dear M,

I've written off David McCullough's John Adams for years now because I said it was written for children.  I made this bad judgment years ago based on the opening passages, in which Mr. McCullough described, in detailed terms, the weather of John Adams' morning.  I had no time, at that point in my life, to hear about the air quality on February X seventeen seventy-something, or about how the snow crunched, or about the kind of road he traveled on, or how the light looked.  The book came across as unserious and possibly a waste of time, so I shelved it, and eventually boxed it, and it's been sitting under my bed until now.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

With countrymen like these

Dear Hannah,

Sometimes the whole truth isn't the best policy, and this truth explains the essay you're about to read.  It concerns a girl named Mollie Tibbetts and the fact that she was murdered, most probably at this point, by an illegal alien out of Mexico -- and thus joins a long list of innocents raped, killed, smashed with cars, and otherwise brutalized by our incontestably worst neighbor.  At least that's the story at its shallowest, and the way I prefer the public to think of it for the sake of the public.

Monday, August 6, 2018

On heaven

Dear Hannah,

So far as I'm aware no description of heaven has ever matched falling in love or even clocking out for the weekend.  Hell of course is all too real; and the fire, the brimstone, and the gnashing of teeth mean far more to us, in real terms, than golden harps and an eternity of worship.  Have the Christians given us a picture of ecstasy as good as eating ecstasy?  No -- but I admit that a brand new chemistry may be the foundation of the New Jerusalem.  You can be high as a kite and be boring to everyone but yourself (hence the golden streets [yawn] and singing angels); and if heaven is a giant rave, as the eternity spent singing suggests, perhaps the Christians fail at describing it because they're against candy-flipping on earth.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A gun to our heads

Dear Hannah,

My current position on bums is shifting from "downtrodden children of God" to "round them up and gas 'em" -- a change I blame on the city of Seattle.  It used to be that the homeless were just a sore on the lip of society; but Seattle has taken the worst parables of Jesus and actually made a religion out of them, and now if you aren't willing to throw everything away for the bums you're an outcast and a heretic.

That's why I loathe them like the prophets of Ba'al, and every panhandler to me represents not just a failure of chemicals in the brain, or a refusal to get his act together, or a crime spree in waiting or a drug habit in action, but a whole code of ethics I hate for its enforcement -- not even really the bum, but the thing that he stands for.  A robbery in progress.  Some smug liberal's ticket to heaven on my back.  An endless tide of sermons with no actual payout, other than a fuzzy feeling and a fitting in with the sermonizers.  To hell with them, I say.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rethinking the Danes

Dear M-,

You'll notice the only time you hear about the Danes is when some sweater-vested latte-sipper wants to remind you that they're happy.  Why are they happy?  Because, according to said genius, they happen to be democratic-socialists.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Other people's opinions

Dear T-,

Other people's opinions are distasteful at best and worth a hanging at worst.  That's why they belong to other people.  Who wants to eat ketchup on eggs, or vote for Bernie Sanders, or make love to a bald-headed 400 lb gender studies major?  Not me, not today, not any day; and I've placed them in this order to show that yes -- these things do actually happen, yes, they exist on a scale, and yes, I want absolutely nothing to do with them.  To do them yourself means you might get a smirk. You force them on me and you've started a war.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

To a few brave Mexicans

Dear Hannah,

The press says that this election season, eighty mayoral candidates have been shot down in Mexico.  At first you hear this number and think it's bizarre -- a footnote on some banana republic beyond the rule of law and order. But when you really think about what's happening, 80 men and women wanted to save their own cities, and as the people started listening and thinking maybe things could get better*, these hopefuls found themselves walking to their front door in the middle of the day or heard a loud bang on their office door, a masked man or two made an appearance, and their brains were splattered all over the ground.

Monday, June 25, 2018

How to label your music like an ass

Dear Hannah,

You begin to get the impression, upon entering the world of classical music, that nobody wants you there.  And the truth is that few people actually do.  Certainly not the composers, not their wealthy fruitbasket fan clubs, not the symphonies.  That might be a reason why the symphony, which has exactly half the sensory experience of a movie, costs $60 a ticket and a movie costs 12*, and why Rachmaninoff named Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C# minor Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C# minor.  Imagine all the horsepower beneath that skull of his and all the other musicians', the sheer brilliance combusting in a single passion of manly and soul-transforming acoustics, and then, almost in defiance of art itself, slapping a jumble of letters and numbers on it.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

On staying sober

Dear Son,

The worst thing about being a wasteoid is you wake up one day realizing you could have been a better person.  For me this has happened dozens of times, and the last time it happened was well after I got sober.  It was also the worst time.  I picked up a paper and found out, to my dismay, that people who drink a lot before 25 have handicapped themselves, and probably permanently.  I'll leave you to guess when I did most of my drinking.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Confession of an average Joe

Dear Hannah,

The average man has no idea what's going on in this country, and I began to realize this during our special prosecutions.  I know this because I'm an average man.  Every year, it seems -- or maybe two or three times a year -- some "scandal" happens, a horde of cameramen gather around some unfortunate big-wig, a mountain of evidence is presented against him, and then most of the time he walks away free.  Most of the time I'm not aware exactly what the person's job is, or how exactly he failed, or who exactly he reports to, or what laws he has violated.  The effort required to understand all of this without a serious course in civics, one well beyond the comprehension of the average high-schooler, is herculean; and the tangled web of American politics becomes so labyrinthine that the process becomes inscrutable, and the average man has no choice but to resign the fate of his country to forces he has no chance of understanding.  If you're watching various news sources, both sides in any prosecution will oftentimes claim a victory.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Animal aliens in the Kingdom of Man

Dear Hannah,

One giant thing that separates us from the animals is the fact that we separated ourselves from the animals.  Or rather we put ourselves above them.  Some of us call it "the image of God" and others of us call it "evolution;" but somewhere in the unsearchable wastes of time we started talking about what makes us us, and the fact that we were talking about it was what made us.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A note on the Boy Scouts becoming The Scouts

Dear Son,

Real life story: my brother in law says when he was in Boy Scouts, one kid kicked another kid in the butt, and the kid fell off a small cliff.  Another kid waited until everyone was around a campfire and then threw an aerosol can into it.  This is what boys do and I approve of it.  There is absolutely no reason why little boys should be forced to endure the soul-crushing backstabbery that little girls will inevitably put them through.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

You feel pretty? A counterpoint.

Dear Hannah,

Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty is the latest film in a long series of songs, books, movies and sermons with a single and regrettable purpose: to tell women they're perfect.  Of course we know women aren't perfect and the majority of them aren't even pretty; and that flattery exists not for the benefit of the hearer but the benefit of the speaker.  And there's a lot of money to be made by speaking it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some unprofessional diagnoses

Dear Son,

Sometime in my early to mid thirties I began labeling people autistic, and the reason I did it is because the autistic consistently fail at announcing themselves.  They don't go around with a t-shirt that says ON THE SPECTRUM or a business card that says GO EASY.  You most often find out the hard way after picking on them for a year or so, only to realize, slowly but surely, that you've been picking on the handicapped.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The purge

Dear Hannah,

This has been an ominous month for the right-wing.  Until now we had lived with the vestiges of "free speech" and believed, erroneously, that the internet would allow truth to be spread.  The truth about said truth is that people were in charge of the internet; and that this chaos of ideas gave birth to new powers of censorship; and that as men were capable of giving us speech they were also capable of making us mute.  We had escaped the hounds of the New York Times only to run into the nets of Mark Zuckerberg.  Before we were worried we could only hear "all the news that's fit to print."  Now we wonder whether our neighbors can see what we post.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The family at the end of the world

Dear Hannah,

I was raised to believe it was the end of the world.  We weren't told exactly how it was going to end but we knew it would be ugly; and that if the whole world wasn't bathed in fire immediately it would end with a lot of doors getting kicked down.  If it wasn't the Russians or the Chinese it would be a one-world government, with all-encompassing authority, telling us what to do and think and beheading us when we didn't.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Before there was Texas

Dear Hannah,

They say that before there was Texas as we know it today there was a lush jungle.  The Ice Age had made most of the planet a wasteland but around the equator things were most livable; and some of our ancestors, before there were Indians, had apparently decided to move there.  These people who weren't quite people lived with and against the mammoth and the great American elephant and the ground sloth and made flint spears and huddled in tribes and lived to about 20.  They left little besides charred wood and primitive tools and old bones and stone statues.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

On getting older and becoming "a racist"

Dear Son,

One thing I'm looking forward to as I get older is becoming more "racist."  I consider it one of the finer joys of aging.  Children are averse to these kinds of things because they have no idea, for instance, that handing a kid named Terrell $150 of your hard earned money for CD's, even though he has a bullet scar on his leg and an affinity for bad hash, might potentially be a bad investment (note: I have personally done this).  You have to learn these things the hard way; and putting two-and-two together over a lifetime has a tendency to make you generalize about people; and if you're intelligent, most of the time you'll be right.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The wages of sin

Dear Son,

The central theme of the Abrahamic religions is that the whole world went wrong because you're a turd.  All the viruses, earthquakes, stillborn children, car accidents, cancers and frumpy grumpy middle-aged women happened because a long time ago someone decided to not "do the right thing," his kid decided to not do the right thing, and we have decided to not do the right thing ever since*. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Talking about dead people

Dear Son,

The rule against speaking ill of the dead is overrated.  Like all rules it was intended to serve a purpose; and I think those purposes are 1) that if you believe in ghosts they could very well be watching you, and 2) if they have a living family the family might hate you.  For those of us concerned about #2, it's probably better to watch your mouth, and for those of us concerned about #1, it's a wonder we don't live better lives in general.  If grandma and Jesus are watching you from the heavenly bleachers it's done little for humanity in general; and if the whole of our dead ancestry really is spying on us and keeping tabs of everything we've done, we're in for a hell of a reception.  No man is a hero to his valet, they say.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Thinking of the children

Dear Hannah,

In the history of protests there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.  It's as if the children threatened to not eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the church, refused to go to mass.  You can refuse any number of things but you can't refuse in the funnest way possible; and if you refuse your food the response of your "oppressors" should be then don't eat your food.  It's your life; and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey I say best of luck to you; and if you really want to make an impression you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.  That way we know you really mean it.

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,

I consider Origen a failure because he cut off his gonads.  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, and the heresy forced the church to get rid of him.  This goes to show 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 youngest and the oldest; and the oldest 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's 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 strangers.  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.