Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If It Rains, The Street Is Wet ........Unequivocably.....I Think

Before I utter another word I must explain that my ruin and my salvation have always been inexorably tied up with Logic.  I worship logic with a fervor usually reserved for things like Beatlemania.  Bad and faulty logic drives me crazy and since faulty logic can never be conquered by logic you can see why there are so many holes in the plastered walls  of my house from my incessantly hitting of my head against same in total frustration.  All of these words are intended to help you discern my bent (*I love that expression....I hope it fits in here properly) and may help you to understand my recent rants during the political season.

Still shakily recovering from all the wildly illogical, overblown and often untrue rhetoric cast about, lathered all over us and which we had to try to digest during the recent campaign, I was spitting out the final inedible morsel with a resounding "Ptoooey" and it reminded me of one of the the funniest and yet most gruesome  mistakes I ever made. during my very young life.

In my last year of college I found that in order to graduate, I had a requirement to take one more 3 unit course in a subject outside of and not remotely conected to my majors of Art and   English.  I had already had to force down the indigestible so that I might become  somehow, a smidgeon  educated in History, Sociology, Languages and a number of other subjects too irrelevant to my interests to mention.  Therefore, I found myself forced to choose from a dreadful and loathesome series of yucky items such as Economica, Geography, Mathematics, (anything beyond Solid Geometry and the basic High School Algebra was out of the question) Chemistry (feh.....smelly and in high school I got the Award as Grand Destructor for blowing up more test tubes and flasks than anyone else in school history )  and Physics,  (aw..... c;mon,  man)  none of which would I think of touching with a 10 foot pole.  It was not that I felt too stupid to conquer any of these.......rather I felt I had already wasted enough time and energy learning useless things that would not enhance my life..........(this was arrogant of me at the time but has proven to be oh so true).   There was one possibility.........Botany.......but I feared it would require me to spend hours peering at cross sections of plants under a microscope (does anyone remember the hilarious James Thurber story about this experience?)  and hence I rejected that one too.  How fervently I wish I had chosen Botany with which I at least had a slight kinship (since I could indeed recognized plants as plants and I loved plants.)    Instead I delved deeper ito the catalog and came upon the category of Philosophy, and, scanning down the list of stuff that did not require any prerequisites, I came,, to my wild delight, upon a subject entitled Deductive Logic.  I had to look at the printed words 2  or 3 times to be sure I was not dreaming.  No, there it was big as life and under it was another subject of possible interest......Inductive Logic.  (I had never know there were two kinds, did you?)    That should have given me pause, but sadly it did not.

Now, it is important that you know that, next to food, drink  and boys, my greatest passion was thst form of somewhat trashy  literature known as the Detective Story and, to me, Deductive Logic meant unearthing and following a series of clues with a gimlet eye and a razor sharp intellect, and deducing the perpetrator of a crime.  

Sigh.  To quote a thousand detective stories......"Had I but known...."

And so it was that I signed up for a semester of the most unrelenting torture that a university ever inflicted  on a guileless student.  Mercifully, most of the details of those five months have been erased from my memory, but there is still an occasional night when I wake from a nightmare drenched in sweat  screaming, "Tautology" ***   and needing to rub my eyes hard to disperse the strange Greek-like characters from beneath my eyelids.........an endless progression of mathematical like formulae, encapsulated in parentheses. running off the bottom of a fantasy page without ever arriving at the final point of Proven or Disproved.  (or should that be disproven).........(you can see I am not quite myself even yet.)
On the very first day of class (presided over by a stern and very frightening Germanic professor.......one of the foremost experts on the subject......Dr. Hans Reichenbach.........I was always sure he would, at any moment, whip out a steel ruler and beat me across the knuckles for making some trivial error).   I discovered, to my horror, that Deductive Logic had nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes or detective stories or even logic as I understood it..  Using a set of mathematical like symbols (I think it was actually  referred to as Provisional Calculus), it was a system of analyzing sentences, clauses and words to determine if they were, indeed True.  The first example we were given as illustrative material was the fascinating sentence:    (Get this)

                        "  If it rains, the street is wet. "

I also wake up screaming that line occasionally.  Do not ask me to diagram that sentence.  I am no longer able to do so.  (That seems strange since at once time the diagram  was burned into my brain with a white hot branding iron and endless mumbo jumbo of Provisional Calculus symbols.)  Mercifully, the scar tissue has obscured all but that very sentence which these days makes me break out into uncontrollable giggles and just the slightest tinge of perspiration on my upper lip.  It is amazing what 65 years of healing and purposeful forgetting can do.

Incidentally, as I recall, the opposite arrangement of the two clauses does NOT come out to be True when put through the meatgrindcer of the symbols.  i.e.  If the street is wet, it does not necessarily follow unconditionally that it has rained.

And also incidentally, I did not flunk the course but managed a very creditable "C".....not my favorite grade, but, under the circumstances an amazing achieverment since it seemed that at no time during those five months did I have the slightest idea what the hell I was doing.

And, fercrissakes, please do not ask me how Inductive Logic differs from the Deductive one.    For all I know, it may have to do with unearthing clues,  analyzing evidence and allowing it to lead you to the perpetrator of a crime.  I was always just too damned chicken to ever investigate.  And who, I would like to know, wouldn't be?

***As I remember a Tautology was a method of establishing the absolute truth of a statement,,,,or NOT........or some such thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Post Script to My Blog on Secession

 This is a weird post.  

My post of yesterday elicited such passionate comments on all sides that I felt it necessary to comment on the comments.  In my usual loquacious fashion I blurted, blabbed and blubbered a  bit over the limit for a simple comment.  It came out more like a full rant.  And then I realized that the folks I was responding to probably would not see my comment anyway (having already read that blog and moved on)  so I decided to legitimize it and post it as a blog of its own.  It follows below.  Now I will definitely sit down and shut up......for a while anyway.


Wow. What passions I have evoked. I guess if a blogger wants comments they need only write about politics. Tomorrow I will have to write about religion........(NOT).

I usually resist commenting on comments, but this time I feel I must. I hate to be misunderstood or misinterpreted and I dislike being the victim of what I call crooked thinking.

It is sheer foolishness to take my remarks as attacks on or support of either political party. (I am really an Independent anyway.)   I was talking about ideas which lead to progress. The Republican party of Lincoln obviously had the right idea and the Dems of that time the wrong one. I don't give a damn what name a party carries.....the name is meaningless. What matters is the ideas they support.

One very important point which I failed to make clear was that, as I understand it, the rotten losers who want to secede from the USA are scattered among both the red and the blue states. As I recall, I think even California was mentioned as one of the states with the Secessionist petitioners.

My position (a delicious fantasy) is clear. Anyone who wants to secede should be granted their wish. Of course, they would relinquish their citizenship and become illegal aliens. They do not have to pay higher taxes....probably no taxes at all. They will escape having the dastardly Universal Health Care forced upon them...they will be free to figure out a way to obtain health care on their own as non-citizens. I do not know how that would work out.

Of course, they will no longer be eligible for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps or any sort of government subsidies but that shouldn't bother them because they seem to despise anyone who happens to need such crutches.

The difference between them and the other illegal aliens in this country would be dramatic. The current illegal aliens who generate so much furor and hatred come here hoping for a better life. The new breed of illegal aliens already enjoy that better life but apparently are quite willing to give it all up because I guess they want an even better one. I am not at all sure that seceding is the right way to get that, but I would wish them good luck and godspeed. And maybe good riddance. I am too old and tired for this crap.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Women's Suffrage Revoked; Slavery Reinstated....

You who follow me know that I have often mumbled, confessed and ranted about the fact that I was sure I was losing my mind, but,hell,   you all know I was mostly kidding.   Today I am not at all sure about that, or about anything.  I may very well have gone mad, but apparently this country, the good old U.S,. of A  has beaten me to it.

In my last blog I remember saying something flippant about the election like...."We don't need another Civil War".  Then today I bleariily logged onto my email and saw the headline of a news story....."31 States File Petitions for Secession".   WHAT THE FUCK?  Talk about infantile behavior and poor losers.  I am speechless.

Well, of course, not quite.  That is an obvious lie.

Why oh why is it that for every inch of progress we manage to eke out as partially civilized beings there are those who fight like demons (0r the demented )  determined to drag us backward into the slime?

I have read that once upon a time some people arrived at the idea that owning and exploiting Slaves was not a very fair or nice thing to do.  Naturally, the people whose comfortable way of life depended on Slavery did not see that to be true.......hell, they had bought and paid for them there Slaves fair and square and damned if they were going to be deprived of their lifestyle and slave property by a bunch of heads- in- the- clouds Socialists out to ruin the Country.  This meant WAR!.  And war it was.

After much bloodshed and devastating destruction,  Slavery was finally legally abolished, but, I suspect, the idea was never really accepted in certain parts of the country as the right and proper thing for civilized people to do.  Not to mention the fact that the ex-Slaves found that the Freedom they had been granted had a number of huge drawbacks and impediments .......their treatment might even  be considered less than humane..but that is another story.  We will get to that later.

Moving onward there came a time that women (and perhaps one or even two enlightened men)  had the notion that,  since women were doing at least half of the work at maintaining a civilized society and could not be treated as or considered slaves since that had sort of been declared illegal, that perhaps they should be given the opportunity to vote since what the government did affected them too.  An outrageous premise, but since an awful lot of women seemed to like the idea and made a helluva lot of noise in favor of it, somehow the crazy notion became law and,. voila, women were allowed to cast ballots and have some say in the government.  Since I am not quite old enough to remember those heady days, I cannot be sure whether efforts to repeal that law were attempted.  I am pretty damned sure efforts were definitely considered.  And, for that matter, to this very day I see horrific attempts to get women back into their proper place, in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant........

Oh, yes, and then there was the time when some crazy ladies (who may have been sick of their husbands coming home drunk and beating up on them and the kids) decided that Liquor was an evil of the Devil and should be outlawed and I'll be damned if I know how they managed it (I am almost positive that most men were not too hot about the idea) but they actually achieved the passage of a law that prohibited Booze....none, nada, zilch. And, of course,  a bunch of guys who saw a fortune being offered to them via providing that illegal substance that everyone really wanted, formed an organized group or several of them and so was born Prohibition, the Speakeasy, contraband hooch, bathtub Gin and The Mob.  Of course, this No Booze thing  was such a ditzy idea that it had no staying power and was soon repealed, all of which shows that prohibiting liquor had nothing at all to do with progress.......just goes to show how dangerous bible-thumping Church Ladies can be if they get together.   However, the era did give birth to bobbed hair, short skirts, the greatest Jazz ever and the Charleston...... all of which I consider hugely progressive.

As I muse further on what I consider progress I come next to that period in the  mid-20th Century when someone admitted to themselves that simply freeing the Slaves had really not accomplished everything that it should have in regard to respecting human dignity regardless of skin color. Marches were organized, speeches were made, and in spite of meddling wretches like Governor Wallace, schools were integrated.  A process of Desegregation was actually begun.  I am sad to say I do not expect to see that struggle completely won in my lifetime, but I feel that some progress has been made and I pray it will continue.

And that  brings us to today when people around the world are cheering our wisdom, courage and good intentions for the world by reelecting President Barack Obama, the first elected leader of a predominately white country who is not 100% white, and I am forced, before breakfast even, to read that poor sports and misguided fools in 31 states have filed petitions for Secession. from the United States of America. 

Sigh.  You know what I think?   Dammit.....let them do it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No Gloating - Just Relief

To my beloved followers, especially those who are Republicans:

I want to apologize for bad-mouthing Mitt Romney as I did in my moments of fear and loathing last night........I was too overcome with fear to be rational or objective.  My terror and harsh words should not have been directed at Romney but at the extremists in the party who have taken charge of what used to be a conservative but respectable political position. 

I believe that The Romney who was Governor of Massachusetts was a decent man and would have made a plausible and even a productive Presidential candidate.  It is sad that he let the fanatics turn him into their robot in a desperate and ill-conceived effort to win at all costs.

I am happy about the Obama victory but mostly hugely relieved that we did not validate and empower the fanatics who have vandalized the Republican party.

I do not foolishly anticipate an easy nor totally successful term for Obama or his supporters.  If the same fanatics who designed the misguided Republican election campaign continue to obstruct any positive action in Congress, we will have a frustrating and disappointing 4 years, but I can only hope that the more rational members of the party will somehow prevail and enable some progress to be made.  

I love this Country...........have done so for more years than most of you.  We are facing so may daunting problems that I feel we may need some kind of miracle to enable us to cure them.  What we don't need is another  Civil War.  

I send hugs to all of you..........especially to anyone I may have offended.  I consistently go out of my way to prove that Nobody's Perfect. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Too Terrified To Blog 11/6/12 10 AM

I have been existing in a state of fear for months.....or is it an eternity?  No matter how much I tried to convinced myself that I could be resigned to a Romney win, I obviously was fooling myself.  I arose this morning quaking in my boots at the thought of those insane Republican wretches triumphing and putting that evil,rotten egg into the Oval Office and knowing that, having mailed my ballot  for Obama weeks ago, I had done all I could do, but I am still in an agony of apprehension.  

I am going back to bed, pulling the covers up over my head and curling up in a fetal position uttering my mantra/prayer, "Obama, Obama, Obama" until late tonight or tomorrow.  Sorry to reveal myself as such a coward, folks but I am more than passionately against hate, bigotry, ignorance and stupidity. 

I will say "more later" hoping that I do not either drown in my own tears or end up with concussion from hitting my head on the ceiling repeatedly via my ecstatic leaps.   

I sincerely hope you are all doing better today than I am.