The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sandbagged at the DMV

An episode at the office of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles during an eye exam for driving license renewal reminded be of an incident a few years ago. That situation, which happened at the airport in Merida, Mexico, was eerily reminiscent.

We were traveling with an elderly friend who was relocating to her house in Merida where she lived much of the year. Our friend was nearly blind and had a helper dog with her. In addition she had the most incredible collection of household and personal baggage imaginable, most of which barely qualified for import and certainly would be subject to careful inspection.

It was the last flight into Merida and we were the last passengers to arrive at the customs desk. This array prompted hurried conversations amongst the agents, glances at watches were frequent and some rolling of eyes. At that time, customs inspection in Merida was something of a lottery.
Upon presenting, one was instructed to push a large button and a green light meant pass through: a red meant close inspection of baggage.

Now a gambler who knew the system could do well betting on the winning color by the circumstances. Little old blind lady, guide dog, mountain of luggage, last flight, last passenger; bet the farm! We passed through post haste and were on our way.

Well, that same gambler could do well at the Department of Motor Vehicles. In our city, which has in some surveys has the greatest number of senior citizens in the entire country, an enterprising gambler could make a smart living . By observing the apparent age of each candidate for driving license renewal he could with total certainty predict the outcome of the vision test.

Granted in a community like ours the great numbers of elderly drivers is cause for concern. But...
if a person sees clearly enough to pass an eye test why should that not be sufficient to preclude license restricted to wearing eyeglasses? The test appears to be rigged for older drivers to assure failure.

One is required to look closely into a device (which may not have been sanitized in this century)
and follow verbal instructions. The screen in view has a series of lines as in found in other vision tests. There the comparison ends. One sees a cluster of four lines, clearly labeled 1 2 3 4. A gap, and another series of lines, three or perhaps four. Another gap, another series. The verbal instruction is to read line 5. Of course line 5 does not follow line 4 in the first line. Oh No, line five is buried in the third clutch of lines.

So the applicant starts off flustered and a bit shaken. I took the test not wearing my eyeglasses since I did not have an eyeglass need restriction on my current license. Well, I located the covert line 5 and it was totally unreadable. I could make out the lines preceding and following the dread #5, so I told the clerk it was looked Chinese to me.

"Put on your glasses and try again', says she. I did, and viola! , crystal clear...I aced it. " You will have a glasses restriction on your license". "Sandbagged" at the DMV! Is it a set-up? As in Mexico, I'm convinced there is a Pass/Fail Button somewhere at the DMV and I got the red light!

While waiting for my new license to be created I was able to listen to the testing of an elderly man at the next booth. He was struggling with the damn #5 line too! On the face of it, this is no big deal for me. I wear glasses all the time and have since I was in my teens. What I object to is the "Orwellian" process they seem to be using to further a given end. Sure, get the geezers who can't see off the road, but if you can pass the eye test even at one hundred; no need for license restriction. It's only fair.

Anybody know a hustler who wants to spend time making bets at the DMV?

Monday, June 27, 2011

2211 A.D. The Remnants

(a fable)

Only at the front is there any brightness and that is from pale moonlight. Further back in the sleeping part beyond the small night fire, it is always Stygian. Without firelight all movement is guided by touch and hearing.

By custom, grudges and jealousies are left at the front so the night might be devoted to slumber for the young and for the others, often, ardor. The group of twenty- some adults plus numerous young, have close ties; a clan-ship. Serious rancor is rare, not unknown but considered exotic. Puzzling. No act of violence exists in clan memory; rather it is the source of legends, of horror stories.

The clans, who refer to themselves as "Hopeful Remnants", choose to live, when possible,in the vicinity of a former midden or landfill provided the soil nearby is tilth and water source satisfactory. Mining old landfills is a treasure trove for the inhabitants as is quarrying in abandoned cities and towns.

The group is typical in this rare bucolic region which has been re-settled and kept mainly agricultural, together with extensive re-cycling projects of course; for many years. No important manufactory has been possible since early in the twenty-second century. However, extensive re-cycle and refurbishment operations have kept the modest materiel needs of the residents fulfilled.

A unique gender ratio has been operant for generations with a constant five or six to one distaff ascendency in effect. This ratio has enabled tranquility never attained in the past and resulted in a more realistic morality, including a pan-eroticism, not experienced by the human race prior to, what has come to be known as, the "Great Declension ".

An item gleaned from a page of an ancient 'scientific american' somehow survived, was copied and circulated among the clans, and is a great boon containing, among a wealth of other arcana, the following:
"So how did natural selection equip men to solve the adaptive problem of other men impregnating their sexual partners? The answer, according to Gallup(George G. Jr.), is their penises were sculpted in such a way that the organ would effectively displace the semen of competitors from their partner’s vagina, a well-synchronized effect facilitated by the “upsuck” of thrusting during intercourse. Specifically, the coronal ridge offers a special removal service by expunging foreign sperm. According to this analysis, the effect of thrusting would be to draw other men’s sperm away from the cervix and back around the glans, thus “scooping out” the semen deposited by a sexual rival."

The clans, upon learning this, were stunned by the idea of this organ being something so unique; and by the singular investment nature had made in sculpting it. And how, mankind so beneficently gifted by nature, had ignored until the present the obviously intended usage. Awed by such prescience in nature, this information then gradually morphed into clan lore and practice. Not, as the article suggested, solely to prevent rivals from copulatory success but to alter the male to female ratio radically, perhaps permanently.

It has long been an effort of the clans to encourage an activity which would produce more females than males and, if do-able, to replace the old possessiveness and mate exclusivity that possibly favored male offspring. Multiple partnering of several males with one female, as a prevailing social norm, was extremely rare historically. It is a tenet of clan lore that the dominance of males throughout history was the result of insistence on singularity in couplings thus shunning competition.This bias may have gone far in accomplishing male dominion, both numerical and social, where it might not otherwise have flourished. Plus, grouped lovemaking is a way of avoiding favoritism, although it still exists, but usually does not lead to possessiveness.

Lengthy trial and error and hints from historical accounts convinced the 'Remnants' that masculine dominance and the resultant militant aggressions and material excesses, stemmed from, among other things, flawed notions regarding gender. This explains for them a large part of why the entire human race had nearly perished during the "Declension". These mistakes, it is vowed, are not be repeated.

By removing stigma and coercion from human sexual behavior a more harmonious libido has fore sworn most sexual compulsion while adding untrammeled eroticism to the daily fare. De facto bisexuality coexisting with a benign matriarchy has had an added benefit, the numbers of offspring always being a concern here; a form of birth control. Oddly enough, as they've discovered, a surplus of sex can result in fewer offspring.

An interesting note is the rivalry this has established for paternity among the masculine substrate as all interested are welcome to any conjugal episode.One male and one female coupling is a rarity. This rivalry manifests in extraordinary displays of amatory technique to insure paternity. Colloquially, this is known by wags as 'bilge pumping'. Great effort is expended in first displacing any lingering rival seed before it sprouts and then in supplanting it. Conjugal activity is seldom private and is open to all. These heroic displays are really not necessary to accomplish fatherhood as the seed for females usually dominates given the opportunity.

Within these guidelines again, they consider this singular organ design as finally being used as nature had intended millennia ago. A plowing up of rival seed from the furrow as it were but rarely indulging in the solo plowing that had long been the norm. All of this procreational activity is somewhat proscribed and, more often than not, kept selective. Many other forms of friendship and bonding through sensuality are practiced and encouraged within the group.

A strong valency was found to exist within the female members to heightened awareness and a higher regard for peers arising from absence of dominance posturing from the males. The clan females now seek each other for Hoka-Hoka, a.k.a. GiGi's Dance. Censurably dismissed in the past as mere female 'scissoring', now 'tribbing' and similar activities have become cherished practices among most females and is encouraged by the clan..

This has the desired effects of strengthening bonds, providing pleasure and discouraging rivalries.
Most importantly, it reflects the latent sensual nature of contemporary females who have grown to maturity with an instinctive knowledge of self-worth and desire without the need for male approbation.

Among the issues not successfully addressed however, two are significant and until the now have defied resolution. All amorous activity is thus far nocturnal and communal. The inability to overcome self-consciousness precludes comfortable, overt , daytime liaisons almost completely.The assumption is that many more generations must pass until racial memory is cleared of all old taboos. Secondly, although no overt censorship is attempted in regards the young, they have so far been excluded from participation. Of course the communal sleeping arrangements preclude privacy, except that offered by the extreme darkness in the quarters. There are few secrets.

In leaving this small band and the other "Hopeful Remnants" to their unknown destiny, we too can hope that the wisdom they have gathered and put into practice will enable them to thrive and hopefully evolve into a truly humane species never before seen on the planet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Double-Speak Squared

"We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know." —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department briefing, Feb. 12, 2002

We don't ignore there are the not ignored we don't ignore: there are things we don't ignore we don't ignore. We also don't ignore there are the not ignored, ignored: that is to say we don't ignore there are things we don't ignore we ignore. But there are also the ignored, ignored - the ones we ignore we ignore."- The POTUS Manifesto. 2009-2011

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"