A long remission ends

I have not written in over a year. Have not written anything meaningful in far longer than that.  Not sure if I can manage to do so ever again. But I’m gonna try.

Men learn life lessons by hearing the stories of other men. Lessons about protecting women from ogres and why men are to blame for the plight of single mothers and lessons about yielding a seat to a damsel that wanders past needing to “get off these heels”. And lessons about how to cherish daughters to the point of having some weird ceremony with a  ring.

And so on.

Good gravy, how we wallow in those things. Its like someone dumped bags of smooth stones under our mattress covers but we keep squirming and squirming to find what we  know must be a comfortable spot in a bed made up of all these preconceived notions. I mean, it feels good to hear these proclamations, to nod and mentally flex against the injustices against women that they claim are present. Women usually react favorably. Hence the allure of “The Lift”.

I first confronted bags of bull rock under my mattress cover back in 2004. In hind sight I recognize that I’d witnessed repeated instances of the events that describe the average suburban family crumbling, so I thought. Even as mine was being pulverized like boulders in a hammer mill I still saw the hammer mill as men. Or worse, as a sentient thing unleashed upon families like how divorce is rampant in the church. 

Obsession born of pain brings clarity (for a few), and clarity brings frustration (for an even smaller few). Full stop. That’s where we get to and where we stay. So we write and read and discuss with the few men we know whose eyes do not glaze over when the topic is broached.

I never moved fully from the frustration phase. It went into a kind of remission. I had settled into a passive posture. Because life was happening and there was home and kids and college and my job with promotions and the travel and busyness.  And there was joy and drama and mostly joy for long enough to be convinced the most recent decade would inform my remaining decades.


For reasons I’ve no need to detail, I found myself again living alone. In a heartbreaking side story, the same dog that stayed with me in 2004 stayed with me again in 2019, defeating loneliness again as a dog uniquely can. The biggest heart break I’ve had in a very long time was the passing of my beloved best friend Dede at the age of 16 years and 3 months. May 18, 2019 I said goodbye to her and I carry a void that even nature and her vehement abhorrence of a vacuum cannot rush in to fill.

One or two of you may recall an occasion when I was driving  hours from home for a bird hunting trip in West Texas.  We had a meet up for lunch somewhere along the route. My dog fell ill and I turned around and drove seven hours back home to be with her. I’d do it a million times over. I miss her profoundly.

Some things I learned.

Family law sucks everywhere but I think as one moves from west to east it sucks way more. I encountered the possibility that one day soon when I may choose to retire, if I was divorced and under one of the many forms of alimony, I may have had to seek family law approval in order to even retire! Indentured indeed. No one seemed to find that astonishing but me. Ya gotta be in it to, er, win it? Or something.

Women would initially gasp at the fact that some man they know was about to be subjected to such a thing. Those are women who have not perfected the art of simply denying the existence of things they find unpalatable. The gasp is once and done. Delete. When handed that kind of weaponry, however, its a bit more palatable to them. It is another of those things that cannot be named or acknowledged aloud because even they know that such unfettered ability to burden a man is evil. But hey, its available like a social service that people avail themselves to without regard for actual need. Hush now.

I’m better now. Or not. Daily I feel like I am  walking around in a neighborhood where I’d been assaulted in the past but now it appears to have turned the corner. The gentrification sure does make it feel safer. You cannot help but ask yourself, however,  if some of the same people live behind the new facades.

Closing with a bitter sweet note, in the photo below taken a few months before she died, Dede expresses with her face the wry attitude I now try to maintain day to day. That is one of the things she taught me. Along with fierce loyalty, commitment, unabashed expressions of joy, a violent courage in the face of a threat to me or a family member. At four to six pounds over the years she was known to have jumped up and bitten the throat of our 138 pound giant schnauzer. Unbelievable.

Rest in peace my precious girl.


When a mug can’t possibly suffice.

The jinns of the internet know what badass mom needed when she decided to become a daddy too. It ain’t a mug folks.


This is a screen shot from the mommyish page advertising the mommy gifts for father’s day




Mom keeps  Tommy John (and his 5 million pairs) down below.

The way of the “Church of the Broken Tea Saucer”

…..the Baptists are headed.


Thanks JD, now here’s some Lifts for ya…


Remember the tantrum and the broken china when the chains are wrapped through the door levers of your local Baptist Church……wrapped by the hands of the SBC and SJW pastor who is all in and on board, standing in agreement with the symbolism of locking the misogyny and racism inside the building that fed such sorrows.

Then burning it down.

I had not truly measured the efficacy of The Lift as a tool of the devil. It is strong.


Its gonna take some time

Before the word repressed could inform the word memories and before the word marital could inform the word rape, before a toy egg with a malleable blob inside could be a metaphor for gender, when the only androgynous humans were named  Barbie and Ken and they were eight inches tall,before gluten was even parlance so therefore before gluten-free was even a potential, before media fixation on victims of tragedy dragged a subset of humanity to the forefront wanting only to find a tiny thread connecting them to the victims so they could be part of the story, and long before the hashtag became a virtual shoehorn that could squeeze anyone into any trending group that was latched firmly, momentarily, to the nations empathy teat, before all that my earliest memory of the in-group psychosis was when celebrities mentioned therapists.

What I perceived as the braggadocio of socialites at the time (mid to late 60’s) I now realize was my first exposure to what is today’s #MeToo.

It is pathetic. It is like a man wanting sex and settling for porn, the shadow of sex, as a proxy for sex. Women love attention, especially emotional attention. Their ability to see themselves in-group with things that occur in bubbles thousands of miles away merely by tweeting #MeToo, and then to get an artificial form of the empathy they crave by imagining themselves as a proxy for the damaged-but outraged victims and near relatives of victims. But the comparison to porn as proxy for sex only applies to the immediate functional aspects of both things. #MeToo goes so much further.

Divorce in threes on the cul-de-sac is a #MeToo effect.
Women in groups like DivorceCare are a #MeToo effect.
Women in groups like Celebrate Recovery taking up space that should go to , well, those in recovery, those women are a #MeToo effect.

There are more examples. But the biggest problem is the multifaceted way that this urge, this desire for basking in the sadness pool, this justification for days on end of furrowed brow sincere-concern a wife adopts contemporaneously with the slow destruction of her husband’s spirit. The divorce thereafter would be a mercy killing but for the fact that #MeToo is unquenchable. Her torture of the man persists as long as it bears the low and easy fruit of more in-group reward sharing.

There is a dilemma for her. I’ve written about it before. The wife caught in this addiction finds the drug of empathy that is peddled in marriage reconciliation efforts is available and more efficacious than the empathy that follows divorce, which is available short-term and is ever declining in strength. Therefore, she tells her husband that, while she would like a divorce, she thinks it best they try to reconcile. She adds, however, that whatever his alleged shortcoming, TheseThingsTakeTime. TheseThingsTakeTime.

It’s a coincidence that the author Dalrock has been writing about, Stephen Arterburn, has a last name that differs from the term after burn by a single letter. This man enters marriage counseling with the premise that the marriage is deemed to be repaired and can resume normalcy when the wife is satisfied that it is OK.

It’s a small price to pay Mr. Screwed. Invest the time and effort and you can save your marriage. She clearly says she wants the marriage to be healed.

Heard in an apartment nearby…

“Yes….I told you I’m gonna stop using. Its gonna take some time but I really will.”

Thoughts accompanying what was heard in the apartment nearby…

“Meanwhile I will not waste a minute of the time I have left. I’m scoring and using the best stuff I can find while it’s so easy to get.”

Same kind of good as better

The Movie “Same Kind of Different as Me”  is good. I mean good as in better, and I mean better as in better than 99% of Christian movie making efforts. There were A list or used-to-be A list actors in it like Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, and the always reliable Jon Voight, whose drunk slurring in the movie was just shy of outstanding. As a cause or by effect,  good production quality surrounded the solid troupe of thespians. These two things alone set the movie apart from the usually sad best efforts of Christian movie makers.

But they had to go ahead and do that thing they do when they make everyday be father’s day by showing how the wife manages to rehabilitate the deeply flawed husband, how he CAN be good, and how he has what it takes but needs just the right admonishment. His sin is revealed early. He is obsessed with work and with money. And he has a mistress.

Once confronted, he asks his wife what is to be done about the fact that they hadn’t been intimate in two years. The wife then screams over his voice that they had not really  been intimate in ten years!!!! She means they haven’t walked out their faith as if it was just her faith. because her faith is the only real faith in the house. Her heart has not been the arbiter of their faith walk. Her heart must be the barometer of faith in the home.

So, he gets to choose. He can have the mistress or this wife. He chooses the wife, and she hands him a pile of clean folded sheets for the couch.

The next day the wife tricks him into serving at the homeless shelter and kitchen where she had been (selflessly) seeking empathogasms serving for some time.

Then she tells him about her dream. Christian women and their dreams are a sub  category in Christian female initiated divorce causes. The slice of pie is more than a sliver. I suspect its more like a slab-o-pie if it could be fully revealed. On one hand I’ve known men defending themselves against affair allegations with nothing but a dream as the wife’s basis for accusations. On the other I’ve known men in competition against  a paramour that literally did not exist except as a creation in the wife’s mind. She imagined the ideal man and he is manifest only in her dreams. But that’s enough to juxtapose against her actual flesh and blood husband. Husband doesn’t measure up.

The husband in the movie takes some personal risk and befriends an overly aggressive homeless man. I liked this part of the movie because it was separate enough that it could be insulated against the manipulative wife’s machinations. It was an extreme sort of          city- mouse-and-country-mouse-become-buds tale. The homeless man had a cliche but moving back story.

Eventually the peace is shattered. When the story of the man’s redemption was steeped for too long in only the man’s own choices and experiences the movie makers clearly worried that they risked the audience missing the central point unless they hastily resurrected it. They feared the audience would forget that the source of the man’s salvation inspiration was the wife.  They saw more carrot than stick. More stick was needed. So they insert another scene at bedtime where hubby again pleasantly accepts the sheets for the couch where he would sleep. (Never mind that they live in what they say is a 15,000 square foot home, the man chooses a sofa in what appears to be a sort of anteroom outside the master bedroom.).

Once the husband has undertaken some physical risk, eschewed money and hard work,  sufficiently chastised his alcoholic father, and started to follow his soothsayer wife’s dream fully, she gets the remnant of a tingle due to hubby’s devil-may-care attitude in facing down danger. That he did so was punctuated by the windows in his G wagon which were smashed by the homeless man using a baseball bat. Hubby let the sheets drop to the floor and the wife unbuttoned his shirt while cooing.

He was back in. For a minute.

I left the room before the end. My understanding is that the wife dies of cancer and the husband writes the book that becomes the movie. I mean no disrespect to the wife or her family and do not wish to be insensitive to the loss of life to cancer. My goal is to magnify the again formulaic woman as the lever for sanctification of man theme. Nothing more.


We’re all Subaru Now

The lease on my company car expired. I turned the car in and said good riddance. It was a spiffy little German sedan, more entry level than top end. But it had a maddening set of features that nagged me so frequently it ruined the entire notion of ever relaxing by going for a drive in the country.

After driving awhile the display would reveal a steaming cup of coffee and the words, “Take a Break” would appear. Or it reminded me about every fluid level, service intervals coming up, 1 psi differences in tire pressures, and so on. It forced me to interact with it constantly.

I mistakenly assumed Europeans were more to the nanny side than Americans so my new car is a GMC truck.

Then it hit me. It was my age cohort that started padding life’s corners for the kids. Helmets and knee pads and play dates and juice pouches. Now my damn truck dings and dongs and buzzes and beeps and says “Caution, blah blah blah” incessantly.

Some members of my cohort ended up designing cars.  Didn’tcha.



A name so powerful it could be like having bullet proof bracelets

A college buddy of mine who, like me,  grew up in a small town in Appalachian South East Ohio. We lived 20 miles apart but only met once we showed up in the same fraternity.


The area and culture tend to inculcate an enjoyment of hunting and fishing in men starting then they are very small children. Chuck was no different.

He and I, unbeknownst to either, were odd among out high school peers. Both of us intended to go away to college…something only five of one hundred and forty three kids in my ;lass chose. His schools ratio of college attendance was a little better, but still atrocious.

The thing that really set him apart was that his parents were college professors at the nearby state university. So he was raised with some harmless incongruities. He and his father  hunted and fished and otherwise enjoyed rural outdoor pastimes. But Chuck’s dad spoke like a professor, and Chuck did too.

By the time we’d all finished our initial degrees, Chuck had decided to earn a Ph.D. in education. He wanted to follow his fathers footsteps, but to walk further and become the president of a college somewhere. He attended Duquesne for his masters and Drexel for his doctorate.

We lost track for a couple of decades. He showed up on Facebook a few years back and we reconnected. He enthusiastically shared his new found faith with me. He’d attended weekly at the university Episcopal or similar while back home. abut now he lives in the South East. And he met a woman there and married her. He was all in with Baptist style southern religion. No harm done. Just a surprise.

The explanation for his conversion was the second surprise. His wife’s name is “Billie Graham



I could spend some time free range thinking that over. I am not, however, making a derogatory comment about her. I’ve never met or spoken with her. I’m just laying out some facts. that may have been scattered in my mind so that i can show you the thing that nudged me towards a better understanding based on reasonable conclusions drawn from the picture he sent me recently.

He offered to send me one. He may have sensed my lack of interest because it never came.

I wonder, if Wonder Woman showed up would he be more strengthened and encouraged than by the presence of a wife coincidentally named after one of America’s most famous evangelists..

Toward the theory of empathy uber alles

The October issue of Scientific American had an article on the last page titled “Pushed Out”.  The article cites the numbers of people displaced from homelands due to violence and disaster. The numbers are shown on a bar graph where the victims are categorized in one of two ways. “People displaced inside their own country due to violence and disaster and violence” and “Refugees (all causes)”

The surprise result of the study was that the category “Refugees”, which is specifically peoples forced from their country of origin into other nations, receives massively more aid than those displaced inside their own borders. The later category, in 2015, was nearly three times the number of people classified as refugees and received a fraction of the aid..

The article ends with a statement about how the authors couldn’t explain why this is the case. The reality seemed to them to be just about backwards from what it was expected to be. Folks ought to make charity for their neighbors more of a priority, right?

Not if the motive for charity is empathy that can be worn on the sleeve. Not when the flag of the country from which the refugees flee is available on Facebook as a profile pic filter. Not when there isn’t a slogan or meme to be found that references the in-country displaced.

I’ve posted some of the academic work where empathy is studied. The tendency for a person to support the exotic refugee and ignore the neighbor is more proof that empathy is not altruism.