QUOTE OF THE DAY
|CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS|
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Duty is the essence of manhood.
-George S. Patton
I slept and dreamt that life was beauty; I woke and found that life was duty.
As society becomes more civilized and technically advanced, those things men are relied on for become obsolete: we have police, firemen, contractors, supermarkets, and so on, all of which take care of the problems men were needed for in a family.
You may say, “Man, get over it,” but when I see rudeness everywhere I go, it tells me that we have a generation of parents who did not do and are not doing their jobs. When and why did this happen, that parents stopped teaching manners? Conservatives would blame the 60s, since they blame the 60s for everything. Liberals would blame the 80s, the rise of the selfish Gordon Gekko type, the creation of the uber-class that expects and demands perfect service at all time and in all places. Sandwiched in between of course is the 70s—“The Me Decade,” as Tom Wolfe called it, the time of retreat to individualism after the demanding social commitments of the 60s. I’m not sure which decade to blame or when it happened, but it did. American parents started raising rude children. We really need to emphasize again the notion of common courtesy to our kids and teenagers.I don't notice this so often personally where I live. People tend to be reasonably polite in stores and on the street, even driving in my town. But I know that's not typical and certain online its rare. But get this: the picture accompanying the article? A really rude gesture, in wide screen technicolor.
There is some evidence that young people are even starting to lose the ability to accurately read facial expressions and tone of voice in their fellow man because they primarily relate through screens and texting than through interpersonal communication. This shouldn't be too shocking; you've probably seen groups of young people all face down in their own device and shut off from speech by ear buds. They might be communicating with each other, but smiley faces and so on only work in text. It takes a different skill set to learn, display, and read facial expressions and tone of voice.If you communicate primarily through text and not face to face, if your primary means of interaction is through a keyboard rather than physically with someone else, then you begin to lose - or perhaps don't even learn - cues that teach you how your words hurt people.
While absenteeism is usually considered a student matter, in San Francisco - and many other districts - the average teacher misses more school than the average child.
If last year's numbers hold steady, the 4,100 teachers in San Francisco, on average, will each be absent about 11 times this school year, about once every three weeks. That's four to five days more than a typical student, out of 180 days total.
In San Francisco, where classes start Monday, teacher absences gained attention last year when the district struggled to find enough substitutes to fill classrooms the day before Thanksgiving break, when more than 1 in 10 teachers called in sick, took the day off or were in training. Similar spikes in absenteeism happened several other times on a Friday or before three-day weekends.
The BLS reports the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,050 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $85,690, while the bottom 10 percent made $36,930.You're not going to get rich at the job, but that's not the point, is it? And those numbers are two years old, showing a five year trend of going up on average, across America, every year. Fifty-five grand a year for working nine months ain't bad, particularly when you claim your job is really about children and the future, not getting wealthy.
Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it. For decades their ideas have had serious backing financially (most prominently by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David H., ran as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket), intellectually (by way of policy shops like the Cato Institute and C.E.I.) and in the media (through platforms like Reason and, as of last year, “The Independents”). But today, for perhaps the first time, the libertarian movement appears to have genuine political momentum on its side.And despite an avalanche of bad publicity, figures such as Koch Brothers, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are fairly well regarded except by the hard left in America. People admired Ted Cruz for his filibuster because that's how most Americans envision a Senator should behave. Agree or not with what he was trying to do, Americans like a legislator who personally puts it all on the line and actually fights for what they believe in, even at personal cost.
The economic recovery has been helped in large part by the spending of the most affluent. Now, even the rich appear to be tightening their belts.
Late last year, the highest-income households started spending more confidently, while other consumers held back. But their confidence has since ebbed, according to retail sales reports and some economic analysis.
George W. Bush was good as his word. He visited the Gulf states 17 times; went 13 times to New Orleans. Laura Bush made 24 trips. Bush saw that $126 billion in aid was sent to the Gulf's residents, as some members of his own party in Congress balked.She also points out how hard President Bush tried for civility and decency despite the unrestrained, filthy, screaming hatred spewed at him constantly. Bush did a good job, the federal government acted swiftly as they were able with a massive outpouring of assistance that was handled with nearly overwhelming incompetence and seemingly deliberate obstinance by the Louisiana and New Orleans government, and the press went out of their way to make it seem like Bush was a horrific racist monster. And people bought it hook, line, and sinker.
Bush put a special emphasis on rebuilding schools and universities. He didn't forget African-Americans: Bush provided $400 million to the historically black colleges, now integrated, that remain a pride, and magnet for African-American students. Laura Bush, a librarian, saw to it that thousands of books ruined by the floods were replaced. To this day, there are many local libraries with tributes devoted to her efforts.
George Fitzhugh, a Virginia planter and pro-slavery intellectual, went even farther than Hughes in his attack on free society and capitalism. Although Fitzhugh denounced the radicalism of communists and socialists, he agreed that capitalist society was “diseased.” Fitzhugh defended Southern slavery as the economic model of the future and declared that “slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism.” In fact, he believed nineteen out of twenty people, both white and black, should be slaves.Yes, he just argued that slavery is the ideal of socialism. Why? Because 'you didn't build that.' Because he believed that everything belongs to the collective, through the state. So that everything should be done for people and taken care of for people, not given them to do with what they wish. Slavery is just jobs for room and board, working but not owning anything. What is freedom compared to having everything given to you by a benevolent owner, according to the socialist idea? Its a pretty consistent, cogent argument from that perspective, but one the left wants to forget.
“A Southern farm is the beau ideal of communism,” Fitzhugh said. “There is no rivalry, no competition to get employment among slaves, as among free laborers… Wealth is more equally distributed than at the North, where a few millionaires own most of the property of the country.”
Fitzhugh said in Sociology for the South: Or the Failure of a Free Society:
The negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and in some sense, the freest people in the world. The children and the aged and infirm work not at all, and yet have all the comforts and necessaries of life provided for them.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then anything, anything at all, can be declared to be beautiful merely by the artist. Like God creating light from nothing by the power of His word, the artist creates beauty not by any genius nor craftsmanship, but by his naked fiat. It is beautiful not because he actually created anything, but only because he says so.
By this logic, a urinal is beautiful, a light going off and on, a decapitated cow’s head covered in blood, flies and maggots, a glass of water on a shelf, a crucifix dunked in urine, a can of excrement, or an unmade bed. The argument given by the Left is that your inability to see the beauty in these things is due to your limitations, your untrained soul, your dullness. The argument merely ignores the fact that training the tastes to be dull, philistine and coarse is the opposite of training the tastes to be sensitive to beauty.
The Left hates this argument, because if beauty is not merely in the eye of the beholder, then beauty tells us what is a truth, a real truth, a truth from a world beyond the world of petty propaganda, a beauty beyond the world of pornography. The Left hates this argument, because if beauty is not merely in the eye of the beholder, then beauty is meant to be served, not used for your selfish pleasures. Beauty humbles the proud, for it shows them something beyond themselves and their appetites. And the left hates that.
Here is this year’s Nebula award winning short story If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love which, at the time of this writing, is also on the short ballot for the Hugo.
It a less that a thousand words long, and I suppose there must be some merit to it aside from the quaint technique of opening each paragraph with a subjective form of the ending of the prior paragraph, which I call the IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE technique.
The situation passively described (in present tense first person stream-of-consciousness) is that of bigoted white southerners at a poolhall, on the eve of a wedding, beat the heroine’s fiancee, a palaeontologist, into a coma from which he may never wake; and as she stands in grief at his hospital bedside, she fantasizes that if he had been a dinosaur, he could have killed them instead. And she would turn into a flower.
I have no enmity against this story. Unlike what some of its critics claim, it is not terrible. Unlike what its fans claim, it is not great, or even very good. It is sweetly sentimental, melancholy, and shows some craftsmanship. It does not, alas, have any characters, merely lazy stereotypes: a bride, generic white bigots, a victim.
There are already more thrillers being cranked out by traditional presses than most people have time to read, and if those titles were all the same price as their self-published brethren, there would be much less incentive to try out the offerings from self-publishers. Self-published authors would feel pressure to reduce their prices even further.Except her argument is poor. She's assuming that big publishers would sell their books for anything under the maximum allowable price, while few if any independent publishers sell their stuff for more than $5.00. That's a five dollar difference between the Amazon cap and the independent book price, so there's no pressure to lower prices whatsoever for independents.
As irksome as it may be for self-published authors to acknowledge, it’s in their best interests that traditional publishers like Hachette be allowed keep the prices of their e-books high.