Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Rise of Conservatism

Although I have no desire to have a political blog, I have no intention of shying away from such topics as would be especially prominent. Now, the very purpose of starting this new blog, as agreed between the former Elizabeth Green and myself, was to provide a forum for those things positive, enlightening, uplifting, and beneficial. I believe this meets at least a few of those criteria.

Take a look at this chart, if you would. This is from some lengthy test that provides a visual representation of one’s overall political position. I have taken similar tests over a number of years, going back at least nine years, and I always seem to have similar results.

As you can see, this places me roughly halfway to the Left and a third of the way to libertarian on positions; a gross simplification of course, but somewhat useful nevertheless.

Which is to say, this graph has charted me squarely as a conservative. I am but a mere halfway to the Left on positions, and with notable libertarian tendencies (that’s the Westerner in me showing). In fact, there is no other option for me other than to be a conservative, as I am more to the Right than the last three squares to the Left.

Here’s how I match up against the 2008 primary candidates:

This shows that I am right about where Ralph Nader stands, although he is a bit to the Right of me and a bit less libertarian. I know practically nothing of Nader’s political views; only that he has outlived his usefulness.

I liked Kucinich and Dodd to a far lesser extent. I voted for McCain. I felt he would be the better president, and that the Republican Party would do well under his leadership. I felt that Obama would be a better administrator, and particularly in the area of cabinet assignments. I like Obama as President. I felt that Richardson had the best energy policy.

To be fair, I know practically nothing about Tancredo, Hunter, or Gravel. I know little of Keyes, but I consider him to be a wacko. I would vote for Giuliani’s opponent, regardless of who it might be.

Now, the old-style principled liberals I can deal with; but I consider the new wave of ‘progressives’ to be the most amoral and corrupt of persons — and for good reason. I say ‘amoral’ rather than ‘immoral,’ due to the fact that one is required to possess some form of morality in order to be properly immoral.

I have no use for supply-side economics, and hearken back to the elders of the Reagan and Nixon administrations —David Stockman, Peter G. Peterson, and Bruce Bartlett. I consider the Chicago School to be aberrated as well.

At one time, I considered myself to be quite to the Left. My first great falling out with them had to do with their insistence that the denial of equitable representation for racial minorities was not only acceptable, but preferable in staking out their policy positions. I call that horrific.

I no longer refer to myself as an “environmentalist” because I abhor what that word has become. Instead, I prefer to call myself a “naturalist” or a “preservationist.” As far as I can tell, environmentalists are nothing more than a group of morons incapable of anything other than asinine opinions and opposed to practical action, all the while berating others, supposedly in the name of their God, “Science,” of which they know little.

So, briefly, it would be fair to expect that, from time to time, a short essay might appear explaining my position on various matters to the end of providing an explanation as to why it is quite impossible for me to be anything other than a conservative. I was going to do that here, but the preamble became a bit lengthy. Fancy that.

But to be clear, when someone that far to the Left can be nothing other than a conservative, then the Left has already met their doom. The rise of conservatism is inevitable.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Merc’s Somewhat Definitive Guide to Styx (abbreviated version), and Then Some

With mention being made of Styx in the comments recently, I thought it would be wise to direct the thoughts of those so inclined away from their more crappy albums before that became something of an issue.

And definitely, Styx released a lot of crap; though they tended to do so as a full album's worth of crap, instead of The Who syndrome, which entails releasing one or two good songs per album, with the rest of it being total crap (Who Are You being completely non-ordinary for that band).

At any rate, Styx was my favorite band at one time, back when I was 18 or 19. This is some of the good Styx that I remember:

Here are how the Styx albums break down according to Merc:

The Curulewski years:
Styx - B, about 2/3 good
Styx II - C
The Serpent Is Rising - A
Man of Miracles - F-, for use as a coaster only
Equinox - A

The Tommy Shaw years:
Crystal Ball - F
The Grand Illusion - A
Pieces of Eight - A
Cornerstone - B-

Crap you would never want to listen to:
The rest of Styx, as far as I know, is a lot of crap; the sole exception being Big Bang Theory. I haven't listened to all of these, and how could I possibly be expected to after Paradise Theater and Kilroy Was Here? Anyway, here's the rest of it.
Paradise Theater - F-, for use as a clay pigeon only - being a coaster is too good for it
Kilroy Was Here - F-, total crap
Edge of the Century - ?
Brave New World - ?
Cyclorama - ?
Big Bang Theory - A

Now, I don't sit around and listen to a lot of Styx these days. No, these days, it's Wishbone Ash. Before that, I was listening to a lot of Jon Spencer and Eric Gales, and before that UK and Gentle Giant.

But here's some really good Wishbone Ash for you. They sound a lot like Buffalo Springfield would have if they would have been more of a progressive rock band and less of a folk band. It would probably sound better if Rush were playing it along about the Caress of Steel days, but it's pretty good as it is without the crunch.

Hope you've enjoyed it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poet Laureate

Almost everyone with even a passing familiarity with Lindsay has come to know his verse. His poetry appears intermittently at his blog, Lindsay's Lobes, as well in the comment sections of various sites he visits. Always pleasant to see a bit of verse in the comments, you know.

So, we here are Shakespeare's Cousin, which in this case means myself acting unilaterally, have determined to recognize the poet Lindsay Byrnes as our poet laureate.

And to Lindsay, I present to you this wreath of laurel:

Well done.


And here you can see our poet laureate at a few of his more colorful moments.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I would like to show you a bit of what I did over the holidays.

This is a kitten that ended up in the wrong place. She ended up in someone’s barn, and they were ready to blast her with a shotgun. I spent two hours chasing that cat through the barn trying to catch her. Saved at last, and not for the last time.

Because once they had her she could easily be dumped out in the snow somewhere. And that just didn’t sound like the proper thing to be doing. So, I took her up, tucked her into my jacket, and took her off to the clinic. I had to find a place for her, but first things first.

I had to keep her in my car overnight before the clinic would take her. By then, I had already found a no-kill shelter to take her in. I could have boarded her at the clinic, but I felt she would benefit from being touched by human hands a bit before going out to be adopted.

She had been living in a barn for about two or three months. She kept to herself, and hid from people. When I was trying to catch her, she never clawed or bit at me even once. I knew that this was no wild cat, but someone’s pet who had gotten lost somehow.

She was evasive for the first day and a half after I caught her, and would curl up to hide whenever someone would come around. I would stuff her inside my coat and unzip it to where she could look out. She liked that. After I got a bit of food in her, she warmed right up.

The girls at the clinic were all excited about her. She was such a friendly little kitty, even right after her surgery. She would rub up against the bars of her cage whenever they got anywhere close to her. The name on the chart said, “Barn Cat,” and it said she was wild; but everyone could see that this was no wild cat.

I had her spayed and treated for ear mites, and she was good to go.

I took her to the shelter the next day, and she seemed to settle in well. The next day, she was throwing up a bit, but there was no inflammation around the stitches, and she was in good spirits. The poor thing was starving, and wasn’t used to having food around to eat. I thought she might eat herself sick, and I had metered the food out a bit to help her keep it down. But when she could have all she wanted, she couldn’t get enough.

I would go up once or twice a day to spend some time with her; out of the cage and stuffed into the coat, where I would walk her around a bit and pet her. I had to keep moving every so often, or she would get a bit jumpy. When the starter went out on my car, I walked up to see her.

I got to know a few of the other kitties up there, and stop to say ‘hello’ to them. There are two kittens that are a pair. The one has visions problems, is blind in one eye, and his sister doesn’t want to let him out of her sight. Her brother had to go to the clinic this weekend because he had a cold, so she needed a bit of extra attention. There is another one, a mama kitty whose kittens had all been adopted out, and she’s sort of going through an empty-nester phase. Friendly little thing.

At any rate, when I went up yesterday to visit her, she wasn’t in her cage. I was concerned maybe that she was throwing up again or something. But when I asked about her, a call was made, and I was told that she had been adopted out that day.

A young couple was walking through there looking at the kitties, and this one came up and started rubbing up against her cage. When they opened it up, she meowed at them and stepped right into her hands, and it was a done deal. “It was a good mesh,” I was told.

I’m happy for them. I’m happy for the little calico that found a family to love her, and I’m happy for the family that just expanded. But I can’t help but think about the little boy or girl that lost their kitten before I found her. I wish I could go back to tell them that she is going to be ok.

Now, I was thinking about this anyway, due to a post that Lindsay had up, or the comments there that came up; but although you hear people complaining about the commercialization of Christmas every year, it’s really this aspect of it that removes it from being solely in the hands of the Puritans set apart from everyone else. As the saying goes, it’s not a bug, but a feature. This is what gives non-Christians the toe in the door to come in and enjoy the celebration as well.

And this year, it gave that little calico a chance to share in the celebration of redemption.

And the family that she went to, and the little boy or girl that lost their kitten a few months back.

Happy holidays!