Arch Stanton Guest Posting: Brave Citizens Clash Against the Bloated Bureaucracy

If you happened to have missed the latest edition of the New York Post, which as red-blooded patriots, I am sure you did in favor of a more reputable publication, the Wall Street Journal or the Weekly World News, you missed a report of citizens grasping liberty from the jaws of governmental overreach (https://nypost.com/2018/04/28/snooty-dog-owners-hijacked-nyc-park-for-private-kennel-club/). To summarize, these proud citizens recaptured a public Tribeca dog park from a neglectful city hall who had presumably let the park lapse into disarray.
Our soon-to-be-celebrated private citizens channeled their inner revolutionary and put on their best Boston Tea Party outfits and installed a lock on a public dog park, charging an annual fee in order to take care of the park with twenty-two rules, while barring the unruly dogs from entering. When the New York Parks Department was pressed on how such a mutiny could occur under the watchful eye of Big Brother, they responded it “flew under the radar,” probably because they “never received any complaints.” There were never any complaints due to the unyieldingly fair and nonpartisan guiding hand of the free markets, dictating that a small park run privately is far preferable to another strongfisted government agency.
Lest you think these Galt-ian New Yorkers were anything but burgeoning patriots, the article notes a local was turned away with her poodle puppy – no stereotyping or prejudice to be found here! Some of these other “iron fisted rules” (the article’s term included “no food, no children under twelve allowed, and no socially inept dogs permitted”) – if we add in a cocktail bar, this sounds like pooch paradise to me. The fees generated by the park were used to pressure wash the blacktop (New York sounds like a wonderful place to live) three times a week, as well as general maintenance, repairs and supplies – surely the red taped-lined corridors of City Hall could have done better! Oh wait, they didn’t notice for at TEN years. (New York Secretary of State information reveals this non-profit corporation was incorporated 10/03/2008).
One interviewee, Vladimir Lenin Liwah Lai, remarked, “why would I pay for something that should be free?”, forcing a tear down Ronald Reagan’s cheek – of course, assuming Ronnie was even capable of shedding tears. This blight on society was countered by proud denizen and Dog Owners of Tribeca leader, Shirley Jaffe, who responded with, “we were quite happy not having Parks involved all these years. No one wants this.”
My heart swells with pride, like hearing the Star Spangled Banner during the gold medal ceremony during an event the Canadians were originally predicted to win, hearing about these courageous and gallant citizens wrestling liberty away from the haughty clutches of a bloated and indifferent bureaucracy. A hearty cheers to you, friends!
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I’m Reading a Book About Anti-Gravity…

It’s impossible to put down!

Only messing, brah. Gotta keep it clean today – it’s just one of those nights. Before I begin, can we all appreciate the beauty of this pink house in Charleston, South Carolina/East Georgia?

The house and the flora are gorgeous. To quote my boy Jackie Chiles,

Back to more immature matters. I’ve been reaching out to a number of marketing industry participants recently and came across, figuratively, 1) Sean Creamer, Merkle Inc and 2) David Sackman, Lieberman Research Worldwide. Email addresses? Screamer@merkleinc and DSackman@LRW. One of these guys would do well at Chicago’s DOM Capital Group. The other? Might not.

My black colleague (I also count him as “my black friend” and yes, I’m allowed to double up) had to leave work last week to watch his son participate in a fun run. I blurted out “this sounds more like a color run” followed by a long and rather uncomfortable stare.

From time to time, I’m willing to resist the teaming masses of potential suitors at my door and focus on having sex with my hand. If prostitution is the world’s oldest job, giving a handshake to Russel the love mussel is the world’s oldest hobby. But what if having sex with your hand is a bit too 20th century for you millennials? Well, now, you can have intimate, tantric sex ON your hand!

Andddd obligatory Arrested Development shoutout:

Ladies and gentlemen, or maybe at this point, just gentlemen, I can assure you that my knowledge at the confluence of romantic doggy boning and personal electronics knows no bounds. It’s probably best that we don’t let Tim Cook see these fuck pieces, lest the next version of the iWatch get banned from religious institutions and public schools. I don’t need two dongs for hour and minute hands nor do I need to watch some gilded, versatile men contemplate who’s taking the next hour hand chode.

And there certainly wouldn’t be a market for children. Although I could see a market developing with Subway’s Jared. The Subway Guy may indeed have more DNA on his collection of children’s watches than they have in an entire chicken breast footlong.

And finally, I give you the world’s greatest company slogan:

So much better than those assholes over there at Ford or the homos at General Motors.

Can You Smell What the Dilettante is Cookin’?

As a select few of you know, I’m a superb chef and artist of the kitchen when I’m not aggressively leafing through materials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I recently crafted the following:

Sweet potato, Greek yogurt, feta cheese, corn-based salsa, Valentina hot sauce, baby, YOU GOT A STEW GOIN!

For those of you not familiar with my girl Valentina, she’s a stone-cold Fox from south of the wall. Absolutely delicious in every way and only $1.79/bottle in a relatively expensive area.

And finally, no introduction needed on the following:

This posting is brought to you by Chesterfield sin-sticks, buy the beautiful Christmas-card carton!

Article: How The Palm Tree Came To Southern California

Here is the article from Garden Collage magazine.

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There is a pervasive image of Los Angeles– one can easily imagine the top down on a stylish convertible as it drives down a perfectly manicured road, loud music, palm trees rising on either side like the icons of a bygone age. It is an image that could be from any number of decades in LA’s history– the music and the car change perhaps, but the palm trees remain, tall and thin, pillars of towering opulence, and utterly ubiquitous.

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The first ornamental palms were planted in the Los Angeles area during the 18th century by Spanish missionaries, for whom they had both practical and symbolic dimensions– palm trees are a famously biblical plant and their fronds are used during Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday observances. The date palms planted by the missionaries provided no shade or fruit (date palms require fertilization by hand in order to produce dates), and while the desert fan palm is native to Southern California, date palms, old Mexican fan palms, and queen palms would soon overtake Los Angeles.

Palm trees grew in popularity during the Victorian era alongside the development of greenhouses, which allowed them to flourish in otherwise inhospitable environments. During that time, palm gardens and palm conservancies were built throughout Europe–there was even a palm court on the ill-fated RMS Titanic. The palm trees encapsulated the Victorian ideals of exploration and conquest, leaving behind the religious associations they had carried since antiquity, and moving towards the exoticism that eventually came to epitomize 20th-century Los Angeles. The Orientalism of the mid-nineteenth century compounded a desire for imported attractions like the palm tree.

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As Los Angeles grew (rapidly, and in many directions), city planners set out to beautify the streets. For landscaping, palm trees proved to be a cheaper alternative to grander, classic trees like the magnolia, while still impressing a sense of grandeur and luxury. Moreover, the Los Angeles heat offered the ideal climate for palm trees to thrive.

Through careful marketing efforts designed to entice Easterners into the West, Southern California came to be known as a “semi-tropical” environmental, one that encapsulated the fantasy of faraway lands without the overseas travel and taxing humidity. Publications hailed Los Angeles as a paradise and featured the palm tree alongside articles enumerating the merits of the city. Even the University of Southern California embraced the emblem of the palm, declaring as their motto Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat (“Let whoever earns the palm possess it”).

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During the early 20th century, Los Angeles became an easy, accessible fantasy, and the rise of Hollywood ushered in the city’s aura of glamour and luxury. Many Hollywood films featured Middle Eastern locales, further imbuing Los Angeles with an exotic, “dangerous” appeal. Just as the Victorians had allowed themselves to be seduced by their own constructions of Orientalism, so too did more modern Los Angeles residents fall under the embellished foreign allure of the palm tree.

In the 1930s, the craze for palm trees in Los Angeles reached new heights. A massive planting effort was undertaken in part anticipating the Olympics set to occur in Los Angeles in 1932. Perhaps more importantly, the initiative also created employment opportunities during the Great Depression, and resulted in over 40,000 trees being planted. Today, L.A. is alive with earlier decades’ efforts to turn the California desert into a seductive cultural oasis.

In the past few years, however, Los Angeles’s urban palm trees have begun to die, as their 75- to 100-year life span reaches its end. The threat of diseases, as well as the incursion of the red palm weevil, has made palm trees a difficult horticultural tradition to sustain (even without factoring in their heavy reliance on water in an increasingly waterless California). The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced in 2006 that they would not be replacing the palm trees that die, and would instead be moving towards re-introducing native, drought resistant plants to cityscapes, like native oaks and sycamores.

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The desert fan palms native to California grow where there is water— for all that palm trees are associated culturally with the desert, they require an immense amount of water. In California, groves cluster alongside oases (an instance when the cinematic trope proves accurate)– hence the naming of “Palm Springs”. In recent years, however, changes in the water table have hindered native palm tree populations, and the drought has made the foreign palm trees of L.A. all the more impractical.

Over 2,500 species of palm tree exist and live in various climates– deserts and rainforests alike. They grow coconuts, betel nuts, dates, and açai berries– one can even make a wine from their sap. But their lasting impact in America has been in the sunny daydreams they inspire. Palm trees suggest perfectly-clear days free from woes. They promise relaxation and easy luxury. They symbolize a paradise full of warm beaches and crashing waves. They are the emblem of the American West– the nostalgic promise of better shores.

Song of the Day (4/16/2018)

We begin with a snippet from a Bloomberg article:

In memory of Back Page, which I must admit, I never actually visited until seized by the federalis, todays song of the day is Big Pimpin’ by Jay-Z. Candidly, the song sucks and the artist is even worse but I have to pay homage to pimpin in all its forms, even Pill Cosby’s unique angle on the pimp roll:

In other news, I came across the following sign which provides an appropriate shoutout to Arch Stanton and his recent guest post on edible Star Wars characters.

And finally, back to the basics of Musings and Malarkey. This blog was originally intended to be a shrine to two great American Superheroes: Ronald Reagan and John Wayne. During a recent visit to Bass Pro Shops, I perused the six shooters (author note: in reality, I’m still against firearms and the second amendment has been stretched too far) and found the following which are absolutely amazing. Considering buying one for my John Wayne shrine:

These firearms would be highly complementary to this mustache (two photos, same man):

Random Bidtits (3/3/2018) and Article on Recycling

First off. I saw a poster for “Hamilton.” Am I the only person on Earth who didn’t realize our founding father was black?

Also, very few of you will know that Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby Kennedy, is running for Governator of Illinois. But did you know that he did a brief cameo in the South Park series as those lovable Hardy Boys?

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Another amusing article today. I’m a huge fan of recycling and I often go out of my way to move the cans and bottles from people’s garbage to their recycling bins when leaving the office at night. But I love this guy’s bitter musings. It’s from Bloomberg’s The Daily Grind of Recycling.

Warm feelings about saving the planet have given way to the drudgery of sorting and rinsing and nagging from the government.

The other day, I had an epiphany: If recycling were not required by law, I probably wouldn’t bother.

Okay, I’m a horrible person. But bear with me. In the wake of a blizzard, I was rolling the huge town-provided recycling bin to the curb for pickup. Downhill. Through the snow. On a steep driveway, imprecisely plowed. The walk was treacherous. I slipped once or twice.

And I began to wonder what I was doing.

Recycling is supposed to produce a warm we’re-in-this-together glow, as we join hands in solidarity to save the planet. Small children practice it in school as a sacred ritual of the secular religion. For years now, I’ve been able to smile inwardly at the knowledge that along with my neighbors, I’m doing the right thing.

Lately, however, recycling doesn’t feel like ritual. It’s just work. A lot of work. Sometimes a lot of hard work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m old enough to have been excited about the original Earth Day in 1970. I remember smiling high schoolers circulating through the cafeteria with boxes and bags to collect what we would now call recyclables. I seem to recall doing a bit of circulating myself. Back then it was fun. One had the sense of doing good through the process of persuading others to do good. There was no coercion. There was not even much peer pressure. Just volunteers encouraging people to turn over what they were going to discard anyway.

Now it’s law; it’s been the law so long that today’s young people cannot remember when it wasn’t. And with each passing season, the rules seem to grow more complicated. My wife and I are constantly getting online warnings (and paper flyers) from our Connecticut town, usually couched in a tone somehow contriving to suggest that we residents aren’t quite up to the mark: Too many of you are including plastic bags. Or polystyrene. Too many of you are leaving your boxes unbroken. Or broken but with food clinging to the cardboard.

There’s so much to remember. If bottle caps are loose, keep them out of the recycling bin. (That’s what the state decrees, anyway; my town says caps are fine.) Don’t just rinse your aluminum cans but dry them too. (Water is bad.) As to those plastic bags that don’t go in the bin, don’t toss them in the trash either, but find a place that accepts them and drop them off there. Or better still — we are told — buy reusable bags. Sure, serious researchers consider them carriers of germs and infection. But that’s okay. Just wash them regularly. (More work.) Oh, and take your wire coat hangers back to the dry cleaners.

People who imagine that these tasks take no investment of time must not be terribly busy. But if we don’t perform this important labor for free (so we are scolded sternly), someone else will have to be paid to do it. That will only raise costs. In other words, the only way to make recycling economically viable is to constantly pile more work atop those of us who only live here.

Not that recycling seems to be viable — not beyond aluminum cans and plastics number 1 and 2. The rest of it can’t be processed at a profit. (Glass bottles and jars present a particular challenge.) As it turns out, much of the more valuable stuff can’t be processed at a profit either. Not unless the rest of us do a lot of the labor.

This perhaps is part of the problem. When we consumers are busy stacking the wire hangers and screwing the caps tightly onto the plastic bottles and examining cardboard for the tiniest traces of food, we’re not laboring in the first instance to improve the environment. We’re laboring so that private companies can make a profit — companies hired by localities to handle recycling, and unable to figure out any way to stay in business except by conscripting householders. Imagine an auto repair shop announcing that in order to keep prices low, customers will henceforth be required to do some of the work on their cars. Business would dry up overnight.

I’m not against recycling. I understand that if the practice isn’t mandatory, a lot of people won’t bother. We also know that curbside pickup increases the likelihood of compliance, especially among those for whom a few cents deposit on a bottle constitutes a pittance. And in any case kitchen sorting is, we might say, a transitional technology. Robot sorters are improving rapidly, and may soon be able to pick the bad stuff out of the single recycling stream faster and more accurately than humans ever could.

In the meantime, what began nearly half a century back as a movement among happy optimists has become like too much else to which government turns its attention: heavy-handed, coercive, distant and thick with detailed rules. Recycling may be important, but it’s no longer romantic. It’s not fun. Nowadays, recycling isn’t solidarity. It’s ritualistic drudgery.

Still, fear not. I have every intention of playing my part. Until the arrival of the sorting robots, I’ll go on laboring in the kitchen and garage to keep recyclables separate and pristine. I’ll keep telling myself that I’m helping to save the planet, even when in actual fact I’m contributing my free labor to waste management companies that would be unprofitable if they had to pay for my services.

Is there compensation? Sure. But it’s no longer the warm glow that comes from the knowledge that I’m doing the right thing; it’s the single stream of reminders from my town that I’m doing the right thing all wrong.

Article: A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard

A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard (1899)

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion.

When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba – no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”

By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing – “carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias. No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man – the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.

Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant.

You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Corregio.”

Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions: Who was he? Which encyclopedia? Where is the encyclopedia? Was I hired for that? Don’t you mean Bismarck? What’s the matter with Charlie doing it? Is he dead? Is there any hurry? Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself? What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him find Garcia – and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Corregio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself. And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night holds many a worker in his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well, he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “down trodden denizen of the sweat shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer – but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds – the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can

Carry a message to Garcia.