Lichtenbergianism: a new frontier

No, I haven’t written any more on Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy, and no, I haven’t done any more work on the book proposal.  But I did establish a new front in my battle for world domination.

As I posted the other day, I bought the domain name for Lichtenbergianism.com and started a trial website at Squarespace.  Within 24 hours I had ponied up for a business website; within 48 I had a new email address and a MailChimp account.  Soon I shall have a new Twitter account.

(The MailChimp account means you can sign up to have a digest email of the week’s blog posts sent to you every Saturday, i.e., you can procrastinate about learning how to make procrastination work for you!)

Now if I only had actual content for the website.  Hey, I’m working on it—every day is a glorious flood of SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION as I figure out what it is I have to offer and how to put that before the public.

Maybe a Venn diagram would help

Just kidding.  The people who make these things up are impermeable to any form of logic, even ones that involve simple pictures.

Today on the FaceTubes:

Oh, where to begin?  Let’s start with the easy stuff, the inevitable grammar errors: State Department is capitalized, please, as is Muslims, and our sentences need a period at the end, don’t they, Johnny?

Okay.  Let’s untangle the presumptions first.

#1: The State Department had an opportunity to intervene in the events of Sep 11, 2012, at the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, and for some reason decided not to, resulting in the deaths of four Americans.  The implication is that this action was deliberate, callous, and probably criminal.

#2: The feckless—and yet omnipotent—Obama administration is preparing to bring over nearly a quarter of a million Muslim refugees (a word curiously missing from the poster) and saddle our taxpayers with the cost.  The implication is twofold: a) those people are terrorists; and b) “those people.”1

The point of the poster is to convince the reader that since the State Department weren’t competent enough to accomplish presumption #1, they are likewise clearly not competent enough to accomplish #2, which in any case they shouldn’t even be doing.

First, boys and girls, before we can address the legitimacy of the argument, we should examine the truth of each presumption.

Despite the fevered dreams of the right wing, the tragedy of Benghazi was not due to the criminal masterminds of the State Department.2 To date, there have been seven investigations of the event by the Republican-controlled Congress.  The results have been published, and not one of them found that the State Department failed to take action that could have prevented the loss of life.  The most popular shibboleth amongst the brethren is that orders were given to military air support/rescue missions to “stand down”; no such orders were given.

Currently Trey Gowdy and the House Select Committee have covered themselves with embarrassment by digging and digging and digging for two years to find something—anything—that would justify its $7 million cost so far, and yet they have not issued a report despite taking longer than the Watergate investigation.  Popular opinion is that they are waiting until the Democratic convention or the election to release something embarrassing to Hillary Clinton, but I’m beginning to believe they’re stalling because they have nothing and they know if they release a report it will knock the props out from under their favorite hobbyhorse.  As long as they keep mum, then they can continue to insinuate that Clinton is History’s Greatest Monster™ without having the media call them the liars they are.

update (6/27): Called it.

As for refugees: Nope. Nope.  And nope.  And benefits?  Here you go, straight from the horse’s mouth.  (As for Social Security benefits, nope.)

So, both presumptions are lies.3

Even if we believed that both presumptions were true, however, the argument is still specious. The events of presumption #1 were essentially an act of war, as in “fog of” and all that.  Events on the ground were fast, furious, unknowable, and unstoppable.  Much hay has been made of the fact that the first official statements on the attack said they were triggered by some YouTube video, but the only stone I would cast would be to advise government officials against saying anything definite while events are unfolding.  You know, like “Donald Trump is possibly bankrupt.  ALLEGEDLY.”

Meanwhile, even if we were preparing to flood our fair nation with 200,000 terrorists, the process there is an excruciatingly deliberate 2-year process.  Plenty of time to send in rescue helicopters.  Or something.  These people aren’t good at thinking their parallel situations through.

In other words, presuming the incompetence of the State Department in handling a terrorist attack does not lead to the same presumption about a process which is part of their daily job description and which has been for a very long time.

Come on, people, peek out from behind your amygdalas a little bit and see if you can find better, more logical reasons to overthrow the government.

(And of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t examine the little attribution in the lower right corner: “Outlaw Liberalism In America.”  Honey, please.  Grammar note: it’s usual not to capitalize prepositions.)

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1 You know, “those people.”  The ones who get all the free stuff, and not just the pitiable amount given to our deserving (white) poor people. “Those people” get the good welfare that allows you to buy crab legs, iPhones, and new cars.

2 Where State Department = Hillary Clinton. Let’s be honest here.

3 I know, but pretend you’re shocked.

Lichtenbergianism: WHAT HAVE I DONE?

I have done a thing.

Why have I done this thing?  Because if I am seeking world domination, I have to have a platform.  Yes, I already have this platform, but I want to keep my private thoughts on a separate plane from my benevolent despot thoughts.

Here is the problem, though: WHAT THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO PUT ON THIS NEW PLATFORM?  Talk about an ABORTIVE ATTEMPT.  Just jump in there, man, and don’t count the cost.

As has been often noted, it’s not the jump that kills you, it’s the SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION.

So let’s think this thing through.

  • If Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy were ever published, of course we would want to tie it in to Lichtenbergianism.com as a marketing ploy.
  • The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published [EGGYBP] encourages you to have an online presence before your book is published.
  • I can begin to promote the idea of the book and any auxiliary services such as speaking engagements, workshops, etc., as part of the book proposal.
  • Especially if I were able to begin doing workshops and such even without the book being published, Lichtenbergianism.com would be the appropriate base.
  • With the new domain, I can keep emails about Lichtenbergianism separate from my other personas, e.g., my personal life, my burner life, etc.
    • This would also give me a separate Twitter account with which to begin seeking my minions for world domination.
  • Filling the new domain with… what, exactly?… would force me to concentrate on exactly what: blogposts, linked articles, tweets, etc.
  • Arrrgh!

You should tell me what to put on the new site in comments.  We’ll call it focus group testing.

In other news, I have done some serious work on getting the book proposal done.  Next up: get serious about finding an agent/publisher.

Easy, fun, and SWANKY

Now someday it may happen that a victim must found you will find yourself hosting a little soirée for a friend’s book launch, and you will think to yourself how nice it would be to have those little plastic plates with the event  printed on them.  But you don’t have them, because a) they’re expensive; b) you only need a couple dozen, not 500; and c) you waited too late to even try to get them.

So you make your own:

Here’s how.

Open your favorite program to make posters/brochures/labels/bookmarks.  I use Apple’s Pages because it has everything I need.

Create a rectangle the size of your label (clear mailing labels are what we’re looking at here.)  I got 2″x4″ labels.  To make it easier to select the rectangles later, make sure that the rectangle is filled with white.  (If you leave it just blank, then you have to click exactly on the border to select the rectangle, and that’s going to be very tedious indeed.)

Now fill it with your text blocks and images and whatever.

One reason I like Pages is that when you’re in “canvas” mode, little blue lines pop up to show you when objects are aligned/centered/etc.

Pro tip: once you get your one label made to your satisfaction, select everything and GROUP THEM so that nothing slides out of place.

Here’s the critical step: flip that sucker horizontally:

Think about it: you’re going to be peeling these off and putting them on the bottom of the clear plastic plate.  You’re going to be seeing the label from the other side.

Now:

  • Duplicate your label across.
  • Align the labels.
  • Group them.
  • Duplicate that row and position the new row.
  • Measure your label sheet and position everything to land on the labels.  My labels were edge-to-edge, but if there are spaces between yours you will have to ungroup the row of labels to position each one.
  • Print on a piece of paper, then hold it up to the light behind a label sheet to see if you got the positioning right.
  • Adjust if necessary.

Once you get all the labels where they need to be, here’s the tedious part:

  • UNGROUP everything down to the level where you can select each rectangle and turn off the border line.  In Pages, it’s called the stroke of the object.  Your mileage may vary.  You’re doing this because you don’t need or want the lines, just the contents of the rectangle.
  • I wouldn’t delete the rectangles themselves, because one day you’re going to want to do this again and will need those borders.  If you’re clever, you can LOCK the position of each rectangle so that they won’t slide around by accident and all you have to do is duplicate the contents.
  • Print the labels.
  • Apply them to the bottom of your plates.

Have your soirée.

your host, the author, some rando

And don’t forget to make your bar as hipster as you can:

And bookmarks.  Don’t forget the bookmarks:

Swanky!

(The book, by the way, is Another Farewell to the Theatre, by Marc Honea, pictured above.  It is published by The Lichtenbergian Press and was designed by me.)

Cocktail update: Turff’s Curve

In the Lichtenbergian tradition, there’s a thing called Successive Approximation.  Some day you will be able to read all about it.  After your Abortive Attempt, you step back and do the Gestalt thing and figure out what’s missing.  Then you fix it.

So it is with the Turff’s Curve.  It was tasty, but it lacked depth.  So I futzed with it.

Turff’s Curve (improved)

  • 1.5 oz Calvados
  • .75 oz Swedish Punsch
  • .5 oz Velvet Falernum
  • .25 oz Averna Amaro
  • 3-5 drops 18.21 Havana & Hide bitters
  • lime slice

Much nicer.

The 18.21 Havana & Hide bitters were a discovery recently at the inestimable Decatur Package Store.  For such a small place, its selection for the cocktail craftsman is phenomenal.  Havana & Hide gives a dark flavor/aroma of cigars and leather—a nice complement to the sweetness of the main liquors in the drink.

It’s getting weird out there

Today on the FaceTubes:

The jaw drops, does it not?

The Lyles Rule of Interwebs F***ery1 states that if it’s too outrageous to be true, THEN IT’S NOT.2

One second of googling was enough to reveal that this thing was a lie.  Look at this:

Google didn’t even wait for me to space before giving me a heads up.  And then of course the results themselves were immediate.

So I have some questions.

  • Who is the liar who made this up?
  • If you posted this without checking to see if it were true,3 why did you think it was true?
    • Why do you think you need it to be true?
    • Because wouldn’t you rather live in a world where it was not true?
    • Why do you think the liar who made this up wants you to believe it’s true?

This kind of thing drives me crazy.  I know we’re dealing with half a nation of stampeded amygdalas, but this would seem to me to be a defining moment for anyone.  What kind of fear and anger are you living with that leads you to believe this outrageous lie and to post it without checking to see whether—somehow—incredibly—the National Football League would make such a self-evidently stupid own goal?4

And more importantly: who is making up these lies?  Even Snopes doesn’t seem to give much credence to their half-hearted explanation.  This meme is not an honest mistake; it’s an outright lie.5  I want this person found.  I want this person named.  I want this person’s photograph plastered all over the FaceTubes like the rapist Brock Turner.  I want him exposed as a liar to all the world.  I want everyone who believed him to start asking themselves why they wanted to believe it was true.

I know, the conservatives are right: libtards live in a fantasy universe.

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1 That word is Flowery.  I’m pretty sure.

2 Unless it’s something Donald T. Trump said.  Then it’s probably true.  But verify anyway before reposting stupid shit, people!

3 BECAUSE IT’S NOT TRUE, KENNETH!

4 Or whatever they call it in that particular sportsball.

5 Or if it is some idiot’s misinterpretation of the facts as outlined by Snopes, why the hell would they jump to that conclusion?  We’re back in Lyles Rule territory.

Empathy: how does it even work?

Today on the FaceTubes:

Here’s the proposition:

TRUMP IS A RACIST WHEN HE SAYS CURIEL’S HERITAGE COLORS HIS OUTLOOK ON LIFE = SOTOMAYOR IS NOT A RACIST WHEN SHE SAYS HER HERITAGE COLORS HER OUTLOOK ON LIFE

But of course that’s not what the truth is even close to, is it?

Trump is not having a serious discussion about how our cultural backgrounds influence our worldview, is he?  He’s claiming outright that Curiel will rule prejudicially against him (Trump) because Curiel is “Mexican” and hates Trump’s guts because he (Trump) is going to build a wall to keep those damned Mexicans out of here.  That, and deport 11 million “illegals.”

Don’t believe me?  Go find the recent Trump interview in which Jake Tapper asks Trump 23 times if his statements are racist and Trump just keeps saying he’s building a wall, as if it should be self-evident that because of his position anyone of “Mexican” heritage would automatically hate his guts.  (And then go on to claim that the Hispanics love him, or will love him, or something.)

Meanwhile, Sotomayor said during her confirmation hearings that her “wise Latina” remarks —which even at the time drove the howler monkeys to fling poo—simply meant that her experiences as a Latina and a woman had made her more empathetic and more understanding of more facets of life than someone who did not have those experiences.  If one needed proof of the concept, one might look no further than those Republican lawmakers whose opposition to gay rights evaporated the moment they learned their son was gay.  She also semi-apologized for the remarks during her hearing, saying they were “a rhetorical flourish that fell flat,” but I don’t think she needed to.  I understood what she meant, because I’m not a bigoted asshat like Jeff Sessions.

To recap: Donald Trump disparages a federal judge’s impartiality based solely on the man’s heritage, while Sonia Sotomayor says that her life experience broadens her understanding of the humans who bring their cases into her court.

So yeah.  Trump gets called a racist.  Sotomayor does not.1  Weird.

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1 Except by the “I know you are but what am I” howler monkeys.2

2 Which of course invalidates the meme even from their own perspective, never mind the actual truth.

New Cocktail: Turff’s Curve

This new drink came about, as so often is the case, by making one antique cocktail and then wondering what else one might be able to use one of the rather specific ingredients for.

In this case, I started with The Widow’s Kiss (from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails): 1.5 oz Calvados, .75 oz yellow Chartreuse, .75 oz Benedictine, Angostura bitters.  Quite, quite tasty.

That meant I had the bottle of Calvados out on the counter, and then my eye fell on the newish bottle of Velvet Falernum, a sugarcane-based cinnamony kind of liqueur.  Apple and cinnamon, right?  So 1.5 oz of Calvados and .75 oz of Falernum, and it was very good.

However, you usually want three ingredients, and I thought that the drink, tasty as it was, needed a little depth.  But what?

I went to check out the cabinet and I found Swedish Punsch, one of my favorites.  As it happens, it’s also sugarcane-based, but with a deeper, nuttier flavor.  And lo!

Turff’s Curve

  • 1.5 oz Calvados
  • .75 oz Velvet Falernum
  • .75 oz Swedish Punsch
  • 1 lime wheel for garnish

Stir, strain, garnish.

Why is it called “Turff’s Curve”?  Kevin McInturff has a FaceTubes group called Turffin, and mostly it’s people posting photos of the beer they’re drinking.  I’m an outlier with my penchant for craft cocktails, and when I posted the aforementioned Widow’s Kiss, Turff jokingly complained that I never posted drinks that didn’t require a trip to the liquor store for some new substance.  I felt that this recipe was the apotheosis of throwing him a curve, since it was probable that he didn’t own any of the ingredients.

He of course claims it’s because I described the drink as “Sweetish, with bitter and nutty undertones.”  That, too.

Procrastination

You know how when you upload your compositions to iTunes, but when you’re looking at the screen there’s no album cover, just the default icon?

That’s pretty sad.  It’s as if Apple is laughing at you, because you’re not a real composer.

Pfffft on that, I say, and so I design my own album covers.  When I finished “The Ballad of Miss Ella” last week, there was that default icon, and so I grouped “Miss Ella” with “Not Really Bad” and “Dear Diary” from my middle school theatre workshops and made a new album:

I’ll just keep adding to it as I go along.

Truth…

Remember this?

It was one of several outrageous lies that I picked up in a very short time one day on the FaceTubes.  As is my wont, I futzed with it and posted it back on this one person’s feed:

…with the comment that what interested me most was what said individual was going to do with the post, i.e., was he going to leave a demonstrable, documented  lie up on his feed?  Was his hatred of Michelle Obama so strong that he was willing to be exposed as a liar?

You will remember that this individual posted this on the same day:

He finally responded yesterday.

One has to decide which one is true. I believe the first one to be true . That is my opinion and Mine is the only one I have the right to voice. And I don’t have to justify to you or anyone else why I feel this way.

What are we to do? He believes that Michelle Obama said that “white folks are what’s wrong with America.”1  If I pushed him, he would be utterly unable to document her doing so; it has been documented that she didn’t say it.2  But he believes she did, and he doesn’t have to “justify” why he feels this way.

I imagine I can guess, though.

What are we to do? A third of our nation is unshakeable in their “belief” about how reality is structured, and they are wrong.

I’m not responding to this individual.  It would be pointless.  There is literally nothing I could do that would allow him to step back and reassess his stance.  Nothing: not reason, not shame, not suasion of any kind.  He has the freedom of making up whatever suits his very narrow understanding of what our nation is about, and he’s not giving that up just because it’s not true.

He is, of course, voting for Donald J. Trump.

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1 And in his case, I am inclined to agree.

2 Sidebar: I remember thinking shortly after Snopes.com began its debunking career that it would not take long before the crowd being debunked would start screeching that it was a liberal front, funded by George Soros, and generally fake.  That is exactly what has happened; I encountered it on another person’s feed last week.  When I asked how he would determine what was true, he blathered about using his experience, finding sources, etc.—exactly what Snopes.com does.  Oy.