Here's some info on the tough life of America's poor:
Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
Continue reading the rest of this tragic story here, including the primary factors which create this sorry state. Makes you wonder who makes up this definition of "poor"?
I used to have my hair cut at Joe's, cattycorner from my house, until the bother of having to schedule an appointment clashed with my Myers-Briggs P style and wandered up the street to Louie's where Carlos just takes you as you walk in, and on Monday, too.
Joe is from Philly, and aside from being former International Mr. Leather and a conoisseur of sexual kink, he is a chatty, upbeat --well, kinda manic actually-- and very outgoing guy (with terrific shoulders). One day when it was hot, at least hot for San Francisco, he confessed that after moving here several years ago, he lost his capacity to enjoy really warm weather. Anything over 80 degrees knocks him out. "I have become," he lamented, "a West Coast pussy boy".
Well, that makes two of us. I moved here 16 years ago and I find the temperateness much to my liking. Spring and fall is all we have, but for a few days each summer, we have some actual summer. I have to turn the fan on. And I wilt.
Today it is just 82. But I feel like the picture above. That, too, could be a Malesoul image.
Back now from my 16 day jaunt back to the East Coast for vacation and will be settling into the fall routine soon. Good time. Good food, interesting and familiar places, some very nice man-on-man play, being with people I care about, getting to sleep whenever I want....I love to nap on vacation, never do it at home...and even took up fishing again, something I did a lot as a kid. I do like my family. The maternal unit was in good shape and my sibs --including my sibs in law-- are a pleasure. Dad is getting quite frail. Poor fella; he's bored most of the time, given how limited his capacities are.
In the small North Fork town where my family has summered and then lived for decades, the local fishing station, Capn SoandSo's, is for sale. One of my charming married-with-children brothers suggested that I move there and buy it. "It'd be perfect for you", says he. Knowing the boy as I do, I suspect what's coming...and was not wrong. "Just think of all those butch guys passing through there all the time...you wouldn't even have to bait the hook!" Appalled --LOL-- I say, "Are you trying to pimp me out?". He smiles, "What are bros for?"
Illegal immigration is an issue which provokes sputtering rage in me. So when Senor(a or ita) Arellano made her speech today about "believing in her heart" --a standard American rhetorical device for avoiding criticism, beloved of evangelicals-- that the people of America would not want to separate a mother from her child...she was right. This gringo American does not want her separated from her son.
I am sitting with my morning coffee, orange juice and cigar on the sun-drenched back porch of the parental home, in a small town on eastern Long Island's north fork. The sun is out, the bay is beautiful, all is calm. I am reading an evolutionary "deep history" of the human race, based mostly on genetics and archeology by Nicholas Wade, called Before the Dawn. Fascinating stuff.
Must be either my age or my naturally dusky character...or the combination of the two...but I am imagining myself a patrician Roman on his farm in the late fourth century, half-aware that the Western Empire is on the verge of collapse, the barbarians on the march and the once-great world-city unwilling or unable to do anything about it.
The scenario described in this Toronto newspaper could be repeated many times here in America, mostly now among black Americans and increasingly among Hispanics in America...so many of whom are invaders from Mexico.
For most people, the basic rule needs to be: finish high school, don't make babies until you are married, and once married, stay married. Those three conditions will save you from the worst positions in society. Unwed mothers and their children are, in general, going to be poor and stay that way, be sick and die early, and have more than a nodding acquaintance with the criminal justice system. These peoples' own hip-hop culture mistakes will be blamed on "society", and our cohesion will continue to fray.
What a liberated-from-men Murphy Brown could so triumphantly pull off because she was a wealthy white professional woman, will be the demise of millions who are not. And maybe, in time, of us Romans, too.
Took a subway trip down memory lane. Visited the section of Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, where I lived while finishing university and then taught high school some 35 years ago. Took the subway from Manhattan, under the river, and there I was. The neighborhood is cleaner, the cars are in better shape, some of the buildings are updated and there's a cafe with an outdoor patio...but otherwise the place is the same: a Latino ghetto. One of the streets is now subtitled, "Avenue of Puerto Rico". I did see a few men who seemed gay, something I likely would not have remembered, since I lived there before I came out...even to myself.
Fella at the cafe counter where I ate lunch asked me if I was military. To my query why, he said it was the way I held myself when I walked. Several people have mentioned this to me in the last year, something about "gait" and "carriage". Hmmm. So thanks, Dad, for yelling at me all those years that I should stand up straight and hold my shoulders back.
My flight from SF changed planes in Philly...and then the airline simply cancelled all its flights to New York until....the next night. At my own expense, and after dragging myself and my carry-on all over the wretched airport, I took train into Philly, then Amtrack to NY, then cab to the sister's house. My luggage, however, had gone on to La Guardia, so next day I had, at my own expense, to get out there, find it and bring it home so I could leave the following day for Toronto. Cost me an extra $200. If you know anyone at US Airlways, tell them FU. From now on, I'm flying Virgin, even if it does make me land at JFK.
Good thing this is not a Third-World country. (What's the emoticon for irony or sarcasm?)
Speaking of which, most of the Third-World seems to have moved to New York and to Toronto. We shall see if it vitalizes us or just fragments us. California has become Mexifornia, but at least not Meccafornia.
Finally got to the gym today, after a five-day hiatus. Longest away from the house of dumbells since my month-long bout with bronchitis in the winter. I feel odd without it. Now, having spent a couple of hours pulling and lifting and sweating...and admiring the muscular male section of the creation...I feel more myself.
*The animal pictured above is the magnus mus albinus gymnasticus americanus, or the Great White American Gym Rat. I prefer to think of my attachment to the gym in more canine terms, the magnus canis albinus gymnasticus americanus, as below, but, well, there it is.
Via Christopher Hitchens: "Lady Diana Cooper, when approached by a ragged man who said he hadn't eaten for three days, upbraided him roundly and said: 'But my dear man, you must try. If necessary, you must force yourself.' "
A recent study has shown, to the chagrin of its researchers, that racial diversity is not all it's cracked up to be. It so upset them that they spent years trying to disprove what they found and then trying to moralize about it. Liberalism as a religion, anyone?
SF is full of "Celebrate Diversity" bumperstickers and the meme of "diversity increases our strength" is ubiquitous. A local nonprofit that I know of spent a year or so asking itself what its strategic priorities were. Racial diversity never came up...until the last minute, when they realized they had been remiss, and stuck it into their plan. Classic.
Inclusive! Sensitive! Diverse! This, in a city whose black population keeps declining, to a point where it is now less than 7%, half of what it was forty years ago. Must be George Bush's fault.
I recently shocked a gym-mate who had returned, appropriately horror-stricken and self-righteous, from a trip to the Heartland, discovering vast areas that were not like San Francisco. I told him, "Isn't this a great country? Such diversity!". He truly did not know what I was talking about. His shock only increased when I said that it was a good thing to have so many Red States rather than having everyone be homogeneously like SF, because it was diversity that makes us strong. He looked at me as if I had just said, "Klaatu barada nikto".
I hate the word "diversity". I am sick to death of it. It smells of fake moral vanity. It surprises me not at all that neighborliness decreases as such "diversity" increases. Real diversity, especially diversity of opinion, is not tolerated. And what it really means is that whites cannot be left alone by themselves. And white liberals, which includes almost everyone I know, are the purveyors and perpetrators of this creepy game.
No one gets anxious or critical that black churches are...black. When was the last time the citizens of Chinatown tried to import a bunch of Latinos?
In terms of my newish triad on the masculine --power, courage and skill--- these guys seem to hyperspecialize in certain kinds of skills, ramping up the third part. Although they typically lack perceived power, especially physical and sexual power, or the standard kind of agonic courage, they can, by dint of extreme devotion to certains kinds of skills, accrue quite a lot of power, and their resoluteness in the face of mockery does show the courage of the intransigent.
Aka, Bill Gates.
Interesting take, too, on how a nerd can actually be more purely masculine than the Big Man.
If you want to email a post to someone, Blogger provides a preliminary message about usage of the feature, which ends with the line: "This feature is not to be used for advertising or excessive self-promotion."
Is there some tribunal which will decide when one's self promotion becomes excessive?
The lyrics from a current country song by Bucky Covington. He's in his twenties...and this song describes my childhood in the 50's and 60's.
A Different World Bucky Covington
We were born to mothers who smoked and drank Our cribs were covered in lead based paint No child proof lids no seat belts in cars Rode bikes with no helmets and still here we are, still here we are We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved Had three TV channels you got up to change No video games and no satellite All we had were friends and they were outside, playin’ outside
It was a different life When we were boys and girls Not just a different time It was a different world
School always started the same every day The pledge of allegiance then someone would pray Not every kid made the team when they tried We got disappointed and that was all right, we turned out all right
No bottled water, we drank from a garden hose And every Sunday, all the stores were closed
It was a different life When we were boys and girls Not just a different time It was a different world
John Kekes, a secular conservative philosopher who has influenced me a lot, is joined by David Gelernter of the AEI in assessing the Left as a form of religion. I share this viewpoint, which is why I rarely try to argue with liberals. I know that when I was a liberal, I could not be argued out of it.
"This left-liberalism is no mere political ideology. It is beyond doubt a religion, and has been since the 1930s. (There is no God in the left-liberal religion, but the same holds for other accepted and acknowledged religions.) Religious beliefs are ones that you take on faith, that you cannot be talked out of, that show you a broad, comprehensive, high-level picture of the world. They are doctrines you believe for internal spiritual reasons, not external factual ones.
Today's left-liberal faith despises the Bible, Judaism and Christianity, family life, and "the patriarchy." It believes in a "globalism" that holds divisions within nations (race and class divisions) to be terribly important and divisions among nations to be trivial. It believes in multinational government and (naturally) hates patriotism on principle, just as it does Christianity, with all the fervent hatred that new faiths reserve for older ones. Its fundamental principle is that men and women are not just equal but interchangeable."
In British Columbia, only a minority of these marriages were between Canadians. More female than male couples wed, in a population where gay men greatly outnumber lesbian women.
I certainly think that ways should be provided for same-sex couples to create legal partnerships, but I have never been convinced that re-defining the fundamental and already-stressed institution of marriage was the way to do it. And especially by judicial decision. For so few people.
If there were legions of gays --gay men especially-- chafing at the bit to march up to the altar, they seem to have had second thoughts. My guess is that they were never eager to hitch up in the first place.
You know Groucho Marx's old line about never wanting to join a club that would have him as a member. It seems that gays want to be accepted as members in clubs that they would never have joined.
I am going to break one of my own rules, then make amends for it and move on, contritely.
A while back I decided to eschew (yes, eschew!) all the phobias and pc isms, "homophobia" included. All of them, I concluded, were rhetorical straightjackets, prepackaged "mind-forged manacles" designed to prevent perception, thought and action.
Roger Scruton, one of the last conservative thinkers in Britain, has pointed out a characteristic of the liberal mind which deserves attention. He calls it "oikophobia". Oikos is the Greek word for house. It is also the root of all the eco- words in English, so beloved of environmentalists. Scruton describes "oikophobia" as a "rejection of home and inheritance, the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours’". It is part of normal adolescence. But it also describes the default and reflexive reaction of liberals to their "home and inheritance". I have referred to it as self-hatred and self-loathing.
I have also thought of the phenomenon of "liberal jaaliya". Jaaliya is the Muslim term for the times of ignorance, prior to a tribe's or nation's embrace of Islam, pre-enlightenment. For most liberals I know, Western history, prior to 1965, is largely a saga of evil, a "jaaliya". The New Dispensation of the oikophobic progressive demands distancing oneself from it. Hence all the breast-beating and kowtowing and apologizing and scolding, etc. It is designed to show that even if a liberal looks like a bad old-time Westerner, s/he is converted, illuminated, and pure.
And those who represent or embody "home and inheritance" --the white male American Christian businessmen, soldiers and consumers-- are The Enemy. Osama and his ilk are not really taken seriously as a danger or, less, an evil to be fought. As I have often said, hang out with liberals and listen for what really makes them angry. It is never the murderous thuggery of Muslim jihadis. It is alway George Bush, right-wing Christians, Republicans, and Corporate America. What they hate is the representation of their own demonized past. For oikophobics, only The Future and Unfolding New Order can be loved. It is multicultural and woman-loving, based on economic justice, secular and peaceful, beyond mere nationalism, and in harmony with The Earth. Kumbaya. com. The past, the vast turbulent and magnificent bulk of who we are, where we come from, what grounds and creates us, what has allowed us to survive, is rejected. That is a recipe for suicide. Which is the logical outcome of this point of view.
I promise not to use the word oikophobia anymore. But it makes a point.