Free Markets vs. Socialism (posted 8/15/22)

This has been a busy week for me.  It’s the lead-up to the start of a new school year, and for me that means a lot of frenzied activity to turn over our two college rental houses.  I’m fully over the covid, and thus grateful for the chance to get out there and get some work done.

This year is a little more calm, since Rosewood – our Victorian that I wrote about recently — partially burned in August, and is now in the process of restoration.  (I’ve put up a folder with a few of the burned pics at Martinsimpsonwriting.com, and will soon be posting more as the house makes its transition back to life.)

My other college rental is a 1922 Craftsman right next to campus.   There was a bit of deferred maintenance to deal with there, so I’ve been earning my landlord money this week: cleaning, painting, caulking, trash hauling, installing new smoke detectors, etc.  A couple of handymen and a team of cleaners helped a lot. 

Being a landlord has given me a deeper appreciation for a free market economy than I’d ever have gotten if I’d only done my day job as an English professor. 

I came out of grad school with pretty conventional leftist prejudices about economics, made possible mostly because I’d had remarkably little contact with the actual economy!   I “knew” that capitalism was exploitative, that the rich got that way by shady dealing or inheritance, that the poor were poor because they were victims of forces largely beyond their control, etc.

In the words of Ronald Reagan (peace be upon him), I “knew” a lot of things that just weren’t so!

On the other hand, even in my educated ignorance, I had enough walking-around sense to know that the socialism that my profs and peers touted did not work.  I’d paid enough attention to notice that the leftist utopias that took shape after the Soviets got things started in 1917 tended to be terrible.

I also noticed that no West Germans were risking their lives to get over the wall into East Berlin, and no Floridians were braving shark-infested waters on inner-tubes to get to Fidel’s Edenic Cuba.

So I started reading a lot of economics and history, and in my early 30s I took my first-ever entrepreneurial risk, and bought a tiny rental house in such terrible shape that it had scared off any rational investors.   

It was the start of an education in the way that economics really works.  Along the way, I was able to come to an appreciation of the moral aspects of a free market, along with the financial ones.

My Christian upbringing and education provided me with a lot of knowledge in varied areas, but economics wasn’t one of them.  I mistook the many warnings about the temptations and moral danger associated with wealth – all of which still make total sense to me today — to mean that financial success was in itself immoral. 

As I write this, I realize I’m starting on a topic that threatens to blow up into a book, and I’m very much aware that the most frequent complaint about my columns is that they are too long.  (By the way, how dare you!)

So I’ll try to summarize one main point: a great moral strength of free markets is that they generally work to turn a fundamental human flaw (greed) to good ends, while a great moral failing of leftism/socialism is that it exacerbates an equally fundamental human flaw (envy).

All of us are prone to greed and to envy.  At some level we all know that both are wrong, but they are nigh-unto irresistible, even to the enlightened denizens of CO Nation. 

Human nature being what it is, free markets cannot re-make the crooked timber of humanity.  People will still try to cheat each other, to take advantage of others’ weakness or desperation, and to con people.   Especially if they can use the power of government, they will rent-seek, destroy their competition and bid-rig.

But generally, the most reliable way to succeed financially in a free-market system is to please as many of your fellow citizens as you can, such that they voluntarily exchange their money for the good or service you are offering.

That system works well for people who want to be honest.  Conscientious mechanics, carpenters, and restauranteurs provide their customers with good service at reasonable prices, and their customers spread the word.  Cheaters and con men can victimize people sometimes, but word of mouth will thwart their desire for long-term success, just as it helps the trustworthy businesspeople.

More importantly, that system also does the best job possible of keeping people honest, even when they’d very much like NOT to be.   Vendors who want to cut corners are always tempted, but they know the word of mouth will kill them.  Those who want to price gouge know that competitors will eat their lunch if they try it.   

A car dealer can screw a customer on a sale and make a short-term profit.  But that customer will never buy from him again, and neither will any of that customer’s family or social network. 

Here’s a historical example.  Everyone remembers Rosa Parks kicking off the anti-segregation movement that eventually overturned the entire rotten edifice of segregation laws in the South.   But fewer people stop to think of why all of those racist laws existed in the first place.

With a racist white power structure in total control of the south, why did they need to pass laws to ENFORCE anti-black discrimination?  (Is it churlish of me to remind everyone that the political party behind all of those segregationist laws was the Democrat party?  Tough – I’m churlin’ it up, baby!)    

Wasn’t there enough racial prejudice around to ensure that blacks would be treated as second class citizens? 

In fact, there wasn’t.  I mean sure, most businessmen in those communities would have treated blacks badly.   But without a law – without the coercive power of government – the free market would have required businessmen to treat blacks better.

Because absent government coercion, if there were 3 bus companies in a city with many thousands of black riders, and they all treated blacks badly (forcing them to sit in the back, etc.) one smart guy would have started a bus company without segregated seating. 

Many white Democrats—er, customers – would have spurned that bus company.

But every black bus rider in the city would have patronized it, and the other 3 companies would have been forced to drop their prejudiced policies, or gone out of business. 

(Yes, this example pre-supposes another core conservative requirement: the rule of law.  Many white thugs would likely try to vandalize or harass the new bus company and their riders.  But if the government didn’t stop them, that would be a failure of the government, not the free market.) 

This process would happen, regardless of the intentions of the bus company owners and employees.  If they were not bigots, they’d happily steal their competition’s customers. 

But even if they were bigots, the free market would mitigate their bigotry, and maybe even slowly train them out of it.  Even if it didn’t, the market would incentivize even bigots to treat blacks better, and punish them for treating them badly.

At first one restaurant would de-segregate their lunch counters, and soon all would either follow suit, or go bankrupt.  The same with theaters, buses, water fountains and the rest. 

THAT’s why the Democrats running the show had to use the government to enforce their bigotry.  Because if they had to rely on the free market, they would’ve had their klan hoods handed to them.

Socialism is the opposite: it takes the equally ubiquitous sin of envy and makes it much, much worse.

Just as with greed, most of our consciences tell us that envy is wrong, and that we should be ashamed of it.  Envying people who have more success, money or advantages is as natural as the sunrise, but it makes us sour and hateful, and it sabotages our ability to learn from our limitations, our own bad choices and the good one of others, and to eventually become successful ourselves.

Envy seduces people into adopting an external locus of control, which then ensures that they’ll always fail.   The successes of others prove that they have privilege.  You’re a victim, and nothing you can do will improve your situation.

Why work harder, or delay gratification?  The system is rigged, and your only hope is to vote for someone to rig the game for you, or to take to the streets and burn it all down yourself.  

Males have an unfair advantage if you’re female, whites if you’re black, attractive people if you’re ugly, the tall if you’re short.

Then along comes socialism, and makes things even worse.  Rich people are evil; they get rich by unearned inheritance, or by screwing the little people.  In a fair world, your grievance study degree would earn you more than some lowly plumber or electrician.

Ultimately, leftism weaponizes envy.  It takes away the shame and guilt that you should feel when you’re being envious, and replaces it with a furious conviction of your moral superiority.  It makes you proud of your flaws, and turns a human failing into a noxious political platform.     

And through that act of self-deception, it primes you to fall for all kinds of lies and delusions.

Is it any wonder that the philosophy that teaches that men can be women, babies are not babies, a recession isn’t a recession, inflation isn’t inflation, and Liz Warren is a Comanche warrior (#wemustneverstopmockingher), also teaches that a mortal sin is actually a cardinal virtue?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put the finishing touches on a rental house that some college students will be excited to move into, and voluntarily throw fistfuls of cash at me, which I can then turn into a tithe, and jewelry for my wife, rawhide treats for my Wonder Dog, and Gator tickets for the whole family. 

It’s been a long 17 years of Biden, but November is coming!

I Stumble out of a Covid Fog & Into a Political Fog (posted 8/12/22)

After four pretty miserable days followed by a couple of mediocre ones, I think I’m about out of the woods, covid-wise.

I haven’t had a fever in three days, my raw-throat-assisted Brando impression has descended from great to just pretty good, and I’ve lost about six pounds that – let’s face it – I could afford to lose.

In other words, I’m back to being the metaphorical scrappy, possession receiver of the roving correspondents – not much to look at, not a supernaturally gifted athlete, I won’t be wowing anyone with my 40 time or my bench press numbers. 

But I’m back, and the old cliché applies: 

You can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me.

Annnnnndddd…then I watch three days of news, and suddenly I’m longing for the shivering, fuzzy brained obliviousness of yester-week.

First, I see Lyin’ Tony Fauci, and he’s hexa-quadrillioned down on his mendacity.

Just this week – in mid-August of the Year of Our Lord 2022! – he hosted an event in which many people inexplicably still continued to listen to him.

Oh, wait: it was in Seattle.  Have you been wondering where all of the dullards who created Chaz/Chop went after their nasty, brutal and short utopian experiment quickly descended into bickering, raving, and panhandling amidst a cloud of pot smoke and aerosolized human feces?

Now you know.  They went to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle to listen to Faux-ci be wrong again, and yet still toweringly arrogant.  He continues to be frustrated that most of us walk-upright, homo sapiens types are still resisting his “wisdom.” 

He said, and I swear I am not making this up, “When you tell people they need to mask in an indoor congregate setting when you’re in a zone that has a high dynamic of infection – that is looked upon by a lot of people as an encroachment on your freedom.”   

This guy gives Que Mala a run for her money in the pompously hollow verbosity department.  “An indoor congregate setting?” Translation: “indoors”

“A zone that has a high dynamic of infection?” Translation: “the world.”

“An encroachment on your freedom” means “something that clearly encroaches on your freedom.”

That’s right: Fauci says that people are no longer following their national doctor’s advice, and he can’t understand it.  Here are his actual words, that actually followed the quote above:

“We’ve never had that before.  It’s almost inexplicable!”

Ugh!  It’s NOT inexplicable, or even “almost” inexplicable! 

It’s the most explicable thing in the history of explicability!  Because you know what else we’ve never had before?

YOU!   You were wrong about AIDS 40 years ago, and no one has paid attention between then and covid, but you’ve probably been wrong about everything in between. 

I’ll bet you’re the one who came up with the food pyramid, which turned out to be totally wrong.  And then told us that eating eggs is super-unhealthy, but then that eggs are great, but only if we scramble them and eat them through a mask, or something.  

You’re likely the one out of 10 doctors who recommended that your patients chew gum and smoke cigarettes and run with scissors and play in traffic.

I think I’ve seen your JAMA article where you recommend that the best way to avoid getting monkey pox is to take a Jet Blue flight to San Francisco and serially bang 27 strange men – plus two newly divorced marmosets and a bi-curious macaque – with running sores all over their bodies.

Then covid arrived, and you’ve gone 0-and-1745 in predictions, claims, and statements about covid.

And now no one is taking your covid proclamations seriously?

The hell you say!

So I changed the channel, only to land on the story of Manchin and Sinema folding like a beach chair that Michael Moore sat on, and now we’ve got another nearly trillion-dollar spending bill that will make everything worse.

Because you know what kind of federal employees we need another army of?

No, not border agents. And not special forces guys or hospice care providers for all of the octogenarians in Congress.

IRS agents.  Eighty billion dollars’ worth of new IRS agents.

Best case scenario: they manage to extract exactly $80B out of taxpayers, producing many years’ worth of wasted time, stress and economy-hobbling waste for our economy, and we break even.  I mean, except for the misery and wasted time and all the rest.

Worst case scenario: they extract a lot more than that, in which case we get the misery and the wasted time, AND our economy is killed as dead as Joe Biden.

Plus there’s more graft for green energy that will never work, but will at least strengthen Putin.

Passing a bill that prints and then throws $700B in spending onto the inflation bonfire is bad enough.  But calling it “the Inflation Reduction Act?” 

You’ve got to give it to the Dems: they are shameless!  They are great with the deceptive, 180-degree-wrong naming thing.  

They create an organization whose sole purpose is to help women abort their children, thus preventing parenthood.  What do they call it?  Planned Parenthood!

Their weird mania for sexual confusion and bullying kids and vulnerable adults into denying their obvious, manifest gender persuades those people to take a malign cocktail of hormones that works against their body’s natural function, and to undergo surgery that brutally carves away their properly functioning anatomy.

That course of violently denying their gender is called… wait for it… gender AFFIRMATION treatment.

And now, they call a boondoggle that will surely turbo-charge inflation the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Well done, morons!

But the news hasn’t been all bad. At least in the sense that some of the pain the Dems are causing is starting to boomerang on them.

I’ve enjoyed watching Greg Abbott and DeSantis sending busloads of illegals to deep blue NYC and DC, exposing their cities to about as many illegals as sneak into Texas in one single day. And then, both Dem mayors prove a theory that I’ve been working on lately: elected Democrats don’t have any mirrors.

Otherwise they couldn’t look at themselves being such colossal hypocrites and not be ashamed.  They’ve been beating their chests about how righteous they are, because they are hypothetically welcoming and loving to a bunch of hypothetical illegals whom – in the abstract – they would love to welcome into their city.

Until half a dozen actually show up.  Then the Dem officials shriek and moan and pull their dashikis or ponchos up over their heads and blubber that the feds must send them truckloads of cash to help with the “burden” of dealing with actual illegals that they allegedly love so much.  When they’re not calling them “a burden.”

“Sanctuary city” is another great lefty label.  “Sanctuary” literally has holiness – as in “sanctified” and “saintly” – at the core of its etymology.  And the Dems flatter themselves that their ostentatious offering to host immigrants – as long as none of them ever takes them up on it — makes them virtuous. 

Uncle Jesus called people very much like them “whitewashed sepulchers.”  (It’s not a compliment.)

“Sanctuary” city?  More like “sack-tuary city.”  As in, the taxpayers shouldn’t give you a dime, so that your crumbling home bases will soon be sacked by the outraged illegals you invited in with no intention of sacrificing anything to improve their lives.

Also, “sack-tuary” as in, “you’re a collection of sacks of shite for behaving so badly, and then congratulating yourselves for it.

Bah!     

Rather than end on that down note, I invite you all to go over to Martinsimpsonwriting.com, where you’ll see a picture of Cassie the Wonder Dog from several Halloween’s ago, dressed in the ancestral costume of her mother’s Norwegian ancestors.

I defy anyone to look at that picture and not have their spirits lifted. 

It’s been a long 14 years of Biden, but November is coming!

A Few, Covid-Garbled Thoughts about Turning Science into a Political Football (posted 8/9/22)

I’m still fighting through the flu Manchu; I left the house tonight for the first time in 3 days, in order to take Cassie the Wonder Dog on our (usually) nightly walk.  Even that little bit of activity left me light-headed and clammy, and my raw throat has gotten to the stage where my usually strong Brando impression is even better.

I kept Cassie entertained with Godfather monologues during our walk.  “And if by chance an honest dog such as yourself should make any enemies, then they would become MY enemies.  And then they would fear you.”

This column will be an unusual one.  Since I’ve spent the last 3 days fever-ridden and drowsing, I haven’t kept on top of each day’s news.  But before I got sick, I’d been thinking about the topic of science and politics, mostly because of a visit with a very old friend who is a committed lefty.  I value his friendship, especially because in my experience, not many hard-core lefties are willing (or psychologically able?) to remain friends with conservatives.

Plus, he has a goodness of heart that goes a long way toward making up for his hardness of head.  😊

When he brought up climate change, he was frustrated with what he considered my denial of the relevant science.  Because our time together was short, we agreed to exchange some emails on the topic, and I’d drafted a first salvo before the ‘Rona hit me.

So for what it’s worth, here are what I hope are a few coherent thoughts on politics and science:

My first thought is that whenever science and politics are mixed, science almost inevitably ends up giving way to politics.  In all large-scale research, someone is paying the tab, and some constituencies (types of businesses, academic centers, interest groups both private and public) will potentially be helped or harmed by the eventual findings.  

Thus, disinterested, bias-free scientific inquiry is vanishingly rare.   

I don’t think that fact necessarily destroys the credibility of scientific findings.  But we’ve got to be aware of the interests at stake, and resist the utopian claims of both sides to be pure, Platonic seekers of capital “t” Truth.  Rather, we should employ the empirical method ourselves, and skeptically analyze all findings.

That’s not what I see happening in public debate.  We’ve all got a late-stage case of “confirmation bias,” and we all tend to glom onto any data, claims or “studies” that support our preferred position, and dismiss any that don’t. 

My second thought is that the secular left tends to weaponize “science” in political debate more, and more vociferously, than does the right.  I think that tendency goes hand-in-hand with an overall condescension – often bordering on contempt – for religion.  In many cases, that condescension is well merited – there are a lot of religious nuts out there – but for many secular lefties, an anti-religious prejudice confirms their own correctness, and obviates the need to take other positions seriously, or to scrutinize their own.

A lot of people have pointed out that political leftism/socialism functions very much like a traditional religion.  There are rituals and behaviors used to signal your own virtue, an accepted orthodoxy that demands conformity, the division of the world into the redeemed (woke) and the benighted (deplorables, those in need of having their consciousness raised), with excommunication (cancellation) for the latter, etc.

Real, valid science is instinctively humble.  It outlines the limits of its knowledge, and couches its findings in careful qualifications.  Scientific journals are full of phrasing like, “Though this study had a small sample size, preliminary findings suggest that there is likely a link between Cause A and Effect B.  More studies are needed to either confirm or rule out other potential causes….”

Politicized science is arrogant and dismissive.  “Studies show that A causes B.  More research needs to be done, but we can’t afford to wait, because decisive action must be taken immediately.  Scientific consensus has been reached, and what are sometimes proposed as alternative theses are actually bad faith or unsophisticated thoughts of fringe characters or deniers.”

One quick recent example involves transgenderism.

This idea has gone from fringe to orthodox with lightning speed.  None of the proponents can point to any empirical, verifiable data that could identify a person who has this condition: no organic differences in the brain or any other organs, no chemical or hormonal differences, no chromosomal differences.

For nearly all other conditions that are as impactful as this one, a scientist could quickly find empirical data to confirm or disconfirm the diagnosis.  Sickle cell, spina bifida, MS, brain injury, schizophrenia – all can be definitely established with replicable tests. 

But if a patient reports that s/he is “really” a woman in a man’s body, or two-spirited, or non-binary, that self-diagnosis must be accepted as if it were a proven hypothesis.   

Many reasonable people – from within medicine and psychology, as well as from without – have posited a contrary but logical view of transgenderism.  They suggest that it might be a form of mental illness, in the same family with something like anorexia.  They don’t use the term “mental illness” as a derogatory or dismissive term, but as a compassionate one, geared toward acknowledging the suffering of the patient and finding types of treatment to reduce or relieve it.

They point out that one of the fundamental ways we define mental illness is that the patient’s perception of the physical world doesn’t match reality.  One believes that she is Katherine the Great or a famous actress, or that satellites are recording her thoughts, or that she is morbidly obese when she is skeletally thin.  Believing that one is the opposite sex fits that pattern perfectly. 

When it comes to possible treatments, they cite the Hippocratic Oath’s axiomatic, “First, do no harm.”  They warn about the obvious danger arising from quickly starting hormonal treatments (with drastic, long-lasting and incompletely understood ramifications) or cutting off healthy organs.  They cite data suggesting that “sex reassignment” surgeries carry much higher rates of serious post-op complications than do any other surgeries undertaken by patients who are not at dire risk of death in the first place.

They point to data suggesting that the vastly higher rates of suicide and suicidal ideation associated with transgenderism is almost identical in the short run for those who undergo surgery and chemical treatments as for those who don’t. 

They point to other studies suggesting that especially for adolescents and pre-adolescents who consider themselves transgender, fully 80% of them grow out of that perception by early adulthood, if left alone and not prodded into risky chemical ingestions and dangerous surgeries. 

I don’t claim to be a medical doctor or scientist, so I can’t say definitively that one of those views is 100% wrong and the other 100% right.  I’m just a humble roving correspondent with a low-grade fever and an inquiring mind.

But I think that the summation that I just laid out is at least reasonable enough to merit serious consideration and further study.   And if a reader were seriously trying to understand and follow The Science, he would want to do some open-minded research, and test the comparative validity of the opposing views of what transgenderism is, and how it could be best treated.

But that’s not the reaction I see coming from the vast majority of the lefty LGBTQ commentariat.  What I see looks a lot more like the zealotry of the Spanish Inquisition in the middle of a frenzied heretic-hunt.  All evidence from all of your senses, including common sense, must be rejected in favor of their evidence-less, metaphysical claims.

I had meant to discuss covid as another example, but the Nyquil-induced brain fuzz is descending upon me.  So here is a cliff-notes summary:

The Received Scientific Orthodoxy on covid – at least as represented by Fauci and the approved voices of public health bureaucrats — displayed none of the humility of real science, and all of the arrogance of propaganda.  

Ubiquitous masks and lockdowns were crucial in stopping the spread.  (18 months later, the data is in.  Masks were no more than marginally effective, and only in a very few circumstances indoors.  Harsh lockdowns made only a statistically insignificant difference, while producing devastating psychological, social and financial damage.)

Vaccinations will prevent catching or spreading the disease… but only with multiple boosters.  And there are no significant side effects.  (The data is in: nope.)

In increasingly shrill and ridiculous appearances, Fauci became more and more adamant, reaching his nadir in the infamous, “If you’re disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with Science™!” rant.

I don’t fault anyone for being wrong at the beginning of the process, when we were making educated guesses.  But after two years, the “pro-science” left’s arrogance and denial has only increased, with every empirical rib kick that the data has given them.

Even now, they’re not ruling out future mask mandates or lockdowns, or even apologizing to all those devastated by the lockdowns that we absolutely KNOW did not work.  They’re not offering compensation or re-instatement to the tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, airline pilots or special forces bad-asses who lost their careers because they wouldn’t take a jab that was at least as risky to them as the virus it was meant to treat.

This is not science, people.  It’s religion.

And it’s not even a good religion. 

I get mercy and love and forgiveness from the Creator who made me in His image, plus the King James Bible and the writing of CS Lewis and the music of Beethoven and Handel, and on and on.

What do they get?  Joe Biden, Hunter and Tony Fauci.    (The doddering father, the degenerate son, and the unholy pest.)  

That’s all I can manage right now.  If you found this column semi-coherent, that was probably just the fever talking.  I hope to have my wits about me the next time I write.

Avenatti/ Anybody but Fauci, 2024!

I Have Returned, but All is Not Well (posted 8/5/22)

.I’m back home from my trip north to see family, but unfortunately, covid has finally caught up with me.

I blame my mom.  (I mean, after the Chicoms, and after lyin’ Tony Fauci and his gain of function research.)   I stayed at her place on Monday night; she lives with my sister and brother-in-law, both of whom were feeling a little under the weather.  So I kept my distance from both of them.

But mom felt fine.  She turned 84 last Saturday (which makes her just 2342 years younger than Imhotep Pelosi, for those of you keeping score at home), and she is just adorable.

So I kissed and hugged on her, as a grateful and loving son does.

Then they called me after I got home, to say that all 3 of them tested positive for covid.   And yesterday I started with a raw throat, and today I’ve got fever and body aches and a fuzzy head.  Which, taken together, would probably kill a lesser roving correspondent.

But am I going to let that stop me from writing this column, you might ask?

To quote the Godfather – which all of us should do once a week or so – ‘What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully?”

Of course not.  Am I an Ameri-can or an Ameri-can’t?  

The former.

Do I have the strength of 10 men, because my heart is pure?

I do, and it is.

Besides, I’m used to writing with a fuzzy head, though it’s usually due to the ingestion of medicinal bourbon. 

To quote the late, great Phil Hartman as incompetent lawyer Lionel Hutz on the Simpsons – which we should all do, when we’re not quoting the Godfather or Uncle Jesus (though not in that order) – it’s “the brownest of the brown liquors.”  Mmmm.

So here goes, and I blame any incoherence that follows on the wu flu, which is not killing me, but only making me stronger.

I now have a new favorite Californian.  (Not a crowded list lately, I’ll grant you.)

It’s Craig Cope, a liquor store owner who is 80 years old (making him only 37 years younger than Bernie Sanders, for those of you keeping score at home), and is rocking a Buddy Ebsen look.  (Cutting-edge cultural references ripped from today’s headlines!)

And boy, is he well-named, because Craig can definitely Cope!

Which I found out while watching surveillance video of four armed Biden voters who ran into his store to rob him.  The mask-wearing lead wuss came through the front door pointing a rifle and saying, “Hands in the air!  Hands in the air!”

Cope must have thought, “I’m not going to do that.”  Instead, he shot him with the shotgun he was holding.

Because: America!

And as in pretty much all cases of illegally armed punks confronted by a legally armed citizen, the punk immediately turned and ran, leaving a trail of urine and screaming like a beeyotch, “He shot my arm off!  He shot my arm off!”

For the record, his arm was still attached, the little drama queen.  The four perps were soon arrested, and the would-be rifleman was treated for his wound at a hospital.  Tragically, no amputation was required.

Speaking of entertaining crime video, let me recommend the You Tube videos of an ex-cop who calls himself Donut Operator.  He’s funny, and the videos he shows are sometimes tragic, but mostly comic, as they involve the myriad ways that low IQ criminals managed to get themselves ballistically ventilated in the pursuit of their career choice as lazy, non-contributing slugs.

One recent favorite is entitled, “Bork bork gets his first nom nom.”  (Which is DO’s way of describing a police K9 getting to chomp his first ever criminal.) 

The story is that three mouth-breathers who look about as sharp as the brain trust running the January 6th committee went on a car-jacking and murder spree.  When the cops tracked down 2 of the 3, they were already in jail for other crimes.

Which left one guy roaming the streets.   Does he have a neck tattoo of a hand holding a pistol aiming forward, you ask?

See the Godfather quote above.

Anyway, the cop’s body cam captures the moments when they catch up with the guy, and the cop lets his newbie German shepherd named Red – and he is a very good boy! – start tracking the bad guy.

Red picks up the scent — I’m guessing it’s equal parts cowardice, pot smoke and bad judgement – and locates the big mean murderer hiding behind a washer and dryer in a back yard.   Red leaps forward and chomps down on the perp’s ankle. 

And just like the rifleman in CA, this guy starts squealing like a transwoman when someone misgenders her. 

(Or him.  I’m so confused.)

After allowing Red about 20 seconds of nom-noming — and savoring the lamentations of the murderous pseudo-woman — the cop pulls him off, shouting praise for the good boy.  And Red eats it up, howling in joy, and asking for one more bite of the miscreant.

My favorite part of the video is that the crook’s last name is Bacon.  Which seems appropriate, the way Red was finding him absolutely delicious.

Let me close with a comment that I hesitate to make, because I wonder if it’s not the product of my aforementioned fuzzy brain.

I want to praise an action that Brandon took this past week: unless it’s the high fever talking, I believe that he took out AQ big shot Ayman al Zawahiri with a drone.

Sure, he’s been in office for 14 years and counting, and up until now it’s been all terrible policy and demented word salad and reading a teleprompter with unblinking, black shark eyes.  And there’ll probably be more of the same tomorrow.

But for one shining moment, Biden did the right thing, and smoked a jihadi bad guy.  So good on you, Joe.

I know that this IS the fever talking, but I just remembered one of my favorite tasteless jokes I’ve ever come up with:

A few years ago, Trump located a top terrorist – he was identified as holding the title of “Grand Mufti” of some place or other — and whacked him with a drone.  Media coverage claimed that the bad guy’s mistake had been that he’d stopped keeping a low profile and avoiding public appearances, and had become “too visible.”

I pointed out how ironic it was that a bunch of misogynists who force their women into beekeeper outfits ran into trouble because their mufti was too visible. 

I’m here all week, people.  Don’t forget to hit the tip jar.

Avenatti/ Grand Mufti  2024!

Road Trip to Visit Family (posted 7/29/22)

I’m up in Illinois now, after two days of driving.  I spent last night with mom, sis and bro-in-law in TN, and am now with the cousins for a long weekend of golf and canoeing and some family togetherness.

And on the trip up, I did appreciate the Putin price cut on the gas prices.  (If Vlad gets the blame when the price goes up, it only seems fair…)

I spent my driving time listening to some podcasts, a book on CD, and some music.  With the podcasts, I was catching up on some political news I’d missed, and it seemed like each story was a variation on the theme of the Dems being forced to reap what they’ve been sowing. 

Exhibit A – After launching a raft of disastrous policies seemingly designed to cause inflation and bring on a recession, those policies… have caused inflation, and brought on a recession.

But never fear, because Brandon had a brilliant plan to deal with the recession: he plugged both ears, closed both eyes, and chanted, “This is not a recession,” over and over again.

His enablers were happy to play along.  One self-owning buffoon after another repeated the mantra, including grandmotherly hobbit Janet Yellen.  Of course, she’s also admitted that when she was cheerleading for printing and spending trillions of new dollars on every lefty boondoggle in sight, she never recognized that doing so would cause inflation.

Great.  I mean, it’s not like she was the Treasury Secretary or somethi—

Oh, wait.  She was.  And yet somehow, she missed a basic fact that anybody who slept through much of Econ 101 still managed to grasp.

It should be fun to watch Joe and the Dems spend the next 4 months explaining that this recession is not  a recession, your grocery bill hasn’t skyrocketed, gas prices are not high, and everything is tickety boo. 

Exhibit B — Jill Biden’s spokesperson Michael LaRose was either fired or voluntarily left this week.  The smart money is on the former, and insiders suggest that Dr. Jill was not happy that he allowed her to deliver a speech in which she referred to Latinos as diverse breakfast tacos. 

Sure, that’s an idiotic idea, and if LaRosa came up with it, he deserved to be fired.

But what about Dr. Jill’s responsibility?  Is she just some dim-witted Ron Burgundy who will read anything put on her teleprompter?

I hope we can test that theory. 

If anyone in CO nation has some serious hacking skills, please work on her teleprompter, and insert this at the end of her next speech to the Hispanic caucus: “So as Joe and I always say, we love every one of you human burritos, quesadillas, and steak fajitas.  So whether you’re a Frito Bandito, or a Big Booty Latina, I hope you’ll join me in saying, Go ‘F’ yourself Mexico City!  Buenas nachos!”

Exhibit C  – It’s been great fun to watch DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and NYC Mayor Eric Adams suddenly discover that an influx of illegal aliens puts quite a strain on city services and taxpayers.

The two virtue-signaling empty suits have a rich history of decrying attempts to stop illegals from flooding across our southern border.  Which conveniently, is far, far way from DC and NYC.

But then, a few GOP border state governors decided to bus those immigrants to the lefty mayors’ backyards, and mirabile dictu, they became raving bigots and oppressors of brown people! 

I love it!  Next up, let’s ship the next 10,000 border jumpers to Imhotep Pelosi’s walled estate, and provide them ladders so that they can scale those walls – which are useless, and racist, and Not Who We Are” if I remember Obama’s litany correctly – and let themselves onto the mansion. 

And then, as Dr. Jill might say, “On to the Sub-Zero fridge! Andalay , andalay!  Arriba arriba!”

Avenatti/ Professor Nose-Ring, 2024!

I Have Some Thoughts on Crime & Guns, Again! (posted 7/25/22)

First, I have to offer a mea culpa for missing a sitter at the net in my column last Friday. 

When writing about AOC’s knuckleheadedness, I mentioned that she had praised her own backside, and also that she had achieved a blackbelt in hypocrisy by whining about a troll annoying her, after she had cheered on the creeps who have been harassing and threatening Supreme Court justices with whom she disagrees.

I did not, somehow, mention that she had pretended to wear handcuffs when she was momentarily detained.  (I think the charge was “Public Jackassery in the First Degree.” But I’m only a humble country lawyer, so I could be wrong about that.)  

I can only blame the meds I was on for my dental trauma that day.  That’s not an excuse, just a reason.

Anyway, my favorite part about that publicity stunt came when AOC was pretending to be handcuffed, and she saw a bunch of her low-IQ supporters.  She forgot that you can’t raise your hand when you’re handcuffed… so she raised her hand (in a raised-fist salute) when she was pretending to be handcuffed.

Cue the sad trombone.  And bring forth the dunce cap for our most entertaining congress-doofus.

A few quick gun stories:

In Minneapolis last Wednesday, a man named Andrew Sundberg fired a number of shots into the apartment of Arabella Foss-Yarbrough and her two kids, leaving holes in the door and several walls.  Cops showed up and tried to talk him into disarming and surrendering, but he refused, and they eventually had to shoot him dead.

Despite his name, Sundberg was a black man, adopted by white parents.

So naturally, BLM protestors paraded around his neighborhood, protesting his death.  They put candles and flowers on the sidewalk, and loudly denounced racism.

That was too much for Arabella, who came out and counter-screamed at the protestors, “This is not okay!  My kids have to deal with this now… they almost lost their lives.  There’s bullet holes in my kitchen.”

Morons in the crowd, rather than feeling rightly ashamed of themselves, heckled this traumatized woman.  Several of them yelled, “You’re lying!” and “Shut up!”  One idiot, when Arabella said that she and her kids were almost killed, repeated, “You’re alive.”  

I have a rich fantasy life.  And before you ask, it does not have anything to do with AOC’s allegedly large booty.

No, in my fantasy, Arabella would have raced up to that jerk and kicked him directly in the groin (small target, I’m guessing), and as he writhed on the ground, she would have said, “You’re alive, aren’t you?”  Then she could have kicked him in the ribs, followed by punching him a dozen times, stopping between each well-deserved shot to ask whether he was still alive.

Then she would have waded into the crowd like Christ vs. the Money Changers, and sent the entire sorry crowd of racial arsonists running for their lives. 

Like I said, rich fantasy life.

But there was one gun story this week that I didn’t have to fantasize about.  This was the case of a would-be mass murderer in an Indiana mall.  He came out of a food court bathroom armed with two rifles, a pistol and over 100 rounds of ammunition, and started firing, killing three and wounding two.

He would have racked up a huge body count, if it weren’t for Elisjsha Dicken.  Despite his ridiculously spelled first name (c’mon, parents!), Eli was carrying a Glock handgun, and he was not Dicken around.  (I know: you’d think that one was beneath me.  But nope.)

Within 15 seconds of the gunman opening fire, Eli fired 10 times, scoring 8 hits and helping the gunman win the latest round of the “assuming room temperature” challenge.

And yes, you read that right: Eli started firing within 15 seconds.  At the 15-second mark, most of us in that situation would still be in the “let’s focus on maintaining control of my bowels” phase. 

So naturally, Eli was hailed as a hero…

…except in some corners of the left.   The cackling boneheads on the View, for example, got their granny panties in a bunch at the very thought of a good guy with a gun actually stopping a bad guy with a gun.

Joy(less) Behar called Eli’s taking out the trash “a lucky moment.”  Sunny Hostin also didn’t care for the way Eli saved the day: “He had a gun permit but he wasn’t supposed to be in the mall with a gun.  So he broke the law, even though he was a good Samaritan.”

Good lord!  Would you rather Eli had left his gun at home, so there would be 20 or 30 or 40 victims, Sunny? 

And in fact, it wasn’t illegal to have his gun in the mall, even though the mall had signs posted that they didn’t want guns in the mall.  Careful observers may have noted that the mall’s signs did NOT keep the bad guy from bringing 3 guns into the mall, including 2 long guns!

So I’d suggest that the mall owners quietly take their signs down, and thank God that Eli ignored them.

It wasn’t just the crone crew at the View who objected to Eli being called a good Samaritan.  A bunch of low-info lefties objected, but my favorite was CBS (Indy) traffic anchor Justin Kollar, who noted that in the relevant Bible passage, the Samaritan helped an injured man.  “I cannot believe we live in a world where the term can equally apply to someone killing someone… my God.”

And we can’t believe that someone who should be telling us if I-65 is backed up south of downtown thinks that we are interested in his Biblical exegesis.   

Also, most of us think that stopping a mass murderer is actually a good thing.  So why don’t you stick to reporting on the stalled Prius in the breakdown lane on 465 north, Skippy.  

One final happy note from this past week: the January 6th show trials had their last prime-time presentation for a while on Thursday night.  The ratings aren’t in yet, but I’m sure that both viewers were glued to their sets.

I haven’t been following closely, but as I understand it, not much new info has arrived.  Trump reacted badly, a small number of his supporters reacted badly, and the Dems are shameless showboaters.  Yep, got it, and duh!

Meanwhile, Liz Cheney has so beclowned herself that her only chance to win her GOP primary would be if she were running against Genital Warts.  (And that would probably have to go to a re-count.)  Unfortunately for her, she is running against an actual GOP woman, so she’s going to get stomped. 

On the other side of the aisle, Bennie Thompson is STILL claiming that the January 6th protestors killed a cop!  Which poses the eternal dilemma: is he stupid, or a liar? 

It would be one thing if Bennie was reporting on the death toll from the leftist/BLM/antifa riots of 2020.  If you tried to pin down how many they murdered, you could easily be off by one or two, since around several dozen were killed.

But in this case, the number killed is zero!  So being off by one is pretty significant.

Also, you’re one of the leaders of the brain-dead brigade carrying out this circus, and a hypothetical murdered cop would be by far the most significant result of that three-hour Armageddon! 

And the random citizen on the street who has followed this “trial” as much as it deserves – i.e. for 1-3 minutes – can tell you that the only one killed in the riot/protest was tiny, unarmed Ashley Babbitt. 

Somehow her white privilege did NOT make her bulletproof, as we’ve all been promised by racial arsonists like Bennie Thompson.  (Boy am I glad I learned that BEFORE I tried to knock over a liquor store.)

And yet Big Ben appears to not be aware of that.

Stupid or liar?  As in so many cases involving national Dems, I’ve got to go with both.

Avenatti/ Genital Warts, 2024!

I’ve Recovered from the Wedding, & Turn Back to our Political Scene… Yikes! (posted 7/22/22) 

One more time, let me thank everyone for the well wishes for my newlywed daughter and her new husband, now in Colorado.  After I posted a pic of her in her wedding dress last week, I thought I’d post one of her at age 3 or so, showing her patriotic spirit and holding a flag.

If you look at that pic – now up at Martinsimpsonwriting.com – and conclude that my wife and I were indoctrinating her early about the virtues of our great country, you’re not wrong!

But now that her honeymoon is just starting, the rest of us have to face the fact that our national political honeymoon with the Biden administration ended around… 19 months ago, if my math is correct.

As usual with this administration, it’s hard to sift through the various weekly dumpster fires and train-wrecks and choose ones which to talk about.

For example, Joey Gaffes has had the kind of week we’ve (sadly) come to expect from him.  He went to Israel and talked about “the honor of the Holocaust.”  Oops.

His best moment – seriously – was when two female Holocaust survivors started to get up to greet him, and he had them stay seated, and knelt down to talk to them.  Which was sweet.

Plus, he managed not to sniff either of their hair.  So, win/win! 

In fact, he pulled off the hat trick, because part of the ceremony was for him to “rekindle” an eternal flame at the Holocaust memorial, and he did that without setting himself or the Holocaust survivors on fire.   I’m sure that most long time Biden-observers would have taken the over on that bet!

Then he came back home for a rest, and then flew back to meet with the Saudi ruler, to beg him to produce more oil. 

Which we desperately need, because Biden’s first priority in office was to cripple our ability to produce our own oil, while also calling the Saudis a bunch of low-down dirty dogs to whom he’d never give the time of day.

Oops.

So now Joe’s puppeteers – er, caretakers – I mean, ADVISORS! – had a dilemma.  Because of the self-inflicted wound of their own idiotic policy, they had to go and kiss Saudi butt.  Which already was not a good look. 

But if Biden shook hands with the top Saudi, that would make for a terrible photo op, especially after Brandon’s tough talk about how he’d give that oil-soaked monster the ol’ Corn Pop treatment if he ever saw him.

So – prepare to be shocked – the Biden brain trust made a bad situation worse, by combining the worst possible choice – they’d fist bump, not shake hands! – with the worst possible excuse: We’re worried about covid, so a handshake wouldn’t be prudent. 

Never mind that a fist bump makes for a worse photo op than a handshake would have, since it is an oddly more informal and friendly gesture. 

The fist-bump pic looked like it should have been captioned, “Bro! You’re awesome!  Gnarly job on dismembering that dissident dude!”

“But Martin,” you’re not asking, because the answer is obvious, “hadn’t Biden just hugged and kissed those nonagenarian Holocaust survivors the week before?  And wouldn’t the covid threat to them be worse than the covid threat to young Prince Scimitar from shaking his hand?”

Yes.  Yes it would. 

And that’s reason #146,582 why Joe Biden is our worst president ever.

But Brandon wasn’t finished.  He accidentally announced that he had cancer, which he blamed on the fact that Delaware is such a hell-hole that it rains oil there. 

Then, despite the fact that he is double-vaxxed and double-boosted, he got the wu flu.  Which he has explained many times is an epidemic of the unvaccinated.

I tell ya, if he wasn’t already dead, I’d be really worried about his health!

But this week, two other lefty boneheads gave our posthumous prez a run for his money — one a perennial favorite, and one a previously unknown academic.

The academic was Berkeley professor Khiara Bridge, who appeared before a Senate committee discussing the ramifications of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

I’ll admit that I had some bias when I first saw her testimony.   Berkeley professor – strike one.  Multiple nose rings in someone over 19 years old – strike two.

Then, everything that came out of her mouth – strikes three through nine, and the side is retired! 

She was about what you’d expect.  Arrogant, incapable of intelligent argument, and yet totally unaware of how condescending and moronic she sounded.

The third time she used the trendily dumb phrase, “people with a capacity for pregnancy,” GOP senator Josh Hawley asked the obvious question: do you mean “women?”

And from then on, Hawley played “Captain Obvious” to Bridge’s “Professor Oblivious.”

In response to Hawley’s basic question, Bridge excreted this response, which I swear I am not making up: “Many women, cis women have the capacity for pregnancy, many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy.”

Ugh.  If there had been someone doing sign language for this event, she could have just continually circled her right ear with her right index finger in the universally recognized indication for, “Cuckoo!”

When Hawley persisted in trying to cut through her commie gobbledygook (I miss Norm McDonald!), she called him transphobic, and said that he was a threat to all of the women with penises out there, or something.

She said that his line of questioning is dangerous, and claimed that 1 in 5 transgender people have attempted suicide. (She appears never to have considered whether this might be because they suffer from a mental illness in the dysphoria family.)  Hawley incredulously asked, “Because of my line of questioning?”  

This is how clueless she is: after several obnoxious, aggressive, simple minded and tendentious responses later, she tossed out a challenge to Hawley, asking, “Do you believe that men can get pregnant?”

When he gave the obvious answer – “No.” – she snapped, “So you don’t think that transgender people exist!”

The self-satisfied smirk on her face is clear: she actually thinks that she’s caught him in a gotcha moment, rather than revealing her own delusional vapidity!

The icing on this four-layer cake of crazy is that dozens of leftist internet sites disseminated this video far and wide, crowing that Professor Nose-Ring had “schooled” Hawley.  THIS is the best they’re capable of. 

As a reminder: This “professor” who can’t tell who has babies was testifying as an expert in… wait for it… reproductive rights!

Well done, lunatic fringe! 

Our other contender for worst leftist this week was our old friend and incompetent bartender, AOC.  (If you had ordered scotch on the rocks in the bar where she worked, you’d have a good chance of getting a drink with actual gravel in it.) 

She had two entries in the low-IQ Olympics in the past 7 days.

First, when some troll-y guy heckled her on the capitol steps, calling her his “favorite big-booty Latina,” she reacted badly. 

Obviously, his comments were rude, and out of line. 

Everyone knows you’re supposed to call her a “Latinx,” not a “Latina.” Duh.

AOC initially tweeted about it, and then showed some rare wisdom by taking it down, explaining, “I posted about a deeply disgusting incident that happened today on the Capitol steps, but took it down bc it’s clearly someone seeking extremist fame.”

But because her egotism and immaturity knows no bounds, she couldn’t help herself, and soon posted part of the video.  In that post, she claims that she wanted to “deck him,” – violence is never the answer, Sandy! – but “I needed to catch a vote more than a case today.”

Because that’s how tough Latinas talk in the mean streets of lily-white Westchester!

I have two favorite parts about this story.  First, in her initial post describing the encounter – before the entire video was posted by the troll and by her – she said, and I quote, ““This guy followed me up the capital saying “look at your juicy a**”, “you***Latina“ & bunch of other disgusting garbage…” 

If you watch the video, he did refer to her “big booty,” called her his “favorite, sexy Latina,” and said that she was “hot like a tamale.”

Again, those comments are rude, and he was obviously trying to get a rise out of her.

But I love that she editorialized to make his comments worse – indicating that he used vulgarity – and to compliment her own rear end.  She is the only one who called her behind “juicy.” 

Paging, Dr. Freud!  You’re needed in AOC’s office.  Bring a notepad and your copy of the Greek myth of Narcissus.

My other favorite part is her breathtaking hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness.  She whined that the capitol police didn’t do anything to stop the troll. “It’s just a bummer to work in an institution that openly allowed this, but talking about it only invites more. Just really sad.”

This from the same smug jerk who only a week earlier had mocked Justice Kavanaugh’s well-founded concern for his family and safety when a gaggle of leftist mouth-breathers began picketing around his house, and one of them traveled cross country to try to murder him.

And when Kavanaugh was stalked and harassed and forced to flee a public restaurant, Sandy tweeted, “Poor guy. He left before his soufflé because he decided half the country should risk death if they have an ectopic pregnancy within the wrong state lines. It’s all very unfair to him. The least they could do is let him eat cake.”

Ignore the blatant lie in the middle of that tweet – this dullard wouldn’t know an ectopic pregnancy from an erector set, and neither one of them is illegal in any state.  She could not care less that a Supreme Court justice had been actually threatened, and is being actively stalked by small mobs of her unbalanced co-religionists.

But when one lone troll – clearly a jerk, but just as clearly no serious threat to her – says something she doesn’t like, she immediately gets her dress over her head in feigned hysterics.

And yes, we get it AOC — we all know how hard that is to do, when you’ve got to tug that dress up over such a large, juicy derriere!  We’re sick of hearing about it.

As for me, I can’t comment on AOC’s posterior.  Because as I may have mentioned in earlier columns, when I first laid eyes on my wife more than 30 years ago, all other women became invisible to me.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a colossal arse when I see one.   

And I’m looking right at you, Sandy from the block!

Avenatti/ Professor Nose-Ring, 2024!

My Daughter is Married, & My Heart is Full (posted 7/19/22)

As I wrote last week, my daughter got married on Friday.  And thank you so much for your generous congratulations last week! (And yes, for those of you who asked: this is the daughter who saved someone’s life in November!)

I had been sick for most of the week before, but I was feeling better on Thursday, and by the time of the rehearsal that evening, I was getting over the last of the fever I’d had. 

From there, things went smoothly.  And though I know this is self-indulgent, I feel like you folks are family, so I’m going to take one column off of commenting about small politics and smaller politicians, and share some details of that amazing experience. 

(If you need more political mockery, or if your heart is three sizes too small, skip this one, and I’ll be serving up some skewered leftists again soon.)

I’m also going to discuss my toast speech, which had me scared and nervous… until the first intended laugh line landed. After that, I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof!

The service itself was beautiful, and the weather held.  Rain had been forecast, but thankfully, the same geniuses who are confidently predicting the exact temperature 100 years from this coming Wednesday – and it’s going to kill us all if we don’t go green NOW! – are usually around 50/50 on the outlook 24 hours from now.

In other words, it was sunny.  Boiling hot, sure – it’s north Florida in July – but sunny.  The venue was a compound of 100-year-old cottages anchored by two Victorians from the 1880s, and some lovely grounds for an outdoor wedding.

There is no parental bias in admitting that my daughter is absolutely gorgeous, and did I lose it a bit when the photographers arranged for the reveal, when I first got to see her in her dress? 

Damn straight.  You would too, if you’d sired such a creature.  Or even if you saw her as you were walking by. 

And curse the day, young single males in CO Nation, because she is now taken!

(I’ve posted a pic of that moment at Martinsimpsonwriting.com.  It looks small on my computer, but I’ll engage daughter #2 in some tech help tomorrow, and see if I can’t fix that.)

During the ceremony itself I picked a Biblical text to read and gave a short prayer.  I chose the famous lines from the 13th chapter of first Corinthians – they’re cliched because they’re true – that start, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…”

(I’ve always thought that that last phrase should be read to us old married types more than newlyweds, because all of us need reminding that keeping “records of wrongs” will take you no place good.  And yet… it’s so tempting!) (Especially when my wife is wrong, like, 74% more than I am.)

(See how tempting?)

Because I’m 100% me, even when that is entirely inappropriate, I actually did feel a passing temptation to start out, “Love is patient, love is kind.  Love is… does not… you know, you know the thing.”

But fortunately, the 100% of me includes .001% that is smart enough to not make my wife murder me in the middle of speaking at my daughter’s wedding.  So I read it straight, just the way God gave it to St. Paul.  And the people rejoiced.

The service was beautiful, and then we moved into the air conditioning for some refreshments. I said grace (with no reference to how much more this food was costing us since a certain political party came to power – I could feel my wife’s hot stare on my neck as I prayed, even though she was supposed to have her eyes closed!), and the caterers served a delicious meal.

And then it was time for the toast speeches.

Two things tormented me when I was trying to write my speech: 1. I had a high fever and an intermittently throbbing toothache (the root canal is this Thursday), and 2. I knew that I was going to get choked up to the point of paralysis multiple times during the speech. 

So even if I put together some passable verbiage, the certain knowledge that I’d be melting into a puddle at some point was pretty daunting.  I had to come up with some kind of verbal break that would allow me to get my legs under me when I found myself overcome with emotion.

The solution came when I was on my third revision on Thursday night.  I had planned to say a few words about my dad, who had looked forward to Katie’s wedding since she was a kid, but who died in 2014. 

Late in his life he began to get very emotional on big occasions.  My sister and I had both discussed how I was following in his footsteps. So I got the idea to mention his weepiness, and then to say that I was tougher than him.

And the line came to me: “So I just want everyone to know that if I appear to be getting too emotional, or maybe even coming close to tears at some point in this speech, it’s only because… of how expensive this all is.”

I went back and forth on this, because I think it’s pretty funny, but some might take it as tacky for the bride’s dad to complain about the cost of the wedding, AT the wedding. 

But I realized what it would allow me to do.  Whenever I got really choked up – and I KNEW I would – I could take a deep breath, and choke out the words, “Oh, this is so expensive!”  If that got a laugh, it would buy me a few seconds to regain control. 

I was really nervous as I started the speech, because if the first line didn’t get a laugh, my strategic bail-out follow-up joke was out too, and I was truly screwed.  But God bless those people!  The first line landed, and I felt a wave of relief.

And sure enough, when I hit a tough spot a few minutes later, I croaked out a tearful, “This is really so expensive,” and that broke the tension.

Near the end, I nearly lost it again, and there was enough water in my eyes that I had to take my glasses off and wipe them.  I said, “It’s not just the cost of the wedding.  I had to buy this suit, and this tie, and these shoes, too.  I’ll probably never wear this stuff again!”

They responded again, and I took a few deep breaths, and took it into the home stretch!


Again, this feels self-indulgent, but I haven’t had time to think or write about anything else for the last week.  For anyone who is still interested and reading this, below is the text of my toast speech.  (I screwed up a few details as I read it – with my two temporary breakdowns – but I got pretty close to reading it as planned.)

Now that things went so well, I truly wish that you all could have been there – and this is the best way I can make up for not inviting you all. 😊 

So please consider this a gift from me to you, on my daughter’s wedding day!

“To preface my comments, I have to explain something:

My dad and Karen’s mom and step-dad have passed, but we feel like they’re here with us tonight. 

Since Katie and Ryan got engaged, my sister Rhonda and I have been talking about my dad, and the way he became so emotional late in his life.  I remember him being pretty stoic when I was a kid, but when he got older, he became very weepy at big occasions.

Of course my sister and I, since we’re part of a well-adjusted family, would mercilessly make fun of him for this. In fact, she did a really hurtful impression of him when he tried to give a “thank you” speech at the 50th anniversary party that she and I put together for him and mom.  It sounded something like [in a lip-quivering, vaguely Curly-esque sound], “mee-mee-mee-mee-mee.”

So she’s been predicting that I would fall apart during this speech the way that dad would, if he were here. 

Well, I am tougher than my dad.  So I just want to let everyone know that if at some point tonight I appear to be getting emotional, or even on the verge of tears, I want to assure you that that is only because… of how horrifically expensive this all is! 

That’s an inside family joke: we also used to make fun of how cheap dad was. 

So… I’ve had 24 years to prepare a father-of-the-bride speech for my daughters, but to be honest, I’ve been putting it off.  My wife and I have figured… we don’t want them to go away, so maybe if we don’t prepare, they’ll just stay.

But then Katie meets Ryan, and he’s [with air quotes] SO great, and she falls in love, and now I’ve got nothing! 

But despite my lack of preparation, it’s not hard to think of great things to say about Katie and Ryan.

As some of you may know, Katie had a serious health challenge when she was born.  She had two major surgeries in her first 3 months, and spent several long stays in the hospital by the time she was 5. 

But that experience gave her such a heart for kids, and for helping them — so much that by the age of 5, she knew that she wanted to be a pediatric nurse.  That’s amazing. 

Especially when you consider that at 5, I was toggling back and forth between “cowboy” and “secret agent,” with a close third option of becoming Chicago Bears running back Gayle Sayers.

I achieved none of those 3 goals.  But Katie got her nursing degree, and for the last two years she had been the Best Pediatric Nurse in the Southeast United States! (References available after the wedding).  

And since the happy couple is moving to Denver in a couple of weeks, give it until the end of this year, and she’ll soon be the Best Pediatric Nurse in the Mountain West!

You’re welcome, Denver.

The old cliché is true, though: she has grown up so fast!  It seems like just yesterday she was toddling around the house — she had those big eyes and a crooked smile, and somehow her cheeks were bigger than her head! She was the cutest thing we’d ever seen.

And we realized very quickly that she was super smart, so we read to her and helped her learn to write.  And when she was around 2, I thought it was time that I teach her a little Aristotle, and maybe a little Latin, too. 

As one does with one’s toddlers.

So I taught her the logical fallacy of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc.”  And when we had guests over, or were out in public, I’d look into her adorable little face and say, “Sweetie, what’s your favorite of Aristotle’s logical fallacies?”


And she’d say, “Post hoc, ergo procto hoc.”

Which is pretty close for a 2 year old. And then I’d ask, “What does that mean in English?”

And she’d say…[and here I dramatically pointed to Katie.] 

And she blushed and laughed, and said, “After this, therefore because of this!”   

That’s right – it’s a “correlation is not causation” mistake. That’s my girl! 

Soon she was off to grade school – and the day we dropped her off the first time, her mom cried like my dad!  [meemeemeemee!]

Katie loved school and was a great student.  A year flew by, and she was in first grade, and one of her classes had a lesson on international cultures and foods, and each student was supposed to pick a culture to learn about.

Katie picked Mexico.  So grammy and grampy picked up a Mexican-style dress for her in Texas, and on the big day she wore that to school.  When Karen picked her up after class, her teacher said, “I’d never known that Katie is Mexican.”

That’s right: she told her teacher and entire class that she was Mexican! Which was quite a surprise to her Norwegian/English mother, and my hillbilly/German self.

But this might have been an early sign of her method acting abilities, because in 5th grade, she got the lead role of Marie in her school’s production of the Nutcracker Suite, and she knocked that out of the park!   All parental bias aside: she was poised and knew all of her lines. 

She made the other kids in the play look like amateur, 5th grader HACKS!

[I clear my throat.] If any of you are here tonight, I’m sorry about that.  But you know I’m right.

Soon she was in high school, where she joined every single club in sight.  She was such a social butterfly, and she never met a good cause or a group of people she didn’t like.  We were always worried that she was spreading herself too thin, but that girl has a motor like I’ve never seen.  

Soon she learned how to drive, and she took to that the same way she took to school work: very properly.  Her hands were always at 10 and 2; she used the side and rear-view mirrors, and she always used her turn signals.

On one of her first test drives with Karen in our minivan, she drove all the way home, and into the garage.   

Not through the garage door — I mean, INTO the side of the garage.

As I was writing a large check to a contractor to re-attach the side wall to the sill plate, I thought to myself, “Well, at least I’m getting some good material for my father-of-the-bride toast speech in the future.”

When it was time to choose a college, she chose the finest university in Christendom: the University of Florida.  I don’t say that to put down anyone here tonight who may have gone to some “safety school.” But c’mon.

Anyway, at UF she joined every single club in sight, including a Christian sorority — Go Theta Alpha!  (Oddly enough, though, she didn’t join the Hispanic Students Association.)

Most importantly, she joined the Gator Marching Band!  And that’s where she met Ryan.  She played cymbals and he played marimba.   

I don’t want to brag, but years after the exploits of Emmitt Smith and Tim Tebow will have been forgotten, people will still talk about the quality cymbal and marimba playing during the Katie and Ryan Gator Band years!     

To sum Katie up: she’s a great young woman, she loves God, she has a huge heart.  And I don’t have to tell you how beautiful she is, because… look at her.

You’re welcome, Ryan. 

Of course I don’t know as much about Ryan’s early days: 

I don’t know if he had normally proportioned cheeks when he was a toddler.

I don’t know if he ever came out to his classmates and teachers as Mexican-American.  

I don’t know if he’s ever ploughed a vehicle into his parents’ house.

I do know that he also became a Gator, which speaks well of his intelligence and character.

Of course no father is generally inclined to think that anyone is worthy of marrying his daughters. But in Ryan’s case, Karen and I have been won over.

We’ve seen how happy Katie is when she’s with him.  He has an easy-going, caring way about him, and he has an important quality in a husband: patience.  

I’ve watched as Katie and her mom have laid out the plans for this wedding in our dining room, the table covered with checklists and color swatches and diagrams – it looked like plans for the Normandy invasion.  

But Ryan played along, dutifully looking interested when I have to assume he was as lost and confused as I was.   He mostly watched, because Katie was in her organizing frenzy, and you don’t want to step into that buzz saw or you’re likely to lose a limb! 

But when she asked for an opinion on something, he would actually have one!  What kind of flowers do you like?  What colors should the suits be?  Does this invitation look better than this one? 

Now if he was actually interested, that’s a good sign – you two will be great together. 

But if he was just going through the motions, because it made her happy to get his opinion, that’s an even better sign.  Because if there’s anything a good husband needs – and write this down, any single men here — it’s to love his wife enough to feign interest in what she wants him to be interested in.

I’d like to welcome Ryan into the family.  He’s the answer to a lifetime of our prayers. 

I’ve been a professor for 30 years, and I’ve seen a cavalcade of bozos and weirdos in my classes, and I shudder to think of Katie with any of them.

In fact, if you’d told me back in the Gator Band days that Katie was falling for a musician, I would have flashed to Axl Rose and a heroin addiction. 

But thank God… it was Ryan, and his marimba!

All kidding aside, there’s an old saying that goes, “When your children find true love, parents find true joy.  Please raise your glasses and join me in a toast to Ryan and Katie Crowe: here’s to your love, and our joy!” 

Ryan & Katie Crowe, 7/15/22

(and for the moment, at Stately Simpson Manor, who cares about 2024!)

My Daughter Gets Married — 7/15/22! (posted 7/14/22)

So tomorrow is the big day when I don’t lose a daughter, but gain a son-in-law. 

It doesn’t totally feel like that yet, because the newlyweds are moving to Denver in a couple of weeks, where my daughter will start her new job as a pediatrics nurse in a fine hospital there.  For the first time, we’ll be pretty far from one of the girls, and that’s a transition for us as well as for her.

I’m going to be giving a blessing, and a toast, and some short comments at the wedding, and as I’ve started to write and rehearse them, I realize that  — despite my blue-collar Illinois upbringing, and my overall manly stoicism – I am likely to be crying like Adam Kinzinger in a congressional show trial.

Oh, except that my tears will be appropriate to the occasion, and heartfelt, and laced with a combination of patriarchal protectiveness and testosterone.

So, on second thought, they’ll be the opposite of Adam Kinzinger’s mortifyingly fake and estrogenical display.

Anyway, as you might guess, I won’t be writing a column on Friday, and my Monday one might be delayed, depending on the intensity of the aftermath of the big day. 

But don’t think that I am forgetting CO nation, and my obligation to you all!  I’ve still been taking a few notes for a future column.

(Dr. Jill comparing Hispanics to “tacos,” and referring to a “bo-guh-duh” instead of a bodega?  Check. Joey Gaffes stopping in Israel to discuss “the truth and honor of the Holocaust?” Check.)   

Unfortunately for me, I’ve been dealing with some tooth pain for about 10 days, and found out on Monday that I’ll be having a root canal next Thursday, which was the soonest they could get me in.

To complicate things, I’ve also come down with a flu, which started on Sunday and is still hanging on. 

Fortunately, I’m as tough as a two-dollar steak, so I’m going to get past this, and walk my baby down the aisle Friday evening.  If I need to self-administer a few pops of medicinal bourbon beforehand, well, that’s why God invented Kentucky.

I look forward to giving you all an after-action report on the wedding next week, as well as limbering up and taking a few swings at the goofballs who are temporarily ruling us.

Until next time…