I know I'm lacking in new material. Too tired to blog (which means proofreading and formating), I posted the following (which I'll now edit and elaborate on) to BTF this morning, in response to this assertion:
I think that last part is practically undeniable, but not so much "we" as each individual builds god in his/her image. Which is why the same faiths "inspire" Pat Robertson and the KKK or Osama bin Laden and the Wahabbist movement on one hand, yet Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter or Muhammad Ali and Richard Thompson on the other (even with the respective feet of clay). Pat Robertson isn't a goat molesting son of a ##### because he's a Christian; his Christianity is the cloak in which he clothes his reprehensibleness. If Christianity -- or religion in general -- didn't exist, the Robertsons and bin Ladens of the world would find other means to be evil, and Jimmy Carter would just go on building more houses for poor people.
True, Robertson isn't a goat molesting son of a bitch because he's a Christian, but it helps. I get the point, but it also lets certain types of religions off the hook all too easily.
Religions are ideologies; older, and thus based on myths and ethics rather than philosophies, but ideologies all the same. And they sure as hell aren't created equal.
"Radix malarum est cupidatas" is no doubt true (just ask a decent human being about a Randroid!), but the urge to convert has to give it a run for its money. And not all religions/ideologies have the demand to proselytise explicitly stated in their Holy Books equally; not all have the same command from God (or "History" or "Reason") to aggressively convert. Of religions, the monotheists (Xtians and Muslims; Jews not nearly so much) are by far the worst for claiming universality, the worst at urging their followers to convert the "other," the worst at insisting that the condition of the "other" is degraded until such time as they are converted, willfully or not, to a state of grace.
Politically-economically, the worst is probably the Trotskyist variety of Marxism (which is not to leave Lenin off the hook, but he also sometimes learned his lessons and stepped back from "internationalism"), Western Globalism and Fascism -- these are the monotheist-equivalent, universalist ideologies. Classic Euro and American Imperialism fails the test on one crucial count but comes close otherwise. Roman Imperialism does and does not make the cut depending on era.
Universalism, and the urge to convert which drives it, begets murder and monsters. Period. Ideologues and religious nuts will cheerfully destroy the world to "save" it.
Jesus was cool; it's the dreadful St. Paul that made him into the universalist he was not. I don't know enough about Mohammed to say if the later imams did the same trick with him, too, but it wouldnt surprise me if they did.
Eastern and indigenous religions, usually polytheistic though sometimes atheistic, have a capacity for tolerance quite alien to the monotheists. If one has a differing religion to the polytheists, their attitude in response, at least on the individual level, is generally that of "yours may be true, too." Whereas, for a monotheist the religion of the "other" is automatically False, and, moreover (and here is where the Manicheanism comes shining through) its Falsity and Otherness is a manifestation of the Evil One.
Applying an anthropological rule of thumb: if it came from the deserts, it's intolerant and universalist; if it came from the jungles, it's not.
For the inevitable rebuttals alongs the lines that, hey, there's been sectarian wars apart from the monotheists-universalists... well, that's true. But religion was not, in those cases, at once the crutch and the spur to the conflict. It was less integral. Or it was, as in the cases of Hindus, a reaction
against the invasion of those
heaven-bent on conversions. Humanity has quite enough problems with ethnic/nationalist conflicts, and petty wars of greed and resource-robbing, which is why only the most dedicated misanthrope, in my opinion, would encourage the religious-ideological impulse, too. It's simply an unnecessary urge to fight; mass murder's not worth the endorphin-raising, cosmic thumb-sucking experience certainty in a universalist dogma provides.
Ok, So You Wanna Be A Phucktarddigamma
in the past expressed wishes to be a Wingnut All-Star
. I told him he'd have to work harder. Well, he has been quite the busy wingnut beaver.
In comments to this post
, digamma, eager to defend not so much Randroids as wingnut economic principles, calls bullshit
on Johann Hari's assertion that "Rand is the only novelist whose work has been read by every single US Congressman":
That is almost certainly bullshit, and calls into question any other generalizations the writer makes about the US.
If you read the rest of Hari's piece, you'll see why digamma reacts the way he does. Hari's accuracy on the literacy much less taste of Our Rulers is not the issue so much as the generalisations Hari makes on the state of social darwinism in American policy. Even if policy-makers haven't literally read Rand's novels, they've internalised her philosophy: an obvious conclusion that digamma must deny.
digamma's general schtick pretty much consists of denying that propertarianism
and social darwinism are the legs upon which modern libertarianism, his ideology of choice, stands.
Taking semi-seriously the argument that genocide instantaneously and eternally damns the ideology that causes it, he then is compelled to strenuously if laughably deny that laissez-faire murdered the Irish and that propertarianism, quite as much as any other ideological instigation, was responsible for the genocide of the mostly communitarian if not communist American Indian. According to digamma, the former was caused by protectionists and the latter caused solely by nationalists; thus he neatly preserves libertarianism from condemnation and at the same time deals a blow to his mortal enemies, fair-traders and "statists".
The thing is digamma is not a glibertarian
nor, most of the time, is he an overt propertarian. He just defends such people when he sees that an attack on them will damn the "true" libertarianism to which he swears fealty. He is not, then, a walking lying typing abomination like Glenn Reynolds and his immitators, Republican hacks who hide behind "libertarianism" so that they may say when called on their bullshit, "But I'm independent!"
But then neither is he so much different from them as he may think or wish. Sarcastically, in response to my various and admittedly uneven diatribes against libertarians, he's accused me of building strawmen, of unfairly attacking all libertarians, of making gross generalisations based on "the libertarians you see when you close your eyes."
Actually, my eyes are wide fucking open: Neal Boortz; Glenn Reynolds; Stephen Green; Jeff Goldstein; Eugene Volokh; John "Make Shit Up" Stossel; Thomas "Kidneys R Us" Sowell (whom I heard on Michael Reagan's show blame post-Jim Crow blacks for everything they ever were dealt from White America), whose ideas on selling body parts William Shockley would find thrilling; the Pinochet-loving CATO goons; the Von Mises "Scrooge was right!" Institute; the Alito-loving, cheering-at-police-beating-hippies, Randroid fuckfaces at Reason; Matt Chomsky-And-Vidal-Are-Bigger-Menaces-Than-George-Bush-and-the-Neocons Welch; and, last but not least, the most vocal libertarian at mine and digamma's common site
, the absolutely horrible David Nieporent, a character so vile, whose politics and personal pronouncements are so odious, it is only with the slightest hyperbole that I say he's worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin laden, Stalin, Ted Bundy, and Gilles de Rais
combined. Mine eyes indeed have seen the glory of their goring of the poor, their raising of their skirts to plutocrats, these propertarian whores.
I'm not making strawmen*: these idiots have made themselves. At best, these fucks have ostentatiously retarded judgment; more likely, they would, as readily as any Stalinist or fascist, just as soon wipe their posterior with the Bill of Rights, or support a Dear Leader who uses it for TP, all in all amounting to the same thing. And secretly and not so secretly, they take joy in the suffering of the poor whom they regard as inferior: our society, in their estimation, is a meritocracy so those who haven't enjoyed success are eating their just dessert. digamma would say that these idiots are exceptions. Are they
? Libertarians are insane. Period. And just because a precious few are anti-war, or, like Jim Henley, are honest enough to admit they underestimated the damage Bush would do vis-a-vis their traditional dread of the "damage" the left could do doesn't redeem the general ideological cretinism that is part and parcel with people who claim with a straight face that the New Deal was totalitarian or that the Swedes
have created a terrible, liberty-destroying society. One can still be a batshit wingnut without being a Republican hack.
Maybe digamma doesn't understand what libertarianism is? It's possible. Here
, after bitching about the hurdles a poor poor business has to go through to set up shop, he offers a stunning admission:
I think we can have government that makes sure poor, young, and old people get food, shelter, education, and healthcare. I don’t think that requires making people get approval for every god damn thing they do. So my brand of left-libertarianism will accept government that’s big in SIZE in return for government that’s small in SCOPE.
A safety net is very different from an obstacle course.
To which I sarcastically replied, "But that's Socialism!" And so it is. digamma's prescription couldn't be more dialectically-opposed to what libertarianism is or what it has come to mean. You can't be for
any social spending, for any altruistically-purposed government funding, and still be a libertarian
Shorter RETARDO so far: digamma has a huge contradiction he's not even bothering to resolve.
When I attempted to define and codify propertarianism, digamma replied along the lines of, buhbuhbuh but you're just reverse-engineering actions from ideology when it's not all that clear-cut. He implied that it was merely accident that Friedmanite libertarians chose property freedom over personal freedom. But I demonstrated a pattern; my whole point was that it's not accidental but rather consciously causal: Friedmanite libertarians, aka propertarians (who comprise the vast vast vast majority of those who self-identify as libertarians) will always choose property and autocracy (Chile, China, Singapore) over soft socialism and personal, non-economic freedom (Netherlands, Sweden, Canuckistan, where one has privacy and speech) because they, whether they admit it or not, value property more than anything else: if any rights are to be mitigated, the last for them is the right to property, hence its obviously superior value in their calculus.
But the point is not another re-hash of propertarianism, but the fact that digamma can't admit the obvious crassness (the right to property trumps the right to free speech, privacy, and existence -- i.e. freedom from starvation and death due to absence of medical care) of his chosen ideology. He refuses to acknowledge that such crassness is the inevitable product of libertarianism's Spencerian roots in social darwinism. This denial has many repercussions, one of which is his silly insistence that Randianism is unrepresentative of mainstream libertarianism when it is, in actuality, its essence.
However, it is no doubt difficult to admit a crassness that one so fundamentally shares. Here's an example
One of my favorite refutations of libertarianism is the assertion that without government in our lives all the time, life would be like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
Note the sarcastic tone: only an idiot would think that the events in Sinclair's novel, taken as they are from the historical record, demonstrating such flagrant forms of human misery, single-handedly caused by the social darwinist, laissez-faire policy of the time, would refute libertarianism! I mean, really, when libertarianism enabled
child labor, horrific working conditions, soul-destroying poverty, and death-dealing consumer products (about which Sinclair famously described in nauseating detail), what reasonable person could conclude that such was a powerful argument against libertarianism? It boggles the mind!
A particularly disturbing scene in the novel is when an unmarried couple decides to buy a house and live there with their three children! In the laissez-faire nightmare, no government agency was there to stop them. Fortunately, we now live in a more enlightened time:
Note the reference to "an unmarried couple." He writes this as a sarcastic joke but it also serves the purpose of establishing his libertarian bona-fides: he's no prude. Implicitly, he's arguing (speciously) that neither were the libertarians of old, so weren't they the cool South Park libertarian cats?
And then to the ostensible point of his post; he quotes from the St Louis Post-Dispatch
Olivia Shelltrack finally has her dream home. Her family moved into the five-bedroom, three-bath frame house in Black Jack last month. But now she fears she and her fiance face uprooting their children because of a city ordinance that says her household fails to meet Black Jack’s definition of a family.
His sarcastic conclusion, then, is inevitable: "Thank God for government regulation!" See? If it weren't for the horrible horrible "statists" wanting to outlaw child labor, create the Pure Food and Drug Act, eventually come up with OSHA and the EPA, and if it weren't for labor unions agitating for better working conditions and higher pay, stupid laws like the one preventing this family from moving into their house would never have come to pass! So bring it all back, and let the poor persecuted meat packers in Sinclair's novel -- so exactly like the meat packers in the historical record -- go back to building their corporate shantytowns stuffed with starving immigrants; let them have the freedom to grind wholesome rat meat, raw sewage, and the occasional human finger into their fine sausages and canned hams; let them employ 12 year old boys and demand that they work 80 hours a week! Good god, anything
but government regulation!
In other words: the wrongs suffered (a denial of possession) by the family in his St. Louis example are of a greater magnitude than any (intentionally not mentioned) suffered by Sinclair's subjects, thus the economic and social milieu in which Sinlair's subjects acted is preferable to the one in which the St. Louis family lives. Here we are again, the right to property > the right to accurately labeled food that will not kill you upon its consumption, the 40 hour week, pollution and safety standards, any other right under the sun. What was it I was saying about propertarians?
he is indulging, like so many other libertarians, in cynical agnosticism about global warming. While it's true that most libertarians, in my experience, are hardcore deniers of global warming, the agnostics and "sceptics" (who could have been forgiven 15 or 20 years ago, but not any more) aren't much better. Note the moral equivalence: each side, according to digamma, believes what they want to believe, nevermind that the basis for one belief is science; for the other, greed.
Then there's free trade, for digamma the sine qua non of universalist dogma: fair trade is not just stupid, it's the tool of Satan. Actually, in his allegiance to free trade, too, what's obvious is not so much principle as propertarianism. His "right" to a good car
absolutely trumps the right of a Vietnamese woman to not get braindamage from glue fumes in a shoe factory, the right of a Chinese to not work with a gun to his temple, the right of a Brazilian to not be kicked off his land to work on a corporate farm, etc. Put another way, his "right" to self-determination -- in this case being a better consumer market for whatever product -- trumps the rights (no quotes) of self-determination for Third Worlders who are forced, through their unrepresentative and/or corrupt governments, to accept neo-liberal shock therapy.
Which brings me to popular soveriegnty, a concept crucial to democracy and one to which libertarians are congenitally averse. When I blasted an idiot Virginia politician for wanting to ban low-rise jeans soon after I'd praised another state or city level politician for standing up to Wal-Mart, digamma was quick with a "gotcha" attempt. Why, that's inconsistent, he argued. But it wasn't, and here we come to the crux of the matter for American libertarians: wretched souls, they must hate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The protections in the constitution against state power, against democracy run amok, are Jeffersonian
, not Friedmanite. The very preamble endorses "providing for the common defence, promoting the general welfare". This latter, along with the commerce clause libertarians (and, for years, the Supreme Court) knee-jerkly belittle, plainly contradicts the central libertarian concept of separation of government and economy. The right to property simply isn't protected as fiercely in the Constitution as are the Jeffersonian rights to free expression, free assembly, privacy, fair trials, religion. Moreover, the rights guaranteed in the Constitution were meant for people, not for property (corporations) masquerading as people. Thus The People, through their government representatives, do have a constitutionally endorsed right to popular soveriegnty over the realm of business; and if such right is exercised, aside reasonable protections against eminent doman abuses, in a way that lessens the right to property, then libertarians must accept this, accept that George Mason not Uncle Miltie created the Bill of Rights, or go fuck themselves. Naturally, digamma would rather not fuck himself, so he continues to pretend that the Constitution is a propertarian document, causing him to make silly attempts at "gotchas", and to otherwise share in the dim view that libertarians hold for democracy.
*Okay, maybe I am in Nieporent's case. But only slightly; he really is an awful awful human being.
Sorry; I've been pretty busy, and I still have some pretty major carpentry and re-arranging to do here in my
corrugated tin shack
farm house before my blogging materials (wtf: my library, I mean) are at relatively easy access. No wingnut all-stars until that happens. Good news is, the rest of my remodeling materials come in this week.
-- As you know, blogger's been bloggered lately. I had added several new links to the blogroll; it didnt take. I'll try again soon.
-- Shorter George F
: Bush's domestic spying is "monarchical", but Congress should okay it anyway.
-- Worst Howard Kurtz column
ever? If not, it's in the running for it.
-- William F. Buckley hates democracy
. The Hamas situation, though tricky and worrisome, has at least (and probably only) one good consequence: it shows just who has genuine democratic principles. Someone with more time on their hands should keep track of all the "Crusaders For Democracy" who suddenly seem to be abandoning the posture. Remember, folks, bottom-up democracy, no matter how irresponsible, is the single legitimate sort. Naturally, our rulers like the top-down, illegitimate kind -- but not to worry, it's been just as irresponsible. Anyway, why am I telling you this? You can see what's happened in Iraq as well as I.
-- To use the biblical terminology, there's blood on their shoulders, and we should never let the rat bastards forget it
looks really good. I've not been able to pay attention, but dollars to donuts says it will inspire the ideological and tribalist commissariat to new feats of apoplectic rage. Here's Michael Medved in 3, 2, 1...
-- Neo-liberals suck
. Steven Landsburg is a real piece of work, but it's useful to remember that he's merely saying what 99 percent of all neoliberals believe. Relatedly, is there any professional species as crass as economists? Lawyers get all the publicity, but it's economists who really exhibit a "what me worry?" attitude to human misery. And it's always been that way
. I could really explode into a wrath-rant here, but must restrain myself. Suffice to say that capitalist economists relish the sacrifice of human lives and well-being to the "inflexibility" of "economic laws" quite as much as any old communist was willing to feed humanity en masse into chip-shredder of "History". Yes, they are that bad. Now stop to think that libertarians are worse
-- Sometimes I think that Repugs destroy the budget if for no other reason than to force us to the right when we have to clean up their messes
. It's just so perfect. After Reagan, there was no money to do shit: Ronnie had his cake and ate it too, in the sense that he got to deficit-spend to make his Pentagon-contractor friends filthy rich while in office, and that very act provided the means to thwart infrastructural and social spending -- lefty government spending -- in the future. Bush has learned the lesson well; borrowing his ass off so we'll have to repay the debt while being prevented from restoring the safety-net he's destroyed with such zeal.
-- A very smart rat (albeit one with a history of extreme hubris and chutzpah) decides to jump
the sinking ship P.O.S. Neocon
; hatted rodentine hack
sneers and snarls in response, morphs into Norman Podhoretz (The Great King Rat) to strike the note of self-pity, engages in projection by accusing the smart rat of selling-out, implies a stab in the back, then goes back to gnaw, as if by tropism, on the keel.
Now Wait A Minute
PZ Meyers smackdown of the deserving Richard Cohen, then come back.
First, Richard Cohen sucks -- I can never forgive him for the glib banality of his "Color Me Purple" column, or his many other assorted acts of pseudoliberalism -- and certainly he deserves Meyers's attention on general principle for his advocacy of ignorance, but Meyers goes too far.
I'm not sure you want to quote too much Jefferson on the subject of a proper curriculum; though what Meyers excerpts is blameless, the third President, if I recall correctly, also had some fairly crackpot ideas on what should not be taught -- in the matter of Latin, for instance.
Everyone's guilty of supposing that their own chosen field is neglected by others. I write that not just to start a riff on Meyers's exaggerations, but to warn of my own. And while I'm offering caveats, let me say this: I fucking hated algebra and generally disliked math (on the other hand, I rather liked geometry, loved chemistry until the math got insanely tedious; also, I admit that even I have used algebra in real life applications -- on a fucking farm! -- it's not totally useless).
If Cohen definitely goes too far, and he does, then so too does Meyers, though not quite so far:
Yeah, a person can live a good, bland life without knowing much: eat, watch a little TV, fornicate now and then, bleat out opinions that the other contented consumers will praise. It's so easy.
Right: algebra is not
useful for the most essential tasks, which are interpersonal and depend on a passable (if often degraded) use of language. But neither is it essential to a spicy, rich life which goes far beyond the basic mundane things Meyers lists. The giveaway here is the absurdist exaggeration: a life without algebra is a life of an unreflective, incurious automaton! If Meyers wants to thrash Cohen for advocating ignorance of any subject, much less one that is required in a particular sector of admittedly high-paying jobs
*, then that's fine. But I'm sorry, one has to know at least a little bit of a language -- English, Mandarin, pigfuckinglatin, whatever -- to be socially functional, and therefore, in theory at least, employable. However, one can easily get by in life without using algebra without being the clueless bleating fucktard charicature Meyers paints. It's just not equal. Dont tell me that unit per unit, knowledge of algebra is just as essential as knowledge of, in our society, passable English or Spanish, a little pop culture, some civics and history, and, at bare minimum if all else is lost, what used to be called street smarts. Nor is it necessary to know algebra to live a full, even intellectual life. I understand Meyers as saying that ignorance of algebra is the equal of illiteracy.
Sure, there are people who are living examples of the algebraically-efficient-but-less-history-and-English-please Meyersian model: some are called sabermetricians, the worst of whom are the most socially-inept, lifetime onanist, clueless asshats** one could imagine outside an NRO cruise or a Dungeons & Dragons convention. Whatever the problems -- and they are myriad -- of our schools, a math fetish at the expense of "survival knowledge" as I've listed above is not the answer.
Throughout the milieu in which Meyers writes, Cohen is regularly laughed at, and assholes like me help to soil the general discourse, it is not necessary to know the pedantry of algebra. Even public life, indeed, such knowledge is not necessary, though comfort with scientific principles
is a must. A politician need not know how to solve quadratic equations, but he should know some history, geography, law and be able to communicate coherently. Yet Meyers seems to be saying that knowledge of algebra is just as necessary -- to anyone, politician, electrician, whatever, who doesn't want to be a mouth-breathing fool. Meyers is exaggerating, and implies that anyone not in accord with his exaggeration of the importance of algebra is a close-minded imbecile (though I agree that Richard Cohen is just that), rather than merely a person who makes pragmatic, sensible selections in their intellectual curiosity based on circumstances and tastes.
A proposal: until Meyers agrees that knowledge of the intricacies of the Bulgarian tax code is just as important as reading, writing and a basic working-knowledge of American civics principles, I'll consider him a close-minded saboteur of American children's education.
*Which is not to say that I believe all learning should be toward a utilitarian purpose. Quite the contrary. In fact, that's my biggest problem with Cohen's column. It's just that, for most people, the utility of the subjects Cohen recommends is far greater than that of Meyers's math math math!
**Their religion is numbers. In my nastier moments I confess to wishing that someone would shove a copy of this DVD
up their asses sideways with minimal lube.
Well, this place looks empty. Wait, what's that smell? Did Gavin die under the floorboards? And who forgot to flush the toilet?
While I open the windows to air this place out -- so I can get back into the swing of things, here's a few random comments.
The wind is howling and storms are coming. I feel very uneasy about the huge pecan limb hanging over my house.
Via site meter I see that my ISP's location is.. Syracuse, New York. Hahaha. Good, that should confuse people. It might even help me stay anonymous.
RE: the cartoon controversy, and the reaction to it, let me say that I'm for Free Speech. Is that good enough? If not, too bad. Any would-be Christopher Hitchens who finds me in insufficient solidarity with the Danes can kindly slag off: I have more important fish to fry than Muslim whackjob attitudes to blasphemy and free expression. No Muslim, whackjob or not, can subvert the US Constitution, only Bush and his minions can -- and have. And to those who think that fascist cunts like Coulter and Malkin have suddenly redeemed themselves with their opportunist, cynical, and hypocritical Free Speech concerns, well, I think you need to re-evaluate your assessment.
This storm is powerful. Jebus.
Cheney was drunk, and fantasising about shooting something/someone else when he accidentally tracked the quail into the old man's face. Fantasising about, you know, someone like a Red Cross worker, a member of the Sierra Club, a nun, or some indigenous person standing between him and a drop of oil.
Can my fellow lefties stop using "eliminationist" as a term of opprobrium, please? Fight fire with fire, yet add fuel to said fire by the decency of your convictions. The vast majority of the modern Republican party -- by which I do not mean voters, but rather politicians and professional chatterers -- should
die and burn in hell were this world just. They've certainly earned such a karmic fate, though it (rightly) will not come literally by our hands but rather, hopefully, on the field of acceptable open-society applications. They've directly or indirectly murdered thousands, made millions suffer, and have destroyed the bill of rights. If that's not worth the conviction that modern Republicanism is a cause of evil, in both the moral and in the crudest utilitarian sense, that should be combatted to the last resister, then I've missed the point of the few moral crusades (like the cause of abolition, WW2, the Progressive reforms of the 1900s) that were worth fighting. There are fascists in our midst, and just because they don't actually wear jackboots doesn't mean they, too, are not the scum of humanity. Fuck this pussyfooting shit -- fuck it and feed it fishheads. You're too nice and too squeamish. These are words, not McVeigh-like actions -- actually, recommendations for McVeigh-like actions come from the other side -- so I'm not advocating violence. That said, more and more I do catch myself thinking that we need a new Lenin to rise up, line up all the fascists and shoot them, then we need to shoot him
so that there is no new boss to be the same as the old boss, as Lenin's heirs proved to be in that scenario. Plus, it suits my notions of irony that fascists should be expunged by the boot stamping, at last, on their
faces. Why the fuck should I worry about extremist Muslim attitutes to Free Speech or women's rights or whatever when we already have their clones here and in charge? Okay, worry, yes. Devote my energy to? No. The Middle East is already a wreck and a hell-hole; I'm more concerned with conserving what is not supposed to be a hell-hole, the United States. Bushism should
-- must -- be eliminated. It's a moral abomination, and our aim should be eliminating it to the point that it's only freely discussed without taboo in troglodyte places in Appalachia: it should be reduced to the point that it's on the same level of societal acceptibility as snake-handling and sister-fucking, because that's its true value.
I won't get internet service until the 13th at the earliest, I'm told. So, bear with me, though I understand if you don't.
Lots to blog about; as soon as I get service again, I'll start cranking posts out.