Tempest in a Teapot

An outstanding example of a fraudulent statistical graph. I'll explain below.

An outstanding example of a fraudulent statistical graph. I’ll explain below.

I’ll apologize up front for what will be a long post. The subject is a microcosm of the kind of flim-flam we experience in a lot of so-called social issues. I’ve been reluctant to get into it because it’s about smoking, I am a smoker, and I don’t like to court bad luck. So in some ways this post is tempting fate even more than my review of the Koran.

Sometimes I listen to talk radio in Philadelphia. There’s a conservative host named Dom Giordano who goes after big topics and small, often in the same show. This week he’s spent parts of the show on multiple days discussing a new ordinance in a South Jersey Burlington County township banning all smoking in public parks. The mayor, very pleased with himself, crafted the legislation after receiving a letter from (supposedly) a fourth grade girl who found the sight of adults smoking so disgusting that she wanted it banned. The fines are very substantial.

Yeah, put your feet up. This is going to take a while. Dom, to his credit, thought this was a step too far. One of the expressed intentions was to “denormalize” smoking, as if that hasn’t already been accomplished by decades of increasing restrictions, villainization, and even trampling on the freedoms of private enterprises like restaurants and bars. Apparently, for example, Camden County, one of the most violently dangerous places in America, now treats tobacco in public like alcohol — open cartons or packs of cigarettes are regarded the same as open containers of alcohol, subject to immediate arrest and fine. We haven’t gone THAT far yet, said the mayor. Yet?

Pressed by Dom on the advisability of allowing fourth graders to set public policy based on infantile emotions, the mayor perorated on the dangers of secondhand smoke, even in the outdoors, at distances of hundreds of feet. Although he kept returning to his main point that children shouldn’t have to witness such offensive behavior.

Of course, Dom is also a nonsmoker, and he was at pains to point out that it’s a vile and unattractive habit (just so we’re clear here), but he hung his whole argument on the question, “Since when did we start letting kids be decision makers on matters of public policy?”

Whereupon I sent him the following email:

When did we start making kids decision makers? When we decided that it was okay for pubescent girls to get birth control pills, abortions and morning after pills without parental consent. Which they know about because we start teaching them how to have sex in what public school grade? We have an epidemic of STDs among young people, which can be far more catastrophic than smoking. The anti smoking demonization is just a bandaid that enables the morally empty to feel superior. Probably taught by the same teachers that instruct them in the how to’s of sex acts. Amazing hypocrisy.

I could have gone on. If the new measure is what offends our eyes and instilled prejudices, there are plenty of things I don’t like to look at. Things I wouldn’t want any child or grandchild of mine exposed to in public. I am disgusted by the fact that I can’t attend a sporting event or a public gathering of any kind without hearing a constant flow of obscenities and scatologies. I don’t enjoy seeing the grossly obese, who are suddenly everywhere around us. I’m repelled by the way most people dress in public, sweats, pajama bottoms, boxer shorts hanging off the ass, thongs pointing at half exposed asses, the blizzard of tattoos, the violence of facial body piercings, and the slovenly mommies who parade everywhere inside the armor of their ill-mannered mommitude and the brats in their wake. I’ve seen children destroy retail store displays while their mothers blithely lead them away from the wreckage, which is somebody else’s job to clean up. I’ve seen kids barely above toddler age cuss out their parents like drunken sailors. The sheer loutishness of people who occupy the whole path, the whole aisle, loafing along as if there really is nobody on earth but them. People who don’t say thank you or even look at you when you hold the door open for them. Should I insist that all these be made crimes too? Maybe I should. But I’m a smoker. The only lower rung on today’s PC ladder is racist. I must deserve what I get.

But we’re all used to, even comfortable with, this state of affairs, right? In a world with no standards of any kind, smokers are a convenient and even necessary evil to be used as excuses for indignation and humiliation. They violate the last remaining vestige of a moral code, namely, that their open vice is something we can all recognize and collectively condemn. Coke, meth, and heroin users hide in corners. Even drinkers indulge their vice in bars or other private realms. Smokers light up right in front of us. The nerve. The absolutely golden opportunity to tell them to their faces how virtuous people feel…

Call after call. “Well, I’m a nonsmoker, and I can’t stand…” Fill in the blanks as you wish.

I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. But that leads me to the climax of my argument. Most of the opprobrium aimed at smokers is based on exaggeration, disinformation, or outright falsehood. More than a little bit like Global Warming and other politically correct causes.

I’ve got real scientific evidence, but I’ll begin anecdotally. Which is certainly both permitted and prized in today’s relativist universe. My dad died of lung cancer. Good reason for me to stop being such a fool, right? He quit smoking when he was 40, cold turkey, but the dread disease hit him in his late seventies. My mother never quit. She regarded it as weight control. After childbirth, her mother ballooned to 180 pounds and stayed there, eventually incapacitated by the weight. (She was 5’1″.) My mother lived to be 82 and in all that time her weight remained between 100 and 110 pounds. That was a trade she was willing to make. She died of old age.

No, I’m not suggesting that this is a medical argument. Rather that it is consistent with other trends that can be and in fact have been documented. I have three points on these matters. [I’d like to have quoted from the sources I’ll link below, and I mulled doing this at the other site on that account, but I trust you, here, to read.]

We’ve traded smokers for a population of the obese. Who are subject in rapidly increasing numbers to the perils of Diabetes, a disease that frequently ends in blindness, amputations, and premature death. And you look much worse throughout.

Obesity Accounts for 21 Percent of US Healthcare Costs.

National Diabetes Statistics. (The numbers are staggering. Just look through this…)

Blaming lung cancer almost exclusively on smoking is a near criminal act. Why the discrepant experiences of my mom and dad caused me to do some weird research a long time ago. I searched out an almanac dated 1948 for the purpose of finding the incidence of death by diseases of the lung. Back then, almost everyone smoked. You could look it up. It was way down on the list. Lung cancer wasn’t even broken out separately. You see, I’d always suspected my dad’s cancer might have had something to do with inhaling rich mixtures of aircraft fuel in WWII.

Smoking down, lung cancer up
. (Hmmm. Are smokers being blamed for a bigger problem they help make invisible? You decide.)

Finally. Secondhand smoke. This is the real nanny state postulate. MY smoking gives YOU cancer. If you can even smell it, it’s killing you. Which gives you the right to tell me how to live my life.

Science and Secondhand Smoke.

Dubious. If not completely idiotic.

Oh. Almost forgot the graph up top. (Sorry it’s blurry. Best I could do. I’ll get better…) The anatomy of a social engineering propaganda campaign. Scientific malpractice. Two of the variables, male and female smokers, are keyed to the left hand legend, percent of population (UK). The two other variables, lung cancer deaths by sex, are keyed to the right hand legend, deaths per 100,000. The visual message of the graph is that men and women who smoked died of lung cancer because the curves track so closely on the graph. Not so. In 1976, the first year of the lung cancer tracking, the percentage of male smokers who died of lung cancer was 0.0011 per year. Hell. Multiply it by 50. That’s 5.5 percent. But now look at the female curves. As female smoking is declining, their death by lung cancer rates are escalating. Strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer? You tell me.

And what does this tell you about the risks of secondhand smoke? Not that many smokers actually die of lung cancer. Why would nonsmokers be at any statistically significant risk whatever? Because they don’t like the smell.

I don’t like the smell of tarty perfumes, jock colognes, or deodorant tampons (not kidding — I always know and I much prefer nature). But I don’t believe they’re giving me cancer.

And need I point out the mortality statistics of male homosexuals in the 1980s? Or the ominous statistics of STDs that are newly and perhaps invulnerably resistant to antibiotics? There’s a new race on. We need to discover a brand new high tech antibiotic to prevent gonorrhea from becoming a fatal disease in a matter of days. Did conservative Dom know or make any of these points? No. He accepts the immense weight of the propaganda almost without question.

Smokers are the pariahs. Even our defenders can’t think of any arguments beyond our pathetic ghettoization, which doesn’t seem quite right, no matter why. Not even the absurdity of demonizing smokers while the public schools who teach kids to spit at them are happy to teach fellatio via banana exercises and promote gay marriage as if it were the threshold of humanistic paradise.

I’ll stick with this stark reminder of the evils of smoking, thank you.


No love. No mercy.

No love. No mercy. Nothing but my loud and sickeningly ugly and monstrous whims.

I call it pinhead atheism. If there’s a God, he’s a cruel idiot because we know better what he should be doing. God as asshole.

The Muslims have the market cornered on this kind of divinity. Why, I think, the secularists and atheists are so protective of Islam. Allah is the poster child for god haters. As long as Muslims are stoning rape victims, erasing the identities of their wives and daughters, murdering gays, and blowing up everyone who disagrees with a permanent state of theocratic tyranny, they are the best possible argument against religion of any kind. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. No other major religion on earth has such a vicious, vindictive, violent, and vengeful god or pantheon. No other religion is starting or trying to provoke religious wars. But the American left, led by Obama, can’t find enough excuses for Islam’s unending list of contemporary crimes. How convenient. How clever. How seditious. How erudite and elite of them.

What they like most of all is that Allah is simply a different incarnation of the God of the Old Testament. They tell the same stories. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac fathered the Jews, Ishmael the Arabs. Same family tree, right? If the one is completely fucked, the other must be, too. The same way all three brothers in the Rahm Emmanuel family are evil, foul-mouthed pricks. Nobody as perfect as the mythical Jesus could have emerged from THAT gene pool.

What gets left out, of course, is that God may still be playing to the low information voters none of the smart people care about. It’s not like low information voters have ever folded their tents and slunk away. In the case of the U.S., certain of the low-information crowd have actually managed to gain control of the dialogue.

Why an amazingly primitive metaphor might still work. The God of the Old AND New Testaments is the Harlem Globetrotters. Allah is the Washington Generals.

Perfect, isn’t it? The post-modern egalitarian relativists think the Washington Generals are equally entitled to, well, everything. Just because they always lose doesn’t mean they’re disposable.

Except that they are. Disposable, I mean. Of course they are. The Washington Generals exist only as a silly opposing force to the Harlem Globetrotters. Islam? It’s only a silly if incredibly violent, murderous, and oppressive opposing force to Christianity. The Isaac-Ishmael connection is key. By choosing Ishmael, Muslims have turned the meaning and intentions of God on their head.

The Jewish tradition led to law, morality, civilization, and ultimately to a compassionate culture which demarked a difference between faith and state. The Muslim tradition led to conquest, genocide, and religion AS state AND law. Sharia. With innumerable death penalties and unspeakable non-lethal cruelties besides. The Muslim tradition may have had a few brief moments of brilliance in the past, but there is no Muslim Shakespeare, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Bach, Pasteur, Mozart, Voltaire, Locke, Jefferson, Lincoln, Mark Twain, Einstein, or Gershwin.

Islam is not the hoped for example of the evils of religion. It is a vivid and shockingly obvious example of religion faked by an aggressive, malicious tyrant.

I’m a writer. All I am, really. The one thing I can tell you for sure: the Koran is phony scripture, copied from the Bible by people of lesser talent. Its structure sucks, its imagery is imitative where it’s not nonexistent. It’s more like a badly executed writing assignment foisted on an untalented staff of political toadies than a work of, uh, divine revelation.

Find me anything in the Koran that reaches the poetic heights of Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Mark, or John. Nothing. It’s all pedestrian, mediocre drivel elevated only by its pretensions.

And the God that is Allah is, uh, a God upside down, cast in darkness from above and lit only from underneath, by the adoration of death minded followers.

I can only wonder why nobody else has ever stated these obvious facts.

Upside down or upside up? You tell me.

Upside down or upside up? You tell me. But which of us is lit from above? Actually, there’s a right answer to this one. It hangs on the wall at the end of my upstairs hall. The light from above is a chandelier. THIS is right side up.


Can't bear to open my eyes to the extent of the perfidy. The me of this site. At 60 I desperately want to believe in goodness.

Can’t bear to open my eyes to the extent of the perfidy. The me of this site. At 60 I desperately want to believe in goodness.

I wanted so much to get away from politics. Shades of Godfather 3. I keep getting drawn back in. I’m working on a big new post at the other site. Could take me a couple of days because it’s SO big.

Maybe I’m just kidding myself. Ultimately, there’s a reason why some are deerhounds, seeming dumb but somehow dangerous. You know. The concept of the elemental, ancient, and savage.

My plan had been a post here about azaleas. Now I’m back to Raebert at his most unpredictable, meaning, of course, at his most predictable. I don’t want to be. But I’m still that guy. Forgive me.

Problem is, I know exactly what’s going on, what’s wrong, and how wrong it is.

At one level it’s idiotically simple. But people never believe simple. They want subtle, complex, and sophisticated. The people who understand the wisdom of idiotically simple will know ahead of time what I’m working on. The people who need sophisticated, clever, and slick will have to wait. That takes time. Even for idiot deerhounds.

I hate it when he gets like this.

I hate it when he gets like this.

But I still have to be the other guy. Somebody has to.

But I still have to be the other guy. Somebody has to.

Somebody tweaked me, not wholly unfairly: Don’t Close Your Eyes. Out of context but not out of the ballpark. Well, not altogether anyway. I’m a fan of Keith Whitley. Elemental, savage, and doomed. Affinity is destiny. In some respects. Then again, there’s always hope. The more things stay the same, the more we triumph. Not everyone gets saved, but life has always been a fatal proposition. And, you know, if you can’t believe in God, how can you possibly believe in breasts?

Sorry. I guess that would be one more vulgar Scottish philosophical observation. Not Kantian at all. The Germans and the Russians have done so much to advance philosophy. Marxism. Nazism. Objectivism. I prefer to believe in breasts. Which I try to keep in check by believing first and foremost in Christianity. Although a hand on a female breast is the closest any of us males ever get to God.

Why my eyes remain closed.

Until Shane returns tomorrow or the next day. At the other site.

Strict Google Search

Orteil du Chameille.

Orteil du Chameille. French. Cool. Translate.

Not trying to shock anybody. I thought the Gosnell trial would end today as a kind of Mother’s Day message. It didn’t. From what the jury has asked of the judge, it looks as if they haven’t even gotten to the Gosnell charges yet. Still dealing with the flunkies, factotums, and stooges who propped up this charnel house.

There’s been other relevant news. Cher’s mom shared that she was sitting in a chair in an abortion waiting room when she decided she couldn’t go through with it. That’s the micro. At the macro level, we have word of a virulent new strain of gonorrhea, completely resistant to antibiotics, that can kill people dead in days. While we continue to make it easier and easier for girls to get morning after pills with no parental knowledge or consent. The important thing above all being that they simply must be free to fuck to their heart’s content. Which serves who exactly?

Libertarian, right? Progressive. Post-Christian modernism, right? Right?

We’re all just supposed to accept that our precious daughters, whom we’d do absolutely anything to protect unless the government disapproves, are being taught to have sex as soon and often as possible. Institutionally approved sex education is about how, not if, or, perish the thought, how not.

So don’t take the link I’m offering. It’s not about any four letter word. And it’s filtered by Google’s “strict” setting. Meaning it’s not explicit or even moderately offensive. It’s harmless, well in line with acceptable cultural norms, whatever they are. But guess what. It gives us a portrait of our daughters. Not all, but way too many. And even your virtuous daughters are friendly with these girls, texting them and learning from them. Ignore me if you prefer. But this is what the millennial generation of young women has become. Staggering percentages of them have sexually transmitted diseases. So much so that antibiotics are simply ceasing to work. Many of them are going to die before they even get to an abortion mill.

The Link.

The so-called smart people want you to turn a blind eye. No man can. Every man knows how provocative this is. When will you stand up and say no? Ever?

Or do we just love NASCAR?

We just love racing.

We dig racing. Deeply.

Two Bad Moments

I did nothing. Noth-ing.

I did nothing. Noth-ing.

We went to the vet today. Bordatella shots for all the dogs because we’ll be going away at some point in the next few weeks. The hardest thing for my wife to understand about deerhounds is that they aren’t just bigger, hairier greyhounds. So we had Raebert, Molly, and Eloise in the office all at once, transported in two cars no less. Everything was cool. A vet tech leaned over the gate and said mirthfully, “And a partridge in a pear tree.”

Then a cranky old male golden lab came in and looked crosswise at Raebert. Who said something back. Something Scottish. My wife was horrified. We shushed him. He subsided. He’s twice everybody’s size, you see. No hint of aggression can be tolerated. But he knows that because he’s a smart boy. Why he got A’s in obedience school, even if he forgets his manners now and again.

Then they’d had their shots and I took the sighthounds out to the car while my wife did the business part with Eloise in tow. But no sooner had we reached the top of the steps than we saw, at the bottom of the steps, a gorgeous young Swiss Mountain dog. He took one look at Raebert and did that aggressive male bark we’ve all learned to recognize and dread. “Who. And. What. The. Hell. Are. You?”

Oh God, I’m thinking. You really really don’t want to know. We had an escape route. A ramp, a 40 ft detour to avoid the steps. I led Raebert and Molly down the slick first half, and the slicker second half in the opposite direction. Raebert was absolutely cool. Molly was only a little frantic, the way she always is at the vet’s.

I didn’t tell my wife right away that the ramp caused the leashes to get fouled and when I went to put them in the car Molly got out of her collar because Raebert had his leash wrapped around him to the point no one but Molly could move. “Molly, stay,” I commanded. She didn’t know what I was talking about. Why I was able to slip the collar back on her while I belatedly stood on Raebert’s loose leash. Everything under control except my heart…

“What a gorgeous Swissie!” my wife told me when she returned with Eloise.

I’m just reporting here. Raebert didn’t go all Braveheart on anyone and Molly didn’t bolt like a deer into the trafficky suburbs. Total victory. And Eloise was a little angel for the whole ride up and back.

Why my weekend is already a complete triumph.

Gun Control Logic

Breitbart's small type super-header was "Beauty fades, dumb is forever."

Aussie supermodel. Enough said. Breitbart’s small type super-header was “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.”

No, she’s not one of our pets. Izzie would violently protest being so upstaged. But she is an eloquent symbol of the post-Newtown gun control frenzy.

How many of you know that since the repeal of the Reagan era assault weapons ban, gun crime has fallen steadily for two decades, including school shootings?

Now for my new hyper-linking skill. Here’s a rundown, with more links to multiple persuasive graphs, of the latest numbers on gun crime, courtesy of Pew and The Bureau of Justice Statistics, neither of which are known NRA stooges.

Now you’re free to transition to official mother worship mode.

Get her flowers, take her out to dinner, or better yet brunch (they prefer it), and dote on her every word. Just don’t let her tell you that we should start junking the constitution because she thinks guns are scary.

Not that they all do. But too many do. She deserves better than to be patronized. Make her think. What we all owe those we love.

The Conservative Terminator


I feel obligated to recognize Sean Hannity. I don’t know about you. I get tired, despairing, hopeless at times, and I hate having to make the same old arguments again and again even though I know hardly anyone remembers anything for more than ten minutes, let alone ten months or ten years.

Remember Terminator 2? When Sarah is watching her son with Ahnold? She’s amazed to discover that he’s probably better for her son than the men she’s known. She observes that he’ll never get tired, never get impatient, never stop following his programming, never lose his temper and go nuts.

I listened to Rush today. His mood is like mine. Not trying to depress anyone, he said. But he was saying what I said yesterday. Nothing in the Benghazi hearings will make any difference whatever. He was grim. He was tired of explaining the reasons and the lessons. He knew he was being depressing. But he had to vent.

Fast forward to Hannity. Same old same old. He’s never ever ever tired of reciting all the history, all the lessons, all the hypocrisies, all the nonsense most of us can’t even bear to think of. He does it very like an automaton, reeling off all the precedents, wickedness, and despicable lefty behavior that makes current liberal posturing so ludicrous. Amazing. As a guy who writes about what’s going on, I have to say that his never getting tired just seems impossible.

So I take my hat off to him. He’s on the Benghazi case again tonight. Tirelessly. He even reminded me of the comparison that has to be made between Benghazi and the Valerie Plame affair. Relentless press after a scandal that never existed versus the no press coverage of a scandal worse than Watergate. I covered the Plame Affair myself. He’s right. And fatigue is no reason to stop being passionately outraged.

Sean is annoying, funny, and maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But he’s necessary and on days like today I admire him.

What’s the story with Hillary?

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Looking for some help here. Has anyone else noticed that the Democrats don’t have any young’uns on the bench? The two supposed front runners for the 2016 nomination are Biden and Hillary. Who are both, uh, old. Come the 2017 inauguration, Biden will be 75 and Hillary will be 70. As first-termers. The rest of the Democrat leadership is similarly, uh, old. Right now, Harry Reid is 74 and Nancy Pelosi is 73. Younger Dem stars like Anthony Weiner and Jesse Jackson Jr. are usually either disgraced or in jail. And their women are, without exception, drabs, dykes, or dingbats. Elizabeth Warren. Kathleen Sebelius. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Barbara Boxer. Janet Napolitano. Sheila Jackson Lee. Claire McCaskill. Maxine Waters. Elena Kagan. Sonia Sotomayor. Mayor Bloomberg. Barbara Mikulski. Twinks or toads all.


No wonder the Dems went a little crazy and thought they might nominate airhead movie star Ashley Judd to run for the senate in Kentucky. I mean, if you’re the party of Hollywood, celebrity, and the glamour of unbridled hedonism, you should have at least one sexually attractive invitee to the party, shouldn’t you? But she couldn’t even leave Tennessee long enough to press flesh in Kentucky. And her only (and every) political metaphor was rape. Bye, Ashley.

Which leaves Hillary. Who’s actually more celebrity than statesman when you think about it. She pretty much sucks at both politics and governance. The 2008 nomination was absolutely hers to lose. She lost it. As Secretary of State for a president who despised her she was given practically nothing to do. And she still managed to pull off one of the biggest, most appalling and humiliating blunders a Secretary of State ever presided over in real time crisis mode.

She’s a housewife with a law degree and a nasty personality who nevertheless still basks in the reflected charisma of her morally loathesome husband, who is the only remaining star in the Democratic firmament. Until he keels over from a Viagra overdose.

They tell us that Democrats are the party of young people. Really? Really? Their future and the dreams they presume to offer are all locked firmly in the middle of the last century. They’re a joke.

So how desperate is it that the liberal political and media establishment will commit every kind of fraud, perjury, and moral negligence to preserve the career of this arid, corrupt ideologue?

As I said, give me some help here.

PS. And, yes, our pug Eloise IS beautiful. Far more than any other female named in this post. So there.

So who is Robert Whitcomb?

Buckeyes! What do I know from Dartmouth? Thinking we'll win anyway. Boss says so. He cuts the grass. It'll be good.

Buckeyes! What do I know from Dartmouth? Thinking we’ll win anyway. Boss says so. He cuts the grass. It’ll be good.

Blasted him at the other site. Why?

Remember I talked about old friends who really aren’t?

He’s an executive editor of the Providence Journal in Rhode Island. I have no doubt that he’s a good man as he conceives it. He was a good friend to me when I needed one, way back in my teens. I was at his wedding. A fine Episcopalian event on the Main Line. He’s one of the elect.

Smart. Privileged. Graduate of Taft School, Dartmouth, and the Columbia School of Journalism. Best friend of his fellow Taft grad Arthur Waldron, who was the valedictorian of his class at Harvard and is today one of the leading experts on China in the United States.

How dare I diss him? Because. Because he’s an idiot.

He accomplished the exact opposite of Winston Churchill’s definition of intelligence. If you’re not liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you’re old, you have no brain. When I knew him in college, he was a conservative. Now he’s a Rhode Island liberal, once challenged, ready to brand me a coward, a fool, and a reactionary.

Sadly, not even the privileged are immune from personal pain. Robert has a daughter in pain. Which makes him believe that the government should pay for all our health care. We clashed over ObamaCare. His highly intelligent argument was, why shouldn’t we try it? Really? Because it will bankrupt us and destroy the lives of millions of real people?

Oh wait. Robert knows nothing whatever about real people. He’s never met any. In the U.S., he’s lived his life in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. Ring any bells? He’s also affiliated with the Aga Khan. Supposed to make us feel respectful.

I feel bad for him. I feel sorry for him. I won’t go into the personal matters that cause him so much pain. I understand pain. BUT…

He’s a journalist. An influential one. And he’s done absolutely nothing to cover the Obama administration in any way that’s different from what the New York Times also doesn’t do.

Hence my contempt. If you have all the advantages, you have an overwhelming duty to be better than the usual suspects. What has he done? Nothing. Absolutely, completely, utterly, nothing.

He’s become a septuagenarian Ivy clubbie. Could he write if he wanted to? Yeah. You know. Not great. But correct, workmanlike if not lyrical, and convincing if he’d ever had a mind to.

What I said about the trajectories of life. He’s a success in career terms. He’s the biggest failure I know.

Look him up. I miss him. And I also don’t much care anymore.

PS. Here’s the front page of today’s Providence Journal. Unless you’d prefer their website.

Unfinished Business

Patrick. He stood up for the puppy Psmith. Big Time. He weighed 80, the bully 90. First time I heard Patrick growl. Only time. Bully hid behind mommy's pants. The daddy was mortified.

Patrick. He stood up for the puppy Psmith. Big Time. He weighed 80, the bully 90. First time I heard Patrick growl. Only time. Bully hid behind mommy’s pants.

Another thing that’s different about this site. When I realize I’ve left some of my slip showing, I feel obliged to admit it.

So I did a lyrical post on greyhounds. Mentioned a boy named Patrick. I buried my grief at his loss because my wife thought it was verging on ostentation. Like I missed him more than she did, which was patently untrue. There were more greyhounds who needed rescuing. I conceded and got with the program. How we got Andrew.

But why did I get so cranky with everybody yesterday? With Lake and my wife in particular? They loved and praised my post, and I nevertheless gave them both hell. The answer is Patrick.

I loved that boy. More than I can say. It spilled out in text messages to my friend Lake. I criticized his comment. He offered to pull it, aware that I was on a tear. I said:

“No, I don’t want you to pull it. I was disappointed. I keep forgetting about different strains of Christianity. My point was that greyhounds ARE angels sent to help us. Your immediate interpretation was that those of us who help them are good Christians who condescend to help helpless animals. I just thought you’d catch my drift.

Patrick was giving my dying mother communion, and I think she knew it.

I was so devastated by the death of Patrick that my wife told me to stop it. She had to move on. So I tried to forget him. He never licked me once. But we had a nonverbal bond. I hugged him and he swelled. He was as important to me as Psmith and Raebert. In a fraction of the time. He never said a word.

Dogs are also creatures of God. There is no convincing story of human civilization that doesn’t depend on dogs. In many ways they are our moral superiors, altruistic and loyal beyond human understanding. But there’s a rumor out there that they have no souls. Your interpretation of my post leads me to believe you share that view.

I believe… I believe that a huge part of what Pat brought me was the experience of sight hounds. I grew up with shepherds, terriers, smart, smart, smart, and interestingly, in my earliest youth, Irish Setters, now mythologized for their dumbness, which is supposed to transcend their beauty. (Just a mention for Irish Setter Katie… Smartest dog I ever even heard tell of.)

Smart dogs reinforce human superiority. Is this the best they can do? Great. So dogs are all stupider than us and we feel smarter. Dumb dogs are different. The smartest woman I ever met was engaged with what I’d been taught were the dumbest dogs ever. And she was entranced.

Education. The smartest woman I ever met was also a skeptical, truculent Catholic. She had a way with her dumb dogs and feral cats.

Since then, what? She made it her business to make all my dreams come true. In every realm. In the animal realm she learned that I had had a Bengal cat who died young. She got me a new Bengal. We still have her, and she’s a joy to both of us.

She learned that I had a fantasy about Scottish Deerhounds because I had seen a picture of one on the Internet. She arranged to get us one.

His name was Psmith and he lived and died with us.

She already had greyhounds. Two of them. Why she was willing to step up to a deerhound, which is a whole other order of commitment. She saw that I was the one who brought her male feral cat out of his shell onto my lap, and she knew we could do this whole spiritual adventure together.

Since then, we’ve been through heaven and hell. We’re too old to have babies. We have cats and dogs instead. What we prefer. And, yes, we have grand kids, but that’s an old and predictable story. What’s not predictable is the shafts of light we get from dogs and cats. Which are stupendous. Raebert is way way smarter than he’s supposed to be. His paw is articulate all on its own. Molly thrives. THRIVES. Is this a reward? Or just an exception? Our pug is not fat, our Bengal is not impossible, and of our two feral cats, one is the coolest man in the room. Then there’s Elliott. Think of him as the Daniel Craig of cats.

Maybe I should post this. But I don’t want to jump up and down on you. My sense is, you just don’t get it. Please tell me otherwise.”

Lake, being the man that he is, saw unexpressed grief rather than insult and said, “Post it. I get it.”

So I just did. What grief looks like. Sometimes ugly, always bloody. But the beat goes on.

I'm 11. God's gift to Pat and Robert. I can still outrun that ratty-ass Raebert.

I’m 11. God’s gift to Pat and Robert. I can still outrun that ratty-ass Raebert.