Archive for April 23rd, 2006

Drumps

If you have a fragile ego, you need to avoid intelligent small children like the plague.

My two-year-old niece had heard what people were saying about me, but they wouldn’t say it.

So every time she saw me with a beer in my hand, she would say,

“You’re a DRUMP, Uncle Bob!”

It turned out she was perfectly correct. I WAS a drump.

Big time.

I ended up a couple of decades later in alcohol and drug recovery.

Everywhere I went i was surrounded by other drumps. I gloried in the week-long Afrikaaner braaevleise (?) which put the wildest Texas cookout to shame. They drank what any objective lab would testify was a toxic amount of alcohol and ate steaks held in their hands like hamburgers. For a week or so we all just passed out from time to time and came back to to gorge more and return to the smashed condition.

In Malawi, sort of neutral territory, I took care of a Cubano Commie who was out of his mind drunk. Blantyre, Malawi was neutral territory then. I wouold have killed him and he would have killed me in our normal occupation.

But if you get drunk together, that involves a mutual agreement any other Drump will understand.

During the American Revolution when french officers were over here, several things kept cropping up.

One was the fact that, to a French aristocrat, taking care of business was what your stewards did. It was always curious to them that George Washington knew exactly how each ofhis plantations was doing. He knew the name of eachof his slaves, and he also knew how well they worked.

The idea that a French aristocrat should know how well each of the peasants he lived off of did workwise was as alien to them as moonmen.

Contrary to stereotypes, Frenchmen didn’t drink all that much.

At least by the standards of the Founding Fathers.

Those were pretty heavy standards.

The Frenchmen were always appalled by the constant toasts in hard liquor.

Just as the stereotype is that Jesus never had a sexual thought in his life, the unspoken subtext is that the Founding Fathers never drank to intoxication.

Meanwhile back on earth, it wasn’t unusual for a prominent man in the community to be found son the couch or even on the road smashed out of his mind.

I doubt that Washington ever allowed himself to be seen drunk. But Washington worked hard to be the soul of dignity.

And the record shows that even HIS intake of alcohol would have put us modern mortals in the drunk tank.

In the third world, the people at the front line drank very, very hard.

I survived to end up in recovery.

Most of the people I was with didn’t live long enough to end up in recovery.

It is well known that Adams and Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

That is not as much of a coincidence as you might think.

In the old days, a man in his eighties would live until he saw no point in living any more. One of my uncles lived alone, took care of himself, and drove his own car until he was 86. He smoked heavily.

At age 86, Dr. Bruce, my uncle, tried to marry for the third time. He had been married twice before, his beloved wives had die, and he had six children by them. But that year he was rejected by a 75-year-old woman he loved.

So he died.

Obviously Jefferson, who was in his eighties, and Adams, who was in his nineties, were living until July 4, 1825 precisely because it was the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration, an event that was being celebrated all over America.

Adams’s last words were, “Jefferson still lives!”

Jefferson, hundreds of miles away, had just died.

All this strikes people as a hell of a coincidence.

Actually it was as natural as gravity.

Both os them had lived until that day. Adams’s last word simply show that he knew that.

The record shows that, by today’s standards, even Adams was a “drump.”

Let me end this aimless set of observations with a final one.

One biography of George Washington I was reading said, “Washington loved fox hunting. But any sensitive person who saw what his dogs did to a fox he had hunted down would never have fox-hunted again.”

I beg to differ. George Washington was also perfectly aware of what that same fox did to a rabbit every day of the week. Unlike the suburbanite historian, Washington was up on the front line of life.

People who condemn hunting are always under the impression that, if it weren’t for the guy with gun, a deer would have died ina Old Deer’s Home.

I am the last person to praise the Tough Guy that the average member of the group that calls itself The Greatest Generation thinks he is.

They are NOT tough.

The French followed Rousseau, who never left Europe and theorized about Noble Savages. The Revolution they made led to terror and Napolean’s absolute rule

Our Founding Fathers had damned few illusions, least of all the illusion that they were The Original Tough Guys.

And their Revolution worked.

3 Comments

LibAnon — Bob’s Seminar!

LibAnon says,

“this is a seminar, not a lecture”
Then call it “Bob’s Seminar”! “Bob’s Moot” sounds too much like “Bob’s Irrelevant”, which Bob clearly is not.
“I feel terribly let down.”
You’re not going to find equals here, Bob. You are an authentic genius, and since there’s only one of those per two million or so, the odds are unlikely that another one is going to turn up here. Geniuses are always let down by their followers.
So what keeps our race going forward, to the extent that it DOES go forward, is not genius but the Golden Rule. Simple, but not easy. If you’re going to ask us to make a greater EFFORT to understand you, you’re going to have to make an even greater effort to understand US. One of the biggest problems here is that your responses to people are often so out of line with what they actually SAID that it simply boggles the mind.

Comment by LibAnon

MY REPLY:

LibAnon has just explained the problem I have, but he has also justified my coming to you for help.

“Bob’s Seminar” is perfect!

It is also something I would not have come up with, but it is an exercise in the basics I am talking about.

I am a genius, and that is a problem.

I am a genius in the area I cover because I was not only born with a lot of mental equipment, but I have added half a century of hard thought and hard-won experience in the area I am trying to teach to my mental endowments.

I have repeatedly apologized for misstating what people say.

I MEAN those apologies.

I am very often ashamed of what I said.

But you put up with it because you know that what I am doing is very, very hard. It is WORK to explain all that I have done, and I often screw it up.

I will try to do better. You will put up with me.

I always want more out of my students than they can do. I certainly always want more than you can do EASILY.

No dedicated teacher has ever done the job perfectly. The best teachers at our level are almost invariably a pain in the ass.

No one but a professorial bully WANTS to be a pain in the ass.

But every successful student is always glad his best teacher WAS a pain in the ass.

A great postgraduate-level teacher will be a pain in the ass. So naturally the half-wits conclude that if you are a pain in the ass you are a great teacher.

I am not self-righteous about misinterpreting you. It is a failure on my part.

I don’t LIKE failure like that.

I will keep trying to overome that failing. My hope is that what you get from me makes it worth the grief.

1 Comment

Bob’s Moot

Do you think it would be a good idea if we changed the title from Bob’s Blog to Bob’s Moot?

This would emphasize the fact that this is a seminar, not a lecture.

Bob LEADS this Moot, but it is no fun and little intellectual profit to ME if I am the only one doing the talking.

In the usual course, the professor feeds the students and then tests them and gives the final judgement whether they have absorbed HIS points. I hope Bob’s Blog has moved beyond that.

Yes, I want you to stay on subject. But I do NOT want this to be just absorb and regurgitate. I want to PLANT a way of thinking in you. When I die, I want you to go ahead and improve on a base I set.

When I am just plain wrong, I want YOU to tell me so.

When I’m no longer here, I want you to tell each other how to proceed.

I want ideas popping up that needed my basic way of thinking to get started, but which I would be amazed at.

It scares me when, as in the congressional debate on renewing the ban on the IRS setting racial quotas for private schools, the people on my side forgot all the basics as soon as I was not there.

Why can’t somebody else tell a TV interviewer who saysd it is critical that immigrants and Americans getting together in this country,

“They’ve GOT a country.”

Nobody else seems to remember that.

Basics, basics, BASICS!

And from basics, you PROCEED.

I get a bit desperate, gang.

SOMEBODY besides me has to STICK to the basics.

And “basics” mean something you PROCEED from.

I can’t do all the proceeding.

I CAN’T DO ALL THE PROCEEDING.

So every time a commenter goes back into the standard stuff, I feel terribly let down.

Don’t talk about stuff here that you can talk about just anywhere. Let’s concentrate on OUR basics.

Are there any comments, questions, disagreements?

5 Comments

The Blog is not Complete Without the Comments!

I got a wonderful set of comments today.

Every one of them represents what the commenter, the person sitting in on this seminar, was made to think of by my statements.

Every good comment is something that needs sayinf. Each is as integral a part of Bob’s Blog as what I say is.

PLEASE read the comments.

No Comments