Smorgasboard of Updates and Pithy Observations

Posted on 05 May 2013

Today’s exercise in stream-of-consciousness blogging follows. Hold on to your buttocks.

I am now apparently hosting a family of feral cats in the garage. A white cat with a little black nose and sapphire eyes — I’ve named her Snowball — has taken residence of the garage attic, along with her three children. The kittens are old enough to scurry about independently, but young enough to occasionally nurse. One is solid white, one is solid black, and one is solid grey. Advice from Stacie is to simply trap them and have them humanely euthanized. Others suggest a trap/neuter/release program. The advice mirrors battles among animal-rights activists. My solution, which I freely admit is the least responsible thing I could do, is to give them food and water.

The last few weeks have featured a packed social calendar. Yesterday I saw Iron Man 3 at Celebration South with Julie, Steve, Brittany and the “other” Jason; the week before I caught Oblivion at Celebration Rivertown. Last week, Tony came to town to record and we ended up enjoying some cigars and premium adult beverages before trekking to Erb Thai for some tasty, tasty curried food. On Friday, Stacie came over to meet my cats and slog back a few beers. Last week, I had cigars with The Irritable Bastard. The week before, Tony and I hoofed it to Horseshoe Hammond for the Midwest Smoke Out.

Life has been interesting on the writing front. I’ve been making more progress on some of my sundry manuscripts and I also purchased three of my friend Duane’s recently released novels, from Amazon.

Since last month’s deluge, the weather in West Michigan has been downright cheerful. Consistently in the 70s, with a mid-80s day last week, and sunny. Fairly moderate humidity, too. I think I’m going to go for a nice long walk along Kent Trails later today. I hope this pattern holds for the Isle Royale trip at the end of the month. On the extra-special bright side, it’s transitioned into “walking around with very little clothes” season, and so far the folks with the best bodies are the ones most likely to flaunt them. Please, oh please, let the trend continue. Remember: Just Say No! to muffintops.

I finished reading The Origins of Political Order by Francis Fukuyama. Most of the book was solid and well-presented; his conclusions largely tracked what I’d expect from a political science perspective of evolutionary social biology. The key insight I pulled from his work — which ended with the French Revolution — is that political order waxes and wanes and one of the forces leading to social decay is repatriomonialization. This fancy term identifies the tendency for political elites to create systems that support their kin or tribe. In small societies, the kin are usually blood relatives, but in larger societies, the tribe may well include fellow elites. Hence the tendency for the political class to resist change that harms the political class, and the reason why elite activists favor the erosion of federalism. Fukuyama’s belief, obliquely expressed, is that violence is typically the tool used to undo repatrimonialization. Hence, the only way to break gridlock and self-serving behavior in government is to overthrow the government, because political leaders are almost never willing to voluntarily cede their elite privileges for the good of the state as a whole. His observations should give pause to those who dismiss recent public opinion polling that suggests that a large minority of the American public expects widespread political violence within the next decade.

All for now.


    1 Response to Smorgasboard of Updates and Pithy Observations

  • Nicely written kind sir. Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. Repatriomonialization is now my word of the week. I can’t wait for the barrage of weird stares as I toss it into the conversation mix!

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