Today was the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution, i.e., when the commies took over in Russia. In commemoration of such, I’d like to comment on the fundamental problems with communism, of which, if you think about it, there are really only two:
First, communism centralizes ownership of all resources and the power to decide how to use those resources to meet society’s needs.* That’s bad because, long story short, it limits how much brainpower can go into using those resources efficiently to meet those needs. Instead of taking advantage of the collective brainpower of bazillions of private decision-makers using privately owned resources in a market economy, communism relies heavily on the economic judgements of maybe a few dozen or a few hundred so-called experts.
Second, communists needed to murder 100 million people last century in order to get anybody else to go along with their bright idea.
Aside from that, it works really well on paper.
* Note: This is where people usually interject with something along the lines of “Centralization isn’t what Marx predicted or intended! A classless society with no private property blah blah blah” and then I pat them on the head and tell them how adorable it is when they try to think.
Happy 241st birthday to the United States of America! This one’s special; turns out that the most common isotope of the universe’s greatest element– Americium– is none other than Americium-241. It’s used in spectrometers and certain types of smoke detectors. True story.
Also, happy 145th birthday to Calvin Coolidge.
I started writing some stuff and then it occurred to me that the general sentiment of my post had been far better put by Carl Sandburg a century ago in his poem “Chicago.” I don’t think we’d have seen eye-to-eye on matters of politics and economics, and the poor schlep died before I could straighten him out, but his poem defended a then-young metropolis against critiques from the East Coast and the Old World. The sins and the hardships are different today, but take a gander at Sandburg’s Chicago and maybe you’ll see our America:
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
God bless our country.
Here he is, hang gliding in a suit while smoking a cigar, because how else is a secret agent supposed to enjoy a cigar?
I was tempted to title this one “Names is for tombstones, baby,” which I’m sure Sir Roger would have liked, but… nah. Anyhow, next chance you get, gin up a vodka martini and pour one out for the man.
Two long-ago posts come to mind upon the triumphant return of Twin Peaks to TV-land. First, from “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”:
“One of the key elements of the show was a dream/vision in which Agent Cooper saw himself 25 years in the future. Well… 25 years later works out to either 2014 or 2015. Some of the actors behind big roles (Pete, BOB, Major Briggs) have passed on to one of the two Lodges, but it would be ridiculously awesome of Lynch to gather everyone else up and direct another coupla hours of Twin Peaks. Since that’s unlikely to happen, I’ll have to settle for a hopefully-enjoyable mini-reunion on Psych.”
And second, from “Questionnaire 9.”:
“14. YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE THE HALF-HOUR TV SHOW OF YOUR OWN DESIGN. WHAT IS IT CALLED AND WHAT’S THE PREMISE? I’d bring back Twin Peaks, throw it on HBO, and let Lynch go nuts.”
2017 and Showtime. Close enough. I can take no credit, because I’m sure bazillions of Peaks fans had the same two thoughts. This may truly be the golden age of television.
You know what the best part of this is? The return of Twin Peaks is guaranteed not to be disappointing because the second season back in 1991 or whenever was such a disaster. Few shows have fallen so far so quickly from Season 1 to Season 2 (Heroes comes to mind, though). Ben Horne thinking he’s General Robert E. Lee? James Hurley’s stupid road trip? The other crap I fast-forward past on every re-watch? Season 3 can’t be worse than that.
The cherry pie is ready to be served. I don’t drink coffee but I hope anyone who does finds it damn fine this eve. It is happening again. I’m geeking out. Let’s rock.
My grandmother would’ve turned 107 today. Here she is on a beach I will hopefully be able to identify soon, in her finest heels and a pretty nifty hat:
Would that she whispered her recipe for meatball tortellini soup to the tide and the winds, that it might return to us.