The dragon waits for no one

In his 1853 short story Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!, Herman Melville wrote of the emerging mechanized transport of locomotive trains and the ensuing carnage which greeted the widespread use of the rushing beasts:

Great improvements of the age! What! to call the facilitation of death and murder an improvement! Who wants to travel so fast? My grandfather did not, and he was no fool. Hark! here comes that old dragon again – that gigantic gad-fly of a Moloch – snort! puff! scream here he comes straight-bent through these vernal woods, like the Asiatic cholera cantering on a camel. Stand aside! here he comes, the chartered murderer! the death monopolizer! judge, jury, and hangman all together, whose victims die always without benefit of clergy. For two hundred and fifty miles that iron fiend goes yelling through the land, crying: “More! more! more!”

Writing of the exaggerated nimbleness of modern machinery.

He expressed a sense of harsh impersonality and victimization at the hands of technology’s persistent shrinkage of time and space.

Does each generation sense the stain of this technological victimization?
Does each generation peer into the rear porthole harking back a couple of generations and marvel at the hypnotic and deliberate pace of their grandparent’s lives while bemoaning current civilization’s rapidly encroaching tools of modernity.

Comparatively, Melville’s era, just about 5 generations ago, brims with a simplistic and cautious demeanor skirting the fringes of 19th Century technology. It baffles me to contemplate the idea that our fast-paced and blindingly quick technology of today will one day be considered as antiquated and primitive as a locomotive train is to us now.

In that future, how much further will the world have shrunk?

How will time appear to man as he buzzes around his daily errands in 150 years?

As time shrinks at the merciless hands of frenetic technology, 150 years in Melville’s time may be approximately matched in 30 of ours. Or less.

The future is an unknown marvel. It is hidden before us like a path curving through the dark woods; a future shielded by the mysterious discoveries laid out by our future minds. A collective mind which will undergo an incomprehensible metamorphosis, a metamorphosis of intellect and inventions. Each generation of technology surpasses the previous in ways unimaginable and the progression is non-linear. It compounds and expands beyond that which we cannot know.

Melville was a victim of his modern age.
We are all victims and beneficiaries of the niceties of invention.
Choose your path.
Do you join the parade and wallow contentedly in the excess? Do you strengthen the structure?

Or do you drop out and turn your back. Serve it no use, but realizing that in so doing, it serves you no purpose either.

Defeat will always wait and be the lone embrace to your lonely stand.

For the Dragon is never deterred.

Time for subset b. Goddamnit.

Hypnotized we are.
Like a puppy under the spell of a bouncing ball.
We watch and witness the rhythmic pattern of daily life.
Spellbound by routine.
One day leads to another. One hour leads to another. One minute leads to another.
One second…

A parade of inconspicuous moments multiplying and compounding. A pattern of life. Continuing, unabated and unchecked. We take it in but rarely take it in.
Mindful of life but barely cognizant of the preciousness of its endless array of laddered units. The pure moments.

We watch as the moments bounce by.
Like little puppies.

Our heads bob in time with the cascading and accumulating blocks of time which make up bigger blocks and bigger, and bigger, years, decades, centuries, eons. But in our own lives, the blocks so small but to our finite presence, being…large. Life encompassing.

Hypnotized we watch the seconds race or trickle past.

A day created, a day lost. A new day beckons.
And the cycle lived anew.
The parade of reality indistinguishable and our little people minds, like a puppy, see only the ball. We don’t see the bounce, we don’t see the descent nor the ascent.
We only see the ball, the regularity of our lives.
Like the massive and cold laws of physics, that which is observed with a set of variables, a, present, will once again be visible, given the same set of variables, a.

a is the backbone of our life.
a is bliss. a is comfort and solace.
Predictability.

Lazily we blankly relish the motherly comfort of a and the transcendence of b is unthinkable. So we don’t think about it.
For the laws of our personal physics don’t only tell us that the presence of a will result in the same outcome each time. Our personal physics tell us, and we foolishly come to expect, that a is a constant.

Called taking the whole damn thing for granted.
Because we are puppies and routine is our ball.

And the day you left me.

Fuck. Time to move onto subset b. The cycle begins anew.

A few reasons why I am NOT a fuckingassholeAlphamale

Aw damnit, can you you blame me for wanting to be an Alpha male?
Everyone wants to be the Alpha, the jock, the stud. The guy who has the pick of the pussy litter.
Don’t lie.
I won’t. I’d love to be. But I’m not.

I didn’t have the slightest concept of “Alpha” until I started traipsing around the mansphere. Even then, it was a bewildering freaking concept. So Alpha is what exactly? And I can be Alpha how?

And why in the world would man want to be Alpha anyways? Women?

Alpha, the romanticized and fetishized carrot today’s breed of floundering and unlaid young guys wandering like lost souls through the current sexual marketplace seem hung up on. Alpha by its very definition is rare. Unique, prized. If everyone were Alpha we’d need a lot more space, wouldn’t we? And a lot more women.

Yet all these guys all want to be Alpha. Mimic Alpha. Ah.
The subtle wordplay here is not that you are Alpha, per se, but that you act Alpha. The thinking being that as your mind goes so does your body. And your affect and mannerisms. Thus you will embody Alpha if you act the part. Eventually you will fool yourself. You will convince yourself that you are indeed Alpha until the day someone bigger and better saunters in, fucks your girlfriend and then proceeds to pummel you into the ground. Yeah, Alpha this.

The Alpha concept is awesomely cheesy. I understand so little about it other than what I’ve gleaned over the countless references to it in this corner of the blogosphere. What I’ve read, for the most part, as written by young horny guys, sounds oddly self-aggrandizing and slightly delusional. Alpha has become the magic pill, the cure for the misery of loneliness and pathological virginity.

I’m not Alpha. Decidedly not.
There are aspects of my personality that may fit the Alpha category, but there are many important ones that glaringly refuse Alphaness. In fact, I would argue that I am the anti-Alpha.

You see, that opens up a new can of worms.
Beta.
From what I’ve gathered, I’m not quite Beta either.
What the hell am I?

Who knows. Does it matter?

I imagine there is a little of both in all guys.
Anyone who is fully Beta or fully Alpha must surely exude a comic and caricature-like air of exaggeration. Not to mention the dangerous slivers of fractured emotionality.
We all must contain a mixture of Alpha and Beta.

My indisputable rise to the top of the Alpha heap (and thus my pick of females to staff my humble harem) is kept in check by several personal qualities which I believe instantly disqualify me from Gold membership at Club Alpha.

These are some reasons why I am not a fuckingassholeAlphamale.

Women aren’t that important to me.

Hahaha. Don’t go there.

I say this in all sincerity.  
I mean, of course I love women, I love hot women with great curves and sparkling eyes and I love it when they decide to sit on my lap and wiggle their ass. I love their tight jeans and their silly giggles. I love it. But frankly, the procurement of such fleshy entertainment just does not rank high on my to-do list. I certainly don’t see the need to structure my entire life around piling on more notches in the greedy quest to get more and more. I’ve been there.  I’m 45. Running after every woman like a dog chases its tail really doesn’t appeal to me at this point in my life. Alpha is a sexual trait, essentially. Alpha speaks to a male’s ability to manipulate certain qualities and traits in measured doses that will allow him to mate with the most fertile females possible. I certainly don’t think an Alpha male has such a ho-hum attitude about females as I do.

I really have no ambition

At least not in the traditional materialistic and cumulative sense seen in the modern Western mind.  I have no longing to own any of the model status symbols which we slave ourselves to.  I have no urge to own any of the big-ticket items that require one to abolish all good monetary sense in order to attain. I’m not particularly sold on structuring my life around the path which will pave the way for their acquisition. You know, big money, big job title, big checkbook.  One of the master forces propelling the civilized Alpha is the exaggerated drive to build status and power through the display of material wealth.   Consequently, access to the most females.

I’m way too chill

Dude, just think Cheech and Chong without the reefer.  I rarely get riled up. I take things at 3/4 speed compared to most people.  I do things according to my own stopwatch which beats a little slower than civilization’s master clock. Intense would hardly describe me.  Alpha must possess a drive to conquer the environment, the elements. I lack it.

I’m too small

Isn’t an Alpha dependent upon the perception of physical might and power?  Maybe in the primitive jungle eras of yore, physical prowess was proven by actual combat, but in this modern world the perception is more important than the ability.  I don’t know any men who walk around challenging other men to random fights in order to uphold their Alpha supremacy. I don’t think the crowd at the supermarket or the subway platform would be terribly impressed. In the absence of such physically expressed displays of Alpha might, we are entirely dependent on physique to answer the Alpha unknown.   Simply put, big guys have a leg up in the display of Alpha by default.   Small men are automatically perceived as less physically fearsome, and physical fearsomeness is one of the key Alpha traits. Do you intimidate?

Yeah well, I guess it would be nice. If I had found this Alpha stuff like 30 years ago.
I could have been somebody!

Genderally, the Glass Ceiling is a red herring

I like to reckon myself a rather imaginative lad.  That’s why I’m taking great pride in a word I just designed.
Sadly, I’m sure someone, somewhere, has thought of it already and it would be presumptuous of me to stand on my podium and proclaim my trailblazing originality.

I was devising a warning / disclaimer which would preface tonight’s post.  I started with something like “warning, you will be assaulted by gender-based generalizations in this post” but it seemed too long.  If only I could shorten it…and that’s when the word popped into my head.

“Genderalization.”

WARNING: TONIGHT’S POST CONTAINS GRATUITOUS GENDERALIZATIONS!

Genderalizations are just that.  They are broad statements which purport to explain a diffused trait of the gender in question.  It’s a genderalization to say men like football and women like tea parties.  Could you argue with that?   But if you “go out on a limb” and state it as a fact, you’ll be taken to task by everyone and his (or her) uncle (or aunt) because they happen to know so-and-so who actually hates football or hates tea parties.  Human nature is such that it loves boasting of intimate and first-hand knowledge of exceptions in order to refute common sense.

All men like football and all women like tea parties.  Throwing the word “all” into this sentence tends to subvert its authority.  One is better off leaving the “all” out of the equation.  It’s less arguable as such.  Which brings me to a subject I’d like to chat about and in the process. probably rely on some genderalizations which some might find less than pleasing.  But whatever.  I’ve experienced many of these genderalizations first-hand, so I don’t feel guilty about resorting to them.

I was thinking about the magnificent, global Glass Ceiling.

The infamous Glass Ceiling, the discrepancy in men’s and women’s pay for similiar jobs.

First off, I’m not disputing the presence of a disparity in salary levels.  I fully believe that it exists and is born out by real-world statistics.

Men make more than women for the same duties.  Agreed.

I maintain however, that this is not the result of ulterior and rehearsed actions of maledom at large.  I don’t believe groups of men meet behind closed doors while they puff on cigars or swill martinis and structure a far-ranging and pervasive strategy of putting dents in the pay rates of women (price fixing if you will).  I don’t believe it’s quite so deliberate or consciously designed.

I think there is a reason women are paid less than men…I think it’s owing in large part to the failure of women, in genderal, to provide a viable and dependable workforce across its entire spectrum.

The business world, despite my cynicism (and antagonism) is largely a well-oiled and self-leveling machine.  With millions of employees contained within the payrolls of companies, large and small, across the country, there is ultimately an equilibrium that is essentially attained as salaries are rewarded over the long haul.  At that macro level perspective, there is very little conscious effort to be observed in the regulation of salary levels.  Salaries are determined by the omnipotent and everpresent laws of supply and demand and other quirks of a free market system in which prices (salaries) find a suitable level without any help or deliberate meddling by any of the parties involved.  Necessity and peformance ultimately provide a basis by which salaries rise or sink.

Yes, there is a glass ceiling.

No, it’s not fair…to women who work hard.

The Glass Ceiling is merely the free market concept’s allocation of salary resources based on an overall history of performance levels women have brought to the table…genderally.

Women are less likely to devote quality time to work.

This is a genderalization and I can point out several women I know first-hand who work just as hard as any man I know.  They take their jobs seriously, and uncharacteristically, do not bring their personal lives to work.  One of them is even punctual.  She takes her work hours seriously and does not assume they are a fluid set of criteria which can bend at her capricious whims.

Genderally, however, women are less dependable workers than men.

For every woman I know who brings a masculine simple-minded work ethic to the job on a daily basis, there are 5 or 10 women who are

  • consistently late
  • consistently out sick
  • consistently leaving early for family errands
  • so wracked with PMS or other maladies that they are a waste of skin for the day but they still show up because they are tapped out on sick hours
  • consistently on personal calls or texting at the desk all day long
  • consistently in a fluctuating state of sourness thus devouring any sense of good will or team work
  • consistently butting heads with anyone who intrudes upon her fragile sensibilities…thus creating a “walking on eggshells” atmosphere which also hampers productivity
  • a bit less analytical and hardy than her male counterparts
  • consistently cluttering the work day with family errands and using the desk as a home office

As promised.  Genderalizations.

These are all worst-case female scenarios.  The very worst embody these traits completely and should not even be allowed to have a social security number.  On the other end of the spectrum there are very conscientious women who are able to devote most of their day to the job.   Usually, these women are unmarried and unmothered.  Odd how that works.  It’s as if society is subtly dictating that even though women are still participating in the workforce, they are not able to participate on a man’s level due to motherly duties.  Hence, she is treated, across the board, as a slightly part-time employee.  With commensurate compensation.

The dynamics dictating salaries is under the strict guidance of market-driven logic which distills the performance and idiosyncratic nature of the female worker throughout history.

Millions of anecdotal exceptions don’t change or negate the widespread and genderal traits of women in the workplace.  Added up, blended and shaken through the great impersonal sieve steered by the machinery of American business, a pool of cold computations is filtered out which spell out a group’s monetary worth in the mammoth scheme of things. And it tells us that women have proven over time to be less reliable workers.  And money is society’s greatest symbol of human utility.

We’re trapped in this blog!! Lettuce out, please…

 

I had an oddly disappointing experience tonight after I ate my dinner.

 

On Saturday night I bought a bunch of produce at a farmer’s market I love because of its selection and prices. I bought a few crowns of broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, a cantaloupe, and a head of cauliflower. I switch it around. I don’t always buy the same items, but this time I was in the mood for some good pale cauliflower goodness, the other white vegetable. I wanted some white plant meat!

 

As is my custom, I don’t deal with my fresh vegetables until Monday night. Sundays turn into a laborious lazyfest and yesterday was doubly laborious and unproductive because of Mother’s Day.

 

Tonight, after work, I cooked up a quick dinner which tasted 30 times better than it should have owing to the fact that I fasted today. Monday is my designated fast day, in case you didn’t know. I don’t eat between Sunday dinner and Monday dinner. I drink one 8 ounce cup of black coffee (3-4 calories, tops). Due to its negligible dietary content and caloric count, a small serving of coffee is allowed. Anyways, I made a cheese quesadilla with jalapenos in one of those wheat flour tortillas, the kind of stupid shit that leads people to think they are eating “healthy.” For a majority of Americans, the dietary intent is what counts, not what they are actually putting in their mouths. Regardless, I eat them too. I just don’t play the “wow, I’m eating a healthy tortilla” game.

 

After my quesadilla I set out on a grueling task which I really dread. Chopping up, cleaning and storing the vegetables. So damned agonizing. Still, it’s cheaper than frozen veggies and tastes appreciably better. Frozen veggies are convenient but they taste…off. First I washed the melon, washed it good with hot water, for I’ve read that melons are a common source of food bacteria since they grow off a vine and lay in the dirt. Because of our wonderful food manufacturing system, melons are frequently contaminated by animal feces in the midst of bountiful and profitable plants.

 

After I washed the cantaloupe, I chopped it open into eighths, seeded it and put the small pieces into a tin container for storage in the refrigerator.

 

Then I dug into the cauliflower.

Cauliflower comes in that snug plastic wrapping which you have to unwind and tear and cut in order to set the vegetable free and let it breathe. I snipped, tore, unwound, removed the plastic wrap. I thought to myself wow, this cauliflower is sure leafy. I peeled back the leaf and still no signs of the white bumpy martian surface of the evil-smelling cauliflower. Odd. I kept peeling until…I realized there was no cauliflower hiding here! This was a fucking head of lettuce. What the hell?

 

I thought back to Saturday night but I was shopping with half a mind. The other half was contemplating the gift and lunch strategy for Mother’s Day. I was not being mindful. I was distracted, scattered. I have no idea if I reached into the lettuce section and pulled out what I assumed was a head of cauliflower because I was too preoccupied to read the sign…or did someone mischievously place this lettuce in with the rest of the cauliflower? An impostor in the sea of cauliflower, its true identity hidden by the green leaves. Camouflaged by the green verdant mask. A head I picked which offered no white stinky goodness, only green bland leafiness once cracked open.

 

Shit.

Disappointed.

I don’t eat salad.

I think salad is really lame and I don’t see the point.

 

What the hell is lettuce all about? It is water and plant fiber. Rah rah. Exciting. Eating a salad is a half-hearted and very lazy attempt at eating healthy but it’s only healthy insofar and it is not fried, does not contain 80% of your daily carbohydrate allotment, and is not injected with growth hormone or other gonad-destroying chemicals. So yeah, salad is healthy by the process of elimination, for what it is not, but salad offers no nutrtional value. Fuck salad.

 

I’ve noticed a tendency on the part of many people to eat salads which really consist of nothing but many servings of bad food tossed in with a nutritionally inconspicuous item like lettuce. People wolf that stuff down and delude themselves with the notion that they are eating healthy. Nope. Sorry, you are not eating healthy. You are just not eating unhealthy. Dietary habits should include avoidance of bad food, granted, but they must also include a variety of aggressively good foods. Foods that contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, all sorts of other beneficial chemicals your body needs. This is where many fall short. Forget the lettuce, buy a head of cauliflower. Peel back that lettuce leaf and behold the wonderful designs of nature’s harvest.

 

I’m disappointed. I won’t let it go to waste, I’ll give the head of lettuce away. Someone will want it, everyone loves lettuce because it’s so damned healthy.