Joys of the Patriarchy – Rituals of the Summer Season – The Basement

As the days reach their maximum length and when the mercury passes 90°F in what my old engineering boss would jokingly refer to as “white man’s units,” the dominant male, of the Italic strain at least, would shift his base of operations to the basement level.  Here he would gain a two-fold advantage.  The obvious one is a 15°F – 30°F reduction in ambient temperature as compared to the upper floors but equally as important is the freedom from female annoyance.  The lower level is the male domain.  It contains a pool table, a floor that needn’t be kept swept clean of minute amounts of honest dirt and vast storage space crammed full of valuable possessions that do not pass muster from Camera Girl for inclusion in the various bric-a-brac that she favors for décor.  Hundreds of old books, trophies of past campaigns, tools, and hobby, exercise and sports equipment of all sorts.  A veritable treasure house.

I learned this paradigm from Camera Girl’s father, the Old Fisherman of the Sea himself.  He would inhabit the basement in the summer almost exclusively and it was there that he was happiest.  He had his wine making operation, which encouraged at various times of the year quite a healthy throng of fruit flies, his fishing lure manufacturing space, his tool workshop, his own bath and shower and his favorite old padded chair.  He even had his own freezer and refrigerator to store the endless blue fish and striped bass that were the usual prizes from his frequent fishing trips.  Here he would retreat from the cares of work and family and reign unchallenged by female frippery and the demands for ever higher standards of particle free existence.  And in this environment, he lived to be ninety-five.  And if he hadn’t taken it upon himself to increase his gout medicine dosage to unheard of levels to compensate for his love of wine and beef, he probably would be alive today and well over a hundred years old.  God rest his soul.

Well, anyway in my version of the basement kingdom the lower level has direct access to the swimming pool and since the floor there is tiled there is no need to dry off after swimming.  Drip dry in flip-flops is acceptable.  If someone is exceedingly fastidious there is a bathroom and shower available here along with towels and changing area.  Also, the spare refrigerator from which hidden food items can be stored and retrieved without any note.  And the overstuffed recliner is available for periods of quiet reflection and deep thoughts.  And finally, the lower porch is equipped with a propane grill to handle any meat related cooking that may become necessary.  After all Camera Girl’s kitchen can be monstrously hot at this time of year.  It’s only decent that I pitch in and save her the discomfort of summer cooking as much as I am able.

There used to be a television on the wall but we removed it almost ten years ago.  There is so little worth watching that it never got used.  The only thing it lacks is a full kitchen sink and stove.  I say this with shame.  Because every good Italian American basement had a kitchen built in.  It was a point of pride and a practical feature.  This allowed the holidays with the extended family to be cooked and served in the basement which is always the largest room in the house.  Well, someday I’ll make the time and put the money aside to build this in.  For now, it is my secret shame.

Now the point of this essay is not to regale you with the lies about my basement.  The point is that in the hot weather (and to a lesser extent during all the other seasons of the year) a man can find peace and enjoyment hidden away from his loved ones in the dark and gritty comforts of the basement.  Here he can retreat from his wife and the demands of our hectic world.  Leave your phone and your computer off.  Get your hands dirty and drink a beer or whatever you like to drink and forget your troubles for an hour or even longer if they won’t come digging you out.  It is an amazing thing how they’ll leave you alone down there.  Possibly the castle that a man is king of is really only the dungeon.  But I’ll settle.

The Practical Problem with Alienating the Normal Half of Your Country

In September of 2001 New York City and Washington D.C. were attacked by Arab fanatics who flew jumbo jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and almost got the US Capitol Building too.  Hundreds of New York firemen and dozens of police died attempting to rescue civilians in the chaos of the destruction of the twin towers.  Afterwards the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought, as usual by young men from Middle America.  A few came from New York City.  I know of some.  But most kids from New York City didn’t want to go off to war.  I remember an interview right after the attack when a reporter asked a student at New York University whether he thought he should defend his country after his city had been attacked.  The smart kid said, “Sure somebody should go fight.  But not me, I don’t believe in war.”  And that is the majority opinion in a place like New York City.

So those other somebodies did fight and die in those wars.  And they went on fighting and dying for two decades.  But now the Defense Department is combing through the ranks looking for white supremacists and other deplorables to be kicked out of the military.  And I’m sure eventually they’ll get a different military.  LGBTQ soldiers and especially transgender soldiers are very popular right now not to mention pregnant air force fighter pilots.  It sounds very exciting and vibrant.

But what happens after the next 9-11 type attack?  Let’s say Iran sneaks in a dirty bomb over the Mexican border and sets it off in New York City.  Not a real nuke just a big conventional weapon that’s been peppered with enriched uranium.  Now after the George Floyd riots and the calls to prosecute police for upholding the laws how many cops are going to run into that hell to restore order?  And without the police how many firemen are going to put out those fires?  And how many ambulances will go in to rescue the wounded?

And who is going to volunteer to go to Iran to fight the mullahs on the ground?  I’ll be curious to see just how the LGBTQ brigade will do fighting in the 115 °F middle east heat.  Hot flashes from the hormone therapy must be such a bother at those temperatures.  And I wonder just how sharp those pregnant fighter pilots are going to be battling in the air space with surface to air missiles lighting up their instrument board.  Sounds daunting.

My point is I have a feeling the US military is going to be a lot less impressive pretty soon.  If countries like Iran and China start thinking that we aren’t the military superpower that we used to be then they will start to look for ways to apply pressure on us to get what they want.  China is already doing it.  They are throwing their weight around in their own back yard and scaring their neighbors, Japan and South Korea and Taiwan, with a narrative that says the US is a spent force and that China is the new hegemon.

What happens when China decides that we really are impotent?  Let’s say they sink an aircraft carrier.  And let’s say that Commander in Chief Hair Sniffer puts out the call for volunteers to sign up and defend their country.  Who’s going to show up?  No one.

And after he walks back his banter and kowtows to China and our allies in Asia switch allegiance to the strong horse what kind of foreign policy problems will we be looking at then?  Well, actually things will simplify.  We will resemble Britain as their empire evaporated in the post WW II period.  The Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians and the Turks will carve out spheres of influence in the power vacuum we create and we will recede more and more from the dominant role we had.  Even the position of the US dollar may change radically.  And that will have a devastating effect on the US economy and the federal government.

Of course, some good will come of a scenario like this one.  If America’s status as a military superpower is degraded by a Democrat administration there is a very good chance that a massive shift in political support will occur.  Think back to what happened when Jimmy Carter let the Iranians hold our embassy personnel hostage for over a year and then bungled the military operation to rescue the hostages.  Ronald Reagan beat him in a landslide in the 1980 presidential election.  If it is perceived that the Democrats have endangered the country militarily, they will be removed.  What the Republicans do with such an opportunity is hard to say.  Hopefully they will be less stupid than they have been up until this point.  Hopefully they restore the armed forces to a condition where it consists of normal men led by the best men we’ve got.  If not then I won’t be surprised if this country really does crack up.  If our military is exposed as a spent force then regional groups will become emboldened to defy the federal government even more easily and openly.

Either way things will be getting interesting in the new world we live in.  The woke are going to find out that their new world order requires a little more force than the LGBTQ brigade can muster with or without the pregnant fighter pilots.

Actual Essential Personnel

Yesterday was an interesting day.  Earlier I was commenting somewhat ironically on the essential, critical, crucial nature of the work I was able to accomplish on my dining room table.  The industry I work in is considered important because the products are critical to some individuals.  But I think it’s important to consider the circumstances under which certain work is done before throwing around words like critical.  Let me elaborate.

Yesterday was a bizarre weather day in my neck of the woods.  We had rain that varied from sprinkles to torrents without any rhyme or reason as to when.  There was also a wind advisory that quoted a range of wind speeds from 20 mph to 65 mph.  When I see a range that broad, I usually take it with a grain of salt.  To me that sounds a little like someone not knowing very much but employing a CYA strategy in case things do get out of hand.

Around noon yesterday I hear a loud cracking noise and then thesound of a high voltage line grounding itself through normal unprotected materials like trees, guardrails and the road.  We got one last loud bang and then the lights went out.  Luckily, we have a large emergency generator on an automated transfer switch that cuts in after a few seconds so life went on.  But looking out the window I could see a very large old tree hanging across the road and suspended in the trees on my side of the road.  This looked like a big problem.

I called 911 and the fellow there took the information and said someone was on the way.  And he was right.  Emergency vehicles of all description showed up.  There was a fire engine, a state trooper, some non-descript pick up truck with flashers, two power company cherry pickers and a big highway vehicle with a heavy-duty bucket on a big arm.

They were out there for a couple of hours without any indication that much was going on.  The fire engine and the statie left.  Eventually the highway guys started walking around and assembling some gear.  Now meanwhile the storm hadn’t abated much at all.  The wind was truly impressive as it shot horizontal rain in all directions with remarkable force.  Areas of my home that almost never even get wet were flowing rivers from time to time.  I even had to sojourn out into this mess when the sump in the lower driveway starting backing up.  Leaves in the sump that hadn’t caused any problem when normal rainfall was involved blocked the outlet line enough that about six inches of water was standing on the lower driveway and advancing to the house.  I freed the clog and that pool emptied into that six-inch pipe in an impressive way.  Luckily this was April and not February so the worst I got was wet.  But when I got inside, I was convinced that the highway guys would wait until morning to work on that tree.  After all nobody would freeze to death without power in 60 degree weather and working with chain saws on hanging trees in that wind and rain seemed foolish to me.

But about an hour later I saw the highway truck change position and the two power company bucket trucks moved over to the next two telephone poles beyond where the tree was located.  And then I could hear the chainsaws and see the trees pitching around as they took it apart.  Well those guys must know their stuff.  It took about an hour to down the tree and clear the road.  After that it took a couple of more hours for the linemen to rework the wires and restore power.  By then the wind was starting to die down.

Today I went out and checked out the aftermath.

 

Interestingly the wind didn’t crack that tree it pulled it out by the roots.  I’m not sure if that made clearing the road easier or harder.  But looking at the size and estimating the weight of the tree sections that the crew was working with in that lousy weather I have to admit I’m impressed.

So, to put an end to this post, I guess I’m just saying that there’s work and then there’s real work.  If we’re going to have a world where power flows through wires across the countryside, we’ll need some men who don’t shelter in place when things go wrong.  They go out in the wind and rain and snow and do hard work so everyone else can stay warm and safe inside.  Hopefully one day soon a lot more people will remember that and once again make it part of the way we address the world we live in.  Not everyone can do essential work from the dining room table or the local Starbuck’s.

He-Man Woman Hater’s Club – Part 1

I found talking about my mad dream to found a continent-spanning, benevolent, fraternal association of American men so much fun, I’ve decided to start formulating various facets in a series of posts. It truly is an intoxicating pleasure to imagine the world returning to normal. A world where an American husband and father truly is the king of his castle.

One of the time-honored rituals of male bonding is the weekly poker game. This was extremely prevalent in the old days and was a great source of stress relief. Now granted it was also an opportunity for all sorts of destructive behavior ranging from alcoholism to adultery but I’m restricting myself to a more domesticated version where the game takes place at the homes of the participants and doesn’t involve hookers and straight razor fights. I prefer the game to rotate around the membership’s homes. That way it takes the burden off any particular wife to provide the necessary foodstuffs. However, the burdens have been lessened thanks to the introduction of online gambling and poker games that could be found when visiting sites like best-casino.net and others. Online gambling allows people to enjoy poker nights in the comfort of their own homes while still having a quiet night in.

It is important to make sure the membership is in relative agreement on which poker games are considered legitimate. Lately Texas hold’em has gathered a very large following but I don’t think restricting the play to one game is necessary. But to each his own. Also there have to be very specific rules on acceptable stakes. Personally, I think it’s better to keep things on the low side. Otherwise you run the risk of scaring off the guys on a limited budget. Besides losing a lot of money to friends is embarrassing and liable to cause hard feelings.

Now, most important, how to integrate the food into the game. Some purists believe that food shouldn’t be allowed during the play and reserved to a break in between sessions. For myself, I think a good pastrami sandwich and some premium chips enhances the game and in fact provides a good opportunity to look for your opponents’ poker tells. But agreement going in is a good idea.

But the most important aspect of poker night is the chance for men to get together and discuss all the important matters of the day without having to hear the annoying, high-pitched yammering of women. And one of those important aspects of life to discuss is the annoying things that wives do. Complaining about and making fun of wives is a time-honored male occupation that has, sadly, fallen out of style. Reviving this tradition is an add-on benefit of the weekly poker game.

And since this is the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club we’re talking about, think of a poker game as a good way to sound out prospective members on their orthodoxy on all the various club tenets. A poker game is a very relaxing environment and a good way to get to know people. It would make sense to allow the prospective member to take the lead on conversation and hang back to see if he’s HMWHC material. Also a poker game may be a good way to raise funds for a project or an outing. Each member can throw in a ten spot per game and accumulate that for a bigger purpose.

So that’s my first topic. Feel free to provide feedback and any stories about your own poker games.

What I Took Away from the Weekend Horror Fest

I waited yesterday instead of writing a post.  I wanted to sift through my thoughts.

My opinion is we’re in a lot of trouble.  And I’m not talking about Democrats and Second Amendment attacks and presidential polls.  Put all that aside for a minute.

Connor Betts was 24.  Patrick Crusius is 21.  We have young men who are of an age where they should be enjoying life to its fullest.  Instead they’re flushing their lives down the drain in a senseless orgy of violence.  And it’s happening more and more frequently.  Without a doubt, the ones committing these crimes are the most damaged of their generation.  They are probably terrible misfits that don’t feel empathy and live inside the tiny world of their own thoughts.  There have always been people like this and there have always been crimes like these.  But nowhere near as many.

What I’m afraid we are doing is widening a window of people who can fall into this kind of trap.  Adolescence is a rough time, especially for males.  Without someone watching out for them it’s easy to get involved in destructive behavior.  And that someone no longer exists.  Nobody is watching out for these kids.  Mom and Dad are both working.  Many times, there isn’t even another brother or sister around to communicate with.  No one even knows or cares if they go to school.  Work doesn’t leave any room for these kids.  So, they spend their time on the internet or video games.  If they fall behind in school or get into trouble often the parents and teachers will paper over it and make believe that something didn’t happen or didn’t mean anything.

And in the last ten years we have added a new dimension.  The Millennials grew up in a world where there were no jobs to be had.  So, after spending twelve years bored in school, without a job you live in your parents’ basement and have no adult life or even prospects of it.  So, in addition to the truly disturbed individuals we are pushing the fragile normal people into the same place.  They’re angry and are looking for someone to punish for their wasted lives.

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton are, as always, shocking.  But what isn’t a surprise is that these two young men were dangerously mentally ill long before their rampages.  Just looking at the pictures and reading the accounts of their histories should be enough to convince people that what we have in this country isn’t a gun problem, it’s societal dysfunction causing a mental health emergency.  Look at the kid in Ohio.  The stories contain the fact that while in high school he had a list of kids he wanted to kill and a list of girls he wanted to rape.  If you’re the parent of this boy what else do you need to hear to know that your son is a ticking time bomb?  And maybe they did know.  And maybe it’s just where we are as a country that they didn’t know what to do.  What would I have done in that case?  What can be done?  These aren’t easy questions to answer.  But they sure do have to be answered.  We’ve got a whole continent full of young men growing up in a world that doesn’t value their talents and doesn’t have anything to keep them gainfully employed.  That is a recipe for extinction.

So other than a lot of talk, what does all this mean?  Well for the most deeply disturbed we have to stop thinking that antidepressants will allow criminally insane individuals to walk among us.  These people need to be institutionalized for life.  That’s for their own good but mostly for ours.

But for the run of the mill kid growing up in America there’s still plenty that needs to be done.  What my take away from this is spend a lot of time with your sons and your grandsons.  Don’t assume that just by keeping them in school and driving them to soccer practice that they’re okay.  Talk about the future with them.  Talk realistically and constructively about how kids transition into adults.  Know their friends.  Check their homework and see if they’re prepared for tests.  Pay attention!  Be aware of their activities on the internet.  Help them to socialize in a constructive way.  And don’t let them feel alone or bored.  A kid is better off with a manual labor job than sitting around alone all day.

You may think that these things only happen to the worst of the worst people.  But I don’t think that’s the case.  The world that we live in isolates us and destroys our communities, families and especially our sons.  Don’t let it.  Even the kids who don’t go off the deep end are struggling in an environment that’s almost unfathomable even for adults.  Help them!  Adapt to the problems, compensate for the dysfunctional arrangements we live under.  Save your kids.  They’re the only possession of value you have.