See more articles, reviews, fiction and poetry, including more of my writings, at group blog PLUTO'S REALM.

Friday, May 26, 2006

New York Doll

For some reason Brad Warner just dumped all the postings off his blog and his web site, but just before he did, he turned his readers on to New York Doll, a partial biography / rock and roll documentary about Arthur "Killer" Kane, the bass player for the New York Dolls, the best rock and roll band ever. I had put the movie on my Netflix list, but I couldn't wait and watched it on my On Demand tonight. If you remember when rock and roll was music, when its stars were artists, you must watch this movie. But more than that, this brilliant film is the story of life.

I turned fifteen in 1972, and that was the year I discovered music, or rock and roll, which is a different discovery altogether. I think I'd started reading Rolling Stone, and from there I went from whatever I was listening to on AM radio in Manchester, TN, to the artist-oriented music that defined the changes that were occurring in my life at that point. I think the first two Serious Rock albums I bought were John Lennon's Imagine and Bob Dylan's New Morning. From there I went on into reading Circus magazine and a bunch of crap, but it led me to new bands that were rising from the ashes of rock -- bands like David Bowie, Queen, and the band that changed everything, the New York Dolls.

I remember feeling I was a little too young, a bit too late for everything in the early '70's. Woodstock had occurred when I was 11. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died that year or the next and the Beatles broke up. The War in Vietnam was winding down, and about the time I started high school, the draft was abolished. Rock had gone to Hell (to be rescued for while, and then go there permanently to live). Those were the days of wimp rock on the radio; the alternatives were Led Zeppelin, Emerson Lake and Palmer... it was a bad time. It was gonna be a while before 1977, when Elvis Costello, the Sex Pistols and the Clash gave rock its best year ever and its final one.

So when my classmates were all listening to the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull... I got lucky. The first and best rock concert I ever attended was David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars on the Ziggy Stardust tour, at the War Memorial Auditorium in 1972 or early 1973. I think my mother drove me up to Nashville from Manchester, 65 miles away. If memory serves, I took a friend with me, Michael Bell, who turned out to be my first pot connection.

Anyway, riding on the coattails of Bowie and Marc Bolan's T. Rex were a lot of glam rock wannabees. One of those bands, indistinguishable from the others in Circus, was the New York Dolls. My initial impression of the band was just that they were Out There. They all dressed in drag. Whereas Bowie looked like a space age androgyne (a concept I wouldn't understand til years later), the Dolls just looked like transvestites. I was shocked and intrigued. One of the best blind guesses I've ever made was going out and buying the Dolls single "Who Are the Mystery Girls?" on a 45 single. I was hooked, and I wore out the grooves.

I think at that point I already had the Stones' Exile on Main Street, their best album ever. My initial impression of the Dolls was that they were the Stones, but rawer, wilder, and better. Somehow in that high school time I picked up the Dolls' two albums, and I loved them more and more with each listen. This was about the time I picked up Lou Reed's Transformer and everything changed.

Well, I thought everyone was getting hip to these new bands, but they weren't. I started college in 1975, and just after that, punk hit. Of course, I'd been listening to punk for years, but it didn't have a name yet. In New York Doll, Mick Jones of the Clash acknowledges his debt to the Dolls. In 1977, Johnny Rotten said rock was dead, that the Pistols were the end of it, and he was right. Everything after was derivative. These days I listen to jazz and classical, waiting for listenable pop music to reappear, but the odds of it happening in my lifetime...

Anyway, New York Doll is a great movie because it's about the New York Dolls, but it's a greater movie because it's about me, about my life in the way every great work of art is. The Dolls only released two albums, I think in '72 and '73, though I understand from the movie that they staggered on until about '76 before they finally disbanded. In 1979, I dragged my fiancee, with whose family I was visiting in New Jersey at the time, into The City for two nights. I'd been lusting after the music listings in whatever NYC free press I'd picked up at the time. No one else I knew was into the bands I was, but I didn't care. Out of that whole stay, I think I only managed to get to two nights of music. I saw the Plasmatic at CBGB, and I saw Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers (with Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, separately) at Max's Kansas City. Those Heartbreakers concerts were later released as a classic album. I remember Johnny Thunders, drunk and full of heroin, 2 1/2 hours late, smashing his drink glass by throwing it straight up at the eight-foot ceiling, and Ty Styxx coming over the drum kit at him. My life was never the same after.

Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan died of heroin long after leaving the band. David Johnanssen went on to become Buster Poindexter. Arthur Kane wound up broke in LA, dreaming about his glory days.

Apparently, he was a drunk and went through AA, but the turning point, or new point of stability, in his life, seemed to come when he entered the Mormon Church. Apparently, he sent off for a free copy of the book of Mormon, which came delivered with a couple of hot blondes. Soon after, his prayer resulted in a conversion. My impression from the movie is that at least 20 years of his life consisted of riding the bus from his home to his job at the Mormon Tabernacle in LA, where he maintained records. He always dreamed of a Dolls reunion. Then, in 2004, Morrissey made it happen at a British festival. The movie depicts the reunion of Kane, Syl Sylvain, and Johannsen (who had become an adversary in Kane's mind by way of his relative success) and their successful performance. I won't tell you the ending, because it almost made me cry, no shit. Rent it.

But as I said, the movie was great art because it called my own life into play. When the Dolls were at their peak, I was in high school. I graduated in 1975, and then graduated first in my class in liberal arts at the University of Tennesse in 1979. In 1983, I graduated with a JD from Stanford Law School. I was pretty impressed with myself, but I thought I was better than my environment.

All that came to an end for me in 1993. These days I can't even find a decent job. But I remember who I am, and what I've done. And thanks to Arthur Kane, I know tonight that I'm still me -- that I'm as good as I ever was.

There are other points to be gotten from this film. How with the Mormon Church, Arthur Kane found his sangha, something I haven't been able to do in Nashville. But I'll leave those for now, because the story of Arthur's life has taught me for the moment that I'm OK, and that my life is worthwhile, and that I don't need to be valued, validated or limited by the others by whom I'm surrounded. And that's what great art does.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Legislative Intolerance: Mexican is the New Gay

As Hunter Thompson said, the American Century is over. All we have left is fear and loathing.

I've tried so hard to avoid politics lately, or what used to be politics -- politics ended when the Bush Cabal stole two elections in a row. I can't even watch the news anymore on TV, and I'm thinking of having the cable disconnected. I can get what passes for news these days on the internet, story by story on a far cooler medium where I don't have the assininity of modern America thrown in my face by brainless hacks.

I haven't said a word on this blog about the continuing slow death of our Constitution, about how the "government" grows its slimy tentacles of inquisition inside our bodies and our lives like a cancer of the soul (yeah, the soul is a social concept but give me some license here). About the wiretaps and the phone records. I've been applying for jobs lately, which doesn't really make me festive anyway, but the information they can demand and get these days would have started a revolution among our forefathers in previous, saner generationss -- and by "they" I mean in this instance the employers and the mercenary inquisitors who search like mortgage lenders through the sins of your youth for bloody gold; but overall I mean all of us in our ignorance who have allowed this monster to grow within the public body. But I haven't written about all that, because it's right in your face now, and if you can't see it for yourselves, I hope your God helps you because there's nothing else I can do.

But that's not what I'm writing about today. The obvious evil that's been huddling on the horizon has descended to the valley. I'm wondering what took them so long; it's been so obvious. Last night at 2 a.m. I got up and checked the internet, and was confronted with the following story on CNN:

Senate says English is national, unifying tongue

By Donna Smith Thu May 18, 9:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate agreed on Thursday to make English the national language of the United States and moments later also adopted a milder alternative calling English the country's "unifying language."

Which amendment ends up in the final version of an overhaul of U.S. immigration law will depend on negotiations with the U.S. House of Representatives. Neither would bar the use of Spanish or other languages in government services.

The Senate immigration plan couples tightened border security and enforcement and a guest-worker program with measures giving a path to citizenship to some of the 12 million illegal immigrants, most from Spanish-speaking nations.

"This is not just about preserving our culture and heritage, but also about bettering the odds for our nation's newest potential citizens," said Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, who sponsored the national language amendment, which passed by a vote of 63-34.

The United States currently has no official language and some lawmakers said they feared Inhofe's amendment would lead to discrimination against people who are not proficient in English. They also said it could hurt efforts to promote public health and safety in other languages.

"Although the intent may not be there, I really believe this amendment is racist. I believe it is directed at people who speak Spanish," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.

The issue is politically popular, and in a congressional election year lawmakers strongly supported both measures. Inhofe said opinion polls showed 84 percent of Americans supported making English the national language.

The Senate, by 58-39, also agreed to an alternative offered by Sen. Ken Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, stating "English is the common and unifying language of the United States that helps provide unity for the people of the United States."

When I got up for real this morning, the headline was gone and I had to look up the story, like it had been deemed either unimportant or unreportable by the Bush Cabal censors. I copied the relevant portions here because links have been known to disappear.

So it's official now: Hispanic is the new Gay. The gay-bashers of two years ago are the xenophobes of today (someone give me a more specific word for the phobia for unreasonable fear of Mexican immigrants, please).

Can't you see that it's all about fear? Fear and loathing, but loathing comes from fear. In Buddhism we say, and I paraphrase, that the three great obstacles to "enlightenment" (i.e. properly living in our world) are greed, hatred and ignorance, but it all comes down to ignorance in the end, now doesn't it? And fear comes from ignorance too, for most of us. There is a primal, real animal fear that comes when you're about to be munched by a beast with claws, but with us it's usually not that, it's a conditioned response brought about by our ignorance. So we haven't learned that the ones we should fear are the ones who are manipulating our own fear responses, and we let them because of our ignorance. And yes, it's their own ignorance that makes them do it, to think they have something to gain. As much as I can talk about evil, I really don't believe in it. The smirking face of evil in our time is the awful grimance of George W. Bush, the public face of a moral and social cancer that's eaten our nation, our civilization, and everything our forefathers died for; but it's just a mask for ignorance. He, too, and his puppetmasters will die alone with only their own existence staring them in their double faces.

As I've said before, there is nothing in our Constitution to stop the hatemongers and fearful Anglomaniacs from making English the national language. So did you ever what has stopped previous generations from doing this? Was it because it was unnecessary? Or was it because they were still enough in touch with their consciences to know that it was just wrong?

I know this was tried on a State level in Colorado in the late '80's or very early '90's and it was shut down. I can't remember why. State Constitution? Oh, and by the way, those of you who want to comment on these blog entries but are either too inept or lazy to register with blogspot, or who just don't want their comments posted publicly, can now email me; the link is in the full profile. So let me know if you remember the legalities here.

I guess the fearful and loathsome think this country was settled by English-speaking immigrants alone. I recommend an elementary-school history course. I understand that history is no longer taught in the schools, so you'll have to find someone over thirty to help you. If you're over thirty and don't know any better, shame on you. I'm about 6.25% Cherokee, so I recommend making Cherokee the national language. They were here first. It was their country. But oh yeah, we killed most of them off, didn't we, and most of them who can still speak at all speak English only, probably.

So Hunter, be glad you took your ticket out when you did, and didn't have to see it getting worse and worse. I'm glad my mother didn't have to see it. So now I'm going to meditate and hope I can get some equanimity back. And then I'm going to watch some anime. Anime makes me happy. Modern America makes me sick.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Power of Magical Thinking

No, that's not a Zen altar; it's a Nichiren altar, and I'll come back to it in a minute.

Every time I go to Atlanta for a sesshin, I come back with something from the discussions that stays with me. Last month it had to do with vegetarianism, and I'll get around to writing that one eventually (the insight was not about what we eat, but about how we live). Last weekend, it came in the form of a question or response during the hosshin or mondo session; it was pointed out by the abbot that Zen expressly disclaims that we can influence the "outside" world by our zazen. Obviously on some level the distinction between the outside world and ourselves breaks down, according to one's understanding, but all verbal statements must be taken in context. The point is, from within the duality, our goal in meditation is not to improve the circumstances of our lives, but to improve our ability to cope with them (insofar as the goal of zazen has any external referent at all, but bear with me).

In other words, if my car breaks down, no amount of zazen will get me a new car or get my old one fixed. And although the goal of zazen is not to improve my ability to cope with the situation, that is often the effect. Back in my days with the Nichiren Shoshu of what is now the Soka Gakkai in the 1980's, the opposite attitude was encouraged. If you don't remember, the Nichiren people chant Nam-myo-renge-kyo (which is pretty much, devotion to the title of the Lotus Sutra), believing that they can reach enlightenment thereby. But not just enlightenment; newcomers are encouraged to chant for whatever it is they want, be it a new wife, a new job, etc. Believers are taught that by changing the karma from this life and past lives, by chanting the mantra, they can actually change the instant material conditions of their present.

I don't think I ever believed this, but I stayed with the practice for a couple of years because I did in fact receive benefits from the practice in terms of the effect it had on my lifestyle and on my insight. Part of this I'm still pretty sure came from the practice; even at my most cynical about the Nichirens, I would still say that any form of meditation practice is better than none. Part of it I'm also sure came from the fact that I was leading meetings and had to explain this stuff again and again, and I found a way to rationalize it all. In a way, the belief that one can dissolve the effects of one's karma instantaneously is akin to the concept of beginner's mind: I can start from scratch right here, right now, in this one timeless moment. It can be a useful concept (bad word) to get rid of mental baggage and be in the moment.

I won't go into all the rationalizations here, but some of them led to more useful (for me) concepts during the couple of good years I had after I quit the Nichirens, when a lot of the concepts which I thought were mine alone but I found again when I returned to Zen in 2004, were formed. What's pertinent was the thought that one could change one's world by religious practice, which is pretty much what's referred to in modern psychology and anthropology as "magical thinking." The best definition I could find without extensive effort on the internet (and I don't have a source to cite for it, so, sorry...) is:

1. The conviction of the individual that his or her thoughts, words, and actions, may in some manner cause or prevent outcomes in a way that defies the normal laws of cause and effect.
2. A conviction that thinking equates with doing. Occurs in dreams in children, in primitive peoples, and in patients under a variety of conditions. Characterized by lack of realistic relationship between cause and effect.

As if anyone actually knew what all the laws of cause and effect are! But it gets the point across. Most religions and a lot of other belief systems have this kind of thinking as part of their premise -- think Voodoo. It's also a very normal part of the individual development of a child's thinking. Avoidance of magical thinking is ultimately why I had to come back to Zen as part of my need to return to ritual (which I contend is necessary for mental health) without having to believe that gods are being invoked, etc.; it's ultimately why my brief flirtation with Tibetan Buddhism didn't last long. It's associated with the openness of Zen to open-minded modern science, which is pretty much unique, the attempt of the Dalai Lama to wrangle neuroscience into Buddhism notwithstanding.

Anyway, back to Nichiren Shoshu. After chanting for a while, it was my perception that while external circumstances did sometimes oddly seem to change when a person started chanting (and yes, there are lots of real-world explanations for that one), more often the person started to conform to the world. In other words, my observation that was that after a period of practice, the goals one was chanting for seemed themselves to change. If a person started out chanting for a new car, whether or not he got the car, if he was still chanting a year later, mostly likely he was now chanting for understanding, or some other attainable goal which did not require magical thinking.

I still maintain that the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was a beneficial practice for me; it changed my life in a very positive way, and it was the bullshit associated with the rest of the practiced and the organization of the Soka Gakkai that drove me out. But after a couple of years, and explaining the practice to myself and to others (in a very unorthodox way, I may add), the context in which I was doing the chanting was a lot different than where I started, and very different from where the beginners were told to start. And in fact, the organization itself, once you got to a certain level in the heirarchy or in experience, would admit that all the promises about material benefits made to beginners were just the lure; that the practice itself was bound to change the person and deepen his understanding. And from my experience, those whose understanding didn't grow weren't around long.

I'm a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I love well-written stuff about magic. I just don't believe in it in real life. Or I try not to, but it's a real danger I have to avoid every day. But consider: in a deeper sense, you and the universe are the same, so does not the change in yourself change the universe? Undeniably, it does. No matter how deep our understanding becomes, when we return to the realm of discourse and rational thought, we cannot explain nor conceptualize the real working of cause and effect. Now, I think that there is a definite line of definition between magical thinking, or just plain wishful thinking, and where we can realistically expect the benefits of our practice, be it Zen or anything else, to take us. But sitting here at this keyboard, just how to define that line eludes me, as perhaps it should.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Nice pic, huh? Richard Avedon, believe it or not. Avedon apparently also took pictures for Capote's book In Cold Blood, according to the movie I saw last night which was, obviously, Capote. This is Truman, by the way, not Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for his portrayal. Hopefully Philip does less drugs than Truman did.

This is not normally a movie I would blog on, but I happened to watch the movie just after returning from a weekend sesshin in Atlanta, so perhaps I learned something I wouldn't have otherwise. It's not that the movie isn't well done; it is. Not only Hoffman's performance, but all the performances, are excellent. As movie-making, it's an excellent example of how craft can make anything shine, since really I'm not sure there's a movie here; or if there is, it's a very small one.

If you haven't seen the thing (and you should, as I said, just for the performances), it's basically the story of how author Truman Capote, a famous and infamous novelist, went to Kansas in about 1960 seemingly on a whime to write a town's reaction to the mass murder of a family by a couple of drifters. His magazine article turns into a book (In Cold Blood) that occupies him over several years. In the course of his story, he strikes up a "friendship" with one of the killers, who he betrays and abandons to execution. Capote comes across as a manipulative shithead, which he undoubtedly was.

Hoffman deserves his oscar just for the risk he takes here. In the hands of an inferior director, this movie would have been laughable. Capote was a flaming gay in the 50's and 60's. I remember him from the talk show circuit in the 60's, when I was too young to know just what the hell was wrong with this guy. So the overall quality here made Hoffman's career, but it could have destroyed it. So I'm not complaining.

And this is still not my point, but as a side note, the critical acclaim and resultant popular success of this movie surely should tell us of at least one problem with the Oscar process. Because the main flaw of this movie is, except for the brief closing note (something to the effect of, "Truman Capote never finished another book. He died in 1984 of complications from alcoholism"), you'd never know that the whole point was that what Capote did to complete his novel and make it a success, mainly sell out and betray the convicted killer whom he had pretended to befriend, for the purposes of gathering information, and then abandon the man to die so Capote could finish his book and get it out in time to profit from the whole mess, killed Capote. Yes, that sentence is a mess.

But no more so than the movie standing alone. If you miss that closing note, and if you don't know Capote's life, all you'll see is very well made movie about a shithead. And I have to believe that when the movie was sent out to critics to solicit Academy Award nominations, they got an explanation, which is more than you get if you just buy the DVD. My complaint about the movie is that its whole point relies on a external reference for understanding -- the later life and death of Capote, which is not included here. So the bottom line is, the film is very well made but really, fatally flawed by no less than its failure to include its own thesis.

So why am I bothering to write this, and why did I give the movie four stars on Netflix? First, because of the quality of the craft in this empty vessel, but second because I learned something from the eliptical moral. If you've been following, you'll know that I've had some regrets about my past. I think we all do. In my case, I can't help but think sometimes how materially successfull I would be now / would have been if I had followed through on my legal career, had done this, hadn't done that, etc. But I've alive, and I'm not trying to forget about a bunch of people I hurt. I mean, sure I've hurt people, but not manipulatively or intentionally, and if it got me what it got Capote, then no, it wouldn't have been worth whatever benefits I received. So in the reflective mood I was in when I saw Capote, it was vindicating for me.

By the way, I did some research on Capote's end after I saw the movie, and even that little ender left out a bunch. He died, not just of complications from alcoholism, but of drug abuse, and specifically of an overdose at the home of Johnny Carson's ex-wife. His epitaph was a quote from Teresa of Avila: "There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."

The moral seems to be, as Spike Lee said, "Do the Right Thing." And maybe be more verbal when you'r trying to blog than I am right now. As Deuce Rufus said in his "Nekkid Sleddin" blog, "We needs practice."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Nothing of Consequence - An Update of Sorts

This is Mona the Beagle puppy. Sometimes it all seems to come down to this - a dog eating a piece of bologna.

No, I haven't given up blogging, I just haven't been inspired to say anything lately. For the last month or so, I just haven't been riled up enough or inspired by anything to write a decent post, so I haven't. My few attempts at writing for the sake of writing haven't been noteworthy, so I wanted to wait til I could give you something worthwhile. That time is not at hand, but to those of you who read this regularly, just wanted to prove I was still around, and to explain.

Back at the first of the year, I left one job (remember the stories of the homophobic/reactionary office manager?) en route to another, and the other vanished midway, so I've been taking the time to work on a few personal issues while waiting for something worthwhile. Since I've finally come to realize that a career is just not ever going to be the focal point for me, I've settled on finding some tolerable way to produce an income without doing something I object to or hate. As of this point, I still haven't found that, and I need to do something in the next six weeks or so. So there's one source of stress I can't blame on anyone but myself, and it doesn't make for interesting blogging, at least not at this point.

After the Atlanta trip (which I'm about to repeat this afternoon - it's a monthly option), I did come back and do a presentation on Zen at the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, which should've produced something worth commenting on, but it hasn't gelled yet. Other than that, and the job thing, I've been working out and meditating, and then reading and watching DVD's and wasting time.

Meanwhile, everything else is about the same. The Bush administration is as stupid and evil as ever, and the American people are only catching on to a very limited extent. Particulary galling to me is the attitude I see everywhere, especially among leading Democrats, that, "We shouldn't be in Iraq in the first place (duh!), but now that we're there we have to stay." What kind of idiocy is that? This seems to fall into the category of throwing good money after bad, but what's worse is that it's not just money, it's human lives, and I can't see wasting even one over this stupidity. People are just going to have to open their eyes and see that all of these soldiers were conned into giving up their lives for nothing. In my mind, the Bush Cabal is personally responsible for every death and should be accountable therefore.

I almost wrote an entry on the whole Immigration flap, and I would've if I'd felt like writing at all. First, the Day Without Immigrants, what kind of a stupid idea was that? There were only possible outcome to the thing: (1) everything would turn out OK, which is pretty much what happened, so we could realize that the headache caused by illegal immigrants is much more than the benefit we receive from having someone to do those low-level jobs; or (2) a big mess could've happened, which would've just pissed off the legitimate population. Because see, some of you probably think I'm in sympathy with every liberal cause that arises, and sometime it sure seems that way to me, as a reaction to the Bush Cabal and the Christian Reich, but honestly, I'm not that big on pardoning illegal immigration. I would comment that the present immigration mess is redolent of the mess caused by American drug policy; the law refuses to accept reality, and thereby artificially creates a class of criminals. I may elaborate at some future date.

I could've shocked and offended my readers by coming out with a post pointing out that the only thing we need less than illegal immigrants is illegal immigrants who refuse to work. This might come as some comfort to any right-wingers who happen to read this, if there are any (they would have to be masochistic). But then, in his inevitable stupid countermove, Bush comes out against anyone singing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish, showing that he just won't be out-dumbed.

I put people who insist that everything in the United States occur in the English language, on the same level as those who insist that everyone here be Christian; they are just naive and unaware of history. I wish I spoke a second language, but I don't; like a lot of us, I took Spanish in high school and French in college and can barely fight my way through a menu in either. But I have frequently observed that people who are bilingual, and especially those bi- or multilingual from childhood, have a big advantage over the rest of us, just not in practical terms (which is obvious everywhere except red-state America), but also in flexibility of mind. Even from my limited studies of languages, I know that learning to think in a different language forces you to reconceptualize everything, and so you learn a little more about perspective and reality. So yes, it would be to these Spanish-speaking immigrants a benefit to learn English, but no more than it would benefit us English-speakers to learn Spanish, and they have exactly the same obligation to do so: None.

As I learned when I lived in New Mexico for ten years, there are native Spanish-speaking Americans who were living and building a culture in what is now the United States whose ancestors were here when yours were still wallowing about in some European beer hall. There is room for more reminisce and extrapolatin here, which will have to wait. But if you think that English is the national language of the United States, get over it. Some of our little Nazi buddies in the White House (and in regular houses and bastions of ignorance around the country - there was even a state law proposed in Colorado I remember, and doubtless elsewhere) would like to make it that way, but they haven't, and I hope they don't. Interestingly, I don't know any reason they couldn't pass a law like that, Constitutionally. So enlightened America, watch out.

That's it for now. Hopefully I'll feel like extrapolating on some of this soon. Hang in there.