A Short Tribute To A Good Man

People come into our lives seemingly at random, some stay a few minutes, some a lifetime, but many stay long enough to earn a place in our hearts and our memories.  They may leave because of death, because of a disagreement, or simply physical distance, though the Internet has done much to shorten those physical spans.  Today, I learned of the death of one such person … a friend … nay, a member of my blogging family … who left an indelible mark on my heart and who will be sorely missed.  Many of you may remember him … Hugh Curtler.

A retired college professor of philosophy, Hugh was among the wisest men I knew.  More than once, he pulled me back to the realm of reality when my take on the political situation went out of bounds, and while I always listened to his wise words, I often failed to live up to his standard.  Like our mutual friend Keith, Hugh was my gold standard for common sense, for knowing how to respond to things said in the heat of a moment.

I knew that Hugh was battling cancer back in 2020, but for a long time he continued to post on his blog, email me fairly regularly, and comment on mine and others’ blog posts.  His last posts were in January and February 2021, and emails to him later last year went unanswered.  I knew … somewhere deep down, I knew … but I didn’t want to think about it, so like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, I didn’t think about it … much … except on those sleepless nights.

I have a book of Hugh’s, Alone in the Labyrinth, that he signed along with a short note and mailed to me back in early 2021.  I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

There is much I probably could say about Hugh … he was a kind man, a good man, a wise man … but it is his own words that are best suited to remind us of who Hugh Curtler was.  Below are links to just a few of my favourite among his many posts.  Today, I am saddened by the loss of Hugh, but enriched for having known him.

Good Folks

Change

How Free Are We?

If, I say

Thank you, Hugh, for always being my rock, my ‘go-to’ when I needed a bit of good sense.  I will miss you, as I know others will … you were a big part of our ‘blogging family’ and I loved you!  R.I.P. Hugh Curtler

Wise Words

Many of us, this writer included, have chafed at the invisible bonds of stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and the rest. Many of us finally accepted that this was the only way to save lives and we’ve made our peace with it, though still we sometimes whine. Our friend Hugh shared a piece today that made me sit back, take a deep breath, and think, put our troubles of today into an entirely new perspective. Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Each of us will have our own take on that. Please read this short piece … and realize that what we are going through today is NOT the end of the world, and that this, too, shall pass. Thanks Hugh! We all needed this, I think!

hughcurtler

I have no idea who wrote the following piece, but it strikes me as worthy of wider dissemination than it has had so far. My son sent it to me the other day and said, simply, “it was written by a co-worker.” It strikes me as particularly important given the fact that we are all feeling fed-up with the coronavirus and all that it entails. We simply cannot wait until things go “back to normal” — refusing to admit to ourselves that there may be no return to normal and that the “new normal” will be like nothing we have ever experienced.

In any event, we wallow in self-pity since few of us has ever had to deny ourselves much of what we want. This is, after all, the “Age of Entitlement” not only in the schools but in the homes as well. We buy on plastic and run up…

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Will I Ever Run Out Of Snark???

As usual, I have plenty of snark built up and as always, I like to share with my friends …


Another useless bimbo in the White House …

Does the name Stephanie Grisham ring a bell?  You’d be forgiven for not remembering that she has been, for the past nine months, the White House Press Secretary, for she has never held so much as a single press briefing, and for those of us who don’t watch Fox ‘News’, she has been largely invisible.  The only times I’ve heard anything from her was when she was telling reporters from legitimate news agencies to “Shut up!” or “Get OUT!”  Well, she’s been relieved of her duties as press secretary and will now become Melania Trump’s “chief of staff”.  Would somebody please tell me why Melania Trump needs a ‘chief of staff’, when she doesn’t do a damn thing???

Grisham has been replaced by Kayleigh McEnany, a former CNN commentator and Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson who has a long history of defending anything Trump says, no matter how brazen the lie may be.  In other words, another useless bimbo in Trump’s circle whose words will be hollow and 99% untrue.  Remember, we are paying for all this … we are paying for Melania to have a ‘chief of staff’ to accompany her while she sits around doing her nails.  We are paying for a mindless sycophant to have the title of ‘press secretary’ and lie, lie, lie … if she even bothers to speak to the press.  Does anybody begin to get the impression that there is absolutely NO oversight of this administration, that they can throw away our money however they please and stab us in the back while they’re doing it?


And if you needed further proof …

A panel of inspectors general had named Glenn Fine — the acting Pentagon watchdog — to lead the group charged with monitoring the distribution of that $2.2 trillion that was passed by Congress last week.  But yesterday, Trump removed Fine from his post, instead naming the EPA inspector general to serve as the temporary Pentagon watchdog in addition to his other responsibilities.  There is widespread concern within both the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, and I’ll no doubt have more to say on this in a future post.  But meanwhile …

Trump has also begun sharply attacking Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm, following a report from her office that described widespread testing delays and supply issues at the nation’s hospitals.

“Another Fake Dossier!” Trump tweeted, mentioning Grimm’s tenure as inspector general during the Obama administration. He didn’t mention, though, that Grimm has been serving as a federal watchdog since 1999, spanning administrations of both parties.  Care to make any bets as to how much longer Ms. Grimm will hold her position?

Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Justice Department who also oversees a council of inspectors general, defended Michael Atkinson, the inspector general fired by Trump on Friday night for doing his job in taking seriously the complaint by the whistleblower who exposed Trump’s illegal and immoral actions that led to his impeachment.  Mr. Horowitz said …

“Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight. That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done ‘by the book’ and consistent with the law.”

Care to make any bets as to how much longer Mr. Horowitz will be an inspector general?

Meanwhile, the head-nodding bootlickers like Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and others will find their jobs are safe, just so long as they keep selling their souls downriver and defending the megalomaniac in the Oval Office.


Today, I read two excellent posts by long-time blogging family members Keith & Hugh, and I wanted to re-blog them both, but I try never to put out more than 3-4 posts a day, for I realize people don’t want to be bombarded and overwhelmed.  So, instead, I am adding links here to Keith’s and Hugh’s posts, and I hope that if you haven’t already read them, you’ll take a moment to do so, for both speak to what is important to us as citizens of the world, why we should care about people, about our government, about truth, integrity, values, equality.  Thanks to both Keith Wilson and Hugh Curtler …

Keith’s post:  What I care about – a note received 

Hugh’s post:  Head In The Sand

Words That Frighten

For some time now, I have intended to write a post explaining the concept of “democratic socialism” – a term that has been demonized by republicans, used to scare voters away from certain democratic candidates – but obviously I haven’t yet gotten around to it. Meanwhile, our friend Hugh has revived an excellent post he wrote during President Obama’s presidency that makes some excellent points. Note what he says about Finland and also note that Finland ranks #1 on the World Happiness Index, while the U.S. is only at #19. Thank you, Hugh!!!

hughcurtler

I wrote this years ago and reblog it here because no one seems to have read it and the ideas I tried to clarify appear to be as relevant today as they were years ago — if not more so!

In every generation there are numerous words that take on pejorative overtones — many of which were never part of the term’s meaning in the first place. Not long ago, for instance, “discipline” was a positive concept, but it has become a bad thing thanks to progressive educators who ignore the fact that discipline is essential to clear thinking and the creation of art instead of junk. Another such term is “discrimination” which used to simply suggest the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, good paintings and good music, for example, from random paint scattered on canvas or mere noise. Indeed, it was a sign of an educated…

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And Yet Another Black Friday

Our friend Hugh sums up my own feelings about the ‘Black Friday Mania’ that for many defines the day after Thanksgiving, when some people I know stay up all night and actually spend hours in the cold waiting outside the doors of a store, simply to be the first to get that “whatchamacallit” that’s on sale (though the retailer and manufacturer are still making money from it). Thanks, Hugh, for this timely piece!

hughcurtler

It’s time for my annual “Black Friday” rant. If only those with ears could hear!!

I have posted this piece before, but in light of the fact that we now have a mega-holiday that a character in one of the comics I enjoy calls “Hallothanksmas,” and given also that advertisers are now calling November “Black Friday Month,” it seems especially appropriate since we are about to see the ugly face of commodified Christmas close-up once again. The more things change the more they stay the same! I have added a few pithy comments to this version.

The headline read “Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers.” In an effort to have a better chance to get at the cheap electronics Walmart was using as a lure to get shoppers into their stores this holiday season, a woman pepper sprayed about 20 customers who were in her way. Except for the…

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Seeing Is Believing

Our friend Hugh is a much deeper thinker than most of us. Well, he taught Philosophy in college, so he should be, yes? Last year, Hugh published a book, a compilation of some of his best posts, and this one was included in it. I, of course, own a copy of the book, and it is a treasured volume, for my copy is autographed by Hugh himself! This post is thought provoking on at least two different levels and addresses ‘faith’ and ‘freedom’. Hugh’s posts most always make me stop and think, and this one is no exception. Thank you, dear Hugh! By the way, I notice your book has almost sold out on Amazon! Congrats!

hughcurtler

Years ago I wrote an earlier version of this post and it fell on deaf ears. While I admittedly have written a number of rather weak posts,  I thought this one of my better ones. In fact, I included the earlier version in my book, Alone In The Labyrinth. In any event, I found it especially relevant in these trying times when we seem lost and face an uncertain future with a purblind leader on a planet that is under attack by greed and self-interest.  

In one of the most dramatic portions of that most dramatic novel, The Brothers Karamazov, the two brothers Ivan and Alyosha meet to discuss the “dossier” that Ivan has put together to prove that God does not exist. It is a collection of brutal stories of human cruelty, capped off by the gruesome story of a landowner who turns his dogs loose on a…

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The Virtue of Stupidity

Once again, dear friend Hugh has hit the nail on the head regarding the dangerous attitudes of this nation toward addressing environmental issues, most notably climate change, or global warming. Please take a minute to read his excellent post … and make note of his new “law” at the end! Thank you, Hugh, for the post and the permission to share!

hughcurtler

Temperatures around the country have recently been plunging and the nay-sayers once again point to the thermometer and tell us why they deny that the globe is warming. They ignore the fact that South Africa is experiencing the hottest summer on record and that what happens in Alabama or Alaska (or South Africa) is beside the point. Global Warming is a fact and it is not to be identified with passing weather events in particular parts of the world. Confusing the two and ignoring hard science are marks of the “virtue of stupidity” among those who remain with their heads in the sand — or somewhere equally dark. (This is a repost, which I have updated.)

In his remarkable book, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, Charles Pierce quotes Norman Myers of the Climate Institute who estimated that in 1995 [over twenty-four years ago!] there…

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Collision Course

Our friend Hugh’s post tonight is spot on … not a post that’s going to make you chuckle and hum a happy tune, but certainly one with a message that we all need to hear … again and again … until we wake up. Thank you Hugh, for the reminder, and for giving me carte blanche to share your work.

hughcurtler

I suggested in a response I made to a comment on a previous post that humanity is most assuredly on a collision course between global warming, on the one hand, and the expanding human population, on the other hand. The irony of ironies is that the growing human population seems to be, for the most part, oblivious to both of these problems! Perhaps it is denial on a grand scale? To be sure, most of us would prefer to ignore unpleasant facts. But be that as it may, the two opposing forces cannot possibly survive together. Something must give.

As long as we continue to think it is better to drive our gas-guzzlers and turn up the thermostat rather than ride a bike, drive smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or put on a sweater when we are cold — while at the same time we embrace the notion that large families…

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Commodified Culture

I have often posited that greed is possibly the single biggest cause of the mess we are in today. As we wade knee-deep into the Christmas season, with retailers hoping to turn red to black on their income statements, advertisers are in full swing trying to convince you that you simply must have that shiny new object. Our friend Hugh has written a very good, thoughtful and thought-provoking post on this topic that carries a message we all need to hear, to be reminded of. Thank you, Hugh, for this post and your generous permission to share it.

hughcurtler

You have probably seen the commercial. A young woman walks into the kitchen of a very posh house and places two sets of keys down on the counter and smiles at her husband (presumably). They race out of the posh house and stand beside two brand new GMC trucks (costs, appx. $50,000.00 apiece). One truck is blue and the other is red. The man points to the blue one, but his wife has already claimed it for herself and he weakly smiles as he realizes that the red one is his.

I have borrowed the words of Robert Heilbronner to help us grasp what is wrong with this commercial, so typical of those we see on our television at this time of year. To begin with these are apparently Christmas presents that the woman has bought for herself and her husband. Thus begins the set of problems this commercial sets…

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Guest Blog Post

As those of you who have followed this blog throughout the ‘Reign of Trump’ know, one of my biggest frustrations has been a failure to understand the reason Trump has been given free rein, despite the fact that his values are in complete opposition to those who support him. Our friend Hugh has hosted a guest post by Jerry Stark that goes a long way toward answering the question: WHY??? It has given me much food for thought, and I will yet need to do some pondering on his words, but today I wanted to share them with you, for I think they have tremendous value. Only when we understand the forces we are fighting, do we stand much chance of bringing about a return to a kinder, saner world. Many thanks both Hugh and Jerry for permission to share this worthy post.

hughcurtler

The following comment by Jerry Stark expanded and improved upon my attempt to explain the notion of ressentment. It is extremely well done and helps us understand the mind-set of those who follow our sitting president and worship at his shrine. I post it here with Jerry’s permission.

The concept of ressentiment is intriguing, especially when applied to our current circumstance.

Nietzsche’s (pre-postmodern) claim was that morality is defined and established by the powerful and inflicted upon those whom they dominate. He further argues that new moral regimes can emerge out of a process of ressentiment, wherein those who are viewed as social inferiors by the powerful, and who have come to view themselves as socially inferior, develop a resentful hatred against those they view as elites — their “betters”. Ressentiment is not about class consciousness; it is about the revenge of the unworthy.

Ressentiment is characterized, in part, by…

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