The End of a Life Worth Living

Since the highest priority of virtually all Quiddity readers is the state of the Green Bay Packers, as it is for almost all Americans, it seems I am obligated to express my thoughts about their fortunes this weekend.

So far as I know, I am the only person lucky enough to have correctly predicted the outcomes of their first three games. Therefore, they are in trouble.

Because I expect them to be soundly thumped by the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

They will be unable to stop the Vikings pass rush, giving up as many as six sacks on Aaron Rogers (more likely three, but the point is that it will be ugly). They will be unable to stop Adrian Peterson and the Vikings rushing game, especially in the second half, giving up somewhere around 200 rushing yards.

Their defense will be utterly exhausted. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out of the game demoralized, except that they seem to keep a level head from week to week.

The Packers have one basic problem that will cost them their entire season unless some lights go on that I don’t even think are in the room: they can’t block. Bring their offensive line into the 2009 season and I could see them overcoming their below average starting running back because of their talent at quarterback, receivers, and defensive line and secondary, and because of their depth at linebacker, where the talent is adequate.

But no team can win in the NFL if they can’t block. As a result, their defense will wear down and be unable to get off the field in the second half.

Vikings 37
Packers 17

That one guy everybody keeps talking about probably won’t matter very much in this game.

Having said all that, they could win if they win the turnover battle by a wide margin (say, four to one). I don’t see it happening, because AP can run all day on the Packers. If they stop him, it’ll be¬†a close game.

Iowa Man Found With Scruples; Wife “Unconcerned”


An Iowa man has been found with Scruples, a dangerous meme known to infect whole¬†communities.¬†Estes Meridian, the unidentified man’s wife, expressed her support¬†while he deals with the implications of his new meme.

“I had¬†the Scruples too when I was young,”¬†Aunt E. (as she is known locally) reflected. “In a word, I’m truly unconcerned.”

Local officials have agreed not to intervene at this point, but E. Greg Farce, head of the community organization Volunteers United for a Better Way made it clear that they would not stand idly by.

“We have known far too many conflicts and tension at the hands of people who claim to discover scruples and then¬†infect others. That’s why we created¬†Volunteers United for¬†a Better Way. Because we believe in a world of individual volunteers, freely united in one great volunteer body to represent the single united will of all people everywhere who know a better way. Such a world has no room for the dangers of people infected with the highly unpredictable Scruple Virus.”

The International Academy of Scientific Investigation of Phantastic Memes, a United Nations body that has come out strongly against the free expression of the Scruple Meme, provided a balanced scientific perspective.

“We are in profound appreciation of the sentiments of this man’s wife and hold out great hope that her support will be a source of strength and of reaching across the train wreck in which this Iowa Man is of a high likelihood to participate.

“But we have to state clearly and without equivocation or complication that there is not the slightest biological, chemical, anatomical, psychological, or any other truly scientific evidence to support the continued existence, generation, presence, or possibility of any entity that remotely resembles a Scruple Meme.

“Superstitious minds,” he continued, “especially in backwards, non-urban areas where we have been unable to adequately inform people of our latest research, meme up such dreams in order to take power over the naive and the weak, something our agency cannot tolerate or share as we exist precisely to protect people from such oppressive regimes.”

Local Davenport officials hope the international sensation will last only long enough to increase revenues for local businesses, such as McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Target, Wal-Mart, and other foundations of the local economy.

“We all appreciate the publicity this man has brought to Davenport,” said Wily Trust, marketing manager of the newest addition to the Davenport Community, Chinese Garden, the international restaurant and laundry conglomerate. “But even bad publicity can be overdone sometimes.”

The wife of the Iowa Man, whose name has been withheld due to government privacy codes, has assured reporters that she will keep a close eye on her husband and will take him in for health care in the event his meme threatens a breakout into the local community.

Immanuel Kant and the “Aim” of Education

I’m sitting in the library at Hiram College visiting my daughter and checking out the books. I came across this by Immanuel Kant, from his book Education. It made me laugh.

1. Man is the only being who needs education….

2. Animals use their powers… according to a regular plan–that is, in a way not harmful to themselves….

3. Discipline changes animal nature into human nature…. Having no instinct, he has to work out a plan of conduct for himself. Since, however, he is not able to do this all at once, but comes into the world undeveloped, others have to do it for him.¬†

4. It is discipline, which prevents man from being turned aside by his animal impulses from humanity, his appointed end…. By discipline men are placed in subjection to the laws of mankind, and brought to feel their constraint. This, however, must be accomplished early. Children, for instance, are first sent to school, not so much with the object of their learning something, but rather that they may become used to sitting still and doing exactly as they are told.¬†

5. … discipline must be brought into play very early; for when this has not been done, it is difficult to alter character later in life.¬†

¬†At which point I visited the men’s room, where I came across this computer generated sign:


Ah, yes, the groves of Academe, where men learn not to pee on the trees.

The Value of a Great Book

A book isn’t great because of what it tells you, but because of what it makes you think about.

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t make them anymore. A couple years ago I resolved not to be so obsessed with self-improvement, but I forgot to put an expiry date on that resolution, much to the chagrin of my family. It reminds me of a highway sign in central Ohio that I saw about 950,000 miles ago: buckle up next million miles. I put the seat belt on then and was so close to being able to take it off when I passed it again on my way to Canada last week. Very frustrating. It’s like getting to the end of a maze and they move the end point when you come around the¬†last bend.

I am determined, however, to stay on topic better this year. I think resolutions are good things if you keep them in balance, but I think goals are a lot more useful. So if you are thinking about making a resolution for 2009, be careful. Don’t make it something that guarantees you’ll be frustrated. You are what you are.

If you want to change something about what you do, then do it, but don’t ask for a complete perfection by January 2. If you want to eat healthier, then turn that into goals that can be attained. For example, rahter than resolve to eat healthier (too vague), resolve to eat three more vegetable servings per week and one less candy bar. Nice and specific and more or less doable. Plus, if you do eat that one less candy bar, you might find the other six you’ve been eating aren’t so hard to give up.

Another avoidance: don’t resolve to be nicer to your wife. Too vague and unaccountable. Ask her one thing you could do for her this year and prepare yourself for the worst. It will almost certainly involve something that will unman you, like picking up your underwear after taking a shower, folding your own¬†laundry, or, God forbid, washing the dishes once a month.¬† But once you’ve asked, you can’t escape. Don’t even try to modify it with a clever comeback, like, “but what could I do for you in the garage?” or, “what about the back yard?” If you want to try those options, you’ll have to frame the whole conversation around them.

For example, you could send your kids out to play in the garage and encourage them to trash the whole thing. Then you could bring your wife out there and the two of you could survey the damage, heads shaking soberly and lips smacking tiskily. Now’s the time to be a hero. Start patiently and calmly putting away the things you know your wife care’s about most, like the camping gear and the tool kits. While you’re doing so, you turn to her and say something warm and glowing, like, “you know what dear? I’ve always loved it when we can come out to the garage and clean up. My memories of our times in the garage have turned it into one of my favorite places.” It’s best to say this with your arms around her and if you can manage one of those effeminate moves like looking her in the eye that would probably make it even more effective. But don’t over-reach. You are on fragile ice at this point (new year’s goals are not for the cowardly or frigid of nerve).

Before she realizes what’s hitting her, you quick follow up with a bold offer, like, “What one thing could I do for you this year out here in the garage?”

Now look, you always have to be prepared for the worst when you ask your wife that question. But at least you’ve put the odds in your favor that whatever favor she is going to ask of you, it might be in the garage. And after all. that’s your favorite place. Especially after all the time you’ve already spent in the doghouse.

Men, you have to remember that women are much more subtle than we are. They don’t always or even frequently tell you the truth. So beware of this clever ruse even more than the doghouse, which is where she wants you: if she says, “I don’t want you to do anything for me,” DO NOT BELIEVE HER.

It is time to think hard when she says that. It probably means you are already in trouble for something and she’s leaving you to your own resources (which I think women do just to remind us that we don’t have any). You might need to go after the only two things that can really and truly score points with her: her father and her children. If she says she doesn’t want anything from you, you probably can’t do any better than to say, “OK, let’s go visit your dad this weekend,” or “OK. Hey, how about I take the kids to the beach for a week. You can stay home and rest and I’ll spend a few days bonding with those fabulous children you bore me through hours and hours of excruciating pain that I could never even begin to imagine because it is totally something only a woman could endure without cursing¬†violently (and I don’t even remember what you said when I squished your arm in the hospital bed anyway) and now you have spent so many hours and hours pouring your wisdom and virtue and purity into them and it’s probably pretty safe for them to be exposed to someone like me, don’t you think?”

That might work.

The point is, make your resolutions specific and precise.

And stay on topic when you are talking to her. Wives hate it when you go off topic and start talking about, say, how things are really going at work or some interesting guitar riff in a Led Zeppelin song or a plot twist in a James Bond movie – you know, the stuff that really matters.

What I’ve Learned About History

The Confederate States lost the War Between the States because they had no constitutional right to succeed.

keys to success

1. The key to a successful working relationship is to avoid proximity.

2. The key to success is following your first impulse!

Wait, I need to think about that.