Oh Matt, you’ve done it again! With the firehouse of shit news I’ve been slurping up lately, I didn’t take a time out to read your post. Turns out, it was exactly what I needed. I’m gonna put down this phone and take the dog for a walk outside!! I loved the Kenny White song!! You are the best. Thank you.

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Thanks, Matt. It's been a rough couple of weeks here on the Northern Neck. We said goodbye to our 14 or maybe 15 year old mutt Rufus at the end of October, and the house is really quiet. I know we did the right thing, but it feels so wrong.

I had hopes for this winter's striper season, but it sounds like we have to hope for the mythical rebound that may never come. At least the crab population is pretty stable and my oysters are doing well.

You are right about the fall colors this year. I don't remember them being as pretty before as they were this year. But maybe that's just me getting older and slowing down to appreciate them more.

Again, thank you for pointing out the need to get your joy where you can, and recognize that most people, Steve Bannon and Steven Miller excepted, are just trying to do the same and survive their trips around the sun.

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*Some will get out alive...1 Cor 15:51

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your writing gives us heart and soul

we grow as we receive it

but man, who knew that your words

would inspire

such an outpouring of sharing

despair doesn't stand a chance

against us Tiders

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But it is the looking that gets us there.

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I have read Machiavelli and yes, I find the observations true. Though I think fear and hate become entangled as time goes along. Thanks for the note.

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Nov 10, 2023·edited Nov 10, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

This will be a smart-ass answer to a serious question. Considering the source, what else could be expected. But it does have a point other than me bitcin' about needles, about which I sort of have a *thing*.

You want to escape the tentacles of despair, get relief from the effects of all the negative stuff constantly happening in the world? Here's a bit of an unconventional way to do that which I recently discovered: Go get yourself an EMG (electromyograph).

For those unfamiliar, my new doctor described it to me thusly when I asked what it was after he told me he was sending me to a neurologist to have one:

"Oh, they stick a bunch of needles in your arms and run electricity through them. You'll love it."

Turns out my new Doc has a sense of humor. I'm waiting to see if my insurance will pay for it (the humor, not the test) or if that's gonna' be an out-of-pocket expense. But it turns out he's pretty honest, too, because that's pretty much what the darned thing amounts to. Just think Scott Glenn / The Right Stuff:

(start 00:30)


So, what's this got to do with negativity and breaking its effect on us that, in sufficient amounts, can lead to entrapment in those tentacles of despair? Well, I couldn't tell you much about the actual workings of those positive and negative charges shot through those needles into my limbs for diagnostic purposes, but the effect in the end was that after twitching on a table for an hour like a skinned-out pair of frog legs in a bucket of salt water, pretty much everything else that happened in my normal, run-of-the-mill daily living over the next day or so seemed like some of the most *positive* experiences of my whole danged life, comparatively speaking.

I don't really recommend an EMG as a treatment for sadness and despair. The salutary effects were rather ephemeral, and I don't have a license to practice medicine anyway. Guys like me are lucky to get drivers' licenses. But there's no license needed to dispense advice. That's why there's so damned much of it floatin' around for free out there. But I'll just go on and add to the glut and kick in a dose here anyway:

The world is absolutely a cold, indifferent, cruel and sometimes absolutely brutal place. No evidence is needed to prove this beyond what's daily presented by the myriad cameras, both of the news variety and otherwise, which have become the eyes through which we too frequently view this little hellscape we all call home. However, there is, in fact, some evidence on occasion that the world's not that way every minute, every day, everywhere, all at once, and we need to make an effort to remember that, in spite of our human propensity to glom onto negativity until we're twitching like a bunch of frog legs in a bucket.

Oh. Look. There's some evidence of that right here...

I'll freely admit that I have a background that makes me a sucker for this sort of thing. But I don't think you need to like horses - or even people, particularly... at least of the grown-up variety - to gain a bit of negativity relief from this, or maybe something like it that's happened elsewhere. And this sort of thing does happen in a lot of elsewheres in a lot of other ways, though we seldom see the proof set out before us en masse. But you do need to like kids. And if you don't, just pretend this one's a puppy, and maybe that will work for you.

This story's been going on for a while now, hence the two links; the first to cover the backstory and the second the story from last weekend. I found the effects of this more potent and less ephemeral than that EMG thing. Though I know they will wear off, at least I'm still feeling a bit better because of it.



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I do understand what you are saying but there is a difference. Choosing, for what ever reason, to be naked, or accepting nudity of mixed genders in your presence is one thing. Being "forced" when in this case there are specific designated facilities to accept another genders nudity is not correct or fair to those individuals of the opposite gender.

We have way more important things (fish to fry). Unfortunately the vocal minorities do not want us to focus on those things but instead focus on this crap. To extrapolate on why I believe we the silent majority need to meet these issues head on is I subscribe to the "Broken Windows" concept.

Definition: In criminology, the broken windows theory states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. Wikipedia.

If we just focus on the bigger fish to fry, that probably became the bigger fish to fry because we had bigger fish to fry, nothing will get fried. In military terms you have to have detailed preventative (maintenance, battlefield, combat) plans to prevent things from getting out of hand.

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And smiles like he has three thrussed-up hitchhikers wriggling on meat hooks in his secret basement that he tortures after his debate performances.

By Rubio boots are you talking about the rubber knee-high white ones he wore? I have no idea how anyone on his team let him leave the house with those on. My only thought is that he had some weird kink going on with his Stepford Wife (and, hey, I'm not going to kink-shame anyone) and he rushed out of the house in an emergency not realizing he still had them on. (Better than the head-harness with the red choke ball in his mouth.)

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Nov 10, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

Matt, thanks for the inclusion of “ In My Recurring Dream”----you made my day.

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Nov 10, 2023·edited Nov 10, 2023

If one believes that the world is a complex place and humans are often unpredictable, emotional, reactionary, and irrational creatures, then it would be best to look for pathways to equinimity with considerable caution. We must consider ourselves humbly as we cannot know what the future holds, nor can rash decisions be the order of the day. We have to respect our ignorance. I think this is the definition of being conservative. I have had a number of (scalpel style) surgeries on my eyes. They were my last resort before blindness. Every treatment, except magic spells, was tried before surgery became my only option. My docs did not look in my eyes for 23 minutes and say, "We gotta get you to surgery." If they had, they would never have caught me running out of their office. This is the conservative way to practice medicine.

I love one of my ophthalmologists. He always told me about the risks, and with one of my surgeries he said, "I promise, I'll do the very best I can." I knew what he was saying. It was serious. He was, and is, aware of the frailties of our bodies and aware that he is not a miracle worker.

We all need to be conservative. Humility is the rational stance here. There are too many varibles and too many chances for, "Oops... didn't see that one coming."

Somewhere I read that when you learn the other person's arguments, you will find all the flaws in your own.

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Sticking to your littoral theme, the old longboarder might say, "It's ain't great surf, but a sweet little 2 foot swell comes through every now and then. You just have to paddle out and wait, and watch."

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We crave the addictive rush of emotion. Never is it hotter than when we hate. Not even when we love.

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Again, a change of negative input may decrease my negative sedimentary thoughts. Thanks for the reminder!

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The name recognition on all the alternatives is low. Buttigieg would be great, but our country is not ready for a gay president.

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I'n this non-dualistic reality there is always happiness for those who look to find it.

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