Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


Evolving, Thread By Thread

There comes a time in the life of many or us realize that we must evolve in order to survive and thrive in the days, months, and years ahead. The skills and coping mechanisms that propelled  us to our present crossroads will not suffice for the rigors of the road ahead. Ideally, we realize this before someone beats us upside the head with our deficiencies, and advises us to evolve, now, or else. With the benefit of time, we enjoy the luxury of introspection and self-direction.

For some of us, this realization comes in childhood when we begin to understand that the world for which our parents prepared us is a much nicer and simpler place than the world we actually inhabit. My parents, for example, felt that most challenges in life could be overcome by intellect and critical thinking, grounded in a solid appreciation of music, literature, and art.

All that’s of very little use, however, when the schoolyard bully extorts your milk money, day after day, or when the high-school bully demands that you orient your exam paper so that they can cheat off it. It’s also of little use when the demons of depression take hold of your youthful spirit and fill you with suicidal thoughts.

When we’re old enough to see where our life is headed, we’re also old enough to begin our own preparations. Under the critical eye of a strict and controlling parent, however, we learn to be circumspect in our evolution. One by one, we pull the threads from the tapestry woven by our parents and teachers, replacing it with more utilitarian or decorative that better suits our character and our destiny.

Over time, the entire tapestry evolves to something vastly different. On any given day, though, there’s little evidence of any change at all. Our machinations go undiscovered. Yet we’ve slipped our collars, shaken the dust out of our fur, and left that back yard far behind. We’re off on our own now, and ready for the scary world out there.

In my case, the evolution was from book smarts to street smarts, from sadness and fear to wit and grit, from follower to leader. It has taken  quite a long time, half a century so far. admittedly not long in geologic time, but certainly a slow transition in human time. I’m still a work in progress…  I hope. I’m still learning how to be a grandparent, a business owner, a southerner, and a retiree.

I’m grateful to whatever people and forces sparked my desire to make the changes that have brought me this far inspired me to continue the journey of self actualization. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, surely we owe some credit to anyone who helped us to take that step.


Friday Fossil Follies: The Dinosaurs Of Downton Abbey

Given your intrepid diarist’s obsession with the extinction of lumbering organisms who have outlived their usefulness, it was only a matter of time before she was drawn into the hypnotic vortex of Downton Abbey. With the benefit of streaming technology, she has lost countless hours immersed in the dealings of early 20th century aristocrats facing and overcoming truly daunting challenges. One can only marvel at their ability to soldier on, despite having to dress for dinner in black tie, rather than white, or having to cope with the horrific prospect of downsizing to a smaller mansion. Even an unexpected inheritance sends them into multi-episode bouts of self-loathing and handwringing.

Neither hunters nor gatherers and shunning any form of productive activity, these impeccably dressed and coiffed creatures spent their days heaving prolonged sighs of ennui. There’s Simply Nothing To Do other than watch as their way of life erodes away beneath them. Having been blessed with Vast Wealth that could have ensured their economic and social dominance for generations more with just a bit of husbandry, they instead frittered it all away through extravagant spending, witless investments, and dereliction of even the most basic fiduciary responsibilities.

No worries, however, as with the miracle of inbreeding, they continued to reproduce with and siphon away the inherited wealth of extended family members. Attempts to deepen their Smurf-deep gene pool by mating with those outside their list of acceptable relatives met with disaster, as we saw when Lady Sibyl – up to then probably the most energetic and genetically robust of the bunch – succumbed to a very dramatic post-partum extinction. The rest of her melanin-deficient clan could only stand by in helpless horror holding the newborn spawn of their former chauffeur. See what happens when the classes mingle? Don’t be doing that again, please.

Clearly, though, there were limits to the Downtonasaurs paleo-Ponzi scheme, and eventually, it became painfully apparent even to the most cerebrally-challenged among them that they must adapt to their new circumstances. Not right away, of course, as it was time for another dinner party, wedding, funeral, scandal, fox hunt, or bout of what passes for introspection.

Darwin would have looked upon these socially elevated life-forms with contempt, as they eluded extinction for far too long.  Those “below stairs” seemed far better suited for the rough-and-tumble life, as they were only too keen to jostle one another for position, even relying on early forms of social networking and psy-ops. The Dawn of the Age of Mammals might have looked a bit like this. But… I digress.

Where, one wonders, did this whole family begin their march towards irrelevance and extinction? To find the answers, researchers revisited Downton Abbey, this time equipped with a Kubota backhoe, and began the quest for family paterfamilias Cretaceous “Creepy” Crawley. Creepy made his fortunes the old-fashioned way: threatening overextended tenants and driving them off their property, strip mining the available coal and iron ore, selling these important resources in a controlled market to his corporate cronies, and leaving the resultant environmental shambles for future generations to restore.

Having amassed more wealth than he could possibly spend in geologic time, he set about finding a suitable mate. Fortune smiled upon him the day that he laid eyes, and perhaps a bit more, on local barmaid Molly, an opportunistic Mesozoic wench who knew a good meal ticket when she saw one. With her marriage to Creepy, she made the leap to life as Lady Molly Crawley, leaving behind her humble origins. What she lacked in gentility she more than made up for in fecundity, and soon the Crawley cave was alive with the pitter-patter of little Crawley feet.

As time went by, these illustrious offspring went their separate ways. Some of them achieved great distinction in science, medicine, engineering, and the arts. Accordingly, these family members were lopped from the family tree, as that is simply not the sort of lifestyle appropriate for a true aristocrat. After generations of pruning, we find ourselves left with the likes of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, and his emotionally-blocked kin who can wonder for days on end what on Earth they could be doing other than staring into the face of impending ruin. It’s all so awfully, awfully tedious, and only by drowning their sorrows in alcohol can they endure their existential pain. Frankly, it’s remarkable that they didn’t succumb to cirrhosis of the liver, every last one of them.

Just as the real dinosaurs of the Mesozoic must have done, the Crawleys watch, transfixed, as that bright shining ball of flames illuminates their cosmos, getting ever larger. What is that, they wonder. Then, suddenly, it hits them.  

GOPasaur Extinction Update: More Fossil Follies from Griftasaurus Karlroveii

As reported in the New York Times and other reputable sources – and widely mocked elsewhere – Griftasaurus Karlroveii has concocted yet another plan to stave off extinction… or at least make some money off it if it’s really unavoidavle. In a party where dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence has reached levels worthy of paleo-pay-per-view coverage, the bespectacled behemoth believes that he has found the Secret of Eternal Relevance. As always, it involves money. Other people’s money, obviously.

His latest Life Extension scheme involves establishment of the Conservative Victory Party. While that sounds dreadfully bland, rest assured, blood will spill, and carnage will result. Don’t touch that dial! First on the CVP’s hit list? The witless Baggasaurs whose moronic Mesozoic meddling has already cost the GOPasaurs some key seats in the House and Senate. Like a clown car filled with velociraptors on crack, the Baggasaurs provided ample amusement for those of us on the other side of the aisle, but have been an unending torment for their supposed allies.

Spawned by the evil genius and deep pockets of the Kochasaurs and a few other one-percenters with more free time and money than brains, the Baggasaurs were foisted on the American public as a true grass-roots Paleo-phenomenon. Easily identified by their curious headgear, poorly-spelled signs, and angry vocalizations, the Baggasaurs played their parts to perfection. Their walnut-sized brains ensured that they would never discern that they were simply “extras” in the Greatest Story Never Told, and that despite their daily trips to the mailbox, their checks would never arrive.

Still, when measured in terms of damage done versus IQ points, the Baggasaurs will leave a dent in the fossil record. In retrospect, their Reign of Error may represent the Beginning of the End for GOPasaurs. Some analysts surmise that G. karlroveii is very much in agreement with this view, but clearly not above using it to advance his own objectives. Follow along below the coprolite horizon for more…  

Hunting Galileo: The Right's War on Science (Part I)

While Waxman may have accused Republicans of presiding over the “most anti-science” Congress in history, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tells Mother Jones that his colleague’s characterization doesn’t even go far enough: “This is the most anti-science body since the Catholic Church ostracized Galileo for determining that the earth revolves around the sun.”

Mother Jones, emphasis added

I wish it were possible to collect information about all the wrongdoing of the GOP into one diary, but even a series of books would probably find such an endeavor impossible. Even fully covering a specific topic is, realistically, far beyond the scope of any single diary. In trying to provide an aggregate summary of any currently relevant topic, the best I can give is a brief overview of the most recent and egregious Republican transgressions.

Today we address in brief (kind of) the GOP’s war on science.