So much for Ethical Altruism

“[Sam Bankman-Freid] held himself out as a philosopher king, a devotee to esoteric ethical precepts and a concerned billionaire who was committed to saving the world from ugly political currents; after the collapse, he confessed that this was all marketing nonsense (“this dumb game we woke westerners play”).”
— Cory Doctoroff

Kevin Smith is the only man over the age of 19 who is allowed to wear a ballcap backward. He makes it look good. The rest of us are just pretenders. (Kevin looks great, by the way. He looks like a man, not a moon.)

Some people just want to watch the world burn. Others make a really good living starting fires or pouring gasoline on them.

Don’t let them do your thinking for you.

Be the light.

The heater on the second floor is working. The heater on the ground floor is kaput. The thermocline halfway down the stairs was brutal this morning.

The Workbench, October 2022


Finished writing Cursing the Darkness, a collection of political hot-takes from the Trump Years. The manuscript is in the box, and I am wondering what to do with it.

Moved into the final editing phase of First Impulses, my first poetry collection. Now trying to decide whether to illustrate it or not. I’ll give myself to the weekend to decide, then put it to bed.

Developed a glossary of camping-related Scouting terms, initially for a master plan I’m helping develop for a Scout Camp, but will probably post it separately as a public resource.

Knocked off of the Bucket List

#21 Attained Brotherhood Membership in the Order of the Arrow

#473 Finished writing Cursing the Darkness

#904 Made jalapeño cornbread for the first time

Other Milestones

Helped run an interfaith bike ride for the Scouts (The Twelve Points Bike Ride) on the 1st.

Completed training to be a Unit New Member Coordinator for the BSA.

Reading of Note

Finished Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Baron Sacks (Of Blessed Memory.)

Finished The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman

Enjoyed “When your OCD Therapy is also a treatment for writer’s block” by Elissa Bassist

Projects Underway

Course Director for National Youth Leader Training 2023-4: assembling the staff now.

Serving on the staff of Wood Badge in 2023

Continuing to serve as Commissioner for the Ventura County Council, BSA

Books of 2021: Herzog

Herzog is Saul Bellows’s timeless contribution to that unique body of mid-twentieth century fiction that deconstructs the neuroses of homo postbellum Americanis.

Like many, I assume, I could not like Herzog (the protagonist): his puerile narcissism drove him to disregard or belittle moral strictures and ethical codes purely because they threatened to limit or delegitimize his hedonistic desires. But I empathized with the mental and spiritual dead-end with which he was struggling, and I appreciated his effort to fight his way through by writing cathartic letters.

(Indeed, I found his approach so provocative that I began my own series of letters to individuals, companies, government officials, and foreign dignitaries that I have no intention of sending. They will be found among my papers after my death.)

Despite the countless times I wanted to pick Herzog up by the scruff of his neck, slap him around, and set him straight about his life, the book was brilliant. If it does not wind up with an entirely happy ending, Bellow does make it satisfying and, in so doing, offers a little light to those of us struggling with the demons of andropause and our own limitations.

Today is apparently one of those days when I get in the shower, soap my hair and beard, have a sudden writing inspiration, rinse, dry, dress, and make it downstairs to start making coffee before I remember that I had forgotten to wash anything below my neck.

Do I:

  • Go back and get in the shower again;
  • Do a quick “pits and tuchas” job with a washcloth and a bar of soap; or
  • Put on deodorant and hope for the best?

Distractions! Aargh!

  1. A weekday outside
  2. Beautiful weather
  3. A great view
  4. A golf cart to tool around the hillside course
  5. Fellowship
  6. Food and drink

All without having to spend the day whacking a small white spheroid with a bent stick, only to have to chase it around for 10 kilometers.

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