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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Let's focus on what's really important

I was going to write a long post about the last-minute fiscal cliff avoidance scheme, which -- according to my spies -- Congress enacted simply to keep another Cannonfire prediction from coming true. (Previous posts had forecast that there would be no deal.) But to tell you the truth, this old noggin is still far too spinny and dizzy and mucus-filled and flu-beset to come to any firm conclusions -- about the budget, about taxes, about anything.

But I think I would have preferred going over.

On the other hand, the Big Deal means that the unemployment bennies will keep spewing for another year, and I guess that's a good thing. At least Riverdaughter won't be forced know. She won't have to live the horrible degraded way I live, searching pocket lint for change in order to scrape up enough coinage to buy a package of off-brand mac and cheese. She has actually rooted for going over the cliff. That's admirable.

Also admirable is what Ross Douthat has to say...
As I’ve suggested before, these negotiations amounted to a test of liberalism’s ability to raise revenue, and it isn’t clear that this outcome constitutes a passing grade: If a newly re-elected Democratic president can’t muster the political will and capital required to do something as straightforward and relatively popular as raising taxes on the tiny fraction Americans making over $250,000 when those same taxes are scheduled to go up already, then how can Democrats ever expect to push taxes upward to levels that would make our existing public progams sustainable for the long run?
I think Douthat is saying tax cuts don't work tax cuts don't work tax cuts don't work. If he's not saying that, he should. Because tax cuts don't work.

Enough. Let's focus on what's really important. On my New Year's resolution. Which is this: To grow a magnificent beard.

My stupid beard has always been short and scraggly and ugly. All the hairs want to escape my face and can't agree on a direction.

This year, through sheer willpower (and maybe some commercial product) I will tame this beard, control it, soften it, lengthen it, unfurl its power.

What bugs me is the color. Right now, it's all salt-and-peppery -- not an unusual thing at this age, and not really unwelcome. The problem is that much of the pepper is on the left side while the salt is on the right. This defies any sense of cosmic symmetry.

I'm thinking of going almost entirely silver, like Sean-Connery-as-General-Ramius. (But longer.) This is not a bad look for a man of a certain age. And while I may not be able to convey Connery's aura of leonine sexual mastery, I can glower at people and tell them to fuck off. That will do.

Hell, I may even buy a ushanka, if funds permit. But not one with a Soviet naval insignia, because Russians laugh at the silly American tourists who wear those.

The big alternative to going silver would be to dye the whole beard to look peppery. No. A stupid option, that. People will laugh.

Another alternative would be to bleach it white and try to get work as a Santa next December.

Or maybe I could dye it an unnatural blue, in reference to Joan of Arc's most notorious general. Did I ever tell you about him?

I'd be grateful for any feedback on the important topic of beardiness. Check back here later today. If this flu has let up, I may actually post something non-surreal. Until then, remember the kangaroos.
My 'Goat' has been a feature for some years, now that I've stopped bitching about it being more trouble than shaving. I shave the mustache, which gives me a certain look at airports which seems to make people want to say; "Allahu Akbar'.

It's a gnarly bush when not thinned and trimmed, so I keep it short. As to the grey, I am symmetrical, and that's the only part of me, that is.

No advice. You're on your own, Joe, as only bearded folks can understand.

The no-mustache goatee look? Duuuuude! Hard core, dude! It's like you're telling the world: Yeah, I'm a potential terrorist. Yeah, I worship Satan. Wanna mess with me?

I admire that.

Anton LaVey was the intent, rather than Omar the Rug dealer, but it really arose out of my disdain for tasting my soup hours after the meal.

Do feel free to talk about Gilles du Retz, or de Rais, or whoever. I'm sure he had a magnificent facial hedgehog.

I myself never cut, or allow others to cut, any hairs anywhere on my body. I have to be careful not to site on my hair. My beard is odd. It doesn't grow on most of my cheeks, except very sparsely, so I have a natural goatee-and-lopsided-sideburns look. This troubles me. There is another man I sometimes see around town, who has only hair on his cheekbones, just a patch on each cheek with no other facial hair, and each patch entirely self-contained. I fear mischief may be afoot.
Actually, most scholars now will tell you that ol' Gilles didn't really sport that blue beard, although he wears one in Shaw's play. I prefer to believe the Shaw version.

And the best telling of the GdR story is in Huysmans -- "La-Bas." Great stuff. You gotta love any book in which the evil seductress has a name like Hyacinthe Chantelouve.

There are a number of men who, like you, have beard that mostly pops out of the neck rather than the cheeks. I think there are ways to make this work. If you can create the illusion of a long face, it make work to your benefit.
I keep it off the neck entirely, then moderately long. Even coloration. Buy yourself a good electric trimmer.
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