Did You Know that Friendship was a Fungible Commodity?

I wonder, can you purchase friends at the Applebee’s Salad Bar?

Bobo* Brooks, Washington Faust:
There Are Social and Political Benefits to Having Friends

You know what I hate?


Yeah, you heard me, dirty filthy moochers stealing up my hard-earned tax dollars what with their unamerican whines of “but I need to eat” or “I don’t want to die here on the streets”. Oh boy fucking hoo, what about my stock portfolio, that’s what I say.

You know, I used to mock overprivileged assholes on this blog who seemed to think that everyone would become just as sociopathic, bigoted, egocentric, and short-sighted as them if only they were able to tug hard on their bootstraps and magic their way into that full-time middle-class employment that is totally on every street corner just waiting for someone white go-getting enough to seize it.

But now that I’ve caught that elusive golden snitch and just now seized a full-time teaching job with nothing but hard work, moxie, and good-ol’ inherent worthiness, I realize the folly of my former socialist ways. Sure, this random conflux of events is somewhat… clouded by the desperation that preceded it and the grim knowledge that a bit of crucially timed luck is the only thing that separates me now from the homeless woman hiding under a blanket in a street alcove or the tragedy of Kate von Roeder. I mean, it’s not like I can erase the way I had to casually discard an important dream and retreat to a dangerous self-loathing head-space to try and put together some form of panicked short-term survival. Nor can I avoid catching a glimpse of the still-healing scar all up and down my left arm from a recent wake-up-warning suicide attempt only foiled by gross incompetence and skin apparently as hard as Emma Frost’s.

Or the fact that this random bit of luck on my part does not change the terrifying reality that faces many more my age who are barred from full participation in the economy or the fact that I’m only one bad boss or broken closet door away from being right back in a capitalism-fueled mess that very nearly took away the last of my sanity and self-preservation. Having to forego food and basic necessities out of stubborn pride and refusal to deny my being for a chance at life.

And for fuck’s sake, it’s not like I got this opportunity out of some magical increase in effort. Blind panic maybe, denial of self-care definitely, and luck, oh yes, uncharacteristic luck. But certainly not effort. I mean, I’m actually going to be working less insanely hard shortly as I’ll be quitting the majority of my large stable of part-time jobs, giving me time and most importantly mental energy to work on side-projects benched for years.

But I mean… clearly that all just means that I’m super superior and everyone could do the same because to admit otherwise would be to acknowledge that we’re all teetering on the edges of the gears that grind us up, watching others slip and fall and begging various deity-like objects that we aren’t next and that’s just… ha ha ha. Crazy talk.

So yeah, with my newfound being able to reliably pay the bills and not panic like a gerbil in a cat-sanctuary job offer, I clearly need some hard and fast training on the ways of forging elaborate self-soothing fantasies of moral selection and inherent worthiness so as to avoid the guilt of realizing that my crucially timed good news is but a rare bit of corn in the shit-sandwich that is this economy.

Hey Bobo, can you help a sister out on how to do this whole not-starving-to-death-in-an-alley thing now that I’m under the sway of the financially stable mind-control slugs?

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • Man, you know what I’d do with even more money than I have now? Literally buy friends. Because that seems like a purchasable good and/or service that will improve my relative standing among other friendless sociopaths.


I mean, sure, it sounds like the ultimate cry for help and demonstration of the human bankruptcy that is ol’ Bobo, where he is unable to even understand as simple of a concept as genuine friendship without co-opting it into his ever-more-in-vain struggle for meaning and “standing” in the world. As if one last tug on the sore and blistering cock of those who buy and sell countries will somehow mean his life wasn’t just a trading of casual cheap rhetoric for a temporary position of relative wealth and nothing of importance more. To be forgotten like so many other “intellectual conservative” chattel once the new crop is harvested.

But thanks to my recent empathectomy, I recognize it for the shrewd savviness that truly marks Bobo as a sharp cookie that will surely be remembered until the end of time. I mean, after all, as his title notes, there are social and political benefits to having friends and as such, they are definitely a wise investment for today’s busy executive.

And acquiring new friends will be a critical avenue of investment for me personally, seeing as how I was forced to liquidate all of my former friends so that the stink of their impoverished hands didn’t stain my slightly more upscale skirts.

I mean, sure, those former moochers stood by me in my darkest days, helped keep me limping forward when I had nothing as I did for them, forging lifelong connections I would sooner die than abandon, but meh, how will that help me out at the local rotary club?

No, it clearly is time to do some “upsizing” “reinvestment”. So Bobo, lay it on me.

Somebody recently asked me what I would do if I had $500 million to give away.

Well, seeing as how I’m going dizzy with the possibilities of how I can help those close to me with something on the level of 1/1000th of that, I can hardly imagine…

No, sorry, I need to learn to be a sociopath. Okay, Bobo, help me. What should be my first thought when presented with sums like that?

My first thought was that I’d become a moderate version of the Koch brothers. I’d pay for independent candidates to run against Democratic or Republican members of Congress who veered too far into their party’s fever swamps.

Oh, of course, delusions of “third wave moderate philosophy” that just so happens to resemble right-wing orthodoxy, just without all those super obvious insanities that bleed votes like a stuck pig. Cause, if there’s anything this world needs more, it’s more conservative rich fucks throwing more money into entrenching an abusive status quo to the point where the poor have no recourse but literal bloody revolution and feasting on your entrails.

I mean, why would we want to help solve horrific diseases, give those struggling a means of stabilizing themselves in the flood before they are smashed on the rocks, or deal with one of the many social injustices that plague us when we could ape the Koch Brothers but with less liberals noticing your fucked up shit and commenting on it?

With such a flawless concept, I can see why it is a natural first thought. But Bobo, I am worried. You seem concerned about such a brilliant notion as “I dunno, something safe and worthless to better assuage my ego. Could there possibly be a downside to this insipid barrel of slop that I am simply missing because of the way I do not possess your incomparable intellect?

But then I realized that if I really had that money, I’d want to affect a smaller number of people in a more personal and profound way.

Oh, my word, how could I have been blind to the possibilities! Doing good? With money?

What unimaginable creativity. No wonder you are worth millions of dollars a year!

The big, established charities are already fighting disease and poverty as best they can, so in search of new directions

Of course, what good would it be to aid against issues like disease and poverty when you would be sure to be overshadowed by much more famous and *coughcough*effective*coughcough* charities?

I mean, why would you even think of wasting money on some filthy poor lechers and diseased trash if it didn’t place your name and actions front and center and thus help coo into your ear and remind you of what an important and special person you are for giving charity.

And sure, my former socialist commie-loving self may have interjected here with treasonous musings on how the concept of “charity” is almost entirely about creating an industry around coddling the feelings and oh-so-specialness of rich assholes, being so scared to criticize them lest the money dry up and people be completely fucked, leading to situations where the people who need the most help aren’t helped, only those who are the most photogenic or allow the donator to feel morally superior. And how this is far less effective and far more degrading than a genuine safety net and social programs that simply cared for the least, funded drug research, and paid for upper-level educational programs simply because that is what a real nation does for its citizens.

But luckily, that old persona is as dead as the hobo in my trunk, so I must simply nod in understanding agreement. Yes, yes, surely one’s profile could not be properly raised with such “cliche” altruism.

I thought, oddly, of friendship.

… No, that’s not the pathetic admission of an empty suit, so bereft of genuine humanity that the very concept of friendship seems more distant an unfulfilled need than the hunger of starving children. It’s um… well, you see… er… that is to say-

Ancient writers from Aristotle to Cicero to Montaigne described friendship as the pre-eminent human institution.

Ah see, important old European guys thought friendship was pretty swell. Checkmate liberals!

You can go without marriage, or justice, or honor, but friendship is indispensable to life.

I suspect Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Oscar Grant may take small exception to justice’s inclusion on that list.

Each friendship, they continued, has positive social effects. Lovers face each other, but friends stand side-by-side, facing the world — often working on its behalf. Aristotle suggested that friendship is the cornerstone of society. Montaigne thought that it spreads universal warmth.

… Seriously, we need to argue about how friends are nifty as if this is some truly inspiring koan? Like, we’re all wandering around going… gosh, do I feel empty having abandoned everything that could have genuinely made me feel alive in the pursuit of propriety, discovering all too late that the gilded cage of “supposed to” offered no real protection other than an emotional deadening and a need to take out one’s self-hatred on those deemed lesser for daring to transgress against the very illusion eating me up inside?

Is that what I am supposed to become?

I mean to say, THAT SOUNDS AWESOME! All aboard the corpse-like husk express!

These writers probably romanticized friendship.

I know, pff. Don’t they know real friendships are awkward affairs where you only belatedly realize that the person inviting you to the cocktail party is only doing so out of social obligation and has no interest in hearing your old pathetic ramble about how Aristotle was totally the sexiest philosopher of all. I mean, have you seen in him in that chiton? Me-ow!

One senses that they didn’t know how to have real conversations with the women in their lives, so they poured their whole emotional lives into male friendships.

Well, seeing as how each of the three philosophers cited married only out of propriety if at all and had rather impressively sexist views on women even for the times they belonged to (Cicero was a big fan of implying feminine characteristics and that being the young victim of same-sex rape made you less than a man) and the fact that Montaigne carried on an intense relationship with Etienne de La Boétie in much the same way that Aristotle did with a number of male philosophers of his time…

Um… clarification question?

By “friendship”, did you mean, you know, friendship or like winkwinknudgenudge friendship. Cause there’s this service called Grindr and I don’t think you really need to pay for that kind of… “friendship”… well, okay, maybe you do… but not really at the 500 million dollar level.

But I do think they were right in pointing out that friendship is a personal relationship that has radiating social and political benefits.

Indeed it is. While terrifying and a seeming financial dead-end, friendship does come with important social benefits that can be exchanged for standing in the community and political benefit so a shrewd businessman might consider acquiring one of these “friendships” on the cheap, run it through the ringer to exploit maximum value and then flip it on the return.

Because that’s clearly what I’ve been messing up in my friendships for so long, treating it like an investment in a stock that I expect to pay off a reasonable dividend.

Oh what’s that best friend who has literally pulled me back from the edge multiple times? Who I have been there for through every romantic hardship and unfortunate pregnancy? You can’t improve my outlook for Q3? THEN GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!

From now on, it’s all about maximizing fiscal game by training more and more people to resent the very sight of me and my exploitative and manipulative ways! Cause that’s what good businesspeople do! Right, Bobo?

In the first place, friendship helps people make better judgments. So much of deep friendship is thinking through problems together: what job to take; whom to marry. Friendship allows you to see your own life but with a second sympathetic self.

Well, I suppose I would be giving that up, yeah. Having someone there to call me out on my shit when say, I let some rare moment of unprecedented success turn me into an abomination to everything I have ever held dear. Instead getting further lost in a lonely and meaningless path leading to penning fishwrap posts about how friends sure would be nice in the abstract because I have long since lost my ability to interact with other people on a human level. Where we are just people, trying to do right by each other, rather than have the best looking facade for an ever-changing cast of people who could give less of a fuck.

And I’m giving it up for what really? A chance to be a complete and utter prick? I mean… er… no, I’m totally committed. Maybe I’ll let someone provide a minimal benefit of providing a second opinion as long as that is a lickspittle confirmation of what I want to hear to better drown the creeping self-doubt that I’ve sold my very soul for money that has long since been enough for basic survival and an end to panic and stress…

Second, friends usually bring out better versions of each other. People feel unguarded and fluid with their close friends. If you’re hanging around with a friend, smarter and funnier thoughts tend to come burbling out.

Yes, purchasing a “yes-man” is a great idea. I mean, won’t I feel smarter, funnier, and more charming if I have a paid servant following me everywhere going “damn straight Mr Bobo, sir” or “ha ha ha, your descriptions of Applebee’s salad bars crack me right up”. Yeah, that will help me forget the chill spreading down my skin as I wrestle with the dawning horrific realization that I’ve become everything I’ve hated.

Finally, people behave better if they know their friends are observing. Friendship is based, in part, on common tastes and interests, but it is also based on mutual admiration and reciprocity. People tend to want to live up to their friends’ high regard.

And I mean, I don’t even need to get that touchy-feely. As Bobo notes, I could simply pretend the ever-rotating cast of meaningless faces at the cocktail parties are friends so the desperate suburban performance for “respectability” could silence the need for genuine connection or giving back to the communities that helped me when I had nothing.

I mean, it’s not like I grew up surrounded by such Silent Hill-esque mannequins, lamenting lives wasted and family and friends alienated, resorting to inviting over familiar enemies simply out of a desire to have an impact, even negative, on another person’s life so that the cold pallor of death could be noticed in some small way and they won’t just slip on by, another oppressive cog wasted away to a fantasy of what makes people happy.

I mean, that totally sounds more bearable than just accepting this small amount of a breather and using it to actually make things and turn some of those part-time job hours into volunteer hours and reaching out to others in my community.

I…I feel strange. Kinda achey and sick…

People don’t have close friendships in any hope of selfish gain, but simply for the pleasure itself of feeling known and respected.

Yeah, treating supposed friends as a tool to feed one’s ego is totally not the same thing as selfish gain and…

No, money is supposed to cleanse my humanity and make me a borg. Otherwise conservatives would have lied to me in order to make their deliberate choice to pursue a safe and oppressive status quo seem like a natural evolution anyone would be powerless to prevent and that would be unpossible!

It’s also true that friendship is not in great shape in America today. In 1985, people tended to have about three really close friends, according to the General Social Survey. By 2004, according to research done at Duke University and the University of Arizona, they were reporting they had only two close confidants. The number of people who say they have no close confidants at all has tripled over that time.

People seem to have a harder time building friendships across class lines. As society becomes more unequal and segmented, invitations come to people on the basis of their job status. Middle-aged people have particular problems nurturing friendships and building new ones. They are so busy with work and kids that friendship gets squeezed out.

No, everyone is totally unable to have friends. It’s not weird. It’s a real issue.

So, in the fantasy world in which I have $500 million, I’d try to set up places that would cultivate friendships.

So what? Like a community center or something? A means for minority communities to meet up with each other? Things like… I dunno, the internet?

Hey, I wonder if that whole people being really awkward about admitting the strong friendships they form online actually are strong friendships has something to do with the numbers on your totally not made up statistic go down?

I know a lot of people who have been involved in fellowship programs. They made friends who ended up utterly transforming their lives. I’d try to take those sorts of networking programs and make them less career oriented and more profound.

Oh of course, something like a cold impersonal alumni service and “networking” conference. All the charm of a boring business obligation but with none of the getting paid for it.

To do that, you have to get people out of their normal hunting grounds where their guard is up. You also probably want to give them challenging activities to do together.

Oh I’m sorry, apparently I was giving the poor bastard too much credit. Apparently, his dream “friendmaking service” is basically one of those corporate “team-building” exercises where everyone wonders if they can plug the boss in the testicles during the paintball game while being able to blame it on that guy everyone hates.

Nothing inspires friendship like selflessness and cooperation in moments of difficulty.

Orrrrr it’s a Saw-style death trap…

So, yeah, pretty much still looking like a Team-Building Weekend.

You also want to give them moments when they can share confidences, about big ideas and small worries.

Nah, human interaction and mutual genuine interest in the well-being of others would never work. MOAR SPINNING BLADES!

So I envision a string of adult camps or retreat centers (my oldest friendships were formed at summer camp, so I think in those terms).


Oh, that’s unironically tragic.

When he thinks friendship the only thing that really resonates as human is the days when he was a fucking kid. It’s the blindness of nostalgia, but for the concept of having someone care about whether he lives or dies.

Bobo has apparently been without even that low-level temporal human empathy since he was a child forced to interact with other children and thus has no other baselines for understanding this acquisition known as friendship.

He has been so used to viewing everything in terms of gaining standing and networking and exploiting the poor fools who dare have sympathy and pity on him that he cannot even remember the concept of having real deep human interactions.

This is the lament of the dull-witted sociopath, slowly realizing at 50 that not everyone goes through life viewing others as disposable pieces for supporting his fragile ego.

I… my head. I feel something… I… I… don’t know if I want to be you, Bobo. Not now. Not ever.

Groups of 20 or 30 would be brought together from all social and demographic groups, and secluded for two weeks. They’d prepare and clean up all their meals together, and eating the meals would go on for a while. In the morning, they would read about and discuss big topics. In the afternoons, they’d play sports, take hikes and build something complicated together. At night, there’d be a bar and music.

You couldn’t build a close friendship in that time, but you could plant the seeds for one. As with good fellowship programs, alumni networks would grow spontaneously over time.

People these days are flocking to conferences, ideas festivals and cruises that are really about building friendships, even if they don’t admit it explicitly. The goal of these intensity retreats would be to spark bonds between disparate individuals who, in the outside world, would be completely unlikely to know each other. The benefits of that social bridging, while unplannable, would ripple out in ways long and far-reaching.

Lurching through life, assuming that the soulless hell of forced bonding experiences and unpleasant family reunions is a means of genuine connection. So divorced from humanity that Teambuilding seems a genuine substitute for caring about another human being’s life or death. So convinced that everyone else in the world is just as incapable of hatching a genuine friendship as him, because his ego won’t let him acknowledge the terrifying truth.


Oh holy fuckballs, what a nightmare, controlled by a capitalist Yerk. Oh man, need to make sure it didn’t really tell off all my friends. Man, what a nightmare. Well, at least there’s no long lasting consequence-

Why does my trunk smell funny?

‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. No seriously, it’s genuinely mind-breaking to finally be looking at a future where homelessness isn’t a realistic short-term prospect. Knocking on all the wood that it doesn’t all collapse, but I’m super excited for all I’ll be able to do now with the extra time and mental energy. Hell, I’m already halfway through starting a new business and I’ve got about 90 ideas for books, websites, videos, etc… Not to mention getting back on a more regular timetable here on the site. I don’t want to overpromise, but my mind is literally buzzing right now, it’s such a relief. Thank all of you for helping me through some bad times in the past, both financially and emotionally. You all rock and I hope if you are struggling that I can provide something of comfort for you. Sometimes, rarer than a honest capitalist, things do somehow marginally get better… sometimes. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™

* Obligatory.

** For those genuinely worried that success will make me less (let’s call it) lovably weird, have no fears, I’m still as batshit insane as usual. Fuck, I prepared for the interview that landed me my job by getting my breasts stabbed through with needles in front of a small paying audience***.

*** I was hyper-nervous (because getting this job was literally the difference between life and death) and had already prepared everything I needed for the last interview and just needed help getting myself to relax and feel confident… Did I mention that “lovably” weird part again?


Comments: 141


Regarding charity and the wealthy: I’ll just leave this here.

Maybe if the poors could rebrand themselves as performance artists?


Christ, I’m so lonely that stuff sounds almost good to me.


The fact is, liberals want to force real americans to be friends with the takers and leaches who are dragging us down with poverty, listlisniss and shiftiness. We should stop giving them any more chances, they can stop whining and get a job or shut up or just die without leaving a mess to clean up.


Glad you got the job Cerb. Hope it goes well for you.


And how this is far less effective and far more degrading than a genuine safety net and social programs that simply cared for the least, funded drug research, and paid for upper-level educational programs simply because that is what a real nation does for its citizens.

But Cerb!

You can’t write a “safety net” off on your burdensome oppressive taxes!

Big Bad Bald Bastard

That Twitter/Facebook suicide note is beyond horrifying. We have all these modern communication tools, all these “labor saving” devices, but our society is the same shitty slough of despond for do many people.


PSA for preverts: don’t run away from police with pants around ankles.


i really like this person:

$500 million to rekindle summer camp chumsmanship. Brooks will need to put on a few pounds to get into the Fly-Weight Division. I counsel adolescents wearing the same $3 t-shirt each day of their hungry existence – every one of them – asked the question, “What would you do if you won the Lottery?” responds with compassion – “Make sure people had a place to stay” or “Feed People!” Brooks, on the other hand, proposes “Friends Through Canasta and Cocktails.”

Big Bad Bald Bastard

Congrats on the new job, Cerb.


He’s not entirely wrong. He’s going about it like some kind of Pinocchio made of metal trying to pretend to be a real boy, but he’s right. People do need friendships, and time away from jobs and responsibilities to relax, to unwind and examine their life, and their goals and have fun.

But far better than ‘summer camp for grown ups’ would be making sure that all Americans earn a living wage at a decent job, that gives at least 2 weeks (but 4 or 5 would be lots better) of paid vacation a year.

Because summer camp for grown ups is going to restrict itself to people who can walk away from their responsibilities for two weeks to play in the woods. The people who most need a few weeks off, and a break from their routine, are the ones who may not even be employed in the first place. How does a taste of otherwise unaffordable leisure, help a person who’s just going to have to go back to a life of unemployment?

Wouldn’t working towards making life better for the poorest get the most bang for the vacation buck? What if minimum wage was indexed to housing and food costs? What if every family could depend on 5 or 10 hours of free childcare a week? What if every family could visit a state or national park for a week of camping “on the house”?

Wouldn’t millions of Americans breathe a little easier, and live a little better, and maybe even make a few more friends if they didn’t have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to keep a roof over their head? How are people supposed to make lasting friendships if they can’t devote time making and nurturing them? Because lots of us have to choose getting another job over doing anything close to what we love, because we’re so thoroughly screwed by the economy.


Nothing against friendship, but the idea of friendship generating camps strikes me as being just as weird as… well, college frats. Yeah, I have friends. All of these friendships have been… well… organic. These things like the Boy Scouts or college frats that are supposed to supply you with a ready made Band Of Brothers have never done much for me.* Maybe if I were an extrovert they would, being basically a target rich environment, but then why would these people need camps these things in the first place when there’s a perfectly good bar on every street corner?

(* Well, apart from my best friend, whom I actually did meet through that Christian frat we both joined because hey, why not? Then again, one of the things we bonded over was how this frat thing really wasn’t working out and then we both jumped ship, so I’m not sure it actually endorses the frat thing).


Wouldn’t working towards making life better for the poorest get the most bang for the vacation buck? What if minimum wage was indexed to housing and food costs? What if every family could depend on 5 or 10 hours of free childcare a week? What if every family could visit a state or national park for a week of camping “on the house”?

we would be that much closer to seeing peak wingnut in our lifetimes?


Nothing against friendship, but the idea of friendship generating camps strikes me as being just as weird as… well, college frats.

i thought the weirdest and most wrongheaded thing about it is his belief that disparate ppl would totally hit it off just by hanging out together for 2 weeks in the woods…i would be freaked the fuck out at the thought of just throwing in with a bunch of strangers for a couple weeks of bonding…

bobo is a lonely, lonely man…


i would be freaked the fuck out at the thought of just throwing in with a bunch of strangers for a couple weeks of bonding…

He’s seen too many ‘wacky band of misfits movies’ like the Bad News Bears, and not enough movies like ‘Alive’ or that horror movie about the Donner party. Because if everyone can get along it’s a comedy, but one toxic asshole and a little bad luck, and it’s a horror/survival movie.


Bobo’s best friends won’t tell him…


Congrats on the wage slavery Cerb. And teaching too – nice.

re: Bobo, so far I’ve only gotten to the point where Bobo said that the very first thing he’d do with a shit-ton of $$$ is buy elections. I know this is the post-Citizens United world but that one line is just so incredibly fucking terrible that it caught me off guard. Even knowing that it’s Bobo.


Slow reading. Ugh, Bobo is terrible, and while the blistering snark is helping a lot – I’m still reeling from the nonchalant attitude towards fucking with the electoral process.

Just to be clear, Bobo’s article goes like this:

$$$ = Power over the democratic process Friends.


Whoa. Sweet fucking IPU, praised be her garishly unseeability, may she long crush evil under her hooves.

Half a billion dollars. His grand scheme is summer camp for adults.

Nine fucking digits. “Hey, summer camp was way cool! There can be cooking and cleaning dishes and s’mores by the campfire but since we’re all adults maybe a nice glass of Shiraz too!”

Summer camp.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Pupienus Maximus

Bobo has moved permanently to lalaland.

Cerb, what the duck are you doing here. Go teach and snag that tasty tasty taxpayer money gubblemint paycheck. You deserve it.


Air Force survival school got summer camp out of my system for life.


dkw: Ugh, Bobo is terrible,

actual comment from nyt:

What a delightful man David Brooks appears to be. I enjoy his written commentaries, and his contributions to panels like Meet the Press are invariably thoughtful, smart, straightforward, and non-pompous. They’re frequently witty, as well. I also appreciate his Friday colloquies with E. J. Dionne on NPR, too–civil discourse on important topics.

As a staunch progressive, I don’t always agree with Mr. Brooks, mind you. But I always attend to his point of view, and he often influences my opinions. I think this idea for “adult camps” is wonderful.



Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants to spend $500 million of their own money setting up camp crystal lake for grown ups, that’s really up to them. But if that person were to claim it’s the most important issue in America today, that’s when I call bullshit. Because I think that there’s a few places where $500 million could actually save lives.


the idea of friendship generating camps strikes me as being just as weird as… well, college frats

Probably with less buttchugging, though.



the whole scam reminds me of nothing so much as the Engineer’s get-away camp that Vonnegut wrote about in Player Piano…


Why does my trunk smell funny?

Wanda doesn’t have a trunk, but she does a an underseat compartment. It smells funny right now because I packed too many $1 24oz. beers in there, and the seat punctured one on the ride home. 🙁


My venerable 1994 Buick “airport car” died in the company parking lot last week. I’ll need to junk it or donate it. The car was past the point of being worth putting money into any more. It gave me 9 good years, which is more than I could ask from a cheap car.

After a bit of searching I found a surprisingly nice ’97 Lincoln Town Car which I purchased for $2,500. I’ll be taking it down to Memphis later this month.


After a bit of searching I found a surprisingly nice ’97 Lincoln Town Car which I purchased for $2,500. I’ll be taking it down to Memphis later this month.


I think that’s what my landlady drives. Maybe a year or three newer.


Being a Steppenwolf oldeschoole mutant freak with natural immunity to Teh Lonelies doesn’t prevent me from empathisizing deeply with the dire loneliness I get surrounded by on the way to work nightly. Our contemporary culture is far more brutal than I think we tend to give it credit for. Large & perennial institutions that should vastly overpower it – or that materially plainly do – are mere grist for its mill. Friendship seems to be yet another fundamental meme that’s gone from Sacred Cow to Shapeless Schizoid Nebula Of Mung.

Shorter Bobo = “Imagine what a huge windfall fortune could do to help us show the world that we really ARE better than those filthy Deltas & Epsilons!”


Why does my trunk smell funny?

Zen koan for elephants.


The extra tragedy of Bobo’s lament is the fact that “camps” (i.e. locations where you go camp out for several days and do activities with other adults while hanging out) exist in a multitude of far more interesting ways. Right off the top of my head I can think of things like Burning Man, several kink outdoor summer conventions, weekend-long music festivals, Rennaisance Faires. Hell, if those are too “oddball”, there’s things like Sierra Club camping trips or any number of camping or hiking groups that are based around having an excuse to socialize while walking around. Or he could just sign up for something like a white-water rapids trip where he can socialize with a small group for a couple of days without even having to exert himself.

But apparently all these ideas had too much glimmer of humanity and spoke of lives with actual interests and hobbies, so instead he wants to dream about making something completely without charm or worth, where boring empty people can subject each other to unnecessary pain and forced “bonding experiences” in the name of social gain.

That this is his backup because buying elections seemed a little… redundant just makes it even sadder.


Bobo Brooks: Flat, Lukewarm & Putrid.


In France, I’m told, even welfare recipients get a govt-paid two week vacation.

Good for the travel and hospitality industry, good for the welfare recipients.

But as for the subject of friendship, sadly enough, Bobo has a point, it may be an endangered species in a world where people of all ages are working several part time jobs…

I’d say that the best solution to this problem are UNIONS.


After some reflection, I have decided I like David Brooks’s plan and wish him all the luck in the world. (I can’t bring myself to wish him good luck). Why? Because unlike most of his boneheaded misinterpretations of politics or economics, this plan neither harms me nor picks my pocket. It isn’t being suggested as an alternative to public schools, or the ACA or sensible environmental and workplace regulations. It doesn’t encourage plutocrats to outsource production and hide profits offshore. And it’s $500 million that will create jobs, that will have to be spent in a local economy, paying actual human beings, instead of being invested in another Wall Street hedge fund. Also it may bring his beloved rich people and “thought leaders” closer to grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and mountain lions.


I get 3 weeks vacation. Fuck you if you think I’d even consider wasting any of it on Bobo Camp. And at 3 weeks vacation, that’s 5 weeks more paid time off than a significant fraction of the American labour force.

I’m old. Well not old old but certainly well into my middle aged years. I am tired a lot and I have shit that needs to get done. Even if Brooks’ Friendship Factories were appealing, I sure as fuck won’t be signing up. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Half a billion dollars is fifty (pdf warning) <a href="http://economics.uwo.ca/people/lochner_docs/measuringtheimpacts_dec10.pdf&quot;Tangelo Park programs total over 20 years. $500 million is a hundred years of Dauphin scale Mincome.

$500 million is roughly 2 days of Middle East adventurism.


Link heavy comment in mid queue.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

Bobo wouldn’t need to build Happy Tree Friends camps for grown ups if he’d actually go to Applebee’s before writing about it.


There’s absolutely nothing stopping Bobo from having his own personal Lord of the Flies adventure right now. He doesn’t need $500 million, if as we all assume, this is just a particularly self indulgent cry for help, he can just open up the Outward bound course catalog and start with Aardvark wrangling and not stop taking courses until he’s done with Zebra riding. The Appalachian trail and the Pacific Coast trail are right where they always were, and as one of the pampered East coast elite, he could get to the trail in less than a day’s drive, even if he stopped at a sporting goods store to pick up a pair of boots. He’s just sad he doesn’t have anyone to do it with. And I have to agree. At his point in his life, he ought to have someone he can hike the Appalachian trail with. It doesn’t even have to be a euphemism for taking off to spend time with an Argentinian mistress.

Pupienus Maximus

Another loophole in the gun laws?


Oh WP how can I give you up? Please, someone tell me – I really want to.


The only thing that steals from a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with a gun.


o.f.f.s…he got his gun stolen by a sweatpants-flipflops wearing dude with a soul patch on very first day of gun owning?! what’s the word for hilarious, yet pathetic with a soupcon of irony?


$500 million is roughly 2 days of Middle East adventurism.

i couldn’t even get through the entire thing…apalling…

and fywp…


Helmut skrev:

Also it may bring his beloved rich people and “thought leaders” closer to grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and mountain lions.

What have you got against the lions and rattlers and bears? Oh my!


What have you got against the lions and rattlers and bears? Oh my!

Why should predators in the wild not have to put up with junk food like the rest of us? Anyway predators usually go for prey that is young, or aged or weak or sick. I can think of a few pundits and rich people that match that description. It’s the circle of life. As the weak and infirm are culled it will open up new opportunities for …estate lawyers and probate courts?


i’m working on fywp for my work website, and i just really need to throw out a massive FYWP!!! ugh…it is really being unpossible for me today…


What is this blather? A proposal for privatization of friendships?

I’ve lived with people like him, relatives who literally count the steps it takes them to reach the kitchen from the bedroom, maximizing efficiency and radiating scorn at everybody around them. Does Brooks even believe in friendships? Does his buttoned-down, self-sacrificing way of life even leave room for such irrelevancies? His ‘benefits’ for having friends all seem to revolve around peer pressure. More pressure to make money, settle down in a loveless marriage, with a white picket fence and mortgage around your neck like a ball and chain. Throwing around the term “narcissistic’ to describe anybody who doesn’t waste their lives in service to their boss or the Homeland. Creep.


David Brooks has devoted his life to writing, without ever having anything of his own to communicate. He sure can put the right words down on a page in the correct order to please the people signing his paychecks, but when you look for that spark of individuality, personal experience and honest opinion, it’s totally absent. He’s at the top of his game, and his game is getting paid to affirm the opinions of the wealthy in print.


“Oh boy fucking hoo,”

Autocorrect can be a cunt at times 😛


but when you look for that spark of individuality, personal experience and honest opinion, it’s totally absent.

hey now…what about that riveting story of ‘harold’ (?) or whatever his name was yukking it up with the kids at that one camp where they had a food fight at the end of their long canoe ride or whatever it was…that was pretty compelling!


We had contractors replacing windows today. After showing up five hours late, it was like having barbarians loose in the house. They dinged the walls, scraped the paint and scratched the furniture;

I wonder if this is how Rome felt after the Visigoths came to visit.


Nah, I bet the Visigoths wore those little slipcover things over their shoes.


Also, too: I hope you enjoy your new Mac.


I hope you enjoy your new Mac.

I’ve never had one actually. The company did give me a nice iPad that has all the charts and manuals on it. Beats dragging a suitcase full of paper charts around like we used to do.


In other news, the Doktorling Sonja texted us today with the news that her blood tests were back and she does not have leukemia.
The Happy Dance has been performed.


Yay for no leukemia! Was she having health issues that suggested leukemia, or was there a weird result on an otherwise normal checkup that indicated she might have it?


What is this blather? A proposal for privatization of friendships?

I think facebook already has that sewn up.


The former. I have congratulated her for living in an episode of “House”.


Not sure if this made the US news or not…


Speaking of friendship, I just wonder why this unhappy lady of 60+ years, who seemed from outside appearances to be relatively healthy and wealthy, was so filled with hatred that she apparently devoted her life to cyber-bullying.

I think of the same thing whenever I see tea partiers on the news, or when I read some of the outpourings of some of the obviously hate filled wingnuts who are regularly featured on this blog.

It seems that “hate” is the new “happiness”.

Would having friends help prevent this? or do these hate filled people just find one another and encourage each other to even greater hatred?


Not sure if this made the US news or not…

I see nothing there about ebola, ISIS, sports or celebrities, so, no, I’m guessing not.


Off topic but does anyone here do home brewing? I was thinking about getting into beer making but I’m wondering if it’s worth the trouble.

There’s no shortage of craft brewers around here making great beer.


For that matter, we have entire media empires here dedicated to promoting hate, so it’s probably attributable to the “fish don’t know what water is” effect.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

Off topic but does anyone here do home brewing? I was thinking about getting into beer making but I’m wondering if it’s worth the trouble.

I’ve never done it. I’ve toyed with the idea of making mulberry wine when there’s a fuckton of mulberries in the neighborhood. I haven’t broken down and done it, though. I just don’t have enough space for this particular hobby.

There are a couple of really good, really local craft breweries in the area now.


B4, you never told me you were a Big Shot blogger ! I always thought you were just one of us regular folks. Dang, that’s impressive – I’m right proud of ya, kid.
BTW, you forgot to mention your one follower in SAfrica – a mere oversight, I’m sure. 🙂

Big Bad Bald Bastard

B4, you never told me you were a Big Shot blogger !

I wasn’t, until now!

I always thought you were just one of us regular folks.

I haven’t changed! **kicks gold-plated spittoon under desk**

Dang, that’s impressive – I’m right proud of ya, kid.
BTW, you forgot to mention your one follower in SAfrica – a mere oversight, I’m sure

Thanks! I’ll have to put in a mention of you in the post- I have always loved your comments here, they come in the wee hours of the morning when nobody else is around, and my workday is drawing to a close. My work schedule has changed a bit, but I’m still, as Fenwick puts it, one of the “nighthawks”.


I did some beer-making in the course of mycology class. It’s not that hard to do, and with the proliferation of craft beer brewing it’s probably pretty easy to get all the equipment and supplies you need over the Internet. I would see if there are any local home brewer groups in your area as a first step.


I think you guys are seriously underestimating the power of half a billion dollars. If you stuck it away in a 5% portfolio, you could pay for (once a year): 500 median-wage jobs; 290 long-rnge Tesla Model Ss; operations budget for the Juno probe to Jupiter; install 1,300 homes’ worth of solar power panels…


Also… Watch suburbanites freak out about a mountain lion in their neighborhood: http://abc7news.com/pets/surveillance-video-captures-mountain-lion-on-sj-homeowners-car/341347/

Or, rather, don’t, since that makes bad film. The lions have always been in the neighborhood, cameras are a new thing, tho.


I’ve dabbled in home brew. The father-in-law is a bit of a nut about it, so I could borrow equipment. Started with a few wine kits which is as easy as easy can be. Did a couple batches of beer, secondary fermentation is only a small increase in difficulty. Then started using raw ingredients for mead and apple wine, but I stopped after that point. It’s interesting and fun to do, plus it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort with only the initial prepping of the batch and final bottling taking a significant amount of effort. Knowing that you made it yourself does make things taste really nice. So I did spend a few years doing it, but I never really got into it the way a lot of home brewers do. Maybe because I wasn’t really that good at it or maybe because I lack the patience to wait several weeks to see how things turned out. I dunno.

I never did that much beer. Maybe we should all just wait to hear from OBS.


MK :

OBS is your guy wrt home brewing. He gave me a ton of tips a couple years ago when I starting out. I’m crazy for it honestly, but it does occupy a good deal of time. I’m making 10 gallons of Kolsch-style beer this Sunday!
There is a lot of good literature available if you like to obsessively read up on things before you dive in. John Palmer’s “How to Brew” is available for free online. http://www.howtobrew.com/
I love talking about brewing so hit me up if you’d like to discuss more.


I think you guys are seriously underestimating the power of half a billion dollars

Inflation. Half a billion dollars is a lot of money, but it’s not even $2 per citizen of the US. It’s totally enough for for a spectacular building, but it will only buy a quarter of a stealth bomber. It could remake a small city, but places like NYC and LA fund half a billion dollar projects with parking tickets and couch change. It’s serious cash but it isn’t world changing cash. It’s enough for the yearly expenses of a medium sized college, but for example the annual budget of the University of Wisconsin is $6 billion.

What $500 million is a good size for, is for hacks like Brooks to play at being relevant. He thinks its a perfect size to for his thought experiment on summer camp for grown ups. Look at his proposed activities, it’s like the 2 week extended dance remix of a TED talk with added nature hikes and smores. He doesn’t care about creating an experience available to most of the 300 million Americans. I think he’s shooting for the rich and powerful to have another bonding experience with each other and the handful of non-rich people they choose. He thinks it would encourage friendships in adults. I think it would be just another not-very-exciting vacation for people rich enough to bugger off to the woods for 2 weeks.


Hit half a million hits…

You can reduce those numbers by closing your blog and starting a new one. Repeat as necessary. It’s always worked for me.

Along with, of course, arbitrarily shutting down comments, starting fights, and disappearing for weeks at a time…


well done, b^4!


I have been brewing my own beer for a little over a year now. I don’t have a lot of space so I just do one gallon batches which produces about a 12 pack. I started with a kit from http://brooklynbrewshop.com/ OBS is definitely the go to guy for this, he started me off with what turned out to be very sage advice. He told me “often the simple recipe is the best”.


we bought the son some beer making equipment a couple of yuletides ago, but he has yet to use it…too much other stuff going on in his life at the mo, but beer brewing still remains high on the to-do list…and obs was most invaluable in telling me what the kid would need…


Off topic but does anyone here do home brewing? I was thinking about getting into beer making but I’m wondering if it’s worth the trouble.

As others mentioned, I’ve been a home brewer for a long time (15+ years, I think). It’s really easy to start small, and make decent beer. From there, it’s not exactly hard to make great beer, but it does take some skill, practice, and equipment. An attention to detail and cleanliness will get you a long, long way.

I think you’ve got my email address, send me a note if you’d like any more specific advice.

Also, too: here are some posts at my place where me and various and sundry common taters discuss brewing in the comments:


http://oregonbeersnob.blogspot.com/2013/03/fire-up-bassoons.html (We talk recipes in this one, and there’s bonus zombie-inspired squirrel mayhem in the main post)




Hit half a million hits…

That is a lot of hits! I just checked — my place just passed 40k. It would probably help if I refrained from posting stupid puns.


Thanks for all the info. I might just give it a go.


Kong, IIRC, you seem like you enjoy cooking and seem skilled in the ways of the kitchen. So i have no doubts that you would be successful in this endeavor.

I would echo a previous suggestion find a local home-brew club, not only in your neck of the woods
But also in the areas you spend time away from home (Memphis?).

Our local brewery has a homebtew contrst ebery year. The wimner gets to nrew their beer in the nrewery proper (20+ barrels).

To this day,my favoeite beer ever was one of the contest winners. Makes me sad to think abt.

On phome psrdon spellimg…

jim x / another jim

That extract by Bobo is one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve read….well, it feels like ever, but definitely for at least 3 weeks.

I think it is the dumbest thing he’s written. I’m a little concerned for him now actually.




Macerated stroobleberries and vanilla icecream. Nirvana has been attained.


On phome psrdon spellimg…

poor sperling is a sign of memtal dramgment.


Macerated stroobleberries and vanilla icecream. Nirvana has been attained.

Needs moar asparagus.


Macerated stroobleberries and vanilla icecream.



via wingnutdaily:

To recognize that all pornography is destructive, and to reject its use, is the wisest way to avoid becoming a child molester.


Macerated stroobleberries and vanilla icecream. Nirvana has been attained.

Oh boy! Pass the ketchup!



Thanks, Smutty, racing on over.


To recognize that all pornography is destructive, and to reject its use, is the wisest way to avoid becoming a child molester.

Silly me. All these years I thought it was “don’t molest children”.

Shows how much I know.


To recognize that all pornography is destructive, and to reject its use, is the wisest way to avoid becoming a child molester.

No, the wisest way to avoid becoming a child molester is not to molest children.


bobdamn you smut for getting me hooked on world o’ crap again!

…also, i still really want some strawberries…and ice cream…

Big Bad Bald Bastard

To recognize that all pornography is destructive, and to reject its use, is the wisest way to avoid becoming a child molester.

Avoiding football locker rooms here in the States is also a good idea.


Avoiding football locker rooms here in the States is also a good idea.

That comes second to avoiding membership in the Catholic clergy though.


Here in heartland, we fuck farm animals, as God intended.


you guys! i saw an ad for a catholic church supper today aptly titled: st. john’s sausage fest…


Here in heartland, we fuck farm animals, as God intended.

Don’t believe the sheep, it lies!


Don’t fear the sheeper.


Don’t fear the sheeper.

Needs more cowbell.


In today’s christianist church official sex crime news,


Spell casting: +5!


In today’s christianist church official sex crime news,

oh, holy shit…this one paragraph is just so full of wrong:

The pastor at Polly Ann Church of God insisted to WKYT that Murphy had only been a Sunday school teacher, and that the boy was a student in his class. The pastor said that the church was dealing with the situation internally. He also argued that there was no reason to believe that any abuse occurred on church grounds.

what kind of name is polly ann church of god? i’d be veeeeery suspicious of everyone and everything there…and what a relief! no reason to believe the abuse occurred on church grounds! why, that would be really egregious…wtf?!

also, the dude’s mugshot really needs a cartoon bubble: squeeeeaaal like a pig fer me!


That guy’s face is a cartoon bubble!


The fact is, ebola is upom the USA because Obama the Kenyan Socialest desired it and brought it on, he thought that in class war fashion it would bring the makers as low as the takers while he is wrong, here in hte Heartland we will rise up and inpeach Obama for crimes against teh consition and USA


The pastor said that the church was dealing with the situation internally.

Well, never mind with the police then, I’m sure the Polly Ann Church of God can handle it. There’s no need to mention in the press how the Polly Ann Church of God was employing a person who allegedly raped teenagers and used threats of witchcraft to silence his victim or victims. Just because they have an accused sexual predator who allegedly claims to be a warlock on staff doesn’t mean that anything crazy is going on there. I mean it’s not like they were dancing.


Yeah, Gary, you get right on that.

Make sure you do as good a job as anyone in the Bush regime did at finding out who mailed those anthrax letters.


The pastor said that the church was dealing with the situation internally.

Sure, why not. We let corporations self-regulate these days. Might as well let churches do the same thing.


Might as well let churches do the same thing.

right…especially a church named “Polly Ann”…sounds legit…


Does anyone recall the Rumsfeld DoD which kept investigating themselves and kept finding they did nothing wrong?


Does anyone recall the Rumsfeld DoD which kept investigating themselves and kept finding they did nothing wrong?

i suppose it had to do with the known knowns and the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns…


The fact is, when you support Obama, rights for gays and too many special rights for women, you like to take guns and are like Hitler.


I don’t think fake Gary’s heart is really in it. He’s just phoning it in these days.


Somebody call over to Breitbart and tell them to not send the Junior Varsity squad next time.


You can’t write a “safety net” off on your burdensome oppressive taxes!


FYWP, one posting a day does not warrant a slow down warning.


OK, move over, give me some rant space. Flexes fingers. Crack.
You dumb, money-grubbing basterds.Yeah, you, Yahoo, Google Chrome, Amazon and every Extension provider – I’m talkin’ to you. I own a landline telephone and a dusty, steam-driven PC. That’s it. STOP asking for my mobile number, stop trying to sell me “apps” and, oh please, stop asking me if I want an “update” or an “upgrade” on my free software because that means you want money and I don’t have any to give you. So, back off all of you and leave me the fuck alone.
I am not a gadget-loving First Worlder and neither are billions of your users. Piss Off !

/end rant


I’m not saying that “This whole business of computers and Interducts was a bad idea, given the human capacity for stupidity and derangement”. I’m just saying that according to the Gazoogle, there are 1,400,000 hits for the search terms “ebola” + “zionist”.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

FYWP! I haven’t had time to even post or comment on my own blog because of madness at work. Posting too fast, my ass!


I haven’t had time to even post or comment on my own blog because of madness at work.

I guess this would be your busy season with Halloween and all.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

That’s it, Major. Work is nuts, and my volunteer coaching gig is on. I typically get two hours of sleep on Saturday morning, and catch a half hour more on the crash pads in the dojo when there are no kids’ classes.

Two more weekends and things get quiet.


there are 1,400,000 hits for the search terms “ebola” + “zionist”

Fuck me, I just googled that and the stupid it burns burns burns


Did Teh GayPutzRiot move to Portland ?


Did Teh GayPutzRiot move to Portland ?

whoa…the only thing scarier than that ad would be the replies…

…you will forward them, yes?


I’m not … I just don’t … I can’t even


tsam’s work spotted http://i.imgur.com/cUmQvdL.jpg

OH FYWP You do that ONE MORE TIME and I’ll show you for what


tsam’s work spotted http://i.imgur.com/cUmQvdL.jpg

thanks for the chuckle, dear lad…between that and overhearing this on the the raydio this morning:

white male sports guy: ‘i just don’t relate to oprah…i feel like she lives in a totally different world than i do…’

has inexplicably brightened my day…


i just don’t relate to oprah…i feel like she lives in a totally different world than i do

Because she’s wealthy, famous and successful and he does sports on a rural radio station?


Because she’s wealthy, famous and successful and he does sports on a rural radio station?

that and she’s a black woman and he’s a white male…he was really peeved that she put her two cents in on a recent child-rearing episode…how dare she?!

but then again, he also said that dr. phil’s accent makes him sound intelligent…


I don’t know if you heard but Oscar Pistorius got 5 years for killing his girlfriend. Eligible for parole ? In 8 months.
Well, my prediction was no jail time, so I guess this is a tad more of what he deserved.


Well, my prediction was no jail time, so I guess this is a tad more of what he deserved.

agreed…i saw a headline the other day that said he is ‘a broken shell of a man consumed by grief’ and found that i had no fucks to give for him…

and also, fywp…chill the fuck out…


Oh, nothing much, just some leftover lamb shanks braised with cannellini beans and some crusty bread.


The fact is, Officer Darren Wilson feared for his life as soon as he got in his squad car in Ferguson and be was justified in shooting anyone who didn’t obey his commands.


It was good, too!


The fact is, the Kenyen usurper brought Ebola too our country so that he could blame Republicans before the election.


Anyone want a new photo of Kevin? He’s quite a love, these days.


Kevin is quite the handsome feline.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

I am so fucking done with October. Last night, a visitor stole a lantern- cut two zip ties and started walking to the parking lot with the thing. One of our parking valets, in a master stroke of tact, thanks the visitor for picking up the “fallen” lantern and takes it from the now-embarassed thief. Now, that’s what I call smooth.

I can’t wait for November to finally arrive.


New post. Sorry for the delay. Turns out quitting jobs is sometimes harder than getting jobs.


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