All posts for the day November 16th, 2000

A retraction, and a t-shirt saying

A profuse apology. Some months ago I posted an incorrect recollection that self-help pioneer Jess Lair, author of I Ain’t Much Baby, But I’m All I’ve Got, among other books, had committed suicide. I, regrettably, speculated as to why. Unable to find any confirmation one way or the other, I posted both the rumor and the speculation (I know better than to do that but I didn’t). Dan Seto, master researcher, quickly refuted it.

Then, today, Dr. Lair’s granddaughter e-mailed me to give some specifics. She confirmed that no, Dr. Lair did not commit suicide in the 1970s or anything else of the sort. To an extreme contrary, Dr. Lair was the ultimate survivor. He got his first pacemaker 38 years ago. He went through a total of three of them in his life. He survived six heart attacks. (Many of us don’t survive our first.)

When he died, she said he struggled for each breath for half an hour before finally walking to the light.

It’s unfortunate that those details aren’t widely known. This sounds to me like a man who said what he believed and believed what he said, pubished it, and lived it. That kind of genuineness is rare.

Do yourself a favor and give Dr. Lair’s I Ain’t Much Baby, But I’m All I’ve Got a look if you’ve never heard of it before.

Once again, I am terribly sorry. (And when I get a chance later tonight, I really need to go find that page and change it, leaving only the retraction, to prevent that rumor from perpetuating.)

Thanks to Dan Bowman for finding the link for me. But the FTP server is now refusing connections. I hate my other frickin’ ISP… Don’t they understand, this is important!?

Farquhar’s Law. I should have some t-shirts made with this on it. Repeat after me. Cable connections are the last thing most people check. Make them the first thing you check.

Got it? Good. I bring this up because I had a CD-RW fail yesterday. The culprit was a poorly seated firewire cable.

That’s it for computer stuff for the day. But fasten your seatbelts for a long post anyway. I rode a roller coaster yesterday, and now I’m taking you with me. (Hey, you agreed.)

Time to preach again. I’ll keep it short. I know some of you love it when I do this. Some of you absolutely hate it. What writer could possibly resist a subject that stirs such strong reactions?

I was talking after church last night with a relative newcomer. She’s been a Christian for about six months, she says. She was talking about her upbringing, and in trying to understand it, I used the word “hollow,” and she agreed. She talked about how the past six months have turned her life around, telling story after story, and I just couldn’t help but get excited. I was nodding and saying, “yeah!” a lot. The last person I talked to who was struggling so much and yet so happy was the man in… my… mirror. A few years ago.

And then she did a funny thing. She apologized for taking so much of my time. For one, I like being useful (that’s part of the reason for this site, after all–if people stop telling me it’s useful, it’s history). The other reason should be obvious. God is a relationship. So think about other relationships. How many sappy love songs talk about love when it’s new? Relationships just seem more exciting when they’re new, for some reason. So here’s someone telling stories that sound just like my experiences when my relationship with God was newer than it is now. You think I’m gonna get tired of listening to that? Not on your life.

If you’re living Psalm 51:12 (“Restore to me the joy of my salvation…”), try talking to someone who’s still experiencing the newness of theirs. It’s contagious. You’ll be singing a different tune real quick.

I got my Missouri Constitution Article X Distribution yesterday. That’s also known as the annual Mel Carnahan illegal taxation refund. Mel Carnahan, in case you don’t know, is the former two-term governor of Missouri, killed in a plane crash last month and elected posthumously to the U.S. Senate. He has attained something resembling sainthood here in Myzurah.

I try not to spout off about politics too much anymore, but this just makes me too mad. So, rant mode equals one, here we go.

I remember Carnahan for taxing Missouri citizens at levels deemed illegal by the Missouri constitution (forcing the use of state funds to return that illegal money, money that could be used for something else) and for demanding that Missouri representatives and senators fire their interns if they crossed him the wrong way. (I personally interviewed a fired intern who fell victim to Carnahan’s rage for a story back in 1993.) Carnahan was Missouri’s king of overtaxation and political dirty tricks.

Let’s say my refund was for $50. (It wasn’t, but that number works for this exercise.) That means the Missouri government willfully tried to steal 50 bucks from me over the course of the past year. Now, the kicker. I messed up my 1998 state taxes and got hit for a penalty. So for 1999 I had an accountant do them. He got my Federal return right, but my Missouri return was off by about 20 bucks. So Missouri nailed me for underpayment and charged a penalty. Then I got a check at the end of the year for considerably more than the amount I underpaid!

So, Tax Man Carnahan’s thugs did steal the amount of that interest and penalty (whatever that was) from me. Who knows how many other people this happened to? The amount was fairly small, so there’s no point in fighting it or whining about it any more than I already have, but I wonder how many people who aren’t so well-off (whom Carnahan’s cronies supposedly want to help) bounced checks or had to go without something because the government had stolen money from them and held it hostage for seven months? How many of them slightly “underpaid” (Carnahanspeak for paying something closer to the legal amount), then got slapped with interest and penalties that weren’t refunded? What if some of them actually need that money? Do these limousine and SUV liberals know what it’s like to be literally a couple of bucks short of being able to pay their bills? I understand that situation because I’ve been there. I work hard and live cheap and save to try to ensure I never will be in that situation again. I’d rather teach government to work hard like I do at being fiscally responsible, so as to not lay an overly heavy yoke of a tax burden on the poor (who, if they’re making less than 15 Gs a year, shouldn’t be paying any taxes anyway) or on anyone else.

Liberalism, particularly Carnahan Liberalism, isn’t about compassion. It’s about money and power–specifically, grabbing as much of it as possible, whatever the price. Even if it means breaking the law.

I’m sorry he’s dead. I don’t wish sudden death on anyone (or their families). But I’m not sorry he’s not going to Washington. I am sorry the citizens of Missouri are too stupid to elect lawmakers with enough regard for the law to follow it themselves.