Without intention, Mike kind fulfills the proverb that not all who wander are lost. A 1973 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross with a BA in Philosophy, he had successfully dodged the draft during Vietnam, despite his lottery number of 29. Logically, after failing at being a bum for a year after college, he then enlisted in the Army. His theory was to hang out for two years, go to Germany, date blondes, drink lots of beer, improve his wretched German and come home to use the GI Bill for Graduate School. Didn’t quite work out that way; he did go to Germany and stayed five years first tour; married a red-headed American GI who worked in S2; did drink lots of beer and developed some acuity with pidgin Deutsch. Mike re-enlisted and then wandered through a great 23 years as a soldier. A lot of it sucked, of course; but, he avoided ending his adolescence until the end of the 23 years…since then, he’s been in a fight to regain that feeling of camaraderie, purpose and trust.

Mike chose to stay a career NCO. There were a couple of dozen reasons, but they’re best summed up by the fact that he really didn’t like officers. He still doesn’t, sheepishly at times admitting that “Some of my best friends are officers. Some of my best friends are gay. Some of my best friends are gay officers. I’m not gay and I’m not an officer – I like it better that way.” He got his initial First Sergeant assignment in his 14th year and basically stayed a First Sergeant until he retired, as a First Sergeant. If he hadn’t retired, the day after the retirement would have been the day he pinned on CSM stripes but, as he says, “Some of my best friends are Sergeant Majors; some of my best friends are hookers. I’m not a Sergeant Major and I’m not a hooker and that works fine for me.”

Since retiring, Mike’s worked in Labor Relations, HR and General Management for government, tribes, nonprofits and for profits including Defense Contractors. He’s found that his “not being a hooker” approach hasn’t necessarily worked to his career advantage. He’s picked up a bunch of irrelevant graduate degrees, that basically were there to teach you how to be a Hobbit.

Hobbits are small, insignificant fearful types who scurry around getting in the way and accomplishing nothing of any great merit. He believes that the movies would have been infinitely better had the bad guys killed off all the Hobbits in the first part of the first movie, and then spent the rest of it avenging the little twits. Mike really hates Hobbits He’s a Senior Professional in Human Resources and a Six Sigma Black Belt. He plays guitar, reads, broods and drives too fast in fast cars – currently, a Mustang GT – channeling Hunter S. Thompson, patrolling “on the edge of the desert, just outside of Barstow.”

An avowed leftist and philosophical Stoic, Mike admits that everything is probably going to hell, but thinks that it’s the duty of people of honor to work to stop it from going there too quick. Since he regards all veterans as his extended family, he expects that they’ll do the same. An oddly religious guy, Mike believes that God is a not very bright, self—entered and hormonal teenage girl obsessed with the Jonas Brothers and whether or not her Daisy Duke jeans make her ass look fat. They do, but he’s not going to be the one to tell her the truth. God can’t handle the truth.

While he might write about anything, he’s really interested in business, economics and how to keep people from being screwed by machines, be they corporate, government, or societal. He's also interested in guitars...


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Dispatches from Wolf Country –Tripping Over Being’s Hard Core

At some point, the whole house of Trump Cheese will just melt into the Dumpster Fire of his id and his lackeys' ideological venom and self-dealing desires. In business, I refer to it as having a great idea trip over a relevant fact. Stainless steel pipe is really spiffy, except when you're using it to handle salt water where it will eat through the metal and leak catastrophically faster than cancer through a colon. You can't get jet fuel out of peanut butter no matter how hard you try. You really can't roller skate in a buffalo herd.

Smug Trump — NBC Photo

I always found time to struggle through Umberto Eco’s stuff, even though it was a hard day at the literary coal face. Most literary philosophers are like that, of course; Foucault’s Pendulum really made my eyes ache, and as Wiki points out, Anthony Burgess said that it had so many arcane references and allusions that to get all the jokes, you needed an index. Or, a crib sheet. Cliff notes. A tutor…

But, it was always worth the work. Even if you weren’t so sure as to what actually went on and how it happened, it was one helluva ride. So, it was nice to be reminded of that this morning when going through The Guardian I found this:

The great philosopher-novelist Umberto Eco once declared that we will always come up against “the hard core of Being” and the “lines of resistance” that tell us when we are talking rubbish, or acting nonsensically. There was a time when I wondered bleakly if Donald Trump may be exempt from this philosophical precept.

British political reporter and Guardian Journalist Matthew d’Ancona rattles more than a few chains in Trump’s attic and cages in his basement. Muslim Exclusion Act is one part of Being’s hard core; the AHCA versus ACA is another; and the whole NATO kerfuffle is another. At some point, the whole house of Trump Cheese will just melt into the Dumpster Fire of his id and his lackeys’ ideological venom and self-dealing desires.

In business, I refer to it as having a great idea trip over a relevant fact. Stainless steel pipe is really spiffy, except when you’re using it to handle salt water where it will eat through the metal and leak catastrophically faster than cancer through a colon. You can’t get jet fuel out of peanut butter no matter how hard you try. You really can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd.

And, being President of a complex and multi-layered tripartite government is not the same as being the sole proprietor of a privately held firm.

  • Nobody really has to listen to what you want in government; it’s all fungible.
  • You don’t really have any privacy or the ability to just phone it in; when you do, something happens.
  • When you get it wrong, people will notice.
  • Smart people, with long memories, and not all that interested in trusting a con artist, poseur and hype-artist will notice.
  • People way smarter than you who will remember insults and slights just as malevolently as you do, but wait for the proper time to get even.

Or, to put it another way:

How much would  Lindsay Graham or Ted Cruz enjoy casting the vote that impeaches his President and casts him out into darkness?

D’Ancona finishes like this; no time for parades and an auto da fe’ of Breitbart, Ivanka’s lingerie line and The Art of the Deal. At least, not yet. But the time is coming…if you keep smashing into Being’s hard core by tripping over facts including “You’re not the boss of me and you’re not so big” you may be forced to drag you orange ass back to that Florida swamp and hand out timeshares.

To change the metaphor: the waves of Trump’s sociopathic belief that he can say and do what he likes with impunity are starting to hit the rocks of reality. There is nothing to celebrate yet, no cause to relax, no outcome assured. Let us just say that this may, conceivably, be the end of the beginning.

Amen, brother. Amen.

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