Annoying Questions

Paul’s Annoying Ten-Gallon Questions

What portion of all the men you have personally known were more on the jerk side than the decent side in the ways they treated women?

What portion of all the women you have personally known were more on the jerk side than the decent side in the ways they treated men?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Annoying Ten-Gallon Question (Just One of Them!)

When was the last time you and someone else were lawyers in love?

When things go wrong — as things sooner or later always do — lovers look for solutions, lawyers look for who to blame and to punish.

When was the last time you and someone else were lawyers in love?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

Which is the better teacher?  Love or Loss?

Or perhaps, one might want to think of it as “love or emotional dependency”?

I’m not fond of the notion that love is an actual cause of suffering.  I know there is a sense in which love can “set us up” to suffer — I do recognize that much.  But I do not think of its set ups as truly intrinsic to love’s nature.

Instead, I think we too often confuse love with emotional dependency, calling them the same thing.  We do that so often, it almost seems human nature to confuse the two.  Yet, to my mind, the difference between emotional dependency and love is as sharp as the difference between smoke and fire.

Dependency might be to some extent unavoidable when there’s love for someone. I think there might be some smoke wherever there is some fire.  But smoke and fire are very different things, are they not?

Here’s my take: When we say  “I loved and was hurt because I loved”, we are almost always speaking of emotional dependency, rather than love.  Emotional dependency  is exceedingly generous in the pain and suffering it gives us.  Exceedingly generous.

To me, Loss tends to teach negatives.  “Don’t trust strangers.”  “Guard your heart.”  “Women are bitches.”  “Men are animals.”

Love tends to teach positives.  “Life is worth affirming.”  “Love is just as much or more a way of seeing as it is a way of feeling.”  “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Loss tends to teach us what to avoid.  Love tends to teach us what to embrace.  Both can teach us something useful.

Which is the better teacher?  Love or Loss?


This moment’s question inspired by a poem I found on Poet of  the Light’s blog.

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

What makes someone an adult to you?

I’ve never seen a summary answer to that question.  I doubt one exists.  How could it be possible to lump at least a dozen or so facets of “adult” together and then summarize them?

Recently, the facet or aspect of being an adult most interesting to me is the co-equality of adults.  In theory, adults are coequal to each other — if only on the deeper levels.  All have — or should have — the same legal rights, obligations, and freedoms, for instance.

If you trace some of your values back to the European Enlightenment, then you most likely believe in the epistemic equality of all equally informed and sane men and women.  It’s an ideal to say, “You know as much as I do about water, you are just as rational as I am, therefore your considered opinion on the subject of water can no more be dismissed out of hand than my own.”  It’s an ideal, but arguably an ideal crucial to the sciences, democracy,  and much else.  The ideal even played a role in the toppling of European monarchies, and the dissolution of empires.

And for me, the epistemic equality of the Enlightenment informs my views of what it means to be an adult.  Ideally, adults do not play snobs to each other’s honest beliefs. They do not dismiss each other’s honest beliefs on superficial grounds, but rather only the basis that some belief is not demonstrably true, or perhaps even likely to be true.

Beyond those ideals, I think — in actual practice — an adult is someone fully capable of respecting their own views even when respecting the views of someone else.

What makes someone an adult to you?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

What is the riskiest thing you have done for romance — other than to have perhaps indulged in unprotected sex?

I have to travel back about a quarter century to answer that one.  A friend and I had driven up to a high mountain overlook where we’d parked to see the lights of Colorado Springs spread out in the night far below us.

We were not intending romance that evening.  We’d just a few days before met for the first time. Neither one of us was sure of our feelings yet.

Storms can pounce upon you as suddenly as cougars when you’re near a mountain.  You can’t see them approaching from behind it.  Then suddenly, they are upon you!

Have you ever witnessed lightening on a mountainside?  Lightening loves high places.  That night, it was crashing up to six bolts a minute — she and I timed them together.

Only fools get it in their head to leave the protection of a car’s rubber tire insulation to go kissing in a lightening storm.  Go kissing for no better reason than to find out what it feels like.

We actually could have gotten killed.

But what a romantic thrill!

What is the riskiest thing you have done for romance — other than to have perhaps indulged in unprotected sex?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

What things or events in your life have most shaped and influenced your current ambitions and dreams?

I grew up in a family poised right on the Federal Poverty Line.

Mom was the CEO of a small business that could have afforded her a generous income, but for reasons largely having to do with the 1960s, the poor rural town we lived in, her sex, and a misogynistic chairman of her board of directors, mom’s salary sucked.

We had all the necessities.  Food, clothing, shelter.  Never went short of those.

We had few of the luxuries.  Two family vacations in 18 years.  Black and white TV.  Each kid — two toys per year.  One on Christmas, one on your birthday.  etc. etc.

To put Mom’s budget in perspective, she heavily invested what little she could in books for us.

Mom had the right priorities.  She spent dangerous sums of money on books for us.

I believe our poverty affected me different than my two brothers. Both of them sought to escape it by working their butts off in school and later in their jobs. Both are wealthy today.  Older brother is the highly paid head of database management team. Younger brother is a business owner and multi-millionaire.

Me, I turned away from the disappointing world and inward to a life of the mind — a life that poverty could not control, could not restrict, and could not crush.

I found my greatest satisfaction in making sense of things. Not quite in learning things. Learning was great! But making sense of what I’d learned was greater.

Younger brother and I tried to sell lemonade one day.  We put up a stand by the road.

The cars never so much as slowed down to take a look at us.  Two hours and not one customer!  I turned inward. Became deeply curious to figure out why no one was buying our delicious lemonade. Wrapped myself in thought, and lost track of the time.

Younger bro turned outward.  Told me he was going to find us a customer and walked off down the street.

Perhaps an hour, perhaps two hours later he came back with an order for two cups of lemonade — and twenty-five cents.  Ten cents per cup plus five cents delivery fee, a handsome sum that he had demanded be paid up front.

Beyond that, though, I turned to dreams of improving myself.  Instead of focusing on making money, I focused on becoming my ideal of a human.

I guess you could say our poverty growing up gave my brothers their dreams of material success, and gave me my dreams of “spiritual” success.

What things or events in your life have most shaped and influenced your current ambitions and dreams?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

Stella called me a “genius” to my virtual face yesterday.  Not once, but twice.

I know! Right?  But what can you expect these days? Such things have become absolutely routine on the internet!

Routine to intolerably insult us decent folks by leaving off the “super” from “Super-genius”.

Anyway, I have quietly known I was not a genius — not a real genius — ever since back in ’03 when I fell for Dick Cheney’s transparent lie that we absolutely needed to invade Iraq in order to prevent the smoking gun of a nuclear mushroom cloud.  I don’t think a genius could have fallen for that.  Not any genius who already knew, as I did, that Dick liked to fib a little  — about everything.

When I finally figured out how thoroughly a known liar had duped me, the truth I was not a genius clicked together in my head much more like the sound the hooves of draft horses make on pavement than the repairable clicking of a faulty car engine.

So yesterday, I got to thinking: “Not too often — not nearly often enough, in my humble opinion — but now and then someone isn’t teasing like Stella was when they call me a “genius”.  But if that is so, what might it be about me that fools them?”

That’s when I got the crazy idea into my head that honesty might occassionally come across to us humans as genius.

You see, lies scare me.  Scare me because nearly every trouble I ever brought upon myself is directly traceable to my lying to myself.  Nearly every self-inflicted trouble started out with me lying to me.  Hence, I have been frightened into being as honest as I can be — and still get away with it — and still avoid investigation by the Government as dangerously anti-social.

So what do you think? Can honesty come across as genius?

I myself really don’t know, but the question has its hooks into me now.

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

“I’ll never be like my idols
But I can be someone I could enjoy reading.”

Shamelessly Stolen from a post of Sarah’s on her blog, Fresh Hell.

It’s very rare for me when it goes much beyond that.  But sometimes it does.

Now and then — very occasionally — I’ll do something that I honestly think is in one or two ways out of a dozen ways — in one or two ways as good or even sometimes better than anything else I’ve come across in life. I might be wrong then. I might be right then. But right or wrong, I myself cannot honestly hold any other opinion than the one I do. Happens very rarely, but it happens.

For instance, I would submit to an objective judge my novella, “A Death in the Spring”, to be measured in one or two ways against any work of literature I’ve come across for accuracy of insight into love and evil. The judge might rule one way or another. The judge might surprise me or not. But I would be lying to myself to think the novella didn’t measure up in one or two ways.

Do you ever feel that way about anything — anything — you do?

That’s how I honestly feel sometimes about my four arts. Blogging. Poetry. Painting. Wanking.

Do you ever feel that way?

Annoying Questions

Paul’s Random, Annoying Question of the Moment

What do you make of the abstinence-only sex education movement?

Specifically, do you think the conviction that even older teens should not be taught responsible sexual practices, but rather only encouraged to wait for marriage, goes hand in hand with the notion that sex is a win/lose game?

Your thoughts, please.