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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Daffodils

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hill"
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the tree"
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in Sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft. When on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude:
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

1770 - 1850

The Lane

The Lane

There is a lane, which has no turning
Just ahead of me always.

There is a lane, which has no turning,
I've searched for it for days and days.

I've walked along the path of life,
Looking for this lovely lane,

But all I've found are curves and turns
And walks across the lonely plain.

If I could find this lane,
They say that has no turning,

Then perhaps I could lay to rest,
This cold and fearful yearning.

They say that if down this lane,
With your love you take a stroll.

Then your life forever changes,
And never again shall you be cold.
George Henry Nichols

from the book
The Legend of Captain Outrageous’

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Captain Red

From The Book
The Legend of Captain Outrageous
Captain Red, Captain Red, You’ve fallen cold and dead.
And your little Parakeet to me he said,
Oh where! Oh where is Captain Red!

The sea that night it came a thrashing,
And the rigging it came a crashing.
A yardarm came down upon your head,
And among your crew there fell a dread.
And your little parakeet to me he said,
Oh where! Oh where is Captain Red!

The sea it called you as a child,
And we know that call is wild,
For many a story has been told,
Of how piracy stole your soul.

You spent your life in search of treasure,
For this was truly your greatest pleasure.
But now you’re gone and the deck is red,
Where at last you laid your head.
And your little parakeet to me he said
Oh where! Oh where is Captain Red!

They will miss you, oh master, fallen cold and dead!
They will miss you, Oh Captain, Lord Benjamin Red!
But the moon tonight is very bright,
And the sea is shimmering with its light.

And Life again seems very sweet,
Except to one little parakeet,
Who sits on me with saddened eyes,
As if though he’d wish to cry.

And your little parakeet to me he says,
Oh where! Oh where is my Captain Red!

May 29, 1991
George Henry Nichols

Zena Zena

ZENA ZENA, behind the bar,
Fairest bar maid in this town by far!
Long blond silky hair,
And you just watch her toss it, here and there.

But let me warn you, yes beware.
OOOh her skin, is such, so fair.
But be for warned, there’s a thin line,
Ooh that smile, its so fine!

I’ve heard is said on the sly,
Zena Zena is an I R S spy!

She will smile at you and serve your drinks
While asking you, “Do your taxes stink?”
Perhaps your tax man is a fink?”
As the ice hits the glasses. Plink! Plink!

Be careful how you reply.
She makes notes of all the lies.
Asking you, “a drink do you will to buy?”
For the young lady sitting next to you, Oh my!

I’m warning you now, it could be a trap.
Perhaps your telephone she will tap,
As your demise she will map!
Just to put a feather in her hat.

So if you run across her sea green eyes,
And her smile makes your soul fly,
Chances are, Its ZENA! The I R S Spy’
With blond silky hair, ooh I can’t deny.

Z E N A is written right on her butt!
So if you See it! About your taxes, you’d better clam up!
And tell your friends to keep there mouth shut!
Or ZENA and the I R S just may kick your butt!

Fairest bar maid in the town by far,
Is ZENA ZENA – behind the bar! ©

March 10th, 1991
George Henry Nichols

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"The Forgotten Man"


By William Graham Sumner.
The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. 

The radical vice of all these schemes, from a sociological point of view, is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through C's interests, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man. 

For once let us look him up and consider his case, for the characteristic of all social doctors is, that they fix their minds on some man or group of men whose case appeals to the sympathies and the imagination, and they plan remedies addressed to the particular trouble; they do not understand that all the parts of society hold together, and that forces which are set in action act and react throughout the whole organism, until an equilibrium is produced by a re-adjustment of all interests and rights. They therefore ignore entirely the source from which they must draw all the energy which they employ in their remedies, and they ignore all the effects on other members of society than the ones they have in view. They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and, forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion - that the State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.

The friends of humanity start out with certain benevolent feelings toward "the poor," "the weak," "the laborers," and others of whom they make pets. 

They generalize these classes, and render them impersonal, and so constitute the classes into social pets. They turn to other classes and appeal to sympathy and generosity, and to all the other noble sentiments of the human heart. Action in the line proposed consists in a transfer of capital from the better off to the worse off.

 Capital, however, as we have seen, is the force by which civilization is maintained and carried on. The same piece of capital cannot be used in two ways. Every bit of capital, therefore, which is given to a shiftless and inefficient member of society, who makes no return for it, is diverted from a reproductive use; but if it was put into reproductive use, it would have to be granted in wages to an efficient and productive laborer. Hence the real sufferer by that kind of benevolence which consists in an expenditure of capital to protect the good-for-nothing is the industrious laborer. 

The latter, however, is never thought of in this connection. It is assumed that he is provided for and out of the account. Such a notion only shows how little true notions of political economy have as yet become popularized. There is an almost invincible prejudice that a man who gives a dollar to a beggar is generous and kind-hearted, but that a man who refuses the beggar and puts the dollar in a savings bank is stingy and mean. The former is putting capital where it is very sure to be wasted, and where it will be a kind of seed for a long succession of future dollars, which must be wasted to ward off a greater strain on the sympathies than would have been occasioned by a refusal in the first place. Inasmuch as the dollar might have been turned into capital and given to a laborer who, while earning it, would have reproduced it, it must be regarded as taken from the latter. 

When a millionaire gives a dollar to a beggar the gain of utility to the beggar is enormous, and the loss of utility to the millionaire is insignificant. Generally the discussion is allowed to rest there. But if the millionaire makes capital of the dollar, it must go upon the labor market, as a demand for productive services. Hence there is another party in interest - the person who supplies productive services. There always are two parties. The second one is always the Forgotten Man, and any one who wants to truly understand the matter in question must go and search for the Forgotten Man. 

He will be found to be worthy, industrious, independent, and self-supporting. He is not, technically, "poor" or "weak"; he minds his own business, and makes no complaint. Consequently the philanthropists never think of him, and trample on him.

We hear a great deal of schemes for "improving the condition of the working-man." In the United States the farther down we go in the grade of labor, the greater is the advantage which the laborer has over the higher classes. A hod-carrier or digger here can, by one day's labor, command many times more days' labor of a carpenter, surveyor, book-keeper, or doctor than an unskilled laborer in Europe could command by one day's labor. The same is true, in a less degree, of the carpenter, as compared with the book-keeper, surveyor, and doctor. This is why the United States is the great country for the unskilled laborer. The economic conditions all favor that class. 

There is a great continent to be subdued, and there is a fertile soil available to labor, with scarcely any need of capital. Hence the people who have the strong arms have what is most needed, and, if it were not for social consideration, higher education would not pay. Such being the case, the working-man needs no improvement in his condition except to be freed from the parasites who are living on him. 

All schemes for patronizing "the working classes" savor of condescension. They are impertinent and out of place in this free democracy. There is not, in fact, any such state of things or any such relation as would make projects of this kind appropriate. Such projects demoralize both parties, flattering the vanity of one and undermining the self-respect of the other.

For our present purpose it is most important to notice that if we lift any man up we must have a fulcrum, or point of reaction. In society that means that to lift one man up we push another down. The schemes for improving the condition of the working classes interfere in the competition of workmen with each other. The beneficiaries are selected by favoritism, and are apt to be those who have recommended themselves to the friends of humanity by language or conduct which does not betoken independence and energy. Those who suffer a corresponding depression by the interference are the independent and self-reliant, who once more are forgotten or passed over; and the friends of humanity once more appear, in their zeal to help somebody, to be trampling on those who are trying to help themselves.

Trades-unions adopt various devices for raising wages, and those who give their time to philanthropy are interested in these devices, and wish them success. They fix their minds entirely on the workmen for the time being in the trade, and do not take note of any other workmen as interested in the matter. It is supposed that the fight is between the workmen and their employers, and it is believed that one can give sympathy in that contest to the workmen without feeling responsibility for anything farther. It is soon seen, however, that the employer adds the trades-union and strike risk to the other risks of his business, and settles down to it philosophically. 

If, now, we go farther, we see that he takes it philosophically because he has passed the loss along on the public. It then appears that the public wealth has been diminished, and that the danger of a trade war, like the danger of a revolution, is a constant reduction of the well-being of all. So far, however, we have seen only things which could lower wages - nothing which could raise them. The employer is worried, but that does not raise wages. The public loses, but the loss goes to cover extra risk, and that does not raise wages.

A trades-union raises wages by restricting the number of apprentices who may be taken into the trade. This device acts directly on the supply of laborers, and that produces effects on wages. If, however, the number of apprentices is limited, some are kept out who want to get in. Those who are in have, therefore, made a monopoly, and constituted themselves a privileged class on a basis exactly analogous to that of the old privileged aristocracies. 

But whatever is gained by this arrangement for those who are in is won at a greater loss to those who are kept out. Hence it is not upon the masters nor upon the public that trades-unions exert the pressure by which they raise wages; it is upon other persons of the labor class who want to get into the trades, but, not being able to do so, are pushed down into the unskilled labor class. 

These persons, however, are passed by entirely without notice in all the discussions about trades-unions. They are the Forgotten Men. But, since they want to get into the trade and win their living in it, it is fair to suppose that they are fit for it, would succeed at it, would do well for themselves and society in it; that is to say, that, of all persons interested or concerned, they most deserve our sympathy and attention.

The cases already mentioned involve no legislation. Society, however, maintains police, sheriffs, and various institutions, the object of which is to protect people against themselves - that is, against their own vices. 

Almost all legislative effort to prevent vice is really protective of vice, because all such legislation saves the vicious man from the penalty of his vice. Nature's remedies against vice are terrible. She removes the victims without pity. A drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be, according to the fitness and tendency of things. Nature has set up on him the process of decline and dissolution by which she removes things which have survived their usefulness. 

Gambling and other less mention-able vices carry their own penalties with them.

Now, we never can annihilate a penalty. We can only divert it from the head of the man who has incurred it to the heads of others who have not incurred it. A vast amount of "social reform" consists in just this operation. 

The consequence is that those who have gone astray, being relieved from Nature's fierce discipline, go on to worse, and there is a constantly heavier burden for the others to bear. 

Who are the others? 

When we see a drunkard in the gutter we pity him. If a policeman picks him up, we say that society has interfered to save him from perishing. "Society" is a fine word, and it saves us the trouble of thinking. The industrious and sober workman, who is mulcted of a percentage of his day's wages to pay the policeman, is the one who bears the penalty. But he is the Forgotten Man. He passes by and is never noticed, because he has behaved himself, fulfilled his contracts, and asked for nothing.

The fallacy of all prohibitory, sumptuous, and moral legislation is the same. A and B determine to be teetotalers, which is often a wise determination, and sometimes a necessary one. If A and B are moved by considerations which seem to them good, that is enough. But A and B put their heads together to get a law passed which shall force C to be a teetotaler for the sake of D, who is in danger of drinking too much. 

There is no pressure on A and B. They are having their own way, and they like it. There is rarely any pressure on D. He does not like it, and evades it. 

The pressure all comes on C. The question then arises, Who is C? He is the man who wants alcoholic liquors for any honest purpose whatsoever, who would use his liberty without abusing it, who would occasion no public question, and trouble nobody at all. He is the Forgotten Man again, and as soon as he is drawn from his obscurity we see that he is just what each one of us ought to be.


1 William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) was a Professor of Political Economy and of Sociology at Yale. In the book in which I found this essay (Macmillan, 1916), the editors -- English Professors Berdan, Schultz and Joyce of Yale -- wrote a short introductory paragraph, as follows: "This brilliant essay by Professor Sumner illustrates the effective use of the deductive structure. In two paragraphs defining who is the Forgotten Man, the general principle is stated so fully that the reader unconsciously accepts it. But once the reader has accepted this principle, it is applied to the consideration of trades unions and temperance legislation, with startling results. The essay, then, consists in the statement of a general principle, followed by two illustrations. Just as the form resolves itself into a simple arrangement, so the style is simple. There is no attempt at rhetorical exaggeration, no appeal to the emotions. It does read, and it is intended to read, as an ordinary exercise of the logical faculty. This mathematical effect is gained by the device of using the A and B that are associated in the mind with school problems, And the brilliance of the essay lies in the apparent inevitability with which the author reaches conclusions widely differing from conventional views. Since the importance of the essay lies exactly in these applications, actually the structure approaches the deductive type.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa Claus

Well, once again Christmas is just around the corner, let’s see, this will be number Sixty-one for me. Funny, but Santa Claus doesn’t bring me anything anymore, and hasn’t in a long time.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?   What a lie, huh? And to tell little kids, and lead them to believe such things.… Ever wonder why we do that? I bet most people couldn’t tell ya today.

My daddy lied to me all the time, it was terrible… And every now and then, mama would tell a whopper! I use to wonder, why in the hell would they lie to me? I mean? I’m their kid!

Now don’t get me wrong. They loved me. There was never any doubt of it. I knew that. It showed. They took good care of me, put clothes on me, educated me, and for a big part, did so themselves. So, why would they lie to me so damn much?

It took me awhile, but I finally figured it out…  Santa Claus.

Santa Claus is the first Big Lie… And you as the child, using information you gather, are left to figure otherwise. They are simply teaching you to 'think for yourself.'  And the myth of Santa Claus is a good foundation for critical thinking.

Another important lesson, is teaching the ability to challenge authority (the parents) when the child draws a conclusion.

Notice there is no reward when the child figures it out, but nor is there a punishment. Thinking for yourself… is its own reward. ©

George Henry Nichols 

Flip a Switch Christmas...

“What are the single most important words in the Bible?” What’s your answer??? Ever thought about it??? There’s an interesting man… Dennis Prager, who gave a most intriguing answer, and then backed it up with a good argument,  

Genesis I-I “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth,” To Quote Dennis Prager, “If this isn’t true, then nothing else matters. This is the very foundation of what we believe.” (?)

Therefore the single most important date in all of history… Is when this God, who created the heavens and the earth, became a Man and dwelt among us... Duhhhh….  

Now I admit, it’s not the most important feast in the Church… That would be Easter… But Christmas is the most important date in history….

And we as modern Americans, how do we celebrate it???  “With a Flip a Switch Christmas” ©

We pull the non-flammable fake tree out of the attic, spray it with Christmas smell, stick it in its spot, hang its decorations on it and plug that sucker in… Along with the tree, we drag the rest of the Christmas shit out of the attic and hang the wreath on the door, plug it in, hang the lights on the house, plug them in… Put the Christmas tablecloth, center piece and assorted Christmas crap on the table. Then stand back, flip a switch and wa-la it Christmas… Fa-la-la and the whole works…

We watch an Andy Williams Christmas, We watch a Charlie Brown Christmas… A Grinch Stole Christmas….on and on and poor ole Morley was dead as a doornail….

We buy a shit load of a crap, give it to each other…. Go to each others parties… piss and moan about our lives and speak of Christmas Cheer… And feel all warm and fussy and Christmassy Ahhhhh…..

We sit around in our easy chairs, with a beer in one hand, turkey leg in the other, a 60’ Flat Screen deluxe HD 4-on-the-floor type Boob Tube… (ya know there’s a reason they call it that).  And bitch about paying too damn many taxes, supporting too many freeloaders, Them sons-of-bitches better not try and take my guns, ya know they shouldn’t be aborting all them babies. Damn money ain’t any good anymore, I just need to win the lottery, are all these people stupid??? Damn schools don’t teach anything anymore…. And the Media is so full of shit…

And I bet you think you’re one of the good guys too, I vote republican, I tote a gun, and I’m for the constitution. Oh…

All the hoop-la that goes on this time of year, all the going into debt to buy a mountain of crap that nobody wants, and the parties and the patting each other on the back and telling ourselves how great we are… Wishing each other happy holiday or Merry Christmas, depending on who they are? And what they believe?

And so we celebrate the single most importance date in history by flipping a few switches and saying… “it’s Christmas”…ta-daaaa ” Happy I know its somebody’s birthday.  (?) Let me at the cake…”

Whatever this glaring display of lights and wan-ton blaring of music.… is????

What ever all this is???

It ain’t Christmas… ©

George Henry Nichols