Jane St. Onge

Jane will be dead a year this August. I was very lucky to get back in touch with her seven years ago. We talked a lot on the phone. We exchanged several letters. She was at once in bad shape, physically and mentally, but still her perfect self, contentious, skeptical, funny, smart. We were a couple of nuts together back when.

The first time I saw her, in New Paltz, she was leaning late at night against a pillar in a bar. Her hair chopped off, she was dragging on a cigarette, and looking too cool for words. God only knows what she saw in me.

We loved each other. She saw me through the worst of my bad times and I repaid her by being the absolutely worst boyfriend I could be.

She was among the great people I’ve ever known. Even in her terrible moments she found more joy in her life than most people will know. She could take perfect delight in the simplest things. She gardened as though she had discovered it. She made pictures. She made dresses. She was a math wizard.

Jane read books like some people have fevers. She had been a compulsive diarist. She could outthink me, most days, and got the jokes of life that I couldn’t get.

That sly look on her face, and the way she could turn toward a person and smile, were so real I can see and feel them right now.

She liked to smoke and drink, and that’s what killed her. The week she died I was thinking, “you know, she’s going to live forever, that woman,” and then the news came. She was gone. There were only a few people I knew around town who remembered her and I made sure to tell them.

In fact, in my life only Madam Vandam, who once had been Jane’s close friend, understood what a loss it was. Here we are almost a year later. I note her passing here, now, because this is the New Paltz Journal, and anyone who walks down Main Street in New Paltz is walking a path she once illuminated with her great spirit. We miss her, terribly.

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“Beyond the Brave New World”

George Neumayr:

“The speed with which the West has embraced all things perverse makes Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World look almost quaint. The moral anomalies of the West have far surpassed his imagination. The intensely reverential reaction to Bruce Jenner’s narcissistic self-mutilation would probably have struck Huxley as too improbable for fiction.”

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Ah, yeah, you should probably read my book

Yes, that’s what I would advise. Read it right now, today.

It’s right here.

Pay close attention.

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Bruce Jenner

Haven’t seen a sex change this big since Norman Bates turned into his mother.

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“Summer Vacation”

George Will:

“Progressives frequently disparage this or that person or idea as “on the wrong side of history.” They regard history as an autonomous force with its own laws of unfolding development: Progress is wherever history goes. This belief entails disparagement of human agency — or at least that of most people, who do not understand history’s implacable logic and hence do not get on history’s “right side.” Such people are crippled by “false consciousness.” Fortunately, a saving clerisy, a vanguard composed of the understanding few, know where history is going and how to help it get there.”

Will is writing, mainly, about things happening on college campuses, like the attacks on free speech. I quibble with his use of the term “progressive” to describe these people, but not too much. Progressives are more vanguardist than liberals, but the terms have an essential interchangeability to them. The source of this particular river of evil, however, is Marxism. Will avoids that term, probably finding it a potato too hot for his hands. Marxists, after all, love to attack anyone who calls them Marxists, and the same goes for progressives who are sponges for Marxist constructs without any real conscious understanding that they are sponges for Marxist constructs. (Although, some Marxists insist on calling themselves progressives because only college professors and those who belong to fringe political parties are usually willing to identify as Marxists. The real progressive is watery, in the progressive/liberal way, and does not operate on the level of through-the-looking-glass Marxist analysis.)

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New Paltz: Prospect Street rises!

Big front page story in this week’s Fidelpaltz Buzzkill-Trivializer* about the neighbors on Prospect Street objecting to the Ulster County transportation bull being let loose in their china shop. Good for them.

It doesn’t stop with Prospect Street, however, and the neighbors there, in order to keep this travail short and sweet, should be able to envision how the Trailways bus infrastructure in New Paltz is already sufficient for the long term.

Once again, there are already three active and important bus stops on the Trailways route through New Paltz.

Taking them from the Thruway:

First stop: The Thruway plaza Park & Ride. Lots of parking. Very convenient.

Second stop: Limited now to the occasional bus, the SUNY New Paltz stop on South Manheim (Rt. 32 South). Can easily be used for stops on days when student travel is expected to be heavy.

Third stop (though usually the second stop): The New Paltz bus station itself. Discreet, convenient, sufficient, and requiring no adjustments to the downtown china shop, Prospect Street or beyond.

Then, keeping it as simple as it gets, there is already a fourth stop ready to be used by Trailways pending whatever approvals are required. That is the second Park & Ride on North Chestnut (Rt. 32 North) across from Stewart’s.

It is a good question as to why that second Park & Ride is not already an active stop for Trailways, but we can fly right by the implications of some sort of bad faith on someone’s part if it becomes active in short order.

Trailways infrastructure problem solved.

Leave the bus station alone.

* aka the New Paltz Times

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“The Rise of House Clinton”

Jonah Goldberg summarizes the crime family aura of the Clintons.

One of his best, actually.

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Talkin’ ’bout my generation

Elizabeth Scalia: “85 years ago, Chesterton nailed the Boomers.”

“A generation is now growing old, which never had anything to say for itself except that it was young.

And a generation now broadminded enough for a Boeing 757 to fly through its forehead without clipping the sides. Called “thinking” at fashionable gatherings of inflamed brain stems.

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Memorial Day weekend murders in Baltimore

Twenty-eight shootings, nine fatal.

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responds to minimum wage protests.

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Memorial Day 2015

As always, I remember Bobby Bates, my neighbor several houses down Wayne Avenue as a boy growing up in Suffern, New York. He died in the Vietnam War at the age of 19. I’ve discussed him and his family here before. I can still sense the agony of his mother when word came.

The essence of duty is higher than any particular cause. It should never be taken for granted. Freedom should never be taken for granted.

And enemies should never be taken lightly, whether they are abroad or within.

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New Paltz: The bus station isn’t broken, and does not need to be fixed

I was shocked, I tell you, to see not one, not two, but six letters to the editor in the 5/21/15 edition of the Fidelpaltz Blundergas-Assassin,* saying “hold on a second” about the latest local civic fad, which is to invite the Ulster County transportation bureaucrats to “fix” the bus station.

I urge those letter writers to get together and be ready for a little fighting. Why? Because once an idea gets into the heads of the local civic fad mongers, you can’t get it out with a crowbar. It’s like that, I assume, in any “progressive community,” with the common epistemological catastrophe where government is not only the normative answer to most questions, but government also poses most of the questions in the first place. Once that happens, “thinking” consists of the braniacs simply making referrals to the governing class and its slavering enthusiasts.

The “movers and shakers” will argue among themselves, of course, but always in the context of “what will government do?”

There are already four Trailways compatible bus stops in New Paltz, only three of which, I believe, are being used by that bus company. If Trailways wants to use the fourth, I assume they need some change in policy either at their corporate level or from some transportation authority or both.

Right now, Trailways buses use the Park & Ride in the Thruway plaza when they get on or off the Thruway. It’s either the first or last stop in town. For a limited number of buses coming from the Thruway, the next stop is the SUNY New Paltz campus station on South Manheim (Route 32 South). But the usual next stop is the bus station on Main Street. So that’s three stops in service already. The fourth stop (or the first stop coming in from Kingston) is the other Park & Ride on North Chestnut (Route 32 North) across from Stewart’s. Trailways is not using it now, but they should, and that means more parking right there.

And with that setup fully active, the Trailways infrastructure in New Paltz is good to go for a good long time. There’s going to be an obvious way to make that North Chestnut (32 North) Park & Ride stop work, so put the focus on that.

Leave the bus station alone.

* aka the New Paltz Times

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Obama vs. Reagan on jobs

Deroy Murdock:

“’Eliminating the Obama recovery’s private-sector jobs gap compared with the average of post-1960 recoveries by the end of 2016 would require the addition of 431,000 private-sector jobs in each of the next 20 months,’ Brady calculates. ‘Closing the gap compared with the Reagan recovery would require 817,000 private-sector jobs in each of the next 20 months.’”

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“Were we right to take out Saddam?”

Victor Davis Hanson asks that question and offers his analysis at NR.

This is my take, in a nutshell.

In what we accepted as the normative terms of geopolitics in 2003, it was right to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. Even the difficulty that followed the early success was nothing that couldn’t be handled. But the normative terms — especially where the U.S. was the status quo superpower and guarantor of strategic peace — were vitally wrong.

The main inference that motivated the regime change was that on September 11, 2001 the era of asymmetrical warfare had begun in earnest and the strategy of conventional containment of Iraq was not a solution to the asymmetrical problem posed by Hussein. WMDs were not the problem. Hussein’s security services with their global reach, his billions in private funds, and his revanchist psychopathy, meant that he could sponsor a hundred 9/11s and probably not leave his fingerprints on any of it. That’s what people who were paying attention were seeing.

This was a strong inference, a valid inference, if the normative assumptions about Iraq and Hussein were correct. But there was a more important date in that calculation than 9/11/01 and that was 1/1/00. That was the date that the KGB, in the person of Vladimir Putin, took visible control of Russia.

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8 Seconds

Time magazine reports that the new attention span is eight seconds.

My attention span has to be measured in years, if “attention” and “span” are to be taken seriously and in tandem. I know it sounds like a lot of attention and a lot of span. But that’s the way my mind works. I can’t say that I recommend it for others.

This sets up a conflict. It is, first, one of the things that makes me a very annoying person. Writers, if they have anything to say worth saying, are damned annoying anyway, so starting there and adding a memory like mine, the capacity to annoy others is industrial in scope.

I absorbed Arnold Toynbee’s historical method and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and integrated them. That makes the stones sing. Sometimes shutting those stones up can be quite a chore.

I remember details of important conversations from thirty years ago like they happened yesterday. And yes, I remember the stupid things I’ve said and done better than the errant remarks and actions of others.

Put that kind of memory next to my capacity to hold a grudge, there has to be a special talent at forgiveness to match it or life would be grim.

This morning, though, I woke up and was finally able to forgive someone who had been a pretty close friend of mine for an out-of-nowhere violent attack on me. I’m not talking about a verbal attack, but a serious, deliberate, violent physical attack. I never understood, really, why it happened. I’ve speculated, but I never inquired, never wanted to inquire, and in fact have never spoken to the person again. I have run into him from time to time, but have never said a word to him.

But I have held that grudge for about thirty-four years, though I never intended to do anything more about it. It was settled in that respect the night it happened. Over and done with.

I forgive that person because it was a weight on me and I’m sure a weight of another kind on him.

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The Mad Men finale

Will Don Draper get nabbed by the Army for his desertion in Korea after stealing, well, the real Don Draper’s identity?

Will Betty kill herself in the face of her terminal diagnosis? Or will she find out that she was wrongly diagnosed? Or will she kill herself followed by Henry finding out that she was wrongly diagnosed?

Will Roger Sterling be made the new head of McCann on the ouster of Jim Hobart? Or will he be found dead at his desk? Or both?

After: Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

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