Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Today I read the best short story I have read in a 100 years: Steve Almond’s “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched” in The Best American Short Stories, 2010.

It's about a shrink who is a compulsive and addicted gambler, a poker player. I could not believe how good it is. It has everything: internal and external conflict, writing style, mixed and complex sympathies, insight into characters and the world and human nature, rising tension, great climax.

Wow. I am always looking for good writing, and it is hard to come by. This one is a winner, at least for me. If the rest of the stories in this collection are as good, I will buy this book. And that is really rare.

More later, as I read along.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle  

Friday, December 23, 2011


I read in Newsweek the other day (Dec. 12, Page 54) that the so-called artist Paul McCarthy "sold three copies of White Snow Dwarf (Bashful) at this year's Art Basel Miami Beach for $950,000--each."

My God! How stupid can you get? Why would anyone make this crap? And why would anyone buy it, let alone pay nearly a million dollars for such junk?

I try not to use the word stupid when it comes to other people's creative work.

But this takes the cake. It is off the charts.

These figures are not remotely original, and originality is one of the hallmarks of anything creative. Look at the great artists, musicians and writers: Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Mozart, Bach, Goya, Georgia O'Keefe, and on and on.

Their work is original and meaningful, not derivative and meaningless.

My God. What a bunch of crap. Makes me sick.

-- Roger

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Yesterday on KPCC-FM radio I heard one of my favorite hosts, Madeleine Brand, say "even pot is subject to the laws of supply and demand."

I was shocked. Even pot? I think pot and other illegal drugs are even more subject to supply and demand than legal commodities. I thought that comment showed a fundamental lack of understanding of economics and of the illegal drug market.

It seems obvious that the law of supply and demand is why there is so much violence in Mexico and the rest of Latin America around illegal drugs. 

The more we crack down, in the "War On Drugs," the more we drive the supply down and the price up, and the more the drug cartels fight over distribution channels, and the more people die.

This is simple Econ. 101: If demand stays the same (people love to get high, and they think it's hip), and you force the supply down (by burning pot farms and impounding drug shipments), price will go up. And up. And if the commodity is illegal, the people who get into this business are not gonna be your average member of the Rotary Club. They are going to be violent criminals.

I suggest we take a look at what happened in other countries such as Portugal, where drug laws have been modified:

And this in my favorite magazine, The New Yorker:

Take a look at The Drug Policy Alliance:

Our drug policies are counter-productive. We have not reduced drug use or drug-related crime. We have seen a huge increase in violence. We have spent billions of dollars. These policies have failed. Let's change them.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle  

Monday, December 12, 2011


When I was a kid, I believed the good old USA was always in the right. We were the good guys, for sure.

I saw in the NY Times today that President Obama met with the prime minister of Iraq to chart the future. Obama said "the American-led invasion had created a beacon of democracy in the Arab world," to quote the Times:

Meanwhile, Newsweek had a different take:

According to Newsweek:
"With the remaining 20,000 American troops in Iraq set to depart by Jan. 1, the United States—despite a war that has cost roughly $1 trillion and taken the lives of close to 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis—is set to leave behind a country still on the brink of chaos."

What a colossal disaster, President George W. Bush's folly. How could we, the good guys, commit such a crime against humanity? And against our selves? Against all reason and all logic? And against our own morals and values?

It is weird that we, who saved democracy in WWII, have had such a mixed record since then. I believe we did the right thing in Libya. But Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't think so.

Are we getting better? During the Eisenhower administration, we had a terrible policy towards Latin America. Vietnam was a disaster in every way. And I think Nixon ordered the CIA to kill Salvador Allende.

So I don't know. I wish we were the good guys. But we are not always. It is weird how we continue to believe we are. I guess I continue to hope we will be again.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle  

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I am still trying to find motivation to do my work, my writing.

I realized something the last day or two: If I’m going to finish any of these projects, I am going to have to work at it. The stuff is not going to write itself. I’ve been waiting, and it ain’t happenin’, folks.

I hate that. I never used to work at it. I just did it, because I enjoyed it, because I had to do it, for some reason, and the work swept me away. I got lost in it.

Sometimes these days I get lost in it. But not often, not every day. The work has become work, for some reason.

I'm gonna have to put my shoulder to the wheel, my nose to the grindstone, my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

Damn, it has come to this. I hate that. I want it to be fun, like it used to be.

As William Faulkner said: 

“It's a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can't eat for eight hours; he can't drink for eight hours; he can't make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.”

And this from William Butler Yeats:

"A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world."

Amen to that, brothers.  

-- Roger
Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle  

Thursday, December 8, 2011


This is old news, but it has come up again in Iowa, because the caucuses are slated for January. It is still the funniest thing I have ever heard: Newt Gingrich, who was having an affair while his wife was in the hospital, at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton for having an affair, blamed his adultery on his patriotism:

He was working so hard for this country that he couldn't control his libido. Ha! How stupid does he think we are? Don't answer that, Newt. Actually, you already have.

What are the lines from Shakespeare?
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing --
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

Yep, that sounds like Newt. I hereby nominate him for the biggest horse's ass who ever ran for president. Of course, there are others in that running.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Hurray! Scientists have discovered an earth-like planet that we can escape to after we have polluted our biosphere to death and we can no longer live here:

We can go there and pollute the hell out of that one, too.

Let's us hope the crazy right-wing climate deniers don't get to go there with us.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2011, Roger R. Angle