Archive for November, 2018

Chimichurri and the Meaning of Life

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

BingoBoingo: re: How is Chimichurri Raptorson doing these days?

There is a time in the flow of duckitude ripe with thought and reflection, ever eager for an answer to that nagging void: when shall the next trocito of premium yellowtail materialize?


Yes, his is a philosophical adolescence, a blooming of quill-topped q-tips o'er the wings, a chortling curiosity towards twins.


The great horizons call, full of wonderment and hermit crabs. A duck cannot but wonder: why is he here?


Who invented the lambada?


If a feather grows in the forest and there's no one around to scratch it, does it make an itch?


No matter the conundrum, the conclusion tends the same. A sunny disposition's the thing, whether doing laps in the sea or in wild bewilderment.

Who's responsible for this?!

Friday, November 16th, 2018

What is any particular being responsible for? The greater difficulty of this question results from a fundamental misunderstanding of what responsibility means in the first place. Typically it's confused with guilt, inasmuch as a question as to irresponsibility is likely to arise only when shit has somewhere met a fan, and a culprit or scapegoat is sought. But being responsible doesn't necessarily mean having fucked something up. Rather, it is the state --quite without qualitative consideration-- of being he who answers.

For himself, for a sequence of events, for other people, for acts of god, whatever it may be. A person can be responsible for anything, so long as they can answer for that thing, which means delivering rationale capable of fully satisfying any and every reasonable question about said thing. The old trope of someone being told they're "not responsible for the entire world" speaks then not to the emotional pressure of feeling guilty or having urges to help others, but to the factual impossibility of being actually answerable for every other human being, to all the other human beings.

It follows that being responsible, then, isn't something that can be jotted into a schedule just-so; there's no seat-of-the-pants way to be answerable as the state itself is defined by constancy. Yes, and forethought, but forethought without follow-through of internalization and continual perception and reaction is exactly the substance of so many protestations against irresponsibility by the well-intentioned. Setting aside some time for a thing is eminently not the same as overseeing it. Just ask the last couple of generations of kids that spent their childhoods attending "family time" and who otherwise lack any actual family worth the mention.

It also follows that responsibility isn't something that can be levied on someone; the onus to be responsible, yes, but in actual fact only an agent may be responsible, and only by actually being so. There's absolutely no space for subjectivity or interpretation; one is responsible or not, and whether they were told or begged to be so or whether nobody even knew is entirely incidental.

Responsibility is a state, and I'm hard-pressed for an example of someone who could demonstrably turn it on and off, switching as convenient. Sure, some selection is required in the bag; one must pick who and what they'll answer for. Maybe one's even stuck with the responsibility for something they'd rather never consider again. This is also part and parcel of the concept, however. Dropping something when it becomes unpleasant, when one's ability seems to falter, letting it slip one's mind, even, are tantamount to irresponsibility. That's not even a bad thing, in itself, either! Remember: there's no qualitative aspect involved, here. It's just a state. Sometimes being irresponsible is the right thing.

In any case, though, constancy is an absolute requirement. "I'll take the responsibility" may never be something said after the fact, but only before it. A lack of understanding as to whether it could happen again, as to whether the doohickeys involved were green or red or fat or old, necessarily denotes irresponsibility, no matter whether one tried, or how hard, or how great they are, or anything else.

At least, that's how I feel about it.

Ingenohl, the Anti-Chucker

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Friedrich von Ingenohl, that is. Ever heard of him? Me neither, 'til I served dinner tonight and after the third bite of Orange Chicken it was "So let me ask you this." ("Ask me.") "How did World War I start?". We won't belabor the precious few paragraphs that followed, accepted more or less as they were after several years of violent dissociation from ninth grade social studies and the occasional quasi-conscious polish. Of specific interest is those paragraphs' reward, the following cascade: 1) Germany decided it lost the war because of traitorous elements among its own people; 2) reality decided that Germany lost the war because it failed at sea; 3) the very sailors witness to this failure eventually had enough and threw their silly hats into the ring of the revolution that spawned the Weimar Republic. Freidrich von Ingenohl sits at the center of this sequence, having thoroughly embodied the failure at sea responsible for Germany's loss of WWI, and arguably therefore WW2, and arguably thence-and-hence-forth.

Ingenohl received his post as commander-in-chief of the German Navy in 1913 after nearly forty years of dicking about with the same outfit in East Asia. His inheritance was a capable fleet not at all subject to the "inferior materiel problem" that might vaguely rattle around between the ears of poor sods originally educated in the same sad schooling system as I. No, Ingenohl's navy was stacked with excellent battleships and submarines, and he brought several dozen to fuck up England's northeast coast in December of 1914, including a few very heavy dreadnoughts. Some of these he left as massive reinforcements stationed a little closer to home, "just in case". Despite an arguably superior naval force and despite the considerable advantage of being able to sit in port while England's ships were obliged to patrol, Ingenohl was nervous. Possibly he contracted it from the Kaiser, who'd warned him to avoid unnecessary losses, whatever that means. In any case, Ingenohl was nervous, and he went to war with it.

His underling Admiral Hipper took a few of the ships close to shore, where they damaged a few ports and several hundred port-dwellers. The weather was on the Germans' side --the fog gave the land batteries an extra challenge-- and England had a slow start rousing ships for defense. Eventually she sent a submarine, and Hipper fled. George Warrender1, Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy, gave chase with a motley, but small, assortment. The shitty weather and report of a single enemy ship spotted prompted Warrender to send a mere six battleships towards the lurking behemoth of Ingenohl's reserve force. Shots were fired; at least three of the British ships were hit; one in particular managed to fire a torpedo from its flailing wreckage; it was not really quite dawn yet; Ingenohl was nervous. There was smoke and noise and hey maybe the entire fucking Royal Navy is nigh and Kaiser said "careful"! So he left.

He'd've blown Warrender's business to smithereens with ease, but he left. With the exception of naval minister Alfred von Tirpitz, who had already been throwing fits about Ingenohl and protested that he'd had the fate of Germany in his hand at that moment, nobody seems to have been conscious of the meaning of this abject failure. Men stuck sitting around the docks and dinghies Ingenohl oversaw apparently took a confused sort of umbrage; but the official lines, in and out of Germany, forgot and forgave Ingenohl in some magic admixture that prevents his psychological disorder from being studied as much as it deserves.


Pretty good moustache, tho'.

  1. Was his name all he needed for his military resume?! I mean.... []