Thinking Outside the Daily Drama

by Brad Nelson10/20/17
As I get older I learn. Sometimes reality is a cruel teacher. There are real enemies in the world. There are bad people who can harm us. But often our worst enemy is ourselves. Sticking our face in a fan and keeping it there is not smart. Hitting your head against the wall just because it feels better when you stop is not kind.

The daily news (The Daily Drama) is full of all kinds of crud and lunacy. Someone awakening even from as recently as the 1950’s would see today’s culture as quite possibly insane. I won’t list all the reasons. You know them by heart.

I started this site with the naive idea that if you smashed enough right-minded brain-atoms together you could create a nuclear chain reaction — a catalyst for reform — even if the chain was quite small. I’ve been proven a dope on just about every single point. I can see Mr. Kung grinning. He was cynical and world-weary before I was even born.

But I’m catching up. My first real venture into popular culture found me very ill-suited for it. To think that some small, non-profit internet site could only ever be more than the rhetorical bug in front of the politico-entertainment steamroller was hubris. And it’s not that I wanted to be famous. I just had this quite logical thought that if in a room full of lies you spoke the truth that suddenly lights would come on.

It doesn’t work that way. (Mr. Kung, stop smirking. One has to learn to walk before one can run.) What we have is Trump and the Establishment GOP. This is what the hot-blood of American culture has given us for reform or for the opposition. The daily news is polluted with lies and irrelevancies. Our school systems are a sham. Religion has gone vapid. Even our one escape — sports — has now become yet another outgrowth of our political insanity.

But I smile and thank God above for all the good things that we have. And it’s time that this site moved on toward investigating, enumerating, articulating, and celebrating them. (I’ve got a great brownie recipe I’m dying to share.) I know I’ve put out many a mixed message myself in trying to guide this site, but can you blame me? It’s truly crazy out there.

Although the metaphor of the gathering of The Smart Conservative Sages was a good one, it’s time to put that away and look more toward a Middle Ages monastery set on a rocky cliff as a metaphor. Delightful, insightful, but most of all, well-tempered monks gather to bake their proverbial bread and take pleasure in the small miracles of this world. So let’s have fun. Let’s be spiritually and mentally rich. Let’s count our blessings. Let’s enjoy the day. Let’s not be dragged down by the insanity and vulgarity of a culture gone cuckoo.

So that’s my frame of mind. And that’s where I’ll be steering this site. Oh, not that we can’t have fun with and ridicule the latest ignoramuses in The Daily Drama. When mosquitos land on you, you have to occasionally swat them. But let’s remember that the best advice is to put up a fine-meshed net in the first place.

I will not likely be accepting very many more strictly political articles…unless you can equal (or nearly so) the wiseacre style of a Mark Twain. But if you just sound like a screeching, broken record, you need not apply. Keep it light. Keep it fun. Be creative. Think outside the box. In the words of Frank: Get Happy. And if you can’t be happy, give a good approximation of it. Life is too short to stay forever within The Daily Drama.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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37 Responses to Thinking Outside the Daily Drama

  1. David Davis says:

    Your new direction is admirable! (Wrestling pigs means you get muddy and smelly, but the pigs like it.) We are instructed to be ready to answer those who ask for the reason for the joy we have. Thus, we should be exhibiting the joy in us, as Anniel did, and Deanna does. So, being light in the darkness is the way to go.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      In essence I think, David, what I’m asking for is creative writing and not a thousand ways to bitch and complain often disguised behind lofty language and endless clever arguments. I’ve asked people to not give a laundry list of complaints about socialism, for example, but instead perhaps give a human interest story about someone running their own business…or even a story about happenings at their child’s summer lemonade stand.

      Write about your trip to the museum and what you’ve learned, not a laundry list of how Trump or Obama has failed us. Have a few laughs while civilization turns into this wimpy broken thing, but don’t pretend that getting online and complaining or analyzing it is doing anything but navel-gazing.

      Social media isn’t actually social media. It’s just a new method for humans to stew in their own juices. We live in a culture of two dozen brands of toothpaste on the shelves and we complain that there’s not three. We’ve become these pampered little princes and princesses. And I dare say no conservative is immune to it. Our central form of entertainment seems to be complaining. And at least starting in the 60’s (a rotten age from which we gained little), humans have been on the path to self-fulfillment as the be-all, end-all of existence. And “self-fulfillment,” in practice, means going to war with reality….a reality that never, ever fulfills our every desire. But, dammit, it should. We’ll call it “social justice” if we have to and sanctify our narcissism and self-involvement.

      Let’s have fun. Tell your stories if you feel compelled to write. But I’m out of the business of being part of the “conservative press.” That’s become little but a racket. It’s a circle-jerk of grievance whose only useful product is selling books to the aggrieved. It’s certainly not about reforming things.

  2. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    Here’s a two-pronged segue for you, Brad.

    The insanity and ugliness that is the leftist river of slime we’ve been paddling upstream within has yielded its neutron H bomb, a fitting last story of why your decision will help keep us sane. The raving lunatic Dem rep from Florida, whose name I’ll not write, just as Gen. Kelly would not speak it, has put the cherry on top of the leftist immorality.

    Now, go to this site, stay and play for a while, and marvel at the vast system of physical weather data literally at our fingertips. I’d rather spend time there than any political site, even if it happens to align with my principles.,-98.833,5


    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You know I’m no Trump apologist, Tom. But given how thoroughly deranged the Left and media are, one can’t help but be driven at least a little bit into his camp.

      Holy smokes. What a cool weather map. Do I need to wear a tinfoil hat? Are those little arrows the alien microwaves being sent to my brain? I mean, something must be causing this rash of insanity in our culture.

      But in Western Washington we’re having our usual: rain. No complaints, though. It was a very nice summer. But it’s still sad to see those many tomatoes on the vine who will never ripen and thus never be an ingredient in one of my soups. But those vines did give their all while it lasted. They never kneeled on a sunny day.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        Brad, I had tinfoil implanted under my scalp years ago. I never need to look for protection that way.

        I’ve spent hours on that interactive map; it has many non-obvious features.

        I’m just south of PDX, so it’s a tad damp here, too. Tomatoes are a gift from God. There is one water lily bloom in my Koi pond that has been floating in serenity for a couple of weeks now. It doesn’t know it’s time to give up. Think I’ll name him Churchill.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That is a pretty cool map. For Western Washington state, in particular, you can see how that mass of warm (relatively speaking) water (the blob of ochre) helps to moderate temperatures. And because this part of the Pacific never (to my knowledge) creates hurricanes, and although this ocean itself is often a tempest, it perhaps earns its name of “Pacific.”

          Yes, I see you get all kinds of overlays, including clouds, rain, etc. Pretty neat. And when viewing by temperature, you can see the mass of cold blue up in British Columbia just waiting to throw snow our way soon when it mixes with the moist Pacific air. Usually, at least where I am, the Pacific air has domain. But Canada will have its say now and again.

          I don’t think I’ve found all (or even any) of the non-obvious features so far. Is there a button to show the Koi?

      • M Farrell says:

        Brad– as a spoof, a group of friends and I formed the “Tinfoil Hat Association of the United States” (TFHAUSA)– we got party favor hats, covered them with tinfoil and used tie-ties for antennae– mine was the deluxe version that featured pink diving goggles (rose colored glasses) to cheer things up– of course we don’t actually wear this parafenalia, but you should see the odd looks on some of my clients faces when they enter my office and see that thing sitting on my life size bust of Abe Lincoln– I wish I could sell tickets and popcorn– (some are actually tiffed)–our latest piece of equipment was issued after Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord– we issued Mae West life jackets (old beat-up used circa 1970 airline issue inflatable type bought on eBay) called “Trump Paris Accord Survival Gear” (decorated in the mandatory red, white, and blue) for all our members who cannot swim and will be in trouble when the oceans really get to rising– of course swimming lessons were our first recommendation– Honest Abe is truly a sight wearing his global warming survival gear Mae West around his neck and his shiny hat–

        Brad, I’m not sure if this is the kind of silly shenanigans story you had in mind, but it is an illustration that some of us have not lost our senses of humor even if the MSMedia world has none– most of the stuff out there is just too hard to resist not making fun of–

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, I do have a card attesting my membership in the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy in my wallet. It came in a book I read. Elizabeth would like one, too.

          • M Farrell says:

            Timothy– we issue such cards along with an authentic Clinton $3 bill to all members of the TFHAUSA — you should never leave home without theses essential forms of identification in you wallet–

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I have a lot of Clinton $3 bills that came in Slick Times, which I bought regularly for its anti-Clinton humor. I even thought of sending them my Clinton light-bulb change joke; How many Clintons does it take to change a light bulb? Three. One to make a public announcement of the change, one of hide all the documents, one to stonewall Congress, and one of lie about it.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          “Trump Paris Accord Survival Gear”

          Oh man, that’s funny. And should you have the time and the skill to fashion that into a “How I Stay Sane Behind the Liberal Lines” anecdotal story, that might indeed be a keeper. Weave it into a kind of narrative and tie it all together, and you might have a very fine essay.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          featured pink diving goggles

          As long as there is no pink-pussy hat. I have to admit I didn’t know what that was supposed to be when I first saw A. Judd wearing one.

          • M Farrell says:

            Dear Mr Kung Fu Zu– the pink goggles were a spoof on “rose colored glasses”, not that gawd awful ,vulgar, private parts hat business of A Judd–those gals managed to out-vulgar Trump with that nonsense–

      • Rosalys says:

        Yes! An awesome weather map! I added it to my husband’s (he is a weather nerd) favorites.

        Just one complaint, and that is, the temperature is given in centigrade. I’m a fahrenheit gal, 100%.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Rosalys: At the very top left there are three vertical parallel lines (which is now the new icon meaning “menus”). Click that and then click “Settings” and you can change the units of measure. It will then most likely tie you up in a dialogue box asking you to sign up. Just close that browser tab (if there seems no way out…and I could find none at the time) and open another one and your new settings should be applied.

          • Rosalys says:

            Done! Thanks Brad.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              You know, it’s funny, Rosalys. I was just thinking about how one of the last uncontroversial topics that people could talk about without getting all hot-and-bothered was the weather. And for reasons other than just planning outdoor activities, a lot of people like to watch things such as The Weather Channel or find it interesting to view data on various online weather maps and apps.

              And then I remembered “global warming.” Even the kooks on the Left have invested something as simple as the weather with their ideological insanity.

              Still…that is a cool map that Tom linked to. And as long as there is not a feature on the map that shows where the rising ocean shoreline will be in 2020 unless we stop cows from farting and begin running around in those death-trap electric golf carts masquerading as cars then all will be well with our meteorological meanderings.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


    I like to think of myself as cautious, perhaps mildly skeptical.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Don’t underestimate yourself, Mr. Kung. You are a flat-out believer in human nature. And we all know what that means. 😀

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Alas, we do!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        In other words, the sort of reality we face today (and the even worse one in the future, as the snowflakes nominally grow up and start to run everything without ever learning how to face reality).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:


          I don’t think Putin looks at what is going on in America college campuses and is afraid. Our naivety is an opportunity for him. I mean, look at how willingly the native populations have fallen for the Kumbaya-esque language of the politicians. It isn’t Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan that Putin and others will have to face. It will be a population ready-made to believe absolute baloney.

          Not to mention Islam. Again…put yourself in their shoes. No matter how many of us they murder, and no matter how often they say they do it in the name of Allah and Islam, Westerners still say “It’s just a few extremists….Islam is a religion of peace.” Isn’t that like ringing the dinner bell? How does that not encourage more Jihad against us? I would certainly come to the conclusion that Westerners are weak and are easily toppled….or at least that one’s suicidal efforts are definitely not in vain.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Larry Alton has an article which basically confirms that The Daily Drama isn’t good for you.

    First off, when quoting someone, why insert a [sic] for errors of grammar without inserting one for your own?

    We may avoid listening to views not our own, or even avoid interacting with others who have different political beliefs all together.  And of course, we worry.  We lay [sic] awake at night with the what if’s scrolling across our brains.”

    We “lie” away at night, I guess. But it’s the “what-ifs” not “what if’s.” There should be hyphenation and no contraction. So if you’re going to play the grammar fairy, get it right. My advice is don’t be pedantic. It just annoys people and makes you look petty.

    But back to the topic at hand. His #1 suggestion to “Embrace Reality” is way too general to be of much help. But his #2 suggestion to “Limit News Intake” is spot on. As for #3, “See the Good in Other People,” doesn’t that somewhat conflict with suggestion #1?

    My suggestion regarding The Daily Drama is to get out and tangibly do something about your world instead of stewing in the juices of empty rhetoric.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I suppose he would use “sic” for quoted errors that he notices, but wouldn’t make errors deliberately. (Actually, I do if the correct version sounds too pedantic. It’s especially likely in certain cases with “who” and “whom”.) Thus, he could hardly use “sic” on himself because he wouln’t realize it. But oh, how embarrassing it can be when you’re pedantic enough to use “sic” and then make some errors of your own. Something like a pretentious student who mispronounced “superfluous” in class, was corrected (by the teacher, of course), and got laughed at by the other students, many of whom were probably previously unaware of the word. (This wasn’t me, though I doubt I would have pronounced it any differently. Indeed, I wasn’t there and just heard about it.)

      Actually there are situations in which, as best I can tell, you can use or not use an apostrophe before the “s” in a plural. I generally don’t bother with it.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The humorous thing about the use of “sic” is that it inherently means that you don’t think your own reputation for accuracy amongst your readers is good enough not to have to point out that it’s not your typo but someone else’s. And the use of “sic” just ruins the flow of things. Plus, I’ve seen “sic” used many times when I hadn’t the slightest idea what was grammatically wrong with a sentence. Here was but another case of its uselessness.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One interesting use of it comes in the introductory portion of Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud (one of his two best fiction books, the other being Ossian’s Ride). A chap who turns out to be related to some important figures in the incident has written a book on the topic, and a doctor who knew the real story writes to him. In his letter, he mentions having read the official history, and includes “(sic!)” after that to indicate how inaccurate that history is. The rest of the book is basically the doctor telling what really happened — and a brief afterword by the first writer, who just learned for the first time how he’s connected to the Black Cloud.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I always thought that (sic) was to be used in more scholarly books, the types that have footnotes. In such books, accuracy is paramount and the theory would be that nothing should be added or taken away from what the person actually wrote.

          I find the use of (sic) a little overdone in internet blogs or short articles.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I find the use of (sic) a little overdone in internet blogs or short articles.

            I find the use of (sic) to be holy (sic) pretentious.

            One of the problems with being pedantic is that it puts accuracy above meaning, form above function. If I shoot a charging buffalo in the heart and drop him dead, it seems silly to worry that I missed the exact center of the heart.

            None of us are above the need for correction. And accuracy has its place. But I’ve never found much love for pedanticism. It tends to stifle conversation. And I’m very sure that we don’t get more people adding their two cents here because they figure they must be perfect. Devolving to playing “gotcha” instead of expressing an opinion, no matter how ineloquent (a word my braindead Mac dictionary doesn’t even acknowledge as existing), is boring and pointless.

            Here’s a fellow who thinks very much as I do: The pedantic, censorious quality of “sic”

            This “pedantic, censorious quality” is sometimes insinuated and sometimes unmistakeable. Sic – not an abbreviation but a Latin word meaning thus or so – can usefully clarify that a speaker said or wrote just as they are quoted to have done. But it can also serve as a sneer, an unseemly tool to mock a trivial error or an utterance of questionable pedigree.

            The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, echoing Mitford, says the use of sic “may be defensive, but its overuse is offensive”. Robert Burchfield in his revision of Fowler says it provides “reviewers and controversialists” with “a neat and compendious form of criticism”. Essentially, sic can be a snob’s delight.

            Sneers and snob’s delight indeed. NRO is full of “sics.” Another very fair point is:

            A “misspelling” may be a legitimate variant. “Incorrect grammar” is a grey area, not least because of the popular but mistaken belief that nonstandard means incorrect and that grammaticality is absolute. “Odd usage” (or “peculiar”, used elsewhere) is more subjective still.


            At The [Baltimore] Sun we have actively discouraged the use of sic in copy, because it is nearly impossible to use it without looking snotty.”

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I don’t think I ever used it myself. There are places (such as the use I mentioned earlier in The Black Cloud, which has nothing to do with pedanticism) where it’s appropriate, but those are rare. An interesting example of archaic grammar was concern over split infinitives, which reflected overfondness for Latin (in which, as in French or German, an infinitive is a single word that can’t be split — unless it’s a compound word in German, and even there I’m not sure it would ever actually be split).

              Of course, there’s the famous quote attributed to Churchill referring to some pedanticism as “something up with which I shall not put”. Or the anecdote of a child whose father brought the wrong book to read saying, “What did you bring the book I didn’t want to be read to out of up for?”

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Once again, Frank was way ahead of us.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Nice. In fact, I consider the right to be wrong important. To be precise, since no can set up an absolute test of correctness, one has the right to disagree with orthodox views no matter how right or wrong they are.

                Incidentally, an interesting grammatical question from Stephen Pinker: Is the proper past tense of “sneak” sneaked or snuck? The former used to be standard, but the latter came in a century or so ago, and irregular (strong) inflections tend to catch on (which is why there are so many), so now snuck is at least the most common.

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