Statue of Kusunoki Masashige, famous Royalist supporter, taken outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in 2008.

Statue of Kusunoki Masashige, famous Royalist supporter, taken outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in 2008.

The defining characteristic of a warrior isn’t the ability to fight. Thugs and mercenaries fight. It’s  subordinating one’s most base instinct to survive to virtuous behavior. It’s not being ruled by fear, anger, or pride, but consciously opting to do the right thing.

TODAY’S RANDOM THOUGHT: Hitler’s Final Victory

Source: German Federal Archives

Source: German Federal Archives

Hitler killed the short-stache (a.k.a. the “toothbrush mustache.”) Imagine that, almost 70 years after his death, he still holds power over people’s decisions about facial hair.

This is a misplaced take-away lesson. It’s the unbridled narcissism, the icy hatred, and the irrational exuberance in the power of evil of Hitler that should be abandoned (yet, somehow, those intangibles still quietly exist.) It’s not the superficial aspects of Hitler that should be shunned, but the ones at the bastard’s core.

I’m not saying the toothbrush-stache was a good look. On the contrary–as one who has had a mustache his entire adult life and has worn a beard now for several years–I’m a little offended by the lack of commitment to one’s choice of facial hair that the toothbrush-stache represents. (Incidentally, I feel the same about the sole patch and mutton chops.) In my mind, one should go full-stache or go home to shave.

Still, there being no accounting for taste, I think those individuals who would otherwise find the short-stache appealing (i.e. you know, indecisive types who wear culottes and eat with sporks) should revive the toothbrush mustache as a big fuck-you to Hitler–don’t let tyrants boss you around from the grave.

Toothbrush mustache admirers of world, unite!  (No, I won’t be joining you.)

TODAY’S RANDOM THOUGHT: Death as the Good Drunk

I don’t think Death should be depicted as a cowled, faceless Grim Reaper.

Instead, I think Death should be the wise drinking buddy who can hold his liquor.  Not the one who acts like an idiot an encourages friends to do the same. Rather, the one who spurs you to ask out a girl who’s way out of your league, and keeps you classy if (when) she declines.

Happy 237th, America

IMG_9111America is the product of a set of exceptional human beings. Some may wish to humanize the founding fathers and to deflate the mythology that has grown up around them, but deflate the myth and one still has impressive facts. Who turns down a salary for the most sleepless and thankless job in the universe? George Washington, that’s who. Who writes a political document so artfully that its turns of phrase still chime poetically  in the ear 237 years after the fact? Thomas Jefferson, that’s who? Who can invent the lightening rod and bifocals, convince the French to move toward the sound of the guns (just kidding, France), and get the chicks despite the most hideous comb-over ever? Benjamin Franklin, that’s who.

Now this may be Golden Age fallacy talking, but today’s ruling elite seem a bit… well let’s just say “pathetic” by comparison. Sure modern-day rulers still have charisma out the wazoo, but Franklin had charisma plus a world-class intellect. Jefferson had charisma, and he didn’t need a speech-writing team and focus groups to craft his words for him. Washington had charisma, and–quite frankly–he could scare the shit out of a grizzly bear. It’s the rare modern-day leader who is  qualified for any alternative career besides ambulance chasing.

Still, I will remain optimistic about the fate of the nation as long as great ideas prevail. Checks and balances is a great idea. The compromise to appease both populous and small states is a great idea. The Bill of Rights is a set of great ideas. I’m a little amused whenever I hear people say that America needs to revise its Constitution if it wants to keep up in the modern world. I heard this most recently from a scholar who said that because it was relatively difficult to make laws and spend money, America was going to fall ever behind the likes of Scandinavian countries? What? Really? Seriously?