Saturday, February 28, 2009

Girls Riding Mechanical Bulls are Hot

I’ve been in Memphis all of 12 hours and I’ve already fallen in love with this place. This city is teeming with history, fantastic music and just enough Jack Daniel's to make you forget your troubles. And boy are the memories kicking in. Anyone remember this song?:

“Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy -- won't you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel”

So, of course, the first thing we did last night was head down Main Street toward Beale. Along the way I noticed how welcoming Memphis was to out-of-towners:

After gorging ourselves on ribs and fries we met up with Elvis at a joint on Beale. And what do you know…the dude was more than happy to sing a couple of tunes before leaving the building:

To cap off the evening, we headed down to Double Deuce to watch drunk girls ride a mechanical bull at a slow rhythmic pace. Hands were touching boobs, unmentionables were shown, several wardrobe malfunctions were instigated, and liquor was everywhere:

Seriously, my dear reader, can life get any simpler?


Next up, the requisite pilgrimage to Graceland, a dip into the history of Sun Records (any Johnny Cash fans out there??) and, of course, a drive over to the Lorraine Motel.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rejecting Elitism

Talk about elitists gone wild. Check out the youtube highlights and accompanying article below:

Hatred for “Wife Swap” husband still grows


This whole Stephen Fowler story resonates with me. Over the past few years I’ve happily immersed myself in the sweet, asphyxiating waters of elitism. I’ve used my education, my money, and my presumed knowledge of the world to define who I am and to exclude those ‘unfortunate’ souls who seemingly lacked the intellectual and/or cultural capacity to be in the same room with me.

I deeply regret that attitude. I really do.

But nothing, it seems, is beyond the redemptive power of simple living. I’ve been humbled by this process. I’ve learned that status, money and book smarts pales in comparison to common sense and decency. I’ve learned that people who live in so-called “fly-over country” (you know, the real America that lies somewhere between the East and West coasts) have much to teach someone like me. I’ve learned that the most essential news about this country and the world at large does not always appear on the front page of the New York Times.

In essence, I’ve learned that I know nothing. I find it somewhat ironic that embracing simple living has led me to a Socratic conclusion that is, itself, a product of an intellectual elitism I no longer value. Ironic indeed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Blog

After some consideration, I’ve decided to start another blog. The douchey-sounding Adventures in Intellectual Stupidity is intended to be a repository for essays, notes and commentary on history, politics, philosophy and any number of other interests running around in my head.

Here is my standard disclaimer: don’t expect a more ‘scholarly’ version of Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity. In fact, some of my regular readers may be put off by the dryness of the material or by an inherent lack of cohesion in how ideas and themes are presented.

But who gives a shit. Here’s the bottom line: now that I’m leaving law firm purgatory I am going to have a ton of time to devote to some of my long-standing interests, principally reading, writing, film and arts in general. As impossibly boring as it might sound, I can’t wait to be able to read an analysis of how Alexander the Great defeated the Persian empire without having to check my blackberry. Or to peruse an article dissecting the political underpinnings of the American Civil War (any John C. Calhoun fans out there?) without checking my voicemail. Or to watch a documentary on the Katyn massacre in Russia (did anyone see the film by Wajda?) without having to make it to bed before 11pm.

And isn’t that the meaning of freedom, my dear reader? To be able to pursue your interests unabated; to focus your senses on those things that truly touch your heart without any pretense or impediment?

For me, freedom is the opportunity to immerse myself in the waters of nerdy douchiness, even as I celebrate the added drinking, biking, traveling, and assorted womanizing I’m looking forward to in the years to come.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rich, Greedy Assholes Suck


What a sad, pathetic, moron. I guess that after buying a mansion worth several million dollars, buying several private planes, marrying a materialistic bimbo and being an all-around rich asshole, there was nothing left to do but fake your own death to avoid being charged with a massive fraud.

Financier’s plane crash ‘didn’t smell right,’ says friend

Timeline: Marcus Schrenker Plane Hoax Mystery

For all the horrors this economic implosion is causing, I can’t help but LOVE stories like this. There is nothing like watching the Marcus Shrenkers of the world realize that their love of money is toxic; that the “things” they worship are finite and soulless; that their pursuit of the material is antithetical to a life full of meaning, love, friendship, and family.

I know, I know. I, myself, am not too far removed from poor, misguided Marcus. But hey, maybe it takes a recently reformed asshole to point out the obvious.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Can See the Light


I know it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been meaning to update the blog but events have sort of taken a life of their own, leaving me twisting in the wind a bit. I’ll probably have a much more concrete update in a couple of days. It’s hard to write about things of personal significance when you are in the mists of a storm of billable hours and life-changing errands.

But do not despair my dear reader. The Plan is within reach. It always has been. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It beckons me. I hope it has seduced you as well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stop Saving, or Else!


Here’s the dilemma for our economy: the more we save and pay down our debts the more we are perpetuating this recession. Indeed, it certainly appears as if this new-found embrace of simple living values among Americans is wreaking havoc from Wall Street to Main Street:

Americans’ Saving More, Spending Less :

“Economists call it the "paradox of thrift." What's good for individuals — spending less, saving more — is bad for the economy when everyone does it…Like a teeter-totter, when the savings rate rises, spending falls. The latter accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity. When consumers refuse to spend, companies cut back, layoffs rise, people pinch pennies even more and the recession deepens.”

Can we Have an Economy Without Spending? :

“You are familiar with Zen koans like "What is the sound of one hand clapping?". They are designed to open up consciousness with paradoxical or impossible questions. Well here's one: Can we have an economy that is not so dependent on rampant consumer spending?

After 9/11, Bush's solution was to exhort consumers to spend more as the way to propel ourselves out of the downturn. Today we are hearing similar advice.

Problem is, people are saving (or at least not spending, which I don't think is quite the same thing) rather than spending.”


I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to apologize for cutting my spending, paying off my debts and living within my means. There is something incredibly perverse about a “governmental-financial-industrial complex” that actively encourages you to spend money you don’t have for the sake of the national/collective good.

Now, I acknowledge that we live in a consumer-based economy, one that feeds on spending, accessible credit and a continuous hunger for better, faster, cheaper products. But a consumer-based economy is not the only model to follow. Who knows…maybe this economic meltdown will force us to reassess our incentives and restructure our economic priorities. Maybe, in the end, a good collective kick in the ass will be a catalyst for changing everything for the better.