Charlie's Blog: 2021


Blue Collar Simplicity

 Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

I would not make it as an interior designer. The primary reason for this is that I am heterosexual. Decorating is an effeminate domain, and I am not made for that sort of thing. Yet, the realm of aesthetics is inescapable. A farmer who buys a tractor or a pickup truck still has to pick a color. Likewise, your lifestyle and choices are going to reflect aesthetic decisions and a philosophy even if everything you own is a chaos of bad taste and clutter. If I gave a name to my own aesthetic sensibility, it would be "blue collar simplicity."

Currently, there is a tug of war between the aesthetic gluttons known as maximalists and the aesthetic anorexics known as minimalists. Maximalists believe that more is more, and their lifestyles and decor reflect this. They pack as many trinkets and eye candy as they can find into their living spaces. Or, they are just clutterbugs and hoarders justifying having way too much stuff. On the other extreme end of this continuum are the minimalists who believe that less is more, and this gets reflected in their spartan apartments and monochromatic lifeless color schemes. Both of these extremes represent the binge and purge of modern consumerist culture.

I do not believe in maximalism or minimalism. I do not believe that more is more or less is more. I believe simple is better. My blue collar simplicity design and lifestyle philosophy reflects this motto. What does blue collar simplicity look like? Essentially, it has the same aim for fewer things as minimalism but without the aesthetic tyranny. I will explain.

I cannot be a minimalist. I considered myself a minimalist at one time in my life until the term took on a different meaning over the following decade. When I was into minimalism, it just meant having few possessions. I suspected that minimalism would die when economic hard times ended. Instead, it evolved into buying more elegant looking things. Minimalism went from simplicity to perfection. That's when I stepped off the train.

There is a primary reason I cannot be a minimalist. I can't afford it. Minimalism is expensive because you end up throwing away perfectly good and functional products and furniture to buy less functional and more expensive products and furniture because they look sleeker and more minimal. An example of this would be getting rid of your cheap and ugly but exquisitely functional $300 Dell laptop to purchase a $1000 Macbook. I am the guy who keeps the Dell and mocks the Apple products as being form over function.

The problem with minimalism is obvious. It values aesthetics to the exclusion of all other values such as durability, utility, thrift, and modesty. It eschews the conspicuous consumption of maximalism but conspicuously posts endless Instagram pictures of the minimalist decor. I don't care for any of that garbage.

The tenets of blue collar simplicity are twofold--modesty and functionality. That's it. The modesty is reflected in having fewer things that are inexpensive and not flashy. The functionality is reflected in having durable things that get the job done. Those are the only two things I consider when buying an item. As far as looks go, I will opt for brown, blue, and black over cherry red or hot pink. And when I declutter, I trade out for items that are more modest and more functional. I don't get hung up on what a thing looks like.

The freedom of blue collar simplicity comes from having fewer things like the minimalists but the option of buying those things from Walmart or the thrift store. And like the maximalists, I am OK if things don't match and tend towards the eclectic. I also like electronics and appliances that have buttons and features instead of sleek designs.

Blue collar simplicity is not pretty. It has a grittiness that comes from a low tolerance for the frivolous and the useless. I think there are places and spaces for pretty things like churches and museums. I don't care to live in a museum. Some places are inherently ugly like garages, workshops, and factories. I don't care to live in those places either. I pick the middle place of simplicity. I want a space where I can live, but I like having a potted plant and a picture on the wall. I just let my wife handle those details that bring warmth to a simple home.

Blue collar simplicity is a tough sell because there's nothing to sell. Basically, you get rid of things you don't need and keep things you do need and probably own already. Then, you maintain this simplicity with regular decluttering and avoidance of recluttering. If you declutter one item daily and never buy things you don't need, you will end up living as simply as possible but no simpler. Decluttering is not a destination but a regular practice like brushing your teeth. As for stress, perfectionism causes as much turmoil as chaos. It is enough to live a simple life.



We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.

If this is winning, I am already sick and tired of it. Trump has lost his bid for another four years, and I don't know if that is a good or bad thing in the long term. In the short term, it is a disaster. Then again, I think the last four years have been a disaster. I must now endeavor to analyze and appraise the presidency and person of Donald Trump.

I made the resolution after 2012 that I would always vote Republican and always vote. I could not vote for Romney, so I threw my vote away on the LP candidate when Ron Paul didn't get the nomination. I would vote for Ron Paul again along with Rand Paul. But even a RINO is better than a Democrat. In 2016, I made up my mind about the best man for the job. This man was Ted Cruz. If Cruz had become president, this country would be in a better place today. We got Trump instead.

I don't like Trump. I have never liked Trump except as some kind of entertaining spectacle. I did not vote for him in the GOP primary, and I sincerely hope that he doesn't run again. But after 8 years of Obama, voters were mad and wanted to crap in a bag and set it on fire and launch it at DC. That flaming bag of crap was Donald Trump.

Why do I not like Trump? The answer is glaring and obvious. The guy is pure id and ego. He is proud and vain and can't be faithful to his wife. He stiffs people that work for him. He demands absolute loyalty from those who work for him but will fire them on a whim. He is an awful human being. What virtues he does possess amounts to nothing more than a show and a bad imitation of Ronald Reagan. His speeches are not inspirational or informative but gigantic acts of auto fellatio devoted to bragging about himself and trash talking everyone else. It is my contention that those significant flaws have been Trump's undoing.

Trump has done a good job in spite of his flaws. This is because the substance of his presidency was conservative. Conservatism always wins because it always works. It doesn't matter who is running things. You can't lose governing as a conservative. Trump isn't that much of a conservative. This is why I wonder what Cruz would have done in the Oval Office.

Trump's failures are not so much in his statecraft as in his soulcraft. Trump was too stupid and didn't get a clue on this until late in the game when he posed with a Bible in front of that church during the riots of 2020. It would have helped if Trump had taken time from his incendiary tweeting to actually read that book instead of making a prop out of it.

If you ask people what Trump policies they hated, they couldn't tell you. They might make some vague reference to racism and the wall on the Mexican border. Begrudgingly, they would admit they were better off economically than they were four years ago. Overwhelmingly, they would cite Trump's style and personality. They hated Trump not as a Republican or as a conservative but as being a proud self-promoting tweeting bag of insults. Essentially, Trump made needless enemies out of half of the country with that Twitter account. Ironically, his poll numbers have gone up since being deplatformed from Twitter.

Soulcraft matters. Trump doesn't have soulcraft. At the end of the day, people want a president who is presidential. Trump failed on this because he was more of a wrestling star than a president. This entire spectacle of him has not been for the sake of the country but for the sake of his own ego. This has led to hubris which has led to his ultimate failure.

I have to say some painful but honest things. Most of the MAGA movement is destructive at its core. These folks sent Trump to DC to show his ass. That's about it. If you asked these people why they love Trump, their answers will make about as much sense as the answers of those who hate Trump. At the end of the day, they just like his personality. He isn't boring like all of those other politicians.

Trump's fundamental gift was his ability to connect to a large portion of the population that never voted or cared before 2016. Because of their disengagement from politics, they let a slimebag like Obama into office. These same people didn't care in 2018 when they let the Democrats take back the House. Fundamentally, these people only vote when Trump is on the ticket. The Republican establishment knows this which is why they were happy for Trump to disappear.

I believe the election of 2020 was stolen. I believe Trump won in a landslide. I believe Trump knew the steal was coming. And he did NOTHING about it. Why? How stupid can you be? Yet, this is totally consistent with what Trump is about. Trump believes that his innate greatness will prevail in all situations. Somehow, his massive popularity would overcome all of the dirty tricks. We see now that it didn't. As it stands, efforts to prove the fraud are less about saving our republic than they are about saving one man's ego.

Election integrity is the most important issue we face at this critical moment. Trump didn't care until he was a victim. He won't ever care about it unless he is on the ticket again. Let that sink in. Trump is not about America or conservatism or election integrity. Trump is about Trump.

I voted for Trump in 2016 simply because he was the Republican. I did not think he would beat Hillary, but he did. I was grateful to God for this pleasant surprise. We would be in a really bad place had Hillary won in 2016. But I remarked that Trump was just a tap on the brakes as this country was headed for the edge of the cliff. In 2020, the car went airborne. I am just bracing myself for the fiery crash at the bottom of the ravine.

People who believed in Trump's 4D chess and stable genius need to know something. Trump is no genius. If he was, he would still be in the Oval Office instead of that senile slimebag we have now. Trump sat back and watched it all happen. Somehow, whining on Twitter was going to fix things. What was needed was strong action on election integrity. What Trump did amounts to earning a gigantic wad of cash and leaving it all in a brown paper sack at the bus station. This level of incompetence on his part means he deserved to lose.

Trump's presidency has been a disaster since Day One as he was outplayed on all sides. And when he had loyal advisors who told him what he needed to hear, Trump fired them. Then, he would replace the good guys with bad guys who flattered his ego and played him for a fool. Trump's only trick is to just keep firing people until a good guy shows up. This is utterly stupid. The dumbest move in this regard was his firing of Steve Bannon over a clash of egos. Now that we have some hindsight, it is clear that Steve Bannon is the genius while Trump is the idiot. Trump didn't want to share the limelight in any way, so he fired the best guy on his team.

My estimation of Trump is that he is a charismatic idiot. Ann Coulter figured this out and got off the Trump Train a long time ago. Unlike Matt Drudge, Coulter is a true conservative. But she dumped Trump when he failed to follow through on all of his big talk. I agreed with her. She has taken flak for this, but she is vindicated now.

I described myself as a SometimesTrumper and was in the same camp as Mark Levin when it came to Trump. Trump was not the best man we could get, but he was the best man we had. He got the ball down the field, and we managed to get a field goal instead of a touchdown. Most of what Trump accomplished will be completely undone in Biden's first 100 days. We will be back to where we were in 2016.

Where we stand now and where we go from here doesn't matter without election integrity. This makes all other issues a waste of time--abortion, immigration, taxes, fiscal policy, etc. At this moment, the GOP is now a permanent minority party. In another decade, we will have a one party country. This is Bolshevism brought to America. If this doesn't get fixed now, we are doomed as a nation and will either become a tyranny or fractured by civil war.

It all comes back to soulcraft. The USA is a debased and virtually godless nation now. It doesn't help having a president who bangs out porn stars. What this country needs is a true Christian who is humble before God and endeavors to fix the personal side of the ledger before tackling the problems of the country. We need someone better than a trash talking tweeting blowhard. I put my hope in Ted Cruz again. Unlike Trump, Cruz put aside his ego to support a man who alleged his father helped kill JFK. Cruz supported a guy who called him "Lyin' Ted Cruz." And Cruz is the only guy I have watched go into a hostile room thirsting for his blood and leave them eating out of his hand. Cruz is no saint, but he gets the soulcraft side of the ledger.

The rest of the GOP is awful. These are the neocon Bushies who are not conservative but merely elitist and willing to be the Uniparty with the Democrats. They have been around since before Reagan. The fact that so many could join with Democrats is enough to show their true nature. Trump did do good by exposing these snakes. The first real battle in post-Trump era needs to be deciding if the GOP is the neoconservative party or the paleoconservative party. Trump definitely skewed towards the paleo end of the spectrum. The GOP is in the throes of its own civil war.

Trump was not perfect, and I refuse to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But we could have done better than Trump, and we didn't. Trump had the ability to win an honest election. That is not enough to be a good president. You also have to learn to use your bully pulpit to elevate the people in their own behavior. You have to manage an administration. You have to learn to get legislation through Congress. Trump scored low on those things. He also added a few trillion to our national debt. He was soft on the LGBTQ lunacy. In short, Trump turned out exactly as I expected. He was a disappointment. But he did get a tax cut and didn't start any wars. Because of just those two things, we are better off now than we were four years ago.

I am not happy that Trump is not president now. This is because you can be a good president just by preventing bad things from happening even if you accomplish nothing else. Unfortunately, we are looking at an unbridled Democrat Party. We are utterly doomed as a nation. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it isn't. I think only God can save us now.


The Triumph of Evil Over Good

I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew.

The sun is shining outside, but this day is a dark day. It is a day like so many before it where evil triumphed over good. I want to believe that you can fight the good fight and win, but there is no winning for the good guys in this world. The good guys are at a permanent competitive disadvantage to those evildoers who have no restraint in their wickedness.

The saddest thing about this calamity is that millions of people prayed that this awful thing would not happen. These are the same people who have prayed for decades that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. We are still waiting on that one.

All of this sucks the life out of me. I don't know what to do or where to go. I have no advice to give or words of hope to make you, Gentle Reader, feel good about the times we live in. Evil wins. That is a harsh and brutal truth. All I can say is that one day good will win. But that day is not today.

O Lord, the God of my salvation: I have cried in the day, and in the night before thee. ...
Let my prayer come in before thee: incline thy ear to my petition. ...
For my soul is filled with evils: and my life hath drawn nigh to hell.
I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become as a man without help,

Free among the dead. Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cast off from thy hand.
They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places, and in the shadow of death.
Thy wrath is strong over me: and all thy waves thou hast brought in upon me.
Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: they have set me an abomination to themselves. I was delivered up, and came not forth:
My eyes languished through poverty. All the day I cried to thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee?
Shall any one in the sepulchre declare thy mercy: and thy truth in destruction?
Shall thy wonders be known in the dark; and thy justice in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O Lord, have cried to thee: and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee.
Lord, why castest thou off my prayer: why turnest thou away thy face from me?

I am poor, and in labours from my youth: and being exalted have been humbled and troubled.
Thy wrath hath come upon me: and thy terrors have troubled me.
They have come round about me like water all the day: they have compassed me about together.
Friend and neighbour thou hast put far from me: and my acquaintance, because of misery.