Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reflections: Tick-Tock

Once you stop caring about the weird hair growing all over your body you realize you've lost the will to live.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rants: Getting Real Over the Otto Warmbler Affair

I cannot believe that so many Americans seem ready to nuke North Korea over the tragic death of an American student at the hands of Korean prison authorities.

We read daily--if we are paying attention--about the brutal atrocities and resulting deaths of prisoners in AMERICAN prisons. Never mind the public executions by law enforcement of often unarmed citizens taking place with disgusting frequency and lack of consequences on our nation's streets.

What happened to Otto Warmbler is tragic and unjust. But I wish we would not be so self-righteous as to threaten war over it when there is plenty of injustice and brutality to correct right here at home.

Reflections: Happiness Considered

The history of art and literature, as well as the study of history itself, shows us that interpersonal relationships rarely generate happiness in perpetuity. When and where they do, it is because those lives have been conjoined in an agreed-upon simplicity, based upon a recognition of the sufficiency of what simply is, here and now, and a satisfied contentment with that.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reflections: Some Valid Talking Points

Trump is a nightmare.

The Neo-Liberal Democratic "opposition" is just another set of shopworn corporate tools.

Bernie's "movement" has now fallen into line behind provoking war with Russia.

Identity Politics generates Cognitive Dissonance.

You are alone.

If you are sane, you are on your own.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rodak's Writings: Flash Fiction


When I got a text that he had hit his wife, my daughter, and that she had not brought charges, I packed a few things and drove ten hours to the City.

I parked my car on the street where I could watch the entrance of their building, a brownstone townhouse a block west of Central Park, in the upper 80s. They had an apartment on the second floor.

I sat and waited for three hours, listening to cool jazz and watching hundreds of passers-by, pursuing their urbane lives frenetically as the squirrels in the park foraged for seeds and crumbs.

Finally I saw them coming down the block. At the top of the stairs, he held the door open for her. She entered without speaking, without looking at him.

I got out of my car, climbed the eight stairs to the top of the stoop and pushed the button for 2F on the intercom. She said, “Who’s there?” I answered, “It’s me.” The door was buzzed open.

I stood before them now in the front room of their cramped little flat. I looked into his eyes and without saying a word pulled the 9 mm from the pocket of my jacket.

She screamed, “Daddy! No!” But it was a done deal.

 I shot him once in the gut.

He now sat on the floor, several feet behind where he had been standing. He groaned, “Don’t shoot me again, please! It won’t happen a second time!” He struggled to his knees, his hands outstretched.

“You don’t get it,” I replied. “This is for the first time.”

The contents of his head made a hot mess of the wall behind him.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Rodak's Writings: Two Songs of Resignation

Two Songs of Resignation

1.  Profile Deleted

I am sick
of my face, sick
of my tastes,
eroded by existence
on the abrasive surface
of this inconsequential
pebble, the banal
opacity of which
mirrors the clotted
vision of my fading
sight, the dying lamp
of my solitary soul.

2.  Gone

The warmth,
sometimes heat,
of your skin,
the soft hairs
twisting up
from its smooth
sparsely birth-marked
the muscles beneath
that contracted
or stretched in response
to my explorative touch,
the faithful bones within

Your hot skin
with its apertures,
their fragrances
and salt tides,
the non-gender specific
meeting of our mouths,
our twin tongues,
hungry, thrusting

the blank silence
of this room

the whispered resignation
of graphite on empty page

Saturday, May 27, 2017


My father died on May 4th and I haven't been able to write about it. Although he was 97 years old, his death was sudden and unexpected: he hadn't been ill. I was not, and still am not, prepared for the aftermath, which has left me completely alone in the world, in a very real sense. 

When I can get it together, perhaps when his house has been emptied and sold and it is completely over, I will try to write more.

In the meantime, here is the obituary I wrote for the local newspaper:

Robert F. Dakin, age 97, died Thursday, May 4, 2017 at O’Bleness Hospital. Born April 10, 1920 in Mansfield, Ohio, he was the son of Charles R. and Lois Armstrong Dakin.

Robert was a graduate of Cadillac (Michigan) High School, where he and his future wife Elizabeth A. Burch Dakin were members of the graduating class of 1937. Robert and Elizabeth were married in December, 1945, after Robert, who had served as a combat medic in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, received his discharge and returned to Michigan.

Robert then attended Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, where their son, Robert F., Jr. was born in 1947. Robert next taught in an elementary school in Midland, Michigan prior to moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1952, where he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan.

The Dakins resided in Ann Arbor until 1967, when they moved to Athens, Ohio. There, Robert became the founding director of the Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE), serving until his retirement, after which he was an active member of the Ohio University Emeriti Association. Both Robert and his wife, Elizabeth, were active members of Christ Lutheran Church.

Robert is survived by his son, Robert F., Jr. and his wife Theresa; their two daughters, Alana E. and Laura A. Dakin; and a sister, Mary Pattison, as well as a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Richard Dakin; a sister, Helen Dakin Blackman; and his wife of 65 years, Elizabeth.

A memorial service will be held on a future date at Christ Lutheran Church. His ashes will be interred next to those of Elizabeth in Maple Hill Cemetery, Cadillac, Michigan.


My father was well loved by all who knew him. This world will miss him. But not more than I do. I love you, Daddy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reflections: History 101

All those who start hurling epithets and talking about "tinfoil hats" as soon as someone suggests a possible conspiracy to explain the how and why of some current event should stop and consider that history--except where it records "acts of God"--is nothing other than a transcript of the enactments and aftermaths of conspiracies, all readily accepted as such when seen as sufficiently distant past events.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Rants: My Political Ultimatum

There are two priority issues for me:

1) End the Perpetual War;
2) Single-payer health care.

No politician who does not have these issues at the core of their agenda has any hope of getting my vote. No party that does not have these two issues at the top of its platform has any hope of getting my support. I'm through fucking around. I've had it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Readings: How We Need to View our "Problem" with Refugees & Immigrants

In an essay* written in London in the last months of her too-brief life, Simone Weil presents very concisely in the following brief paragraph why "obligation" must be understood to belong to a higher order than "rights," despite the obsession with the latter that has dominated such Western thought as has come down to us from the Roman Empire: 

"Whoever has his attention and love turned in fact towards that reality outside the world** recognizes at the same time that he is bound, in both public and private life, by the unique and perpetual obligation, according to his responsibilities and to the extent of his power, to alleviate all those privations of the soul and the body capable of destroying or mutilating the earthly life of a human being whoever he may be." [italics added]

*Ercits de Londres et dernieres lettres
**i.e.,  "absolute Goodness" or "God"

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Readings: Classical Greek Thought in The White Rose and Simone Weil

The last two non-fiction works I have recently read (Sophie Scholl & The White Rose by A. Dumbach and J. Newborn, and Simone Weil--Waiting on Truth by J. P. Little) show how both the young German pamphleteers of The White Rose and French philosopher, Simone Weil, turned to classical Greek models in their writings in response to, and against, the Nazi oppression of their respective societies.

In the third of six pamphlets written and distributed by The White Rose before Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and several other members of their inner circle were arrested, tried, and executed by the Nazis in 1943, Aristotle’s Politics, is thus quoted:

“Further…[a tyrant] should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies everywhere…and further, to create disunity and division in the population to set friend against friend, the common people against the notables, and the wealthy among themselves. Also he should impoverish his subjects; the maintenance of guards and soldiers is thus paid for by the people, who are forced to work hard and have neither the time nor the opportunity to conspire against him…Another practice of tyrants is to increase taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that his subjects paid all their wealth into the treasury within five years. The tyrant is also inclined to engage in constant warfare in order to occupy and distract his subjects.”

In his study of the life and thought of Simone Weil, J.P. Little shows how Weil used the writings of Plato to describe the workings of a totalitarian regime:

“[…] Simone Weil turns…to the Greek world, to Plato’s image of society as ‘the Great Beast’…whom his masters (society’s leaders) try to tame by studying his moods and habits.

“[…] The Beast represents for her the elevation of society into an absolute, which is then judged without reference to anything exterior, so that in a very real sense nothing but the collective  exists. This is the characteristic of what Simone Weil calls totalitarianism, and here of course her usage is in line with what we have become accustomed to designate by that term. The Beast represents the totality of collective values and the destruction of the individual. Its main concern is existence, and since the existence of anything else is intolerable to it, its own existence involves infinite expansion, a total hold over the lives of its subjects.”

As it was in ancient Greece, so it was in World War II-era Europe; and as it is again (or still) now.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Reflections: What It Will Take for Us to Repair the Damage

Although there are still 40-some pages of appendices to be read, I have just now finished reading the main text of Sophie Scholl & The White Rose. I want here to share this emotionally stirring book's closing paragraph:

"The impact of the White Rose cannot be measured in tyrants destroyed, regimes overthrown, justice restored. A scale with another dimension is needed, and then their significance is deeper; it goes even beyond the Third Reich, beyond Germany: if people like those who formed the White Rose can exist, believe as they believed, act as they acted, maybe it means that this weary, corrupted, and extremely endangered species we belong to has a right to survive, and to keep on trying."

That's a big "maybe" -- but it's all we've got.

I find myself in love with a German girl who died four years before I was born.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Reflections: Yeah, sure...

The two most dismissive words currently in vogue:  "Get help."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reflections: Who Was It That Died?

I'm like a ghost, haunting my own space.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rants: It's the DNC, Stupid!

Wouldn't we do better to worry about the fact that those damning emails were written and sent in the first place, rather than obsessing over the possibility that it was Russian hackers who made them public?
I've seen no claim that the emails released were not genuine. So the disgusting attitudes and disgraceful behavior of the top DNC operatives revealed by those emails WAS genuine. That's what should worry American citizens who desire an honest election process and resulting representative government.
Fuck a bunch of Russians. It's corrupt Americans that I want to see purged from the system. They're in the toilet--let's flush it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reflections: 2 Notations


If you choose to stay alive you choose to lose the love of your precious cat. Somebody please tell me I didn't blow it.


There wasn't so much of it, but it had collected in a small place, so the pressure of it took on a painful grandiosity.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Reflections: Aiming for Positivity

On the bright side, living with sorrow is orders of magnitude better than living with dread.

R.I.P. Feather the Wonder Cat

REST IN PEACE, my darling FEATHER (a.k.a. Daisy, a.k.a. Winky, a.k.a. the Wonder Cat)
A ritual I will dearly miss:
Every day when I came home from work, Feather would have me timed. She would be waiting at the kitchen window and begin meowing loudly and enthusiastically as soon as she could see me coming down the walk from the parking lot. I would come in the back door, reach down and pet her fuzzy little head and recite the following:
Daddy's home... Daddy's home...
Home to his cat.
And if he didn't have a cat, he wouldn't even have to come home.
But he does.So he comes right home to his little cat.
Because...she's the best cat in the whole wide world.
And he loves her!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Quote du Jour: The Truth About Suicide

“The truth is that no one is interested in why you want to kill yourself, no one really believes that you will, until you’ve already done it, and then it becomes morbidly intriguing to try and map it backward.”  ~ THIS CLOSE TO HAPPY - A Reckoning With Depression, by Daphne Merkin

Friday, February 3, 2017

Reports: PSYOPS and the Totalitarian Coup

The "Evening News" has become the "Alleged News," as the deliberate disorientation of the belief systems of American citizens of every demographic group continues apace, with total success.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rants: Day Six of The Dread

We are now watching the rapid dismantling of all those things the small measure of human decency that has been available in this superficial and vulgar consumer society had allowed to be enacted over the past 50 years. 

But we still have Netflix and pizza--so no biggie.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Reflections: Happy Birthday to Me

January 23, 2017: 70 years old today

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Reflections: On the New American Decadence

In a time when the casual use of the most vulgar language by school girls has become the norm, the ascendancy of a Trump is to be expected.

Trump is the Uber-Stereotype; the Ugly American finally evolved to full power.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rants: B-bye Obama

Nobody paying homage to Barack Obama this week seems to give a damn about the havoc and horrors his foreign policy decisions have rained down upon the heads of ordinary people in seven foreign lands--all in support of American corporate hegemony. Such uncaring, de facto bigotry--for that is what it is--defines the ultimate moral failure of so many of my fellow countrymen.
As John Lennon sang: "There's room at the top they are telling you still / But first you must learn how to smile as you kill."
Was nobody listening?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Rants: They Never Learn

I just gave up on an attempt to watch a 9 a.m. Sunday morning political/news show. There, on ABC, was the embarrassing sell-out, Obama, and on Fox, the even more disgusting huckster, Reince Preibus. All bullshit, all the time. More productively, I started reading Howard Zinn's The Twentieth Century: a People's History this morning. It is amazing to be clubbed over the head once again with the proof that "business-as-usual" for the U.S. of A. has not changed one iota since the inception of the 20th century. Then, it was Cuba and the Philippines; today it is the Middle East: same motives; same murderous tactics, still to the benefit of nobody but the corporate oligarchs. Then, it was the mysterious explosion that destroyed the battleship Maine; more recently it was the mysterious controlled demolition of the three buildings of the WTC. Same old, same old. The people never learn and apparently never will.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Reflectons: The Future of Loneliness

We will have nowhere to find out the effect on the suicide rate as a result of their shutting down the social media.

Rodak's Writings: Teleology - a poem


It all comes down
to shit, to death.

The worms are oblivious
to the stench of reality,

Never having read
any books of wisdom.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Reflections: With a Whimper

The Truthers seem to have finally given it up and fallen silent. Evidently a correct understanding of how we got to where we are today is no longer worth the frustration and weathering the constant scorn of the majority bleating merinos. So be it: let the perpetual war roll on.