Things To Do To Pass Time – During the War

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administration, the neocons, and all their heirs and assigns have
promised us a long "war." Let us take them at their word,
if only on this point. It follows that we shall be in need of various
activities and distractions during the War. They can't actually
expect us to believe in it, can they?

fill up the time, we suggest the following:

Read very old books by Bill Buckley Jr. in search of insights. Note:
nothing after Up
From Liberalism
is really worth your time, even during a
War. To extend the life of this project you may have to cut the
pages into pieces, paste them together while blindfolded, and edit
the resulting text. See if Mouton will publish it.  

Get a satellite dish and watch cricket matches. Some of them take
aeons to finish. You might outlast the War just with cricket. Also,
read C.L.R. James on cricket, even though he was a bloody great

Take up shoe repair. Fix all the shoes in Argentina. 

Tour all the flea markets within a three-state radius of your house. 

Read the entire Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe in German. Good
Lord, there must be fifty volumes of it. If the War is still “on”
when you've done that, read all of Lenin in the old Progress Publishers
edition. The seventy-some volumes are chock full of bad ideas, but
you're killing time, remember? 

Search for the Holy Grail. 

Check the Congressional Record for the period 1946-to-last-week
and make a note of every time someone denied that federal aid to
education would lead to federal control. Add them up. Compare the
total to that Big Number in the Mayan calendar. Write a book about
the conspiratorial implications.  

Teach your dog to yodel. 

Go from Anchorage to Vladivostok by unicycle, the long way around.

Get two PhDs, one in psycholinguistics and one in equine management.
Then write a book proving that Mr. Ed could so speak. Change your
name to Willllburrrr. 

Work for the destruction of the Republican Party. If the War is
still “on” when you have accomplished your aim, work for the destruction
of Democratic Party.  

Discuss the Oedipal conflict between Gilligan and Mr. Howell. Feel
free to write four volumes on the subject. Reference every one of
Shakespeare's plays. 

is no #13. Bad enough there's a War "on," without having
to deal with 13.)

Square the circle, solve the pre-Socratics' paradoxes in two steps,
and climb the Matterhorn. It will help if you learned to yodel while
teaching that dark art to your dog. 

Draw up a transformational grammar of Bushese. Test the hypothesis
that the Bush family speaks a Germanic language distantly related
to English. Consult with Noam Chomsky and Sebastian Shaumyan if
you run into trouble. Write a lengthy book about the ensuing controversy.

Smile when the warmongers look grim. Look grim when the warmongers
smile. Go manic when they are depressed, and the other way around. 

Get an old turntable. Play the Beatles backwards. Play the Stones
backwards. Play the Who backwards. Play a country song backwards.
Warning: the Geezinslaw Brothers have already done the last experiment.
On the basis of their research, you must be prepared for some funny
post-Einsteinian time flows.  

Achieve apodeictic certainty. Understand and expound the category
of action. Eliminate all performative contradictions from your life.
If the War is still “on” after that, take up Buddhism. 

Find inner peace.

Explain Frege to the masses. 

Work two weeks in every fast food restaurant in North America.  

Reconcile the early Wittgenstein with the later Wittgenstein. Reconcile
the early John Gray with the late-early John Gray, then with the
early-middle John Gray, followed by the middle-middle John Gray,
the late-middle John Gray, the early-current John Gray, and so on,
down to last week. Reconcile Jekyll and Hyde and Moe and Curly.

Separate the Neo-Conservatives from the War with a hypothetical
crowbar. Invent a time machine and go to Mexico and prevent the
assassination of Trotsky. Listen to Trotsky drone on about how he
and Lenin agreed on everything and were always right. This will
take years.  

Set up a noisy NGO and lobby for animal rights. Set up a government
quango to negotiate with the NGO. Take up the bongo and move to

Prove or disprove Benjamin Whorf's “phonesthetic” hypothesis that
words with -ng- in them involve some psychological notion of strangulation,
anger, or angst.  

Take up insurance adjusting in Detroit. Specialize in fires.  

Read every book ever written denouncing South Africa. Read every
book ever written denouncing Soviet communism. Express the resulting
fraction as a ratio, a percentage, and a graph. Hint: the anti-Soviet
works will be the numerator. If the fraction is larger than 1/100,
check your work.

Pick out the cheerful bits in the writings of Whitaker Chambers.   

Build a private lighthouse. Staff it with refugee redheads who oppose
the monarchical ambitions of the Jones family. Have the redheads
reconstruct political philosophy while casting a bronze statue of
Oskar Lange. 

Buy these two collector's edition DVD sets: M*A*S*H
— Season One
and M*A*S*H
— Season Two
. Watch all fifty or so episodes, and commit
to memory season two's most famous episode, Five O'Clock Charlie.
Or, watch the Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde episode (again, season
two) where Hawkeye goes three days without sleep and tries to give
the officer’s latrine to North Korea.

Write Pioneer Entertainment a series of nasty letters asking why
the hell Al Pacino's Serpico hasn't been released on DVD

Become familiar with Pierre Kropotkin's theories on altruism, and
then determine whether the Atlantic Charter was genuine mutual aid
on the part of fuzzy-and-warm politicians, or just plain old imperialism.
As a sideline, ponder why Cordell Hull, "father of the United
Nations," received a Nobel Peace Prize for his advancement
of "peace" when, under FDR, all he really advanced was
US entry into WWII.

Take up plyometrics to increase your power and strength.

Create a massive Eric Voegelin crossword puzzle, and figure out
how to make it compliant with words such as gnosticism, millennialism,
utopianism, Ersatz religion, Heidegger, and positivism.

Find a talented translator that can sing Roger Miller's "Dang
Me" in Russian.

Study the Italian spatialism (or Spazialismo) movement in
art. Upon learning the stated techniques, paint the exterior body
of your car and any and all chrome a deep gloss black, and then
slash the car paint with razor blades. You can now be self-assured
that you have transcended the area of the canvas and conveyed emotions
of color projected upon space.

Have a garage sale/yard sale to get rid of your Steely Dan, Carole
King, and Santana 8-tracks. And while you're at it, think about
selling your old banana seat Schwinn bicycle that is collecting
dust in the rafters.

Write an essay on Sidney Hook, and discuss whether or not the government
really acknowledges a prima facie duty to conduct itself
according to the consent of the governed. Follow this up with the
epistemological impediments to free consent. If so inclined, proceed
to build a Sidney Hook seek-a-word puzzle, and bury within the puzzle – diagonally, going downward from the upper-right corner – the word

Start buying your Halloween candy now to insure that you get plenty
of bags of Alien Head Lollipops and Pixie Straws before they are
all picked over.

For those of you in the North, terrify your neighbors by hanging
out the South Carolina Battle Flag.

Scan the income statements, balance sheets, and overall financial
reports of dotcom companies for debt-to-equity ratios, P/E ratios,
and leverage. Then take a strong sedative. Lie down. Count Alan
Greenspans to help fall asleep.

Go to a local junkyard and take close-up photos of bent steel and
old rims, and include some shots of torn seats from a 1973 Chrysler
Newport or 1982 Chevy Chevette. Matte them, frame them, and sell
them at all of those flea markets within a three-state radius that
you are supposed to visit. Include a Boxcar Willie songbook or black-light
posters of Lynyrd Skynyrd as freebie items to entice the sale of
said photos.

Count Alexander Hamilton's contributions to the Federalist Papers.
When that is all done, and you are sure of your tally, count the
number of times "insufficiency" is used in his essays.
Then count how many times "taxation" and "necessary"
are used. Then, just for kicks and grins, count how many times "taxation"
and "necessary" (or some meaningful proxy for that word)
are used in the same sentence.

Get a pair of Accu-Measure calipers to measure your body fat. If
it reads like, say, 35%, you have been sitting around for far too
long watching war coverage on TV.

the War isn't over by the time you've done all these things, we're
in a heap of trouble. Start over from the beginning.

31, 2002

R. Stromberg [send him mail]
is holder of the JoAnn B. Rothbard Chair in History at the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
and a columnist for
and Karen
De Coster, CPA, [send
her mail
] is a paleolibertarian freelance writer, graduate student
in Austrian Economics, and a business professional from Michigan.
Her first book is currently in the works. See her Mises
Institute archive
for more online articles, and check out her
, along with her

Stromberg Archives
De Coster Archives

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