What a day this has been….

I love the old Lerner and Lowe song:

What a day this has been,
What a rare mood I’m in,
Why, it’s almost like being in love….

As I get older, though, the song has become somewhat bittersweet. One of the shames about growing older is that emotions don’t feel as strong. It’s nice that I don’t cry as much, but I don’t laugh as much either.  My intensity is simply reduced.  Sometimes, though, something will happen that punches through the emotional carapace age has created.  (For those who don’t know me, I’m not that old.  Haven’t hit 50 yet, but it’s in striking distance.)  If you’re unlucky, the emotional punch is something rotten, such as the death of someone close to you.  On a lucky day, though, that moment comes when two thinkers you admire tremendously give you an accolade on the same day.

I woke up this morning to discover that my post about Rush Limbaugh had been Instalanched.  I was thrilled.  A nod from Glenn Reynolds has two pleasures:  someone whose intelligence and world view I admire has looked approvingly on my work and I get lots of hits.  I may blog obsessively (that is, I’d write even if no one reads), but I’d be a liar if I denied the pleasure I get from traffic. As far as I was concerned, my day was already off to a healthy start.

And then, just as I was about to leave to take my Mom to an appointment, I suddenly got a slew of emails from the many wonderful friends I’ve made since I’ve started blogging, and all said the same thing:  Rush is talking about your post.  “Oh, my God,” I thought, “they’re kidding.”  Higher rational brain kicked in.  Twenty different people who have no connection to each other cannot be kidding.  “Oh, my God!  Oh, my God!  Oh, my God!”

And — here’s the bad part — I can’t do anything about it.  Because I’ve got to go, I can’t sign into my blog, which has crashed anyway.  And because my mother needs my undivided attention, I can’t listen to Rush on the radio, nor will I have access to the KSFO archives on which I rely so heavily.  I’ve had my biggest moment ever as a blogger, and I’m completely paralyzed.

But there is a good side to that.  Had I instantly gone on line and instantly been able to participate fully in my own exciting moment, the thrill would have been over as quickly.  As it was, while driving and sitting with my mom (very pleasant experiences on their own merits), I was also able to nurse a little excitement.  I knew something big was out there, but I just had to wait patiently, take care of things, run errands, etc.

So here I am at home, almost four hours after this whole thing started, and I’ve finally heard Rush reading from my post.   And I’m excited all over again.  I wasn’t kidding in my post when I said those nice things about Rush (i.e., it wasn’t just a publicity stunt).  I’ve come to believe that Rush is one of the most brilliant conservative commentators on the scene.  I trust my analysis about Rush’s ability precisely for the reasons I mentioned when I opened this post:  I’m not young anymore, and I don’t rock ‘n roll purely with my emotions.  I’m an analytical person who avoids the highs and the lows.  I hear Rush with my brain, not my heart, and my brain tells me something very good is going on there.

Given the respect I feel for Rush, you can imagine how utterly delighted I was to hear him read the words I wrote, and say my blog name aloud.  He may not know me, but I’ve spent enough hours in his company to know him, and I am mighty flattered.  As they said in the old days, and don’t say much anymore (shame, too, ’cause it’s a great expression), “Praise from Caesar is praise indeed.”

UPDATE:  Two post scripts I want to add here.

First, I cannot thank enough those of you who sent me your congratulations and your kind words.  For the last six years, I’ve lived in two different worlds simultaneously:  the corporeal world, which is made up of family, work and friends; and the cyberworld, which is made up of politics and those friends I’ve made through my blog.  Although I’ve met very few of my cyberfriends face-to-face, I value these friendships every bit as much as I do the corporeal friends I meet and greet on the street.  (Whoo, and she’s a poet too.)  That means that, when you write to me to congratulate me, or to say nice things about me, I value those words as much as I would if I were in the room with you.  So thank you, and many cyberhugs (which you should really appreciate, because I am so not a huggy kind of person).

Second, since I’ve had this launch, please believe me that I will take seriously this opportunity to write more thoughtful posts, and not just ruminate about the wonders of Las Vegas, as I did all last week.  But really, I do think Las Vegas was deserving of some posts.  Barack Hussein Obama may diss it, but I think it’s an awesome place, one that has something for everyone, even a tee-totalling, non-gambling, non-smoking mom with two kids in tow.

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Comments

  1. says

    “Second, since I’ve had this launch, please believe me that I will take seriously this opportunity to write more thoughtful posts, and not just ruminate about the wonders of Las Vegas, as I did all last week.”
     
     
    I always find your posts about your children fascinating, however. Especially the ones that include their perspectives. My only experience with children is being a child.

  2. Al says

    BW,
    Your thoughts and analysis are as strong, or maybe even more rigorous, than Rush’s analysis.
    (after all, you’re a lawyer)
    It is your heart that is the most important thing.
    You love your children.
    You love your husband.
    You want  the absolute best for them all.
    That is why you thing the way y0u do.
    You are a conservative.
    And I am honored to call you a friend.
    As we all are.
    Al

  3. Duchess of Austin says

    Hi Book :)

    I’m a longtime lurker and I listen to Rush every day at work.  I was thrilled for you when I heard him mention your blog.  You deserve the recognition because your posts, whatever the subject may be, are well thought out and very well written.

    I enjoy your work very much and I hope your traffic quadruples!

    Duchess

  4. Charles Martel says

    I’m getting a vicarious thrill out of all of this, Book. Now I can tell my friends that I not only know somebody who rose beautifully to Rush’s defense, but also impressed Rush enough to mention her site on air.

    “Bliss was it that dawn to be alive
    But to be a blogger was very heaven.”

  5. liberty says

    The reason your website crashed is because when Rush was reading it…everyone logged to see it!
    It was an awesome piece!  I listen to Rush daily and I also have friends and relatives who are “afraid” to listen to him.
     
    You are a gifted writer…wish I had some of that.  But thank you!!
     
    Is there a way I can find the blog on this website that Rush read?

  6. BobK says

    Book,
    Congratulations from yet another long-lurker sometime poster!   You’re also linked from Rush’s “Rush In A Hurry” newsletter.  It is high praise and recognition, indeed; but no more than what is deserved.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart with us!

  7. Spartacus says

    Mrs. Bookworm,
     
    What Ymarsakar said.  If you start filtering out everything that doesn’t meet some high standard you set for being politically brilliant and groundbreakingly insightful, we’re going to lose a lot of good material.  When you go into depth about carpools and errands, it’s because there’s a point — were there not, there are plenty of other blogs we could all read instead.  It’s humanizing, and brings insight to otherwise mundane things that many of the rest of us have also experienced, or at least can identify with.  How many movies have we all seen where the source of conflict and plot tension comes when the protagonist experiences dizzying success, and decides as a result to change the way he or she does things, thereby messing everything up?  My unsolicited advice?  Chill.  Rejoice.  Keep doing what you’re doing.

  8. Deana says

    Bookworm -
     
    I was driving to the gym and listening to Rush this afternoon when all of a sudden, I hear him say that he’d been sent a blogger’s post by several people.  And then I heard your name – I had just read the post right before I left the gym – I knew what was in store.  I was absolutely thrilled for you.
     
    Congratulations, Bookworm.  Your post was terrific.  Rush was clearly impressed too given the amount of time he devoted to it on air.
     
    Deana

  9. Ruth H says

    Darn! I missed it.  I have used links to you in emails to friends and then in my own blog.  I would have loved to hear Rush read and speak of your blog.  I’ve been listening to him since his furniture was misplaced on the way to New York from Sacramento – and I missed this. Darn!
    You Rock!  YEA BOOKWORM!

  10. suek says

    Heh.
     
    You know what’s really terrible about this?  You can’t brag to Mr.Bookworm…!!  Imagine…having your article read on Rush, and you can’t tell your spouse!
     
    We all are basking in your fame…
     
    though completely without the right…!  But enjoying it nevertheless!

  11. says

    Ruth, click on the KSFO archive link up above. Then go to 10-11 am time slot. It is there now, but may not be tomorrow. I don’t know how they handle archives there.
     
    And my question to Z was answered. Rush quoted almost all of the piece. 95% I would say. He read the entire post, literally.

  12. says

    I don’t get around often enough and have had some issues with logging onto WordPress to comment but I did want to drop in and say congratulations.
    And what you said about Rush could be extrapolated to all conservatives. I have a neighbor who isn’t  a whacko leftie by any means but thinks Sarah Palin is a dunce on the basis of one interview with Katie Couric almost two years ago. He refuses to listen to any recent Palin interviews and won’t watch Fox News. It’s easier for him to be comfortable with his prejudices regarding conservatives than have an open mind and an open heart.
    Congrats again. You deserve it!

  13. Liz says

    Dear Bookworm Woman,
    I, too, want to reach out to you after hearing your post on Rush’s show yesterday.  I’m a Rush Baby  with an 18 month old son who will also be a Rush Baby!  Anyway, I’m nearly 30 and agree that I’m less emotional these days (although my husband is probably grateful for that) but, at the risk of sounding emotional, listening to your post actually brought a tear to my eye because you are  RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON.  So when I immediately went to your site I was thrilled to see that it was shut down.  I am comforted in knowing there are others out there like me!  Reading your other posts leads me to believe that we will be good friends.  Best of luck to you!
     
     

  14. FunkyPhD says

    Book:
    Many, many congratulations.  Your post was outstanding, and Rush recognized it–a testimony to your intelligence and his.
    Re your comments about developing a carapace as one gets older. . .  my experience is the opposite.  My emotions are much more extreme than they were when I was young:  back in my liberal days, I wasn’t a deep thinker.  Growing more conservative as I get older, I also became more aware of both the deep tragedy of life and its inexpressible glories.  As a conservative, I recognize what’s real in the world, instead of what my liberal ideology thought was real–that evil was was just psychosis or deprivation, and the good would only come when all inequality was finally banished.  I know now that evil is just that–a sick malevolence, pursued for its own sake–and the good is all around us, in the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness of love that take place every day.
    Anyway, thanks for keeping this up, and keeping us all going.  You’re touching more lives in more profound ways than you’ll ever know.
    Funky Ph.D.

  15. says

    I think it is natural and perfectly understandable that Book has had to shield her emotions from the public eye.
     
    After all, she can’t truly express her emotions with the people around her normally. So I’m sure she feels reserved, to some extent. It, perhaps, has become even a survival mechanism. If she felt as deep and as intense an emotion as, say…. me, for example, she might be hard put up to deal with these “people” every moment she sees them.
     
    I don’t think I could deal with it. While my self-discipline is not easily breached, that depends entirely on how insulting or contemptuous people around me behave. What is tolerable from strangers, may actually be less tolerable from the people close to you.

  16. says

    I have also mellowed out as I have gotten older and more experienced. But I don’t think this is an inherent limit on my capacity. It is just that I have more productive ways to deal with emotions. The hormonal levels may have dropped as well, which helps, but given my native level of what I felt, I don’t think it would have mattered much.
     
    It is just simply easier to handle emotions when you don’t let the monkey drive your bus. If you can keep your neo-cortex in control, you just don’t feel emotions, not the way you would if the monkey was driving you.
     
    Obviously when we are young, the monkey is mostly driving our bus. But as we get older, we should be the one kicking the monkey out and throwing him under the bus. Because we’re now driving the bus, supposedly. This may seem like our emotions have hit a ceiling and can’t go any higher. But I think we sublimate hot emotion for cold emotion. Instead of instant rage at situations where we can’t control, we harness it into anger at injustice and hatred of evil, a cold, hard, determined hatred, that is born not out of vengeance but simply out of the love of those which we wish to protect. And to protect that which will ensure the protection of our important people.
     
    All the things I hated when I was young, I still hate. All the things I loved when I was young, I still love. It’s just that my behavior has changed, the way I react to stimuli has changed.
     
    People work themselves into a frenzy because they think they should control their environment more than they have. But they don’t know how. Given bad influences, this tends to spiral down into bad ends.
     
     
    Now some of us may have just been naturally mellow or in control or what not. Those people do exist, the natural alphas that stay calm in tense situations. A combination of good genes and good upbringing, along with personal tests and trials/tribulations.
     
    But most people aren’t like that. Most people are weak. Sorry to say it, but it is the truth.

  17. SGT Dave says

    BW,
    Don’t worry about your emotions – you may not think they are as intense, but that does not change their reality or scope.  Unlike when you were younger, you can now appreciate degree and nuance – every joy is not the pinnacle of creation, every loss not the world’s end.  It seems that the emotions have changed, but instead it is the capability to understand and enfold these emotions. You will find, as you examine them, that they are every bit as rich and strong as before.
    Each day brings something new for us; I have played the game for years – befriending people I’d rather take out back and shoot, spending time with others I’d never have in my home, smiling as I listen to their lies and know that neither of us believes a word.  And yet I treasure a kiss from my daughter, or when my son shows me his latest “invention”.  Knowing the false and enduring the necessary have made me more appreciative of the true. 
    You will endure; moreover, you shall thrive and when the time comes, each emotion now seemingly blunted shall play out in memory with purity and fidelity – untainted by inexperience and full of each subtle hint underlying truth, in the full spectrum of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, love and hate.
    Be well, be joyful, for memory is our greatest treasure, and true memory the rarest gem.

    SSG Dave
    “I remember the times – they were the very finest bad times I ever had.”

  18. SGT Dave says

    Y & Funky,
    Thanks for the compliment.  I write and translate for a living; I always appreciate when the meaning I try to convey is what actually transfers.

    SSG Dave
    “Words are inexact, clumsy, and perverse – yet we have no other way to truly express what is inside our minds and souls to others around us and generations to come.”

  19. says

    Dave,
     
    I was born with a basic knowledge of Mandarin, learned English until I was above proficient, and then when I started hearing Japanese language with English subtitled, I eventually got to the point where I was recognizing individual words. It was always an interesting game to see how I would interpret a word’s meaning vis a vis what the translated English word meant.
     
    Understanding other cultures isn’t necessarily linked to understanding other people’s languages, but I think it helps. The real parochial village idiots in this country are the ones that don’t even know what goes on in America, because they fly from LA to DC and back again. And that’s all they ever do. How can they truly be cosmopolitan and “multi-cultural” when they can’t even detect minute differences in local culture…
     
     

  20. says

    This was an interesting incident I had a few years ago. I couldn’t make sense of it at the time. It was just a little bit too weird.
     
    It was an ordinary day, not too hot and not too cold. I was running along the sidewalks on the other side of the street where the local elementary school was. It was along a side street that had a light. Was I turned the corner, looking down at where I was jogging, I heard some calls from youth.
     
    This is where it starts getting weird. Immediately, my attention jumped from very passive to very alert. My head snapped up to eye level, then swiveled to the source of the sound. I then saw it was a car stopped at the red light. Almost instantly, what came through my mind was “potential threat, most dangerous is gun, find cover and decrease distance to the target”.
     
    What my action ended up being was turning my body to where my head was looking, and then I started walking towards the car. Given what I know of an adrenaline spike, I think I had one, because of a slight distortion in my time sense and a very bad memory of distance and proportion when it came to just where exactly I was on the street in relation to the car.
    While I felt angry and annoyed that somebody had called me out, I think it was very very short of a feeling. What I most remember thinking and feeling was that I had to get close to the car. For no particular reason other than that I had to get to a position where nobody with a gun from the window could easily hit me. I didn’t even know what I was going to do once I got to the car. I didn’t want to yell at them. I didn’t want to ask them questions. They had called me and I was like on auto pilot.
     
    I do remember that as I got close to the car, I was essentially right behind the trunk on the right side. I couldn’t see anything inside the car. Not sure if that was tunnel vision or just because the windows were tinted. Once I saw a black palm thrust through the right rear window, though, with the palm facing me, I felt like I had shifted gears back to some relatively normal mind scape. I high fived that hand, feeling perhaps annoyed or confused or I’m not sure what (relieved too), and turned my back, got back on the sidewalk that was like 5 meters away, and then continued whatever I was doing.
     
    What’s weird is that I don’t remember a single thing anybody said from the lead up of me hearing their loud call/yell to me closing the distance to the car. I didn’t say anything. They didn’t say anything. On recollection, I’m not sure if I didn’t hear anything or if they simply didn’t say anything. My time sense felt a little distorted. By the time I got to the car, everything felt more normal, maybe because the adrenaline spike had gone away.
     
    Now when I say they called me, I’m not even sure what they said. It was just a typically wannabe ghetto ebonics call of “Go for it or something” along with the ridicule sounding loud laughter and what not. No loud music though.
     
    At the time, I forgot about it. As I learned more about adrenaline and violent confrontation, the situation interested me more.
     
    I was just wondering if anyone, like say Dave, might shed some explanations on this given their personal collection of experience.

  21. SGT Dave says

    Y,
    You experienced what we call hyper-awareness.  It is an adrenaline based physiological reaction that the body can enter in response to stimuli.  The capability to enter this state is not unique to the military – it is actually more common than most would think.  When a sportscaster talks about “slowing down the game” or a hitter “sees” a fastball, they are at the edges of this cognizance. 
    I’ll do more homework and get more information to you after I get the kids to dinner; just understand that this is one of the key factors in PTSD.  Soldiers often enter into this state at random, uncalled for moments.  The adrenaline and survival reaction can result in paranoid situations, panic attacks, or even violence. 
    Entering this state can save your life in a conflict – but it is hard on the body and mind.

    More to follow later,
    Have a good one,
    SSG Dave
    “We train to eliminate emotion, since emotion is often the wrong thing to have in a conflict.  Emotions come later, when we have to understand ourselves and the aftermath.”

  22. says

    From the data sources that I was using for adrenaline, there are various things listed in terms of physiological responses. David Grossman listed some of em when I read his Two Wars books. I got a more complete data from the nononsensedefense site.
     
    The NND site gave interesting stories about how police entry (SWAT) members will often report intensely disparate recollections of the entry. The team leader may report that it took 2 minutes and that somebody had a conversation that nobody else could remember. The others may have said, 3s. Or 1s. Or one said it didn’t take any time at all.
     
    They are curious accounts of how individual perception relates to the physical world, when a adrenalized state triggers the lizard brain as the driver of our bus.
     
    Yet, at the same time, adrenaline can also be present when the monkey is driving the bus. Some have reported their adrenalized state as being the cause of people freezing or attacking out of fear, and so forth.
     

    I’ve had previous experiences with this kind of state change. Almost all of them involved extreme conditions of one sort or another that taxed the body beyond a certain norm. I would tend to call it the lizard brain, if only because all the monkey politic stuff that came before it, disappears. All I focus on is survival in the now. No fear of the future, no current anxiety, no particular bounce between anger or fear. Even if I was feeling strong emotions before, once that state is engaged, I become very calm.
     
    This is interesting and actually does apply to some other physical skills I have learned. Namely in the H2H area. The loss of fine motor control makes using complex sets of muscle movement more difficult than usual. Yet, the more I’m familiar and comfortable in the adrenalized state, the less normal movement is a problem. I heard that most people never get such a shot of adrenaline that they shift mental states, until something like violence happens to them when they are adults. All the regular movements that they took for granted at that time, now became very difficult to use.
    Since I saw this early on, I can’t account for how much normal movement is made more complex by the adrenal state. It felt more like I had time to think about moving, but my body was simply too slow to react. This was in relation to a fight in junior school.
     
     

  23. SGT Dave says

    Y,
    Sorry about the delay, we were out for dinner and ice cream (yeah!).  The disconnect causing the “freeze” in adrenalin reaction is a conflict between the fight/flight neurocenters in the brain.  Without a traditional “enemy” the brain will often get stuck in a response loop.  Cars are not lions, tigers, nor bears.  Working inside the hyper-state (some call it a fugue state, where time is apparently altered) is a skill, not an instinct.  The lizard brain can only bite, claw, or run – unless it is trained.  Terms for this type of skill are “muscle memory” and “trained reflex activity” – also known in many martial arts as kata.  Your mind can out-react your body; time becomes hazy and some people gain a state known in some circles as “ego displacement”; meaning they disassociate from their actions and live so fully in the moment that the sensory input doesn’t even reach short-term memory storage.  The best point and entry men I know can achieve this, but the debriefing and after-action reviews are a royal pain.  They do it right, every time, but cannot tell you what they did, why they did it, or even if they did it from the blast of the initial breach until the final “clear” call.
    When entering a fugue state, your body lags behind perception – it is easy to overbalance, press to hard, or misjudge strength.  People become jerky, awkward, or clumsy as their muscles do exactly what they are told – by a brain working at double speed and adjusting before the final state is reached. 
    I’ve achieved the fugue more than once, and once upon a time was capable of voluntarily entering a state of ego displacement.  I haven’t been at that level for over a dozen years – though I nearly shot a man in Baghdad before I caught my hand.  He was working on a roof about 400 meters away and carrying a water pipe.  Silhouetted, he looked like an RPG gunner.  I stopped when I had to adjust my head because of dust on my glasses – I didn’t recall taking the safety off or getting the rifle to my shoulder.  The last time before that I needed that state of awareness.  I’m still here, the young man that triggered the fugue is not. 
    You are not alone in finding the adrenalin fugue both intriguing and frightening.  Throughout history, man has sought to harness this super-human capability.  Heroes are lauded for achieving this state, where strength is multiplied, wounds are irrelevant, and the enemy is so much grain to be cut down.  And yet, when the threat is passed, men of conscience are horrified at their capacity for destruction – and yet others cannot live without achieving that state - so close to deification – again and again, despite the risks to life and sanity that are needed to provoke it. 
    A note – the monkey is never, ever in charge.  There are skills the lizard can learn to use.  It isn’t a dumb beast, just a very, very slow learner that requires intimate contact with the skills it will use.  Race car drivers have it – and the best example of a man who could achieve it effortlessly I can give you is to call up the old NFL films of Barry Sanders.  He made the world look slow – and did it time and again with an ease and joy that belie what it must have cost him.

    Be well, Y, and do not fear.  You are human, as are all of us.  And, more importantly, you have touched a part of yourself that the Almighty gives to make us heroes - Heroes capable of moving cars, leaping buildings, and plunging through fire and steel to save others.  Remember that touch, should you be called to use it in service of others.

    May it not cost you too high a price.

    SSG Dave
    “A hero is merely a man who endures the unendurable and achieves the impossible to help another.  And we are all that mere man.”

  24. says

    Thank you for your time. This discussion was quite beneficial.
     
    I would like to make the note that when I first came across a sort of state (I wouldn’t call it a fugue, so much as something sparked by intense emotion, pain, and the hormonal reaction to it), it was in a minor fight over somebody that kept talking about wanting to fight but never doing anything about it.
     
    It was at that point where I sustained a hit on my right upper leg (because I was still incompetent at range, evasion, and power train motion) that I felt what was almost a different personality. I’ve said this here before, but I was once very against the thought of violence or what not, just like any Democrat that doesn’t know how to use force. That other personality, however, had no compunctions about being hurt or hurting others, however. And as you said, it was something to be feared. Because the question was always, who is actually in control here?
     

    Incidentally, I walked with a limp because of that damage for about a week before the twinge went away. Yet during the fight, all I felt was the intense pain from the hit, and then shortly less pain, then no pain. Then for hours afterwards, nothing but euphoria from that adrenaline cocktail mix. The last time I felt that, at that point in time, was when I torn the ligaments in my ankle and tried to walk to class a couple of times to meet the bell right afterwards. (Yeah, even I can’t imagine doing that now, but I did it carrying my books) That definitely felt like my survival lizard was driving the bus.
     
    I’ve learned much in the mean time. That part of me has become integrated as my tool now. And like any potentially dangerous tool, caution is wise in its usage.

    Another reason I don’t like the Left is how they dehumanize violence. Making it into some kind of ethical evil or moral wrong. It prevents a useful tool when it can be used to help humanity. Instead people become afraid of it and are thus lessened for it.
     
    Courtesy of JKB, http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/five_stages.html
    This site is very nice as a way to turbo charge the Orient in OODA. Now I don’t have nearly as much uncertainty in terms of the tactical environment. Much of this stuff can then be integrated to allow the mind to perceive what is a threat, at what time does it stop being a threat, and one can prevent threats from even materializing.
    I didn’t have this back then with the punks in the car episode, but while a lot of stuff is socially common sense, it is nice to have a coherent and consistent framework. Keeps the questions to a minimum when time is scarce.
     

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