Saturday, October 28, 2006

Zen Superman and Achilles on a Motorcycle

I remembered it this morning while I was in the shower. I must do a lot of thinking in the shower; that’s probably why I can never remember if I washed my hair. In the last web post – the one on Heroes – an Anonymous blogger gave a quote in support of Odysseus’ excellence. I knew when I read it that I knew it – but from where? I looked through Cahill and Hamilton, a friend’s Western Culture anthology; nothing. But this morning in the shower I remembered; Pirsig’s *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance*, page 341 to be exact.

It is only reasonable that Anonymous, as an A. P. English Teacher and bookstore loiterer, (both honorable occupations) would be familiar with Pirsig. I first heard of *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance* the second time I went to University. Pirsig was all the buzz in the College of Education, but I was too busy jumping through hoops to read. Besides I wasn’t interested in “Eastern Religions”.

It was not until after I had achieved my life’s dream and become a high school History teacher, that I was reminded of Zen and Motorcycles.

People often ask me why I chose to teach high school; after the “Those who can do, those who can’t teach, and those who can’t teach – teach teachers" joke, (the last “can’t teach, teach teachers” line is my own; crafted the hard way in years of Education classes and in-service training) I quip that I chose an occupation which allows me to get paid for reading and talking, my favorite things. I do not say more to most. Who could understand? It’s like explaining why one spends every summer at Boy Scout Camp.

I digress.

Soon after I began teaching high school, one of my colleagues mentioned that *Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”* was her favorite book. In those days I was in ah of high school teachers with more experienced than myself. I read the book, twice; cover to cover then back and again. I loved it, still do, and was eager to discuss the ideas of Classical and Romantic understanding, the absolute and the relative, with my “peer”. The first opportunity came and I charged in. I began with some pithy point, perhaps on Odysseus and Arête; her face was blank. I tried to broach Pirsig’s masterful analogy on the two types of motorcycle drivers; she had no clue. Then it became clear to me – she had never read her favorite book! What were we paying her for?????

Come to find out that Ms. _____’s experience with Pirsig was limited to an Education Class discussion on his experiment with teaching without standards. She did not even know that Pirsig comes to the conclusion that it doesn’t work. She lamented that we have to “grade our students”.

This was the second time a woman had done this to me. As a boy I had read *All Creatures Great and Small* so I could share the experience with an "aspiring veterinarian" who said she love the book. I soon found out she only loved the cover.

I digress.

Since reading “Zen” (which, by the way, has very little to do with Eastern religion and every thing to do with Western thought), I have often contemplated – played out in my mind as if it were my own memory - the “seed crystal” moment in Pirsig’s book. It reads:

“Sara! Now it comes down! She came trotting by with her watering pot between those two doors, going from the corridor to her office, and she said, “I hope you are teaching Quality to your students.” This in a la-de-da singsong voice of a lady in her final year before retirement about to water her plants. That was the moment it all started. That was the seed crystal.

Seed crystal. A powerful fragment of memory comes back now. The laboratory. Organic chemistry. He [Pirsig’s former self called Phaedurs] was working with an extremely supersaturated solution when something similar had happened.

A supersaturated solution is one in which the saturation point, at which no more material will dissolve, has been exceeded. This can occur because the saturation point becomes higher as the temperature of the solution is increased. When you dissolve the material at a high temperature and then cool the solution, the material sometimes doesn’t crystallize out because the molecules don’t know how. They require something to get them started, a seed crystal, or a grain of dust or even a sudden scratch or tap on the surrounding glass.

He walked to the water tap to cool the solution but never got there. Before his eyes, as he walked, he saw a star on crystalline material in the solution appear and then grow suddenly and radiantly until it filled the entire vessel. He saw it grow. Where before was only clear liquid there was now a mass of solid; he could turn the vessel upside down and nothing would come out.

The one sentence “I hope you are teaching Quality to your students” was said to him, and within a matter of a few months, growing so fast you could almost see it grow, came an enormous, intricate, highly structured mass of thought, formed as if by magic.” (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, pgs 161-162)

The wonder and the maddness begins here. In a suite of crowed offices in some old Montana college. However, it isn’t until Pirsig's Aristotelian mind and his Romantic heart super saturate his soul; and then touched by Plato’s attack on the Sophists, his championing of Socrates; that Phaedrus has his epiphany. We read on:

“The halo around the heads of Plato and Socrates is now gone. [But only for a moment, only in the supersaturating heat of Pirsig’s mind.] He sees that they consistently are doing exactly that which they accuse the Sophists of doing – using emotionally persuasive language for the ulterior purpose of making the weaker argument, the case for the dialectic, appear the stronger. We always condemn most in others, he thought, that we most fear in ourselves. But why? Phaedurs wondered. Why destroy arête? And no sooner had he asked the question than the answer came to him. Plato hadn’t tried to destroy arête. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made arête the Good, the highest form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate only to Truth itself, in a synthesis of all that had gone before.”

Then came madness!!!!

It is telling that Phaedurs (Pirsig) ignores Achilles in his discussion of Arête. He was looking in the wrong place for Quality.

He looked to the life of Odysseus, the phony all rounder, “seeking the safety of his home”, and missed Achilles, whose rage at injustice and sorrow at the murder of his friend, drove him to a sacred sacrifice.

In the modern myth, we have Superman – who will never lie and gives his “God like power” in the service of man. The choice is clear; will it be the eternal Good or shifting opinion hiding out at home, or is it in the Bat Cave.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The True Hero

To the Ancient Greeks a poet was greater than a prophet. The Prophet – the oracle – spouts the words of God, but the Poet takes the inspiration of the Gods and crafts them into beauty, truth refined.

It is time for book reports in my Honors World History Class. Top of my list – the Iliad; way down the line - The Odyssey. I have often heard the Iliad described as a man’s book - all that blood and sweat, comradeship on the battle field, and eternal glory earned through prowess and courage. The Odyssey is a woman’s book – some guy coming home to his wife. Neither view is correct.

I have noticed that Odysseus gets all the attention in high school English classes, and why not – most high school English teachers are women, and all of them have been trained at universities by professors passing on the misconceptions noted above. But there is something more sinister at work here, the effort to discredit the war hero, the hero that replaced the sacred king and gives his life in battle not on the alter stone. Odysseus’ deceit is exalted while Achilles’’ service is debased.

Now for the truth, the Iliad speaks to the heart of what made the West. It centers on the struggles of a true hero, Achilles. He does all he can to avoid war, suffers nine years in loyal service to his high king, and then revolts against that king when unjust acts strip Agamemnon of his right to power. At last Achilles chooses to go home to his fatherland and the unborn grandsons who will be the last men to remember his name; he rejects eternal fame, and seeks peace. But then comes the unjust murder of his best friend. Achilles abandons his just rage against his king and his hope for joy and does his duty by Patroclus.

The Odyssey exposes the forces of Relativism, the canker that can destroy civilization. Its false hero is a lecher; scheming and tricking his way from bed to bed for twenty years, a rationalizer, who sneaks into his own house to test his wife’s fidelity. His double standard is exalted by generations of unread scholars. Had Penelope lived as her husband had done, she would have died at his hands. Once home, Odysseus murders the unarmed guests of his home’s hospitality, and then proceeds to hang the girls who loved the unfortunate victims of his anger in a fit of spite.

The problem is that the Iliad and the Odyssey continue to be taught to students who do not read them by teachers and professors who have never read them. Hence the tired misconceptions are reiterated.

Misconception one, Achilles died for glory, he chose eternal fame and a short life.

The truth, Achilles chose to go home – it was his best friend’s murder that bound him to the fate he had rejected.

Misconception two, Hector killed Patroclus in a fair fight.

The truth, Patroclus was naked, wounded and a helpless prisoner begging for his life when Hector cut him down in cold blood.

Misconception three, Achilles left the fighting of the war to the Greeks because he was a “spoiled brat” wanting his own way.

The truth, Agamemnon had committed the same outrage against Achilles that Paris had done against Menelaus. Achilles states the truth quite clear on this – Agamemnon is no longer worthy of obedience because he has behaved unjustly. Achilles is the inspiration to Jefferson. Homer prophesies and crafts the words of the Declaration of Independence by Achilles’ lips.

Misconception four, Achilles thinks only of his own childish wants while deserting the army of the Achaeans to defeat.

The truth, Achilles destroys the one Trojan that could stand in the way of Achaean victory and saves the lives of all the army at the cost of his own.

Now to the frauds perpetrated to support Odysseus, the false hero.

Fraud one, Odysseus is a clever man who uses his wits to win; as in his “battle” with Polyphemus”.

The facts, Odysseus gets caught stealing another man’s food, gets that “man” drunk and blinds his one eye, then Odysseus lies his way out of danger and lies about his identity until he thinks he’s out of danger. Then in a fit of pride reveals his name and brings the wrath of God down on the head of his crew. He, conveniently, escapes the consequences of his crimes.

Fraud two, Odysseus is a great “sea captain” leader and king.

The facts, Odysseus losses his ship and his crew – every one of them lost while their Captain and King schemes and sleeps around to save his own skin.

Fraud three, Odysseus loves his wife and home more than war.

The facts, Odysseus is only interested in his own animal needs. He indulges his passions throughout his circuitous journey and then disguises himself to trick his way into his home. He is not interested in the feelings of his long abandoned bride, only in her celibacy. He would have eagerly killed her had she lived as he had done.

Fraud four, Odysseus is a great hero.

The facts, Odysseus traps his victims unarmed by deceit, murders them while they are supposedly under the protection of his hospitality and in his pride-driven rage he even murders the man who has helped him.

Fraud five, Odysseus represents a just king cleansing his house of pollution.

Ridiculous, Odysseus having murdered his guests, goes on to callously hang the girls who have served their lovers as Odysseus’ “conquests” have serviced him.

It is no wonder the Romans, who actually read the works of Homer, exalted Achilles, and despised Odysseus. The study of Homer’s works was the foundation of liberal education for millennia. Hidden under the dark cloud of medieval Christianity, Homer's art burned bright enough to illuninate the Enlightenment. The greatness of Homer’s poetry is the inspired truth of how to live like heroes. In an age where only heroes can save the West from the dark night of superstition and hate, the Iliad and the Odyssey and the truths the master crafted are miss taught to the peril of civilization.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Down With the Death Star

The most frightening of all the *Star Wars’* villains was Governor Tarkin. In the first movie he commanded the Death Star and “held Vader’s leash”. He was not afraid of the Emperor or the Empire or any of those Jedi types. He clearly stated that each governor would rule their own sector and when asked how order would be maintained without the imperil bureaucracy he coldly answered that “fear of this battle station will keep the systems in line.” Tarkin coldly destroyed the entire planet of Alderaan. No other monster, robot concoction, or clone, no matter how powerful in the force, ever did anything like that. What was most terrifying about Tarkin was that his power was “real”, something we could all identify with; not levitated debris or leaping, light saber wielding ninjas with inordinately high counts of some “bug” living in their blood. Tarkin’s power came simply from his intellect and his willingness to kill anyone who stood in his way.

This past weekend I found myself discussing Kim Jong Il’s threat to the world. The question came around to why his people support him. Some Fox News reporter recently sneaked into North Korea and returned to report that the people there seem to genuinely support the little dictator. Of course she was never out of sight and earshot of a minder sent by Kim to watch her and any Korean who might speak to her. I do not believe that the people of North Korea would tolerate Kim Jong Il for half a day if it weren’t for the machine gun totting thugs that benefit from his power and keep him in power by fear.

I am aware that at some level the “true believers” might buy into some of the lies. Perhaps they, like Winston Smith in *1984*, really have come to love Big Brother, but it is only after torture and fear have destroyed reason.

The thugs that keep the monsters in power do so for their own benefit. They are like the Praetorian guards of Rome. Once the Emperor turned on them, he found himself dead and his replacement bribing his way into power; not with the senate or the people, but with the thugs.

It has been the same throughout history:

Robespierre tricked the French people into giving him power, but he had to murder 40,000 innocents to keep it – and when he became too weird for his thugs they marched him off the “temple mount” and up to the guillotine.

Lenin pretended to serve the people, but when the fact of the failure of Communism become so painfully clear that the party turned against him, he kept his power by murder and terror.

Stalin followed Lenin to power in the USSR, not by merit or the love of his comrades but by murder, and kept his power through a reign of terror. When his thugs felt threatened they saw him murdered. His successors, those who recoiled from killing, fell. Brezhnev hung on by threatening to kill the world and refilling the gulags.

Hitler lied his way to power, but he kept himself there by fear. In the end, when he had shot and poisoned himself to hell, Hitler’s “loyal” followers danced in the bunker.

Mao murdered his way into power and kept it through the most devastating and terrifying slaughter in history. Fear, not love or belief in the little red book kept the “system in line”.

If Saddam’s Iraq or bin Laden’s Caliphate could stir the least moment of loyalty, there would be no need for mass murder, bombs, and endless terror.

Now we come to Kim Jong Il, pretending to command the loyalty of the starving and miserable peoples of North Korea. They may well be ignorant of any other way of life, but it is the tanks and guns of the thugs, not the propaganda or the promises that keeps this mini monster in power.

I saw the first *Star Wars* eighteen times in theaters. Remember, it played for more than a year, and there were no video tape rentals in those days. Once the movie left the theater your chance of ever seeing it again was next to nil. None of us doubted the justice of the “galactic rebels”. We didn’t need the three “episodes” still in Lucas’ head, we automatically knew who to justly fight. Any power that must be maintained by murder must be rebelled against. Our reason teaches us that.

The peoples of China, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, along with others, wait for the instant they can defy the monster and in a blaze of joy bring down the “Death Star”.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Burmingham to Belfast to Baghdad and Back


This past week’s Civics lecture brought us to a biography of Thurgood Marshall. It was wonderful to follow his life as he used the bludgeon of the Constitution, the Law, and Reason to smash down the doctrine of Separate-but-Equal and end legal segregation in the United States. In passing we contemplated the heroic suffering of Martin King and the wonder that was and is the power of Civil Disobedience. But our study had revealed something else to us. The wonders of the Civil Rights movement sat upon a deep and dark foundation. The United States of American had almost failed to happen. The dividing barrier that almost ripped America into pieces before it could be, was slavery.

We had studied Franklin’s attack on that horrible institution; Jefferson’s fear of that Fire Bell in the Night, and realized that Washington and others had had to plug their noses and swallow that stinking evil in order to establish the Republic. But it didn’t end there, the war against the bigotry, greed, and ignorance that made slavery possible was millenniums old. It was obviously not a reasonable condition, and yet at times it seemed to be a universal part of the human condition.

It is important to realize that it was not simply the realization of its injustice that ended slavery and set America on the road to Burmingham jail and the admission that racism and segregation are not reasonable. That miracle was wrought on bloody battlefields. Hundreds of thousands had to die violent deaths to end that colossal inhumanity of man to man. The Civil War is the single most horrific sacrifice to end American bigotry and ignorance inspired hate although it was neither the alpha nor the omega of that fight. The actions of Marshal and King were majestic and magical in their application of law and justice to end evil, but their successes were founded on the bloody battlefield sacrifice of 360,000 boys in blue.


Last week I attended a lecture at the university. The presenter professor, Thom Kearin, is a Sociologist who seems to have devoted his life to the study of the Belfast Murals. Hideous graffiti that soils the walls of that city to intimidate, inflame, and commemorate murder. It was surprising to me that Professor Kearin seemed to have affection for these monstrosities. He has carefully cataloged and photographed them and now laments that their numbers have shrunk from over 600 to less than three. He scornfully said that the only thing the American Government has pressured the Northern Irish and British governments to do, of late, is remove the murals. “Why don’t they, the U.S., pressure the Government to end segregation and the laws that support it?” he queried.

Professor Kearin then went on to introduce us to the “peace walls” of Belfast. Walls that divide the Irish Catholics from the Irish Protestants.

“Who built these walls?” asked a student.

“The Government!” the professor replied.


He went on to outline the centuries long struggle between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. The Battle of the Boyne to the Bog Side “Massacre”; to the fact that over the last 30 years an average of one person has been murdered every day in Northern Ireland in the name of Catholicism or Protestantism. But what pained me the most was a statistic he seemed to drop in passing, almost as if it were a positive terrorist accomplishment, a proof of British failure; one third of those killed have been British soldiers.

There were three points during the lecture where I got my oar in. Kearin was deprecating the British government for institutionalizing segregation, “oh that evil government”.

1. I asked, “what if the government were to start busing kids from Catholic schools to Protestant ones, and vice-versa. What if the government took down the walls and forced landlords to integrate and meet quotas on housing.

His reply, “There would be civil war.”

“So,” I questioned, “It is not the government who has institutionalized bigotry, it is the bigots that will not bend? Why do you blame the government for keeping the peace?

“I can’t disagree with you,” was his scholarly reply.

2. “You say that the only thing the U.S. government is doing is calling for the destruction of these murals?” I asked.

“Yes,” replied the professor.

“But isn’t that about all they can do, they cannot magically make these people get along; perhaps all they can do is try to remove the emblems of hate and the memories of the blood feud.”

3. A lady in the class inquired, “How can these people do these things and claim to be Christians, when the teachings of Christ so clearly teach otherwise?”

I butted in to reply, “If you read in the bible you will find plenty of examples of the chosen people killing the “evil ones” to inhabit their land.”

“Yes’ the professor agreed, “The Old Testament is very big among many of these people, and it is full of instances of killing off the people you don’t like to grab their land.”

“I am not so naive as not to know what is in the Bible,” the lady almost sobbed, “but how can they be so evil?”

“Because it is how they are taught the Bible.” I replied, “And if they are not taught to reason they can be mislead.”

“How are things now?” another student asked.

“Better” Kearin replied.

“I wonder why?” I thought.

At the end of class, Kearin passed out a set of pictures from the Bog Side Mural series, a series of eleven wall side paintings, ten of which commemorate Belfast’s Bloody Sunday, one is a dove of peace. He asked us to fill out a survey to give our impressions of the paintings. I did my best, but in the comments’ section I wrote, “I see no need to memorialize hate with eyesores erected to celebrate black hooded murders.” The idea that there is any value in building monuments to hate, to celebrate when religious and cultural differences become the blood feud, where crime is glorified and the police and soldiers who attempt to bring peace are vilified, seems to me to be a dastardly dam to the spread of reason.

We must not forget that the “better life” in Northern Ireland has been bought by the blood of 3,650 British soldiers who selflessly died that others might live in peace and freedom.


The killing goes on in Baghdad. Al Qaeda terrorists stir up hate between Sunni and Shiite to continue millennia of murder in the name of God. The ever increasing number of American soldiers, who have come to Iraq to bring peace and freedom necessary for reason to grow, are dying, murdered by terrorists and thugs who kill for power, hate, and Allah. Someday, perhaps soon, the killing will stop, reason will prevail. The Iraqi Constitution and its noble implementers and heroes will bring law and justice to the people of Iraq. It is their natural right and their reasonable desire. But when they do, we must not forget that the triumph of reason has been paid for by the sacrifice of the most sacred of blood.

And Back:

Herodotus, my hero among all historians, had a favorite line. He would say, “To compare small things with great. . .” and then go on to do just that, putting the history of the world into perspective by an examination of some small fact or situation.

So, “to compare small things with great. . .” One wonders how it can be that people, who by nature partake of that same reason that makes God, God, can kill and murder, hate and divide for so long and only be brought together at such horrendous sacrifice.

In Davis County there is a new high school being built. It will be up and running by next school year. The students for Syracuse High will have to come from somewhere. The overcrowded halls and classes of North Ridge and Clearfield highs will go to fill the new school, and they will be left in need for more students, those student will, of course, come from communities whose children now attend Layton High. And how will Layton High be filled? From the crowded hall of Davis High. Then more students will be brought up from Viewmont and at last balance will be attained. That is the reasonable and best way to take advantage of the new school and make education the best for students. But now long taught hatreds come to the surface. Enraged “parents” flood the e-mails of the Realignment Committee, and “mobs” threaten the School Board meetings. How far will the hatred and prejudice go? Will someone strap on the dynamite to prevent their virgin child from association with the polluted population of Layton High?

What is it that makes folks from Kaysville so afraid of having their children associate with Layton folks? What is so repugnant about the halls of Clearfield High; so disgusting about having a dart for a mascot? How can reason prevail when some people think they are so much better than others, when some groups think they are justified in hating those who live and believe differently? Where is the Divine light of reason when you ask a mother to let her child go to school with a crowd she doesn’t like? Is it true that rich kids are better than poor ones? Does Mutton Hollow divide intelligent and good people from scum and riffraff? All these things will be debated and shouted. The tears will flow and Christian charity be forgotten, and the will of Allah will be invoked to attack and disdain. I only hope that there will be brave and courageous leaders who will sacrifice, that reason might someday prevail. I hope reason will not have to be bought with blood, but what price will Davis County folks have to pay for reason to prevail?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mr. Foley, You Are a Brainless Man

I enjoy how lines form plays become impeded in my mind after listening to them hundreds of times in rehearsal and performance. Some favorites: “You can’t handle the truth” “I shall call it Bottom’s dream, because it has no bottom.” “I do not think about things, I do not think about.” “Do you ever think about things you do think about?”

Now I am listening to *The Crucible*, beginning to end, once ever two days. In the play; as the Witch Trials come crashing down around Judge Danforth’s ears, the Reverend Parris revels that his niece; the leading accuser of the twelve “witches” already hung, and the seven scheduled to die at sunrise; has stolen Parris' money and fled. The Judges reaction is to scream: “Mr. Parris, you are a brainless man!” By the way, so was Judge Danforth.

Now who will prove to be brainless?

If Mark Foley has sexually abused young men; his crimes need to be uncovered and he needs to be punished. If his crimes do not go past the e-mails and text messages at present disclosed then the least we can say is: “Mark Foley, you are a brainless man!”

I have cut and pasted the “sexually explicit” text messages and e-mails that the Congressman is know to have sent to a High School aged boy who had worked for him: posted these instant message exchanges:

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed. also cited this exchange:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

A third example from

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

Some excerpts from the email.

glad your home safe and sound...we dont go back into sessionuntil Sept 5,,,,si its a nice long break...I am back in Florida now...its nice here..been raining sounds like you will have some fun over the next few old are you now?...

I am in North Carolina..and its over 100 degrees in New that's really hot...well do you miss DC...Its raining here but 68 degrees so you can argue..did you have fun at your conference....what do you want for your birthday coming up...what stuff do you like to do

how are you weathering the hurricane...are you safe...send me an email pic of you as well....

The teen boy is 16 years-old.”

"Click on the blue "16 years-old" above and get the "full" story.

We can all now judge the inappropriateness of these comments and the level of “evil” they represent. Now let’s sit back and watch what their effect will be on the nation.

1. Will the Congressman resign or will he cling to his office no matter what shocking information is reveled? (We already know the answer to this question, but it’s still worth asking.)

2. When he is accused of criminal activity will he lie to a grand jury?

3. When brought before a federal judge will he perjure himself?

4. Will the media unite to attack or to defend him? Will they attack him as a sexual predator or tell us that there is nothing really to get up set about because it’s “just sex.”? (Of course there will have to be some actual sex reveled before this defense can be made. Will it matter if the boy kept the “blue dress”?)

5. Will Foley call a news conference and shake his finger at America and tell us he did not have “text” with that boy!

6. Once he has denied his e-mails will he require his staff to march one at a time to the microphone and say, “I believe the congressman”?

7. What will the ACLU do about the leaking of private e-mails to the press?

8. Will this boy’s name be leaked to the press, and will pictures of him be published in the “Enquirer”?

9. Will he be called a trailer trash bimbo and attacked by the “party” machine?

10. Will those who have long condemned the sexual exploitation of women, (oh, excuse me I meant boys,) in the work place; suddenly abandon their cause because Mark Foley is a supporter of their "special issue"?

11. Will Foley’s wife uncover a vast right wing conspiracy? (Okay, I know Foley doesn’t have a wife; maybe he could get some help from Hillary.)

This scandal may well change the history of he world, it may well place the party of “Cut and Run”, or now, “not stay the course but change the course, but we don’t know how”, in power and precipitate the eventual fall of the West?

“Mr. Foley, you are a brainless man.” Who else will prove to be brainless?