The Online Meanderings of an American Nobody & the Genuine Wisdom of an Imaginary Character – TBP

By Doug “Uncola” Lynn via


There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

– C. S. Lewis (1942), “The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil”, p.8, HarperCollins UK, 2009


While having breakfast with a friend the other day, they commented on an article they had recently read online.  The article was about the discouragement of free speech at Ivy League colleges, and Harvard in particular.  I told them I saw the headline but never read the actual findings.   In any event, I said I wasn’t surprised… but what did surprise me was that the article showed up on their particular newsfeed; and, for them, I would have expected the online algorithmic process to have distilled the findings into another headline such as:  “Harvard Leads Ivy League in Prohibiting Hate Speech”.


The person with whom I was speaking was non-political.  They are mainstream America. So, given my understanding of the Orwellian Media, I was surprised to learn that an article about free speech, and critical of Harvard University, would show up on their Smartphone.  Unless, of course, something else was at play politically regarding the widely disseminated “information”?

After my conversation with that person, I found myself recalling another discussion I had with a more politically liberal acquaintance the week prior.  I worked with this person years ago and, upon seeing them again, we conversed in the parking lot of a local business. She is in her mid-sixties and she sheds a sort of hippie-commune vibe. On that day we ran into each other she was wearing denim overalls, her hair was tied in a ponytail, and she asked if a mutual friend of ours still wore his red MAGA hat now that Trump is in so much legal trouble.

When I asked her about Hunter Biden’s laptop she said that his dealings had nothing to do with Joe Biden. When I mentioned Hunter’s peddling of foreign influence that financially benefited the “Big Guy” and others in the Biden family, she said she knew nothing about that.  So I inquired as to her news sources and she told me PBS (Public Broadcasting System) and NPR (National Public Radio).

From that point, our exchange proceeded exactly as follows:

She:  “Don’t you like Biden?”

Me (not wanting to go deep):  “He’s a buffoon.”

She:  “Oh, really? I don’t think so at all.  Have you heard about the progress he’s made with the relations between Japan and South Korea…..?”

Me (interrupting her while still not wanting to go deep):   “The exit from Afghanistan was embarrassingly pathetic.”

She:  “That was Trump’s fault!”

Me (still not wanting to go deep):  “Trump wasn’t president when that happened! And now we’re sending billions to Ukraine.”

She:  “For a good cause!  I would rather we spend that money and stand up to a dictator!”

Me (still not wanting to go deep while being overly simplistic and inaccurate on purpose):  “Biden bared his ass and showed weakness by abandoning Americans in Afghanistan which encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine.”

She looked at me blankly and had no more words.  After a short pause, I said with a smile:  “Hey, have you ever known anyone to change their mind?” Then, as her eyebrows rose above her eyeglasses and she started to nod her head and respond in the affirmative, I told her I really had to get going and lied that it was good to see her.

Ironically, sometimes the best way to deflect someone’s ignorance is by emphasizing another angle of their same ignorance.

Even so, deflecting isn’t winning, per se, and I wondered if PBS and NPR covered the prohibition of free speech at Harvard.

And speaking of Harvard…

Earlier this year, pursuant to one of my offspring’s series of amazing accomplishments, I was invited to attend an international ceremony of recognition to be held in a metropolis located on the U.S. eastern coast. Although the banquet and ceremony were not taking place at Harvard University, our trip included a visit to that campus.  It was my first time there and, in spite of its formidable history and tradition, Harvard just seemed like another urban college to me.

While there, on an outdoor kiosk ironically positioned to the left of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, I saw a sticker posted that was an open invitation to join the campus Communist Party.  In turn, I speculated on the accuracy of Harvard’s history courses.

In my previous articles “The Abolition of Man Amid the Consequences of Reality”  and “The Metaphysics Underlying The Sunset of the West”, the predictions of the twentieth-century philosophers C.S. Lewis and Augusto De Noce, respectively, were addressed.  Like their twentieth-century peers George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, Lewis and Del Noce correspondingly warned of the rise of a scientific elite that would seek to replace historical human values with a new morality; or, in other words, those who had ceased being human would establish a technocracy through scientific materialism, political power, and relativism.

In Del Noce’s book “The Crisis of Modernity” he twice referenced radical socialist Friedrich Engels’ Marxist maxim:  “Everything that exists deserves to die.”  And, by any standard… socially, culturally, spiritually, and economically, another revolution is underway – except this one has high-tech teeth.

The devils may not be recognized by most people as such, but the evidence of their handiwork has permeated Western Civilization to the point of lies coming true and history being rewritten.

The wisdom of Travis McGee…

Before I began to head east, I decided NOT to occupy most of my time on the plane, during layovers, or at the hotel, by staring at my Smartphone.

Instead, I would indulge in the antiquated paperback pleasure of pulp fiction…. and not just any sort pulp fiction would suffice.  To mentally escape the New Normal® as I became physically immersed into it more than usual, I chose to re-read some enjoyable novels written decades before:  John D. MacDonald’s “Travis McGee” series.

MacDonald was perhaps most famous for his 1967 book “The Executioners” which was later made into two separate films entitled “Cape Fear”.  His fans included authors Dean Koontz and Steven King and he was given a literary “thumbs up” from film critic Roger Ebert as well.

Moreover, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once wrote the following as a tribute:

To diggers a thousand years from now . . . the works of John D. MacDonald would be a treasure on the order of the tomb of Tutankhamen.”

The fictional Travis McGee viewed life with sort of a melancholy realism as he took occasional jobs as a “salvage consultant”. This basically involved private detective work whereby stolen property was recovered of which McGee received 50% of its value as payment.  To the client, half of something was better than nothing; and, pursuant to his successful endeavors, McGee would then “retire” on his houseboat, The Busted Flush.  But when the money was gone, he was compelled to pick up another gig (in the next book).

In summary, McGee capitalized on dangerous, high-risk “returns” so he could subsidize “installments” of his retirement while he was still young enough to enjoy the fun. Work hard, play hard.

And, if one searches the internet for Travis McGee they will find quotes like these:

Integrity is not a conditional word. It doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will.

― MacDonald, John D. (1973). “The Turquoise Lament”, Travis McGee series, Random House LLC, 2013


A woman who does not guard and treasure herself cannot be of very much value to anyone else.

A man with a credit card is in hock to his own image of himself.

 ― MacDonald, John D. (1965). “The Deep Blue Good-By”, Travis McGee series, Random House LLC, 2013

All of the 21 books in MacDonald’s critically acclaimed “Travis McGee” series had a color in the title and the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, says this was…

… a mnemonic device which was suggested by his [MacDonald’s] publisher so that when harried travelers in airports looked to buy a book, they could at once see those MacDonald titles they had not yet read.

Although Travis McGee novels may not necessarily populate the retail shelves of modern airports anymore, my regional library had the whole collection, so, for old-time’s sake, they were enjoyed during my layovers; and I would mentally mark the page numbers of good quotes to be typed up later for personal posterity and potential blogging purposes.

Here are a few more:

There is only one way to make people talk more than they care to. Listen. Listen with hungry earnest attention to every word. In the intensity of your attention, make little nods of agreement, little sounds of approval. You can’t fake it. You have to really listen. In a posture of gratitude. And it is such a rare and startling experience for them, such a boon to ego, such a gratification of self, to find a genuine listener, that they want to prolong the experience. And the only way to do that is to keep talking.  A good listener is far more rare than an adequate lover.

― MacDonald, John D. (1964). “Nightmare in Pink”, pg 32, Travis McGee series, Random House Inc., 2013


…[on a Friday evening on East 53rd in New York City]… I…sat and waited for her, and watched the office people bring their anxious dogs out.  You could almost hear the dogs sigh as they reached the handiest pole. There was a preponderance of poodles.

This is the most desperate breed there is. They are just a little too bright for the servile role of dogdom. So their loneliness is a little more excruciating, their welcomes more frantic, their desire to please a little more intense. They seem to think that if they could just do everything right, they wouldn’t have to be locked up in the silence – pacing, sleeping, brooding, enduring the swollen bladder. That’s what they try to talk about.  One day there will appear a super-poodle, one almost as bright as the most stupid alley cat, and he will figure it out. He will suddenly realize that his loneliness is merely a by-product of his being used to ease the loneliness of his Owner. He’ll tell others. He’ll leave messages. And some dark night they’ll all start chewing throats.

– MacDonald, “Nightmare in Pink”, pgs 39-40

Many people do not know that poodles are among the more intelligent of dog breeds.  I knew it.  And, obviously, so did John D. MacDonald when he wrote those words before I was born.

It’s true:   We read to know we’re not alone.

The Noseless One…

While I was flying along at 600+ miles per hour and around 30,000 feet above sea level, I found myself immersed in a Travis McGee book where he was contracted by a charismatic, and manipulatively shallow, Hollywood actress. She was being blackmailed with sexual photos pursuant to her participation in an outdoor orgy on a terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

In my mind, however, the “Pacific terrace” was a metaphor illustrating ancient and decadent carnality.

Ironically, in the story, McGee was flying in an airplane too.   He was sitting next to a woman and staring at her hands while silently thinking:

You look at hands as animal paws, and you think of the animal aspects of the human, and suddenly you are back on that Pacific terrace, seeing that final and most dangerous form of gluttony.”

His mental meandering continued: “The most absolute way of categorizing people is by what they are capable of, and what they are not capable of” and he concluded that temptation does not deliver most people into evil because temptation is a “constant” whereas evil is a “sometime thing” with most people.

From there McGee’s musings included a passing reference to author Jack London’s “noseless one”, of which I was not familiar. As a boy I had read London’s “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang” but, after the plane had landed, I conducted a brief online search and discovered the “noseless one” was derived from London’s book “John Barleycorn”… a book about drinking… and with the following assessment:

“All metaphysics, religion, and spirituality are half-believed-in attempts to “outwit the Noseless One [the skull behind the face] and the Night.”

Then McGee entered into a mental soliloquy on wisdom and love:

I had the old illusions, including the one that maybe I might be gaining a little bit, just a very damn little bit, in wisdom as my time went by. And wisdom says there are no valuable goods on the bargain counter. Wisdom says the only values are the ones you place on yourself. And I have locked myself into this precarious role of the clown-knight in the tomato-can armor, flailing away at indifferent beasts with my tinfoil sword.  A foible of the knight, even the comic ones, is the cherishing of women, and perhaps even my brand of cherishing is quaint in this time and place. Though I have faltered from time to time, I do want the relationship, if it does become intimate, to rest solidly on trust, affection, respect. Not just for taking, or scoring, or using, or proving anything. That knocks out group adventures right there. Not for recreation, not for health rationalizations, not for sociologically constructive contacts. But because she is a woman, and valuable. And you are a man, and equally valuable. There are more than enough girls and boys around. Breakdown, McGee. Say it. Okay, for love and love alone. They are people, goddam it, not pneumatic, hydraulic, terrace toys. Not necessarily Heloise and Abelard, Romeo and Miss Capulet, or even Nappi and Joe. But just a crumb of some kind of love there, lad. Love that makes her sweet to hold, warm to murmur to, after there’s no more fireworks left in the park, And you can’t do that with a terrace toy.

–  MacDonald, John D. (1965). “The Quick Red Fox”, pgs 77-78, Travis McGee series, John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc., 1992

Wanting to refresh my vague recollection, I performed another search on the twelfth-century lovers Heloise and Abelard and also read some real-life quotes from their ancient letters.

But the internet told me nothing of Nappi and Joe so I assumed they may have been a TV couple similar to… say… Archie and Edith, or Desi and Lucy.

So… what, then, was learned from these mental meanderings?

Well, beyond the existential and ontological musings that I enjoyed while traveling out of state… what intrigued me was how my phone began to list links to the above-referenced book “The Quick Red Fox” – even though none of the book description links contained any of the words typed in my previous internet searches, to wit:  “Jack London’s noseless one”, “Heloise and Abelard”, and “Nappi and Joe”.

How could that occur?  Hidden algorithms? Secretly obscured search content? A.I.?

This brought to mind some other questions, too:   While in the air, I left my phone on “airplane mode” the entire time.  Subsequently, when we landed in another time zone, I wasn’t surprised to see the time was wrong – because it still showed the time from the previous time zone.

However, when I toggled the “airplane mode” to “off”, the time immediately changed to the correct hour and minute in the time zone where I was located… but the “location” setting on my phone was still set to “off”.

How did my Smartphone know? Perhaps because the clock app required my previous permission to access geographical location – which would mean, therefore, my phone’s location was never, truly, turned off.

Of course, I knew that already.  Buy why the pretense of a location toggle switch?

Because devils hide in the details. That’s why.

The Simulacrum has surpassed the point of no return.   The grid has become god-like.

The electric school bus acid test…

As many of my regular readers know from reading my previous articles, I help out our local school system by driving a school bus as needed.  Many of the ancient fossils are retiring for good (both literally and figuratively) and there aren’t enough drivers.

Consequently, with another school year underway, I had an annual health physical and was required to attend another continuing education class.  Even though our school system has mostly avoided “green” transportation, a film was shown that sure seemed like a sales pitch for electric school buses; and it was laughable.

The buses were shown running on beautiful blue-sky days and the bus parking area was proudly populated with shiny (very-expensive-looking) charging kiosks that must have required the placement of underground cables and all that would entail.  The thick charge cords had heavy-duty, oddly-configured plugs that could only be mated to the special kiosks – so, I thought to myself: “Good luck and call the tow truck if the battery bank ever lost charge on the route.”

During these mental meanderings, I heard the narrator smoothly sell the advantages of the “modern” buses as happy people performed onscreen all around the yellow rigs shining brightly:

– No need to breathe exhaust fumes as you pre-inspect the bus!

– A charge gauge that looks just like a regular fuel gauge!

– Smoother starts and stops!

– The battery bank is located below under the center of the bus for proper weight distribution!

– Less moving parts… but be VERY careful never to touch the brightly colored and very dangerous cords while inspecting the bus!

– Quieter than diesel and gas engines!

And there were a few more, but you get the idea.

However, there was no mention of how well the buses heated up and drove in minus 30-degree weather or how long it took to recharge the batteries to full capacity, particularly at below-freezing temps.  Neither did the film show the happy bus people unplugging the thick black charging cords from the kiosks while parked out back by the property-line fence and buried under five feet of snow and ice.

The only negatives mentioned in the film were warnings to avoid the “brightly colored” cords on the bus, to watch out for tripping over the black power cords lying everywhere on the ground, and that the buses were so quiet they may surprise and startle students and parents at the morning bus stops who aren’t paying attention.  So to overcome the “quiet” sneak attack problem at bus stops, the electric buses could be equipped with a horn that played music that sounded exactly like an ice cream truck.

The entire room erupted in laughter.

I seriously had tears in my eyes.  And it wasn’t even a joke:

In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, World Resources Institute established the Electric School Bus Initiative in late 2020 with the goal of building unstoppable momentum toward electrifying the full U.S. school bus fleet by 2030. This project builds upon and leverages WRI’s experience partnering with cities around the world to advance sustainable transportation systems, including extensive engagements focused on transit electrification and working to advance clean power options.

– Source

Once again: The devils hide in the details.

No vaccine required for depression screening…

I noticed my health paperwork from the regional medical center showed I had received none of the recommended vaccinations, including zero shots against Covid-19.   Certainly, this information was also provided to the interrogators in Room 101 Human Resources.

But even though my vaccinations were not up to date I did see multiple dates recorded under the heading of “Depression Screening” on the forms.

That was strange because I didn’t recall any.   But, then, it occurred to me.  I remembered.  During every annual physical and every visit to the doctor’s office to withdraw blood for labs or x-rays or anything else, the following types of questions were asked by the nurse, doctor, or both:

“Are you depressed?”

“Do you have thoughts of suicide?”

“Do you feel safe at home?”

These questions are being asked to everyone, not just me, and I began to appreciate the massive amounts of data being recorded over time; and imagined the potential forthcoming misery of some poor sap whose spouse or teenager had visited the doctor after a big family argument that morning:

Doctor: “Do you feel safe at home?”

Wife:  “Well, my husband gets impatient with me when I forget to pay the utility bill!”

Doctor (while typing into his laptop):  “Hmmm.  I see. Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.”

Certainly, all of the prerequisites for collectivism have manifested in the Orwellian West.

If you won’t agree to be locked down due to a propagandized coronavirus, then perhaps the devils will set the world on fire and blame the weather.  If you won’t give up your guns during an emergency caused by an outbreak of mass shootings, then the Red Flag Laws will just have to do.

Another example, right there, of the devils hiding in the details.

Closing thoughts on blogging and whatever…

 This post documents the self-indulgent mental meanderings of an American Nobody whose blog turns seven years old this month.  It won’t go viral. It doesn’t need to be featured, and it certainly can’t stop the ongoing economic and societal carnage occurring now.

The aforementioned author, John D. McDonald, once said this about his writing:

My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.”

And I can definitively identify with that… because… as I have previously posted:

I write primarily for selfish reasons – mainly to test ideas and, hopefully, generate comments and views that will enlarge my own ideas on any given issue and, sometimes, even change my mind.

Posting original articles takes effort, like throwing bowling balls into the air. It’s up and down and gravity is the default. The traffic pops for a few days and then drops quicker than Building 7 on 911. But that is to be expected because new content is not posted each day on my blog and this is fine by me since I use my blog primarily as a means to catalog my articles over time and as a launch pad into the digital ether.

Here is a graph of the online traffic from the day I posted my previous article last month:

Humorously, an outdated metaphorical article I wrote the month before Trump was elected president in 2016 has recently surpassed my blog’s most popular articles (not counting the page views on other sites).  The reason?  Because the link shows up on a Chinese search engine and the overpopulated Asians there click on it every day either mistakenly or out of curiosity.

Overall though, and in spite of any downsides and perils to posting, I remain grateful for the past seven years:  Several of my posts have been translated into different languages and I continue to receive “follow notifications” and comments (most often sent via the blog’s contact page) from various locations around the globe.

I do speculate often as to how much longer I will be able to post and I wonder how the free blogosphere might come crashing down, or worse:  What it will be like when the Noseless One comes for us all.

I wish I knew those answers.   Or, actually, maybe I don’t.

When we ignore the devils hiding in the details, we lose. And when we overly obsess over the same devils, we lose… but in a different way.

Collectivism is designed to control but it’s sold as brotherly love and, today, it prospers through the strategic marketing of many modernized brands to various demographics:  Social Justice®, COVID-19® (with sub-products like Flatten the Curve®, Mask Up®, Six Feet Apart®, Omicron®,  Eris®, etc ), Climate Change®,  Sustainability®, Central Bank Digital Currency®, Stakeholder Capitalism®, Environmental Social Governance®, Inclusive Capitalism®, The Great Reset®, Agenda 2030®, The New World Order®,  et al.

And the marketing mechanisms are as ubiquitous as the mandates are arbitrary.

Irony, propaganda, and naiveté. It’s the new American way.

In closing, I am reminded of a quote from John D. MacDonald’s first Travis McGee novel entitled “The Deep Blue Good-by”:

I am wary of the whole dreary deadening structured mess that we have built into such a glittering top-heavy structure that there is nothing left to see but the glitter, and the brute routines of maintaining it.

We read to know we’re not alone.



The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)


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