Archive for July, 2016

the worst thing you’ve ever done

July 31, 2016


Take the worst thing you’ve ever done
And put it in your pocket
Don’t matter if you tell someone
Just put it in your pocket

Take the worst thing you’ve ever done
And own it every second
Like the dearest thing you’ve known
A memory that beckons

The worst thing you’ve ever done
Is you and you must love it
Find beauty in your frailty
You’ll never get above it

by Richard W. Bray

I don’t care

July 31, 2016


I don’t care she went away
I don’t care the kitchen smells
I can buy some paper plates
I can live on Taco Bell

I don’t care she went away

I don’t care that she’s gone
a man’s gotta be free
and I gotta be strong

I don’t care she went away

I don’t care that I’m alone
I ain’t about to cry
cuz I’m totally grown

I don’t care she went away
I don’t care I was wrong
time to drink some whisky
and play a sad song

by Richard W. Bray

You need to be punished

July 25, 2016


Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
H.L. Mencken

You need to be punished
For thoughts in your head
Don’t act on your hunger
You’d be better off dead

You need to be punished
It’s your filthy stinking sin
Heaven’s not a promise
And you ain’t getting in

You need to be punished
I know who you are
You spoke with that guy
And got inside his car

You need to be punished
You’ll feel much better
I got a strap that cleanses
As your cheeks get redder

I need to punish
And make the world right
It’s my duty to destroy
Every hint of appetite

by Richard W. Bray

The Little Toil

July 23, 2016


If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,

Emily Dickinson

Some folks hide their hurt
Under a carapace of cruel
They’d rather be an asshole
Than be anybody’s fool

It’s easy to give up
It’s easy to despair
It’s easy to bamboozle
And pretend you just don’t care

It’s scary to acknowledge
We’ll never find a cure
It’s daunting to consider
All the hurt in the world

Focus on the little toil—
Cool one pain
It’s all that I know
To keep one sane

by Richard W. Bray

It Ain’t Me, Bro

July 18, 2016


I cannot be
Your fantasy
I won’t make
Your life complete
I cannot fix the world
I’m not your
Pixie Dream Girl

I’m not a maid
I’m not a saint
I’m not a shrine
Where you can pray
I’m not your mommy
Put on earth
To make the ouchie
Go away

We can walk
For a while
We can talk and
We can nuzzle
Don’t forget that
I’m a person
Not a piece
Of you puzzle

I’m not a maid
I’m not a saint
I’m not a shrine
Where you can pray
I’m not your mommy
Put on earth
To make the ouchie
Go away

by Richard W. Bray

Your Sorry Soul

July 16, 2016


She’s a vision, she’s an angel
she’s a goddess, she’s a queen
She is natural, she is perfect
She is pure and she is clean

Love can be incredible
But love won’t make you whole
If you’re looking for a woman
To perfect your sorry soul

Everything I want and need
A perfect combination
Every other woman is
A phony imitation

If you’re looking for a partner
To play a hopeless role
You won’t find a woman
To perfect your sorry soul

Transport constant misery
To eternal bliss
She’s the only woman
Who could possibly do this

Replacing God with Romance
Is an idiotic goal
You won’t find a woman
To perfect your sorry soul

by Richard W. Bray

The Voice of Sanity

July 11, 2016


The shapes a bright container can contain!
Theodore Roethke, I Knew a Woman

The shapes and colors you contain
Paralyze my lonesome brain

It did not lessen your appeal
When you suggested I get real

Who I am and who you are
Mean I must love you from afar

I hear the voice of sanity
Saying how it’s gotta be:

“Forget her smile, her voice, her hair
Cry a lot and look elsewhere”

I should just give up on love
My hopeless heart has had enough

by Richard W. Bray

Defy this Dreary Life

July 9, 2016


Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.
Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Miles and miles of empty
Surround our lovely Earth
Human beings are blessed to share
The planet of our birth

We devastate and plunder
And treat it like a sewer
With rapacity to horrify
An interstellar viewer

We’re stupid and we’re greedy
And violent and cruel
Who came up with such a lot
Of self-destructive fools?

Everything that we create
Will decompose and rust
All of our accomplishments
Will tumble down to dust

Existence is a gift
Don’t misuse your ration
You must defy this dreary life
With kindness and compassion

by Richard W. Bray

Dr. Pill

July 4, 2016


Studied half my life
To be a healer
And I ended up as bad
As the neighborhood dealer

I thought I’d be dashing
I thought I’d be rich
Didn’t expect to be
Big Pharma’s little bitch

I got pills for the kids
I got pills for their mamas
If I push enough product
It’s a week in the Bahamas

I don’t care about your body
I don’t care about your bones
Just need to make money
To pay off my loans

I don’t care what you eat
I don’t care if you work out
Pushing my prescriptions
Is what I’m about

I don’t care how you feel
So don’t waste my time
Your words don’t contribute
To my bottom line

by Richard W. Bray

A Few Notes on Teaching Logical Fallacies

July 3, 2016
Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard


Have you ever been arguing with someone and you felt that there was something wrong with her argument, but you couldn’t figure out what it was? Perhaps she was utilizing some form of logical fallacy. A fallacy is an unsound argument based on faulty reasoning. Logicians have identified scores of fallacies.

Here are some examples of common logical fallicies:

Appeal to fear

Are you sure you want to give me a ticket, officer? I play golf with the chief of police.”

Things could get pretty ugly around here if I don’t get what I want.

Appeal to pity

You should go out with me because forty-three women have already turned me down and I can’t take much more rejection.

Circular Reasoning (A=B because B=A)

Lebron James is the greatest basketball player of his generation because nobody else is as good as he is.

My mom is terrific because she is wonderful.

Appeal to Common Practice

It’s no big deal to leave trash on the ground in a parking lot. A lot of people do it.

But Mom, all the other parents let their kids stay out until dawn, so you should too.

Post hoc (causal) fallacy

When the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise.

The Lakers won last night because I wore my lucky sweater.

False Dilemma (or False Alternatives)

It will either be hot or cold tomorrow.

You must be a Lakers fan or a Clippers fan.

Slippery Slope

If we allow gay marriage, people will start marrying their dogs.

If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment, eventually the government will ban all cars.

Non Sequitur (“It does not follow”)

That man is an awful person because he is wearing a blue sweater.

I cannot eat a cupcake because it is Tuesday.

Loaded question

Have you stopped wetting your bed yet?

Do you still have a Spongebob lunch pail?

Distinction without a Difference

I’m against capital punishment, but I believe we should execute serial killers.

I don’t have a sweet tooth; I just love to eat candy.

One of the most common fallacies is ad hominem, which means attacking a person instead of addressing her arguments.

Here are two examples of irrelevant ad hominem argument which have nothing to do with the legitimacy of a person’s arguments:


Dave: I think the death penalty is a good idea.
Larry: Who cares what you think? You are a stupid, pathetic loser and your mother dresses you funny.


I’m not going to listen to any of your arguments because you wear Member’s Only jackets and you sleep with a Teddy Bear.

An Ad hominem argument is a great way to avoid the merits of another person’s arguments? Many English teachers say that it is never appropriate to engage in ad hominem arguments.  But is it legitimate to attack a person for being hypocritical? My answer is: Sometimes.

Here is an example of a situation where an ad hominem argument is clearly inappropriate:

Let’s say my doctor tells me after a checkup that my blood pressure is too high and I need to lose weight and I should quit drinking and smoking.   I respond: “What are you talking about, Dude? I see you drinking and smoking at my bar every night and you are seriously overweight.

My ad hominem is illegitimate in this case because my doctor is giving me medically viable advice even though he doesn’t practice what he preaches. He went to medical school and he knows what he’s talking about.

Here is an example of a situation where an ad hominem argument is appropriate:

Speaking of practicing what we preach, what about someone like megachurch preacher Ted Haggard who righteously espouses clean living and family values—until he gets caught in a hotel room with a male masseur and a bunch of meth? Does Haggard’s behavior render his message any less legitimate?  Yes, because he is bolstering his argument by holding himself up of as a paragon of someone who is living a righteous lifestyle.

by Richard W. Bray