A view from Neuschwanstein, the favorite castle of King Ludwig || of Bavaria
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"To those people who say, `My father is alive because of animal experimentation,' I say `Yeah, well, good for you. This dog died so your father could live.' Sorry, but I am just not behind that kind of trade off."
-Bill MaherThe Sanctity of life. Is there such a thing? Sure, it's not right to kill people. As a person I feel the idea rather disturbing. What about other kinds of killing? Killing cute or majestic animals sounds bad too. What about bugs? We can all think of some bug out there we wouldn't think twice about making extinct. Next to killing for food, there is no more accepted killing then the killing of insects. So life is sacred unless it annoys us or is tasty.
Affidavits from meat inspectors re: contamination, such as the following sample: "Company employees told us that rats were all over the coolers at night, running on top of meat and gnawing at it … [W]e saw fecal contamination get through-up to one-foot smears-as well as flukes [liver parasites], grubs [wormlike fly larvae that burrow into the cow's skin and work their way through the animal's body], abscesses [encapsulated infections filled with pus], [hide] hair, and ingesta [partially digested food found in the stomach or esophagus]" ... "Cows are slaughtered that have been dead on arrival, some so long they are ice-cold."People question PETA and if you look long enough on the internet you will probably find any evidence you need to support whatever story you have. Are Lima beans smarter then we think? Is tofu bad for you? Where is the truth? Holding a belief to me is like planting a flag in quicksand. How can I believe stuff in the Bible when it contains the ravings of Leviticus and other blatant errors? How can I condemn the killing of a cow when insects and people are killed because they annoy or break rules? I may not eat meat now because I'm trying to eat more healthy (whatever that means), but plants are just as alive, they just 'move more slowly.' How much can I trust what people say? I have a good imagination and I'm sure people can make up some great stories about life and try and get people to follow them. When it comes down to it, all I have is a guess and at times like these with holier than thou politicians and other fevered egos I feel like becoming a Militant Agnostic because... I don't know and you don't either! - Irony is not dead in Lesbos. - Religion claims another former rebel. - How old are you exactly? -Did you ever wonder what would Brian Boitano do? - When Carmack speaks I listen. - When King writes... - Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and wonder why people in India love Cricket? - A list of the new Magic cards. - This is looking like my last update until I arrive in my new and yet to be found apartment in Seattle. My email is now working so you can expect to be ignored until then.
"the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."
-from Lieberman's August 27th speech at the Fellowship Chapel Church in DetroitSuch a liberal translation of The Bill of Rights hasn't been missed by everyone.
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.Such confusion on the wording of something is not too uncommon a thing.
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"
-JeffersonThe latter examples at least do not twist the meaning of the source. One can clearly see that the first Amendment is getting attacked on all sides. I wonder if the greed of big corporations, the fanaticism of religious folks, and the hubris of the judicial system are gaining enough ground to merely ignore our rights then bother to change the law to legalize their actions. It is very clear that politicians don't trust our children to play nicely. The fights in courts could spill out to the streets. Soon every thing that suggests violence will have to be veiled barring a mutable young mind might be molded into a mass murderer. Nor do they trust anyone to support the artists whose music is freely shared. Such a lack of trust is inevitably mutual and no relationship can survive without trust. Since we the people have all sorts of distractions in life it is clear that they may win. If they feel like the tide has turned against them, they can always stir the coals and test out the latest toys as a bonus. Don't think about heading to Canada to get away when the next war comes either. So Hollywood better start praying that the media fueled violence around the country wanes enough to rob the wind beneath the censorship wings or start getting the lawyers in gear. That's what it all comes down to. New technology, new creativity, and plain old revolution all must pay the lawyer. - A nasty nip or healthy clip - I have talked about Barbelith before, but this looks like one of the longest posts I've scene in a while. If you have not read any the Invisibles comics yet, so are missing out on some nice subversive ranting. Speaking of subversive comics, the Preacher series has just reached it's conclusion and if you have not read any... - Random thought of the day: If the law of the conservation of energy is true, then death is only change and there is no end as there is no beginning. Should I still buy life insurance?
"In ancient days the most celebrated precept was, "know thyself"; in modern times it has been supplanted by the more fashionable maxim, "Know thy neighbor and everything about him."
-Samuel JohnsonHow true. You also have to be on guard from the followers and beasts of cthulhu. - A gate crashing Castro suduces Clinton into pressing flesh. "It just happened, you know?" Clinton claimed. - The link between super models looks and brains has been discovered. - Its tough to have a gay vacation. - Musicians learn to control their brain activity to enhance their musical performances. - A lucid essay on weblogs. - A movie depicting a Argentinian man's quest to win back the Falkland Islands by getting as many women there pregnant as he can has been made without anyone there realizing what they were doing. - Is Howard Stern right about the quiet love affair this country has about lesbians? After all the flack about Gay scoutmasters there was never a peep about if the Girl Scouts had any similar problems. - The line between sanctioning a government and its people is nowhere to be seen.
In a hard-hitting special report, award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger investigates the effects of sanctions on the people of Iraq and finds that ten years of extraordinary isolation, imposed by the UN and enforced by the US and Britain, have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan.I'm reminded of the movie, Three Kings, and how the media has ignored the effects of the war on the people of Iraq. It may have something to do with why I haven't finished Manufacturing Consent. Chomsky writes that the powers that be control the messages of the media. I feel that the people don't want to face the truth. We want to make this mental separation from our government's actions to protect us from their dichotomy. Yet, there is the haunting echo 'of the people, for the people, and by the people' that pains us like a pebble of guilt in our shoes. It's this same guilt that has brought us The New Sanctimony. To take a Freudian leap of faith, it was George Carlin that suggested war was nothing more then a dick size contest and Clinton's actions have truly shown which head was following the other. I have no wonder why the amount of executions under George W. Bush is widely known or why Gore made that convention kiss. It's not that we want a lover or a fighter in office. We want both. Let's take Bob Dole. We knew he was a fighter, but we had no clue about the love department. While at the time Clinton promised his ability to fight by supporting the Gulf war and we knew he was a lover because he could feel our pain. Bob Dole discovered Viagra too late and it cost him the election. Nader has proved that he likes to fight big bad business, but we don't know what he'll do with the big bad military. We also don't think this geek is any great lover. Since he has the same ad team that worked for Jesse Ventura we can only hope they pick up the slack here. Jesse's ads featured the fully posable Ventura action figure fighting special interest guy and then featured a naked Ventura in the classic 'Thinker' pose. I don't think the latter trick will work with Nader, but sex is necessary and if you can't win them with looks you may try humor.
Humor is just another defense against the universe.
-Mel BrooksBefore I further diverge from politics to sex, I want to point out that if you live in Illinois and want to have Nader on the ballot then you should click here. OK. - It seems that there are enough women online that the odds of finding one are pretty good. Of course, the odds of finding the right one for you might be around 157,060 to 1 , which is strangely similar to the odds I heard for being struck by lightning. Remember the old cliche about how love can strike? No need to worry if you are a geek or just really tired, the web can help. You don't have to be as smart as Britney Spears to think that because you have the sex appeal of Arthur C. Clark you can't win your own hot goth chick. While we may have been messing with the biological factors of sexual attraction with technology there is the question as to why we struggle at all. Could we learn to be just as happy as celibates?
women with whom men had no prospect of having sex seemed to hold a special place in many culturesI wonder if this is the success of strip clubs. As Chris Rock has said, 'No matter what a stripper tells you, there is no sex in the champaign room." - Random thought of the day: Is it just me or do those Teletubbies bear an uncanny resemblance to the evil puppet in Brazil?
In this story there are no heroes or villains, just people who believe they can buy happiness, and advertisers who support this belief. Consumerism is one of religion's modern replacements, and, like religion, it actively encourages, then exploits, dissatisfaction with everyday reality.- PETA has no class. - It looks like Baal's butt is to be kicked in the expansion to Diablo 2. Due 1st quarter 2001. I've found this game to be a subtly simple synchronicity of fun and addiction. - I found this interesting article about how the Vatican is letting everyone know that while they respect other religions, they are the only one offering salvation. It struck me a little differently then others and while I gave one reason, I have thought it over a bit more. Not that the Pope gives a flying nun about who wins the American presidency this year, but I think he has hit apon some new trend in the global conscious. Is it a question of, "What have you done for me lately?" and the Pope is saying, "Salvation!" or something else? With both major candidates brandishing their religions like badges of courage from a modern society obsessed with reality and enjoying the benefits of 'godless' science there is some suspicion that religion never exited stage left. It was merely changing in the background and as ever so close as halloween is to election day that we had not noticed. There could very well be a new trend of religion shopping going on. The nouveau riche dot-com set might be experiencing a bit of a quandary as to their place in life after spending all those long hours to achieve financial success. After all, this is the country that has spawned more religions then fast food franchises. I'm waiting for the next infomercial to sell a do-it-yourself religion kit.This has spread its contagion by the winds of American media influence. So now a flashpoint like Diana's death can send people into a frenzy. Enough of us have some sense to be sickened by such a display, but some are clever enough to turn it into an entertaining story. How much separation from Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is "Worship what thou liketh best."?
"Who loves you and who do you love?"
-A game show host asks the audience in the Arnold classic 'The Running Man'- I was listening to Steven Wright's comedy album, I have a Pony, that I just picked up a week or so ago. At the beginning of track 12, Winny, he told a joke that I know I heard before in a recent radio commercial.
"For a while I lived in Vermont with a guy named Winny. We lived in a house that ran on static electricity. If we wanted to cook something we had to take a sweater off real quick. Wanna run a blender we had to rub balloon on our head."I'd like to hope that he sold that joke. After the fall of the comedy club boom, I haven't really been to any local clubs. I wonder what he is up to these days. He doesn't appear to have a website, but he is not lacking for having his material all over the internet. A strange thought occurred to me when looking on the back of the CD case. In parenthesis was "All songs written by Steven Wright." Coming from a stand-up comedy album with no real songs, could it be that the reason we don't see a lot of him is that he is writing all the songs we hear? Another comedian, Rich Hall, has all but vanished from the media eye. I hear that he was the King of Comedy at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival a little while ago. While one can find the usual fan sites, it is a bit disconcerting that the only interview I found was ten years old. I actually met Rich a while back. It was during my brief valet parking days. While I didn't get to see his show (having to actually do what passed as 'work') I did get a fuzzy picture of us goofing off. Yes, the scanner is not here yet. Another comedian I met at the same club was Jimmy Walker of Good Times fame. His head was shaved at the time and while seriously gripping about his hotel room's lack of cable he actually took my ribbing of his performance in the movie The Guyver rather well. Actually he was pretty damn shocked that anyone had even seen it. I suspect that was what he and Mark Hamill had hoped.
Men are like the earth and we are like the moon; we turn always one side to them and they think there is no other.
-Olive SchreinerI've been mulling over what to say about the struggle of the sexes. Internet technology is now helping women become more and more independent by allowing them through it's inherently anonymous nature to take a bigger part in business. I wonder how the males are faring. Some see this as a time of crisis. Men can't rely on the allure of their traditional provider role. Some see dire events on the horizon.
Phallic man, authoritative, dominant, assertive - man in control not merely of himself but of woman - is starting to die, and now the question is whether a new man will emerge phoenix-like in his place or whether man himself will become largely redundantIn his new book Anthony Clare expresses concern for males. A lot of males can't cope with the new social demands. I'd like to think of this as evolution of sexuality and those that can't adapt suffer. It is damn simple logic when you get down to it. Women have been changing and men need to change too. The problem is that the required change to a lot of men feels gay. So they resist and marriages fall apart or never happen. Single women are trying to get organized. Why? Could it be to come to a consensus that there are very few males out there that have kept pace with the changes in sexual roles. There are still quite a few social stigmas that a truly free single woman must face. Sex is an inescapable aspect to every action. No eyebrows are raised when the guys pose.
"There are just a lot of men there, including, I'm sure, in the newsroom, who just kind of resent women's success," says Linda Steiner, associate professor and chair of the department of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University. "And so to sexualize her and sort of treat her as a pinup is a way of cutting women down to size."The fact is that the attitudes towards sexuality are changing and the fight against changing standards is always headed by those least in touch with the rest of society. The continuous overtures about classic values does not recognize the negative aspects those values had that forced the change in the first place. Change is an unavoidable aspect of life that people seem to appreciate less, as they grow older. As natural as change is when forced it can cause considerable problems. There is growing evidence that culture can color perception. Such things as the illusion of integrity may not be universal. So, when forced into a new constitution, we can't blame the Japanese for becoming as screwed up as we are. When we bombed the hell out of them and got them to submit, we were not satisfied with just winning the war.
Esman recalls an incident in which Richard Poole, disturbed by the provisions of Article 9, discussed the matter with Colonel Charles Kades, who headed the twenty-four member drafting team. "Isn't it," Poole asked, "a bit impractical to send Japan out into the world with a constitution that does not even allow it the right to maintain a military to defend itself from aggression?" Kades' response was simple and direct: "Do you know where the idea came from?" Poole: "MacArthur." Kades: "That's right." End of conversation."We felt to need to reshape a people that we thought required change. This change is owed to one woman, Beate Sirota Gordon. The struggle to rise from the past continues there as it does here. Peace is obtainable for everyone. It requires patience, understanding, and time. - A tale of suicide and deception. - The crackdown on European football hooligans begins. - No, I have not been ignoring you. My email forwarding is screwed up. I will try and fix the problem. In the meantime, send your spam here. - Snappy dresser is almost online. - It's official, I'm moving. Physically, that is. After 27 years in and about Chicago I am moving to Seattle. Rest assured, I will continue to assault this web space with my mediocre mental mumbling.
"Let's put the ho back in hobo!"
-Firecracker, a 25-year-old anarchist train riderThis was her slogan for last year's King and Queen of the Hobos election at Trampfest 2000. She was denied her crown because it was feared she would be a bad influence on the kids. So what about the hobo presence on the web? Aspiring hobos may want to check out the National Hobo Association. It's a good idea to be aware of hobo history. There are quite a few hobo related web sites. - Aspiring truckers may want to study these 10 codes - A student walks out during moment of silence and gets a detention. As long as we as pushing the boundaries of the separation of church and state it makes sense to punish those that don't want to participate. The fine line of the case may only be the permission aspect of leaving a classroom, but to force attendance is religious intolerance. I still don't understand the need for prayer in school. There are many opportunities to pray during the day. This is a ridiculous issue. We can expect Lieberman to push for more of these types of laws. From The Progressive Review:
The national section of today's New York Times carries an article under the headline "Lieberman Seeks Greater Role for Religion in Public Life." The article contains the following sentence: "Unlike many conservative Christian politicians, Mr. Lieberman has not taken positions like advocating prayer in schools or saying that religious groups should take over much of the burden of social services now shouldered by the government -- a position taken by Mr. Bush, the Republican presidential nominee." This is just outright false . . . Mr. Lieberman is on record in a brief before the United States Supreme Court as having advocated exactly that. The case was Wallace v. Jaffree, in which students challenged the constitutionality of an Alabama law permitting teachers to lead their classes in a prayer that said, "Almighty God, You alone are our God. We acknowledge You as the Creator and Supreme Judge of the world. May Your Justice, Your Truth, and Your Peace abound this day in the hearts of our countrymen, in the counsels of our government, in the sanctity of our homes and in the classrooms of our schools in the name of our Lord, Amen." Mr. Lieberman, who was then serving as attorney general of Connecticut, sided with the Reagan administration's Justice Department, the Moral Majority, the Christian Legal Society and Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama in defending the statute. Opposing the Alabama school prayer statute were the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Jewish Congress. Mr. Lieberman even made a campaign issue of the matter in his successful run for the US Senate against Lowell Weicker, criticizing Mr. Weicker for opposing school prayer.It would be so nice if the PR would use permalinks. - A while ago, my Dad told me about a Benjamin Franklin impersonator. - Are you a Tetris fan?
"And if the child is but a prophecy of the man, there are mighty few who will doubt that he succeeded!"
-Mark TwainThe friendship between Grant and Twain. - The Null Device points to the Belief system Selector. Uh oh, I came scored the highest (100) as a Neo-Pagan. - Lieberman calls for Americans to find a "constitutional place for faith in our public life." All in all he is more bark then bite. It's a fact of life for most political speeches to stir of feelings, but offer no course of action or thread of insight. It is annoying to have someone wave his religion in our faces in a political setting. Despite my past lamenting over the potential of his and Tipper's union in the White House, I really doubt that a Gore presidency will result in anything. It will be four years of stasis. Bush looks like four years of uncertainty and regression. If a miracle happens, Nader might be four years of corruption cleaning. If he's good at it, we are likely to see another assassination attempt as he might dig too deep. Perhaps, by an even greater miracle we elect Harry Brown. Hmmm, pot and prostitution get legalized, Government spending gets cut, taxes get cut in return and the GNP goes through the roof as more people are willing to work (less hours) to get money to party and get laid. Maybe the choice this year isn't so hard at all. I could always vote for someone that doesn't exist.
"--If each is taxed according to his weight, the truly heavy will literally start pulling their own weight. And that will help de-stigmatize obesity." "I'm for mandatory gun ownership. It's a simple safety issue. We require seat belts –– why don't we require sidearms? I believe every American –– man, woman or child –– should be in a position to return fire, you know, in their day-to-day life. If you know someone's armed, it prevents a lot of misunderstandings, or at least they get resolved quickly. A brief exchange, you're on your way to your next class. Or whatever.'I want to get back to Lieberman. Since he wants to take the mantle of moral crusader for our children. These children of ours only seem more violent due to heightened media awareness for such stories. Since the insanity of Columbine we have not seen a rash of mass murder. Where is Trenchcoat Brigade 2000? It's bad enough that now the FTC is starting to think that marketing violent games to children should be illegal. There are violent comics, movies, songs, books, and toys and somehow only a few crazy people seem to commit crimes out of everyone that is exposed to these things. Let us have a moment of clarity. No one can deny that everything that happens to people no matter how old they happen to be affects them in some way. The measure of this is purely and irrevocability individual. Some adults can be as adversely affected by Eminem's songs as some children. I often run rampant, screaming in agony, "When will the hurting stop?!" The idea that people are more important based on their current age is ludicrous. Children do not contribute anything to society except fuel the careers of annoying pop stars that will fade as soon as the new generation takes the reigns (NKOTB, Debbie Gibson where are you now?). They do this with money siphoned from parents. They curtail freedom of expression, by making people reluctant to tell that punk that ran over your foot with his skateboard how you feel because that soccer mom leading a caravan of little joys will slap you silly as the young ones flip you the bird. In medieval times when everyone went to see the beheadings, little urchins didn't take up axes to their siblings after one of them stole their block of coal. I suppose it's best we sanitized the world so once our children pass through the curtain to the adult world they will be completely unprepared. - Sony pulls a "You got us all wrong folks," in response to the well-deserved backlash after Steve Heckler's anti-napster rant. - Find cranks online. If you are not sure what kind of a crank you are, try this. - Random thought of the day: Why do the police perform text book investigations when they are supposed to be investigating a crime?
"We confess small faults, in order to insinuate that we have no great ones."
-Rochefoucauld- Labels. The push to categorize generations or characterize nations seems a standard crutch to a consumerist driven media. Label em, package em, and pound the message home. The absurdity of gauging a collective American conscious often undermines most news stories today. Every shift of the popular winds send corporations turning their sails to harness it. The typical refrain of the magazine shows, "everyone's talking about…", echo the urgency of creating demand. But this is American. We are the land of everyone and no one. We are free to be different, to disagree, to sell out, and be programmed. - Last Thursday night I saw a bit of Politically Correct. Harry Brown, the libertarian candidate, was on the show. I have not really paid much attention to libertarians, but this guy was very impressive. Which is just perfect, since now I'm even more confused about where my vote will go. It would be cool if there was a way to design your own candidate. Mix and match issues; hit a button; ding; instant candidate. - Artists really need to ask themselves whether they want to depend on the fans for support or people like Hillary Rosen of the RIAA. After all, the RIAA cares a lot about artist's rights. Once more artists realize that all the perks and services that record labels offer can be usurped by more a direct channel. We may see an end to manufactured teenager blands. The anti-cyber-squatting excuse that the RIAA gives for their actions was so broadly written and it "turned out to be completely unnecessary."
"On the one hand, RIAA creates all this flap about Napster and copyright infringement, while with the other hand, they've taken away artists' copyrights."
-Don Henley- Warning, those Free trial offers on porn sites that want you to enter a credit card number for age verification are not always free. - The Daily Instigator dies so that Snappy Dresser may live. Lessons Learned:
"First of all, the word 'Daily' in your title is a death sentence for your ego when you skip a day. Or in our case, a few weeks. Second, it's hard to arrange legitimate interviews with a word like 'Instigator' in your title. The most important moral: don't think of possible magazine titles while on your sixth beer of the evening."- The The Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), an upstanding bastion of morality fortitude, has decided to enforce ESRB's ratings for its tournaments. - Last chance for Iridium? - The Playstation 2 is scheduled for release on Oct 17. The GameCube does not seem too much better. I find it amusing that they finally caved from the position on making it a cartridge-based console. I don't have any confidence that any decent games will come out for the GameCube except if you think rehashes of Mario, Zelda, and the like are worth it. Not to say that the Playstation 2 will not march out their usual suspects, Tekken, Twisted Metal, Metal Gear, etc. They have a lot more third party stuff going for them and the lead. Dreamcast? I seem to remember that used to mean something. - Ask Dr. Laura about the bible. From our buddies at Metafilter. - Disney is a big juicy target for conspiracy speculation. Not that they don't help us out when they attempt to form a corporate controlled town on Florida swamplands. Various folks have weighed in on the subtly evil qualities. Some ideas are merely the products of a backwards, fanatical mind. Yes, Thomas A. Carder is turning into a popular object of ridicule. A message that appears on his site;
NOTE: We have a zero tolerance policy about hateful, vulgar, and obscene mail. Without notice to the sender, such mail is automatically forwarded to the service provider for action in accordance with their Acceptable Use Policy. Threats are sent to the FBI. In the event it is discovered that the sender is a minor, parents will be notified.His 'gaydar' is so highly tuned that he can sniff out the homosexual innuendo of Doonesbury. Of course, he is such a servant of the Lord that when talking about a part of the strip, "While pouring two glasses of what appears to be the Merlot (whatever that is)" he shows his ignorance of libations or we are to assume so. I digress. Other opinions cast out towards the Disney camp are well informed, creative, and not taken so seriously. Disney is as fanatical about children as Mr. Carder. Carder sees himself as the uber-father protector of childkind. Disney wishes to create a world of fantasy to enthrall children to support the corporate entity. If the Disney message according to Carder is to promote sex, then it is sex with a bit of subtle fantasy (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sounds like it could be a porno to me) to create more (consumers) children. - Before I head off to the succor of sleep, I leave you with a link to George Carlin's website. May he make you laugh, cry, or shake a fist of fanatical indignation.
Well that's it for this week. Tune in next week for Disney conspiracies, the struggle of the sexes, and maybe even something about Siggraph. I could be lazy and just post another link frenzy.
"Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this," Heckler told the Summer Forty-Niner. "We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at source -- we will block it at your cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will block it at your [Internet-service provider]. We will firewall it at your PC. "These strategies," Heckler said, "are being aggressively pursued because there is simply too much at stake."Good DVD news and reviews site. Is net censorship getting you down? No more worries! For all you poor folks on AOL, put a period at the end of any URL to bypass parental controls! Russian TV company suspended over subliminal messages Icons anyone? Michael Douglas Syndrome. Need I say more? Are you Fugly? Interview with Al 'Grandpa Munster' Lewis. Running late? Not if time doesn't exist. In that case, did the universe have a beginning? Is a new Talisman boardgame coming out ever? Consummerism: Good? Bad? Necessary?
"Never put off till tomorrow that which you can do today"
-FranklinBen seemed to be on to something, but Aaron didn't think so.
"Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.—Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done."
-BurrAt last, Young saw it to its inevitable conclusion.
Tomorrow is the day when idlers work, and fools, reform, and mortal men lay hold on heaven.
Procrastination is the thief of time; year after year it steals, till all are fled, and to the mercies of a moment leaves the vast concerns of an eternal state. At thirty, man suspects himself a fool; knows it at forty, and reforms his plan; at fifty chides his infamous delay, pushes his prudent purpose to resolve; in all the magnanimity of thought, resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same."
Procrastination has been a daimon of mine for quite some time. My thirst for variety leads me to have several things going at once and I can't always finish some of them. So I'm trying to actually organize my life a little better. One of the things getting worked out is my financial situation, because I have this habit of spending money whenever I can. The good old bank of Wachovia, whom I have the displeasure of carry a credit card with, decided that even though I have been making my payments on time 14% was too low and raised it to 25%. Needless to say I've been running the final scene of Fight Club in my head to compensate the rage I feel whenever I think about it.I am putting off talking about Siggraph for now. Some people have talked about it a bit already and that will do for now. As far as Diablo 2 is concerned, I agree with what a lot of the critics are saying. T. Liam McDonald's column at Maximum PC though surprised me a bit since he claims to be a veteran gamer and game writer. Overall I think he's miffed that the game took as long as it did and didn't offer any revolutionary differences. First thing he goes after is how Blizzard failed to compensate ahead of time for the demand on battlenet. I've only played single-player or on LAN at this point because I expected it to happen. That's a minor quip.
"Diablo II's Save Game is cumbersome, and reloading levels causes monsters to respawn, creating a new litmus test for tedium."I see a chink in this veteran's gamer armor. How could you even type this after having played either Diablo? Monsters respawn so you can get more experience in case a certain "boss" or dungeon is too difficult to navigate at your current level. The next thing he whines about is the ad naseum resolution complaint. I'm glad they stuck at 640x480 since it would run so much slower on my ancient system. This is one of those rare games that will actually still run decently on the basic system quoted on the box. Besides, it still looks good and us veteran gamers that enjoyed computers (my old VIC-20) with 16 colors and 3k of memory. Overall, this game is what a sequel should be. A refinement and expansion on the original. That's why Quake 3 is a better product then Unreal 2. The product is not so much the game as it a game platform and the Unreal engine is a opengl dog. On the subject of games, tonight's parade of political pageantry and pompous pandering to the Gore/Liberman union sends the scary message home that they could be elected into office. Gamer's are concerned about Liberman's long time crusade to clean out the various media industries of all things that offend his fine sense of morals. I envision Tipper Gore to feel an election win as a validation for her censorship campaign against all those dirty lyrics. When Al swears in, Tipper and Liberman will raise their hands together and shout "Censortwin powers activate! Form of, First amendment eraser!" Since Al invented the internet he will show them how to unleash their powers here as well. The more I look at all the candidates, the less I like any of them. They all have their problems. I'm having more doubts about Nader, but he seems better then the usual suspects. The Libertarians have as much hope as the Reform party in getting any attention. As crazy as Nader seems with some of his plans, it seems that he will at least do some good work, much like I suspect Perot would have done even though Perot may be just a little too crazy. More people are weighing in about the state of the music industry. Ice T and Prince offer up some words.The poor RIAA and their music label buddies are looking at extinction as more and more people are waking up to the fact that they are being screwed by them. After all, there are plenty of signs that the music industry is dedicated to offering variety to the public so we should be happy with what is spoon fed to us on the radio.
"And then at the end of the song, I say half of the shit I say I just make it up to make you mad, so kiss my white naked ass. So I'm telling you that I'm making this shit up and it's pissing you off and you're letting me get to you. So when you let me get to you, you let me win, so I'm winning."Yes, Eminem speaks about his lyrical style. I couldn't have thought a more lame rationalization for his lyrics. I have no problem with Eminem really. He's a product of the mook movement that is channeling the energy of those with nothing else to focus on. The mooks don't listen to stuff like Crow and on the worst end, which may be the majority, they are just looking for some distraction from their own lack of direction in life. Taste is such a subjective thing that it gets trounced on by the masses. The Internet is ushering in the destruction of traditional bastions of opinion. Many may see this as a very bad thing. It will start pushing media to pander to the majority more and more. The majority seems to be a finicky beast to understand, let alone tame. Occasionally when it engages in excesses such as Vanilla Ice, there is a backlash that renders the unfortunate former subject of attention a shallow hole of obscurity and ridicule. When the high taste encumbered set among us slanders a current favorite of the majority, they are rarely willing to listen. After all, the cool crews residing in High Schools that tend to dictate these things rarely pay attention to such protests. It does make me understand the Harlan Quote from Ethel the Blog's site. A good friend of mine is taking a C course and the teacher set out a rather strict set of rules about attendence and such on the first day. This resulted in all those not serious to drop the course. The teacher was then able to concentrate on teaching a dedicated audience. OK, I'm slow, but I eventually get these things. I picture the distribution of taste looking like the traditional bell curve with maybe a slight lean toward the bottom, since almost everyone can hardly suppress a grin to a dick joke. Which is why I think Bush and Dick are going to win. For a long time the upper echelon of taste has had a semi-firm grip on what has sailed along the media channels. The levels of exposure are bound to change. People are still going to create things for all levels of taste, but we will see more and more of the Britiny Spears treatment to mass media forms. This will become a science of consumer thought as internet usage data is analyzed and applied. Shows like 'Making the band' are evidence of how the next new thing will be engineered.
"Education is the living room of my life."
-Laura Bush, not making any sense in a rambling speech during the 2000 Republican National Convention.It has a while since I've been able to sit back and peck away at this keyboard. Part of the reason is that I spent last week in New Orleans to attend Siggraph. The other reason has to do with work and how I've already managed to go over 40 hours this week and it looks like I won't be able to rest till Sunday. I didn't even get home tonight until almost 2am. Then there is the fact that I bought Diablo 2 last month. So while coming home pretty late every night I still managed to catch some tidbits of the Convention on the late night news. I was bemused to see Colon Powell come up to support Dubya. It should comes as no surprise to see Colon behind Bush and Dick. It was worth watching John McCain kiss Dubya's ass even after all the crap Bush's machine pulled on him.
"I support Governor Bush. I am grateful to him. And I am proud of him."It was a good thing John was standing behind a podium so no one could see his balls shrivel as he uttered those words. Overall, I have come to realize that for all the hope I had in Nader the Republican ticket is a must vote for anyone with even a smidgen of comedic inkling. That was what did it for Bush senior when he pushed Dan into the spotlight and we all got lessons in creative spelling. Almost any political story can be mired in pubescent humor. When there is war we can get headlines like: Army General debriefs Bush and Dick. or even everyday announcements like: Bush and Dick to make appearance at town hall meeting. will benefit. Oh well. I had to do it, since I've been away and not looked at the hoards of similar takes on this development. From the Progressive Review:
GUARDIAN, LONDON: In the US, the government is very partial to telling you that you are living in the land of the free and the home of the brave - well, it sure ain't free," says Harrelson. "I believe that, in a truly free country, you should be able to choose the drug you want, as long as you are not harming anybody else. Now, everybody's a drug-addict, children are addicted to sugar, caffeine and pharmaceuticals, every one of those kids who shot up the schools in the US were on some kind of pills. My best friend, Danny Platner, died from the use of alcohol, pills and tobacco, all extremely addictive drugs. All legalized and freely available. Put him in the grave at age 32 . . . "The most destructive drugs are all condoned by the government," he continues, "yet they criminalize marijuana, a lot of my friends are in jail for smoking pot (and the prison system is one of the fastest-growing industries, by the way), which has no proven side-effects apart from making you feel euphoric. So what's wrong with that? Every year hundreds of thousands die from tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical use - I'm sorry, I get emotional about this. But to my knowledge, nobody's ever died from smoking marijuana. And, believe me, some nights I've tried and you can't do it."The more I think about the drug laws in this country, the less they make sense. When you are addicted to a drug you are sick. It doesn't help to put sick people in jail. If you are not addicted to the drug then we only have to worry that you use it safely, just like for alcohol. Criminalizing a lifestyle only creates a sub-culture of criminals and undermines the freedom of every citizen. Laws enacted to fight drugs have to be more severe and more intrusive upon every person's rights all the time. If we would actually spend all that money going to into places like South America on prevention and treatment, we would actually not just be pissing it away. Only the most foolish or evil among us believe in more laws or police. Someone decided to post a rant about modern women on
"We judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing; others judge us by what we have done."
-LongfellowI've been gradually coming out of a fog that I walked into eight years ago. I don't like to think about a lot that happened to me. A lot of it was typical rebellious fun. Some of it got out of hand and some of it hurts me to think about. So I adopted the work hard play hard ethic. It was working until this year.
Back in Elementary School I had a friend. At that time we were best friends. I remember going to the local Osco store and stealing Atari 2600 games that we could play on his system. I remember shooting bottle rockets along the street to scare the kids walking home from school. At least till the day we hit a cop car with one and were too afraid to do it again. When he came with my family camping once we went to the pool. I was at the other side of the pool trying to see how long I could hold my breath. Coming up for air I noticed a huge commotion. He had almost drowned at the deep end of the pool. I remember seeing him in the hospital, his parents had come. I didn't realize it at the time, but I felt as if it was my fault. A wave of nausea came over me and I stayed in the bathroom with my head between my knees for a long time. Much later I remember we had a fight at the school playground. I didn't want to be his friend anymore. He didn't want me to leave. I remember hitting him and pushing him down until he let go of me. I don't know why I did any of those things. I just remember how much I hated myself afterwards.
I think I tend to push people away when they get to close to me. I had to separate myself from friends that helped push me into that fog. I wonder if by knowing that I do this now, I can overcome it.
I've been doing a little searching and found this interview with Harlan Ellison and I think I understand him a little bit more. Coming from the same generation as my father it's not surprising to see his discomfort with the acceleration of society. My father resents payola DJ's pushing Jazz off the radio and I see Harlan viewing the internet in similar light. My generation laments how MTV has been perverted. The one thing I am not so sure about is the dumbing down effect. I suspect that people naturally rise to their own level of incompetence. We are only now more connected with the realization of how widespread this dumbness runs.
"The reason the world is so fucked up is because we're undergoing evolution. And the reason our institutions, our traditional religions are all crumbling is because they're no longer relevant. So it's time for us to create a new philosophy and perhaps even a new religion."
-Bill HicksI've just recently rediscovered Bill. I've seen him on Letterman and even read about him in the Preacher comic. He somehow hovered below my radar. We are all at a loss with his death. People like him remind us to not take life so seriously and to think about our actions. As long as we can have voices like this speak out against the herd mentality we can move on to some degree. All his rants, all his spouting of 'hate', is from a real love of life and its potential. It seems that Ray Bradbury doesn't offer up that much more confidence about people, but he does offer up some sound advice that folks like Eminem should take to heart.
O: As a writer, do you feel like a teacher yourself? RB: You must be. You can't be self-conscious about it, but Dr. Schweitzer said years ago, "Do something good and someone might imitate it." So if you like my writing, you may very well imitate my passion.Further mining The Onion's AV section I found more interviews. This review with Fugazi's Ian MacKaye shows why music labels need to die. Capitalism needs to evolve. Another musician that I like, Mike Patton, was interviewed. His latest band, Mr. Bungle, is his best incarnation. He's probably one of the most talented musicians around. I have yet to see him in concert, damn it.
"You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time."
-LincolnNapster may not have had very altruistic intentions at its inception, but it has caught on. My current take on the testimony of Lars Ulrich from Metallica is that his lawyers managed to smooth out an obsolete argument. My ego is so great, I'll even quote myself.
Essentially the internet is a tool for exchange. When this exchange involves "owned" data there is a perceived loss of potential monetary compensation. The fear is that people will not fill this potential and that no one will get paid for anything that that appears on the internet. We will just have to ignore the fact that as long as software has been written, it has been pirated. A pirated copy is often available before it is released in stores. We will just have to ignore the fact that public libraries with books and videos exist in almost every city in the world. A lot of people make the argument that they wouldn't buy a CD if they could download it for free. I guess these are the same people that go restaurants and never leave a tip. After all, you don't have to tip. There is no LAW that says you do. The fact is that people do tip. A lot of people love to over tip. Lars cries out for control, but that's always been an illusion. He's never had control and he never will. All the control in the world is not going to get people to buy music. Laws are not going stop those that want to commit crime. His whole argument is selling humanity short on conscious and I am not buying that.A few months back I decided to enter one of my poems in a contest from poetry.com. So they thought it was at least good enough to publish in some book and on their site. I don't know if I won yet. Perhaps not, since this is listed for winning this month. What did come in my mailbox Friday was an invitation to join The Tenth Anniversary International Society of Poets Convention and Symposium. You can imagine my excitement. I am a nominee for Poet of the year 2000 and will get to read my work on stage and be "honored with two separate and very special awards for your poetic achievement." But wait, there's more… Tentative list of events: 1) Convention registration (OK, I guess this an "event")
He'd had a prenup with his previous wife / and sought to avoid any mischief or strife / by asking his bride for a prenup himself / to allow her to insulate personal wealth.and…
So while counsel raises issues that are worthy and well taken / in the end, we find the effort to apply them here's mistaken. We must conclude the issues raised do not warrant a new trial / and all that we may offer now is this respectful, rhymed denial.I think I'll do the same. To be hailed as a talented poet is one thing and to hailed for an extreme lack of talent is quite another thing. We all can benefit from William Blake tarot cards or quotes. On to more important matters, it seems that George Lucas wants to appeal to the masses a little more with the next Star Wars movie by getting Limp Bizkit to do the soundtrack. I can picture Weird Al writing up lyrics for "I did it all for the Wookie" right now. We can always drag Whitney Houston out for "The Force will always be with you." Let's get John "Cougar" for "I fought the Empire and the empire blew my planet up."
"It is extremely interesting to me, the hope that the project seemed to awaken at that moment, and the sad evolution (lastimosa evolucion) of events during the years following the discovery, until now we once again draw back the veil' over the anti-tumoral power of THC, twenty-five years later. Unfortunately, the world bumps along between such moments of hope and long periods of intellectual castration."Microsoft and the Government need to listen to this man The lives of animals An interesting question arose from reading this. If we cannot know what it is like to be a bat, then we cannot really know what it is like to be another person? Sierra Leone
A young man named Mukhtar Jialloh escorted me around the camp. He spoke English well, which was rare. The rebels had found a journal that he was keeping. Like the Khmer Rouge, they singled out the educated for special brutality; many of them are, like the Khmers, country folk with a deep suspicion of learning and of city ways. Mukhtar had begged the rebels to cut off his left hand, since he was right-handed; for that very reason, they had cut off his right hand. While walking in Freetown recently, he told me, he had run into both the man who had bound his hands and the man who had chopped off the right one. It was a moment he had dreamed of. "I said, 'Do you recognize me?' They said, 'No.' I said, 'You ought to.' But I was in the long sleeve, and I presented my left side. Then I said, 'You see, you tied me up, and you cut me.' And then I took out my arm from my sleeve and showed them." A group of Mukhtar's friends gathered around. They wanted to take revenge for him. The rebels were trembling; they tried to give him money. Mukhtar wasn't about to let them buy off their guilt, but he was also either too gentle or too demoralized to want their blood. "I said, 'Leave them; the evil that men do lives after them.'"Media goofs 'There are Big Things Growing in Young Men's Pants.' Guilt
One of my earliest lessons in guilt was imparted in childhood through the story of the death of Mahatma Gandhi's father. Gandhi was only 16 then, married to Kasturba, who was pregnant at that time. He notes in his autobiography that although he loved to nurse his father as he lay on his deathbed, his "mind was hovering about the bedroom." Late one night, Gandhi was massaging his father's legs when his uncle came in to relieve him. Gandhi writes that he was tired and went to his room: "My wife, poor thing, was asleep. But how could she sleep when I was there? I woke her up." A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was a servant. Gandhi's father had died. "I saw that...animal passion had... blinded me," Gandhi wrote. The "shame of my carnal desire," he added, "is a blot I have never been able to efface or forget."QUESTION: What are the chances that the local Blockbuster has Storm Riders? ANSWER: None. Local ads for the Gurney Mills shopping mall feature a women that could use this. I have to hand it to this company. They have balls. Create a disease and its "cure." Buy some research and market the shit out of it! The National Post
"This may be the end of a 90-year window when it was possible to make money off recorded music,"
-William GibsonNew media corporate culture has no room for parents? I have been thinking about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and it's adoption as a principle in the macroscopic world. The current trends of television and Internet voyeurism try to offer up reality but can't. Reality cannot be bottled in a half-hour show or even channeled through a 24-hour live streaming video. If people watch TV to be entertained, then reality-based shows are akin to buying a "live" album. If people watch TV to see the "real world", then they are better off not watching it at all. PBS was showing another Nature documentary on humpback whales. They have determined that it's the males that sing. Their songs seem similar from region to region. The change is only in tone, like a local dialect. The divers must approach while holding their breath to hear the song better. When you are about 30 feet from a singing whale the force of the sound is such to vibrate your entire body. The researchers are trying to determine through genetics the mating behavior of whales. Whales breach the water forcefully at times to rid themselves of old skin and the researchers collect it. Once again Man goes to great lengths to discover how and why another species gets the girl. It's fascinating how they catch their food. Running deep they find a shoal of fish and begin a song to confuse them. They herd them in by releasing a ring of bubbles, much like a fisherman's net. The catch itself is an awesome sight to behold. With a mouth open twelve feet wide they break the surface and often swallow the entire shoal. It's good to be at the top of the food chain. After watching part of Conan O' Brian on 6.21.00, I was saddened to hear that after trying pot two times poor Sam Donaldson didn't get a buzz. Who is slipping Sam the bad weed? And why did he wait till he was 40 to try it? I want to start a new campaign to: Get Sam Donaldson High! He's now doing live webcasts on none other than ABCNEWS.com. Like I care. It might be entertaining to see Sam do his Max Headroom impression as my 56K connection chokes and spurts for 12 seconds. Write the stuff down buddy. We can't all afford DSL or justify the expense. The Boy Scouts of America has decided to push their homophobia out into the light and it really bothers me that something that used to be about fun can be seen as a haven for ignorance and intolerance.
Baden-Powell believed that scouting's core virtues of selflessness and the cheerful performance of duty were as valid for the poor as for the upper and middle classes. "Everything on two legs that calls itself a boy has God in him," he insisted, "although he may...through the artificial environment of modern civilization...be the most arrant little thief, liar, and filth-monger unhung. Our job is to give him a chance." Respect for others, without class distinctions, was a scout's universal duty. Long before diversity trainers appeared to browbeat America, the scout law urbanely commanded boys to "respect the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion."This article goes on to explain how gay scoutmasters will hurt Scouting.
The New Jersey Supreme Court breezily declared that forcing homosexual scoutmasters on the scouts would have no effect on the organization. Seasoned scoutmasters know better. Francis Harty, a veteran Staten Island scoutmaster who has helped dozens of boys become Eagle Scouts, says: "I have no problem with a gay person in scouting. I'd have a hell of a time telling parents he's taking their boys into the woods." People will leave in "droves," predicts Baltimore scoutmaster Harry Shaw. "And we thought it was bad in the 1970s."Maybe Francis is right and every boy's parents are homophobes. Maybe they just need to put their anti-gay message in the handbook so the government can't force them to accept gay scoutmasters. Better yet they just need to buy a clue. Homosexuality does not mean pedophilia. Not a gay person on this planet is going to convince me to convert. No matter how bad my love life gets I won't become fair-weather-sexual. The reverse is true for them. Case closed. But hey, so are their minds. This same article still tries to shove this message that we need to save the crusading Boy Scouts because of their teaching of moral virtues. It also states that our moral crusade against bigotry has now allowed the government to invade our private institutions. It's not our fault that they never spelled out what "morally straight" meant. Maybe they should have just cut out the "morally" to remove any doubt. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Boy Scouts. Whatever moral message was supposed to be present got lost in the transition from cub scouts. I remember Boy Scouts as being a year round summer camp with strange uniforms. We didn't always get into trouble. Our scoutmasters words "I don't care what you do, just don't get caught" showed us the wisdom of discretion. This wasn't about being bad or good. It was about having fun. Speaking of nice institutions for children. Damn NY Times. Create a bogus account. We all do.
"When they say, 'Gee it's an information explosion!', no, it's not an explosion, it's a disgorgement of the bowels is what it is. Every idiotic thing that anybody could possibly write or say or think can get into the body politic now, where before things would have to have some merit to go through the publishing routine, now, ANYTHING."
-Harlan EllisonNow when you preface your weblog with a quote like this you are opening the doors of elitist pretense. So the guy has a brain. Congratulations. Time to start pissing on anyone below your intellectual bar. Let's try a little less whining and a little more leading by example. I admit that the first time I heard about Ellision was from his short-lived Dream Corridor comics. I don't hold any upper cranial caliber that I can't be knocked off. It just irks me to hold such a quote like a welcome mat by your front door to say "woe all ye who enter here of little literate ability." While it's true that anybody can write whatever they like, it is not true that this anything like publishing. This is a medium for exchange and communication. Actually I don't hold anything against him since it might be kind of strange to write a weblog of just amazing quality and see who gets webbys. Not that they mean anything, but when you celebrate mediocrity and let places like his go unnoticed your helping our culture slide into the gutter. After all, anyone that knows the joy that is Franziskaner Hefe-Weizen must be a freaking genuis. I first tasted it at Octoberfest in Munich a few years back. I still hold the Kloster Andechs Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel as my favorite. I like the bitter ones better. When Ellision draws a semantic line between science fiction and sci-fi it is to point out his sense of the decline of the genre. I think it's the typical sign of an industry's rise. It can now support the lesser aspects. Quality remains an individual observation and those of certain taste have to deal with the fact that a lot of people like trash. We all have our pet peeves and little crusades and sometimes it's so petty that my crusade is your pet peeve. Ah well, it's nice to know he's passionate about his craft. I know I do the same kind of rants for things I'm not even involved in. I am trying not to think about how Eminem's wife's recent suicide attempt is not 100% proof that his words do hurt people. I can't think about how greed has driven him to let become a mouthpiece of hate. Yeah, I don't want to get off on a rant. I should just buy some of Ellison's books and go back into my corner.
Statistics are no substitute for judgement
-Henry ClayStatistics are quoted as much as scorned, but Henry hit the nail on the head. When certain statistics constantly point in a certain direction it should at least provoke more thought.
Smoking kills about 30 times as many Americans as do drugs, and alcohol kills about six times as many. [CDC]The latest Counterpunch pulls no punches to the rampant insanity of our country's drug policy.
No sane person believes in the "war on drugs" any more. This implies of course that our nation's affairs are being directed by madmen, but you knew that anyway.Flip-Floping back to TPR brings us to the much more frightening prospect of increasing military force to fight the drug war on American soil.
The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time. Speaking before the 1991 National Guard Association Conference, Lt. General John B. Conaway, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, said: "Our commander in chief has declared war on drugs. Our mission as America's National Guard in this war is clear: make America drug-free in as short a time as possible using any means necessary no matter what the cost."It's nice to know our government is trying so hard to protect us from ourselves. Time's recent article on ecstasy shows that even with a drug that may help more then harm it doesn't stop the government from making people criminals for trying it. So if the government is not concerned with the harm a drug causes, what is the motivation for increasing the strictness of laws towards it? Could it be that the drug company's lobbyists are paying politicians to make sure Americans only get their chemical fixes in the form of things like Prozac or Valium?
"Dalai Lama Responsible For Rape, Cannibalism, Murder," Says Beijing. Perhaps the Chinese Government thinks that since the US can lie to their own people without much of a response, that they can try and spread such ludicrous lies about the Dalai Lama. The Chinese and the American people are sleeping giants and hopefully someday they will wake and end this bullshit.May you live in interesting times. It was an interesting weekend for me. Saturday due to the generosity of good friends I was able to go out and about the Lincoln Park area. We saw Hellcab at the Ivanhoe Theater. At one point while we were walking in the cool night air I noted how I was the only one wearing just a t-shirt and still comfortable. I've always been more attuned to the cold then the hot weather. In typical John fashion I recalled my high-school graduation story to them. So when I pulled up Megnut's site this morning I felt that I had to deliver the goods here as well. High-School graduation for me happened at Haugan Public School on Chicago's north side. In the non-air-conditioned gymnasium we had our ceremony. It was a hot day and I was wearing a suit and the traditional cap and gown over it. We sung a bunch of songs including a version of Stand By Me which our English teacher insisted on changing the lyrics "we be jamming" to "we are jamming." As our set went mercilessly on I began to feel increasingly hot, dizzy, and nauseous. I stopped singing to try and restore composure. I've never had a "blackout" before and it was as if a curtain dropped over everything. I opened my eyes to see a bunch of people looking down at me. I was helped over to the doors that were open to the outside air and given some cold water. I was spared from further singing. My mother later told me how she saw me stop singing and thought that I had forgotten the words when all of a sudden I disappeared. Sunday I was able to hold the amazing seven-day-old miracle brought in to this world by the best of friends. It's so strange to hold a newborn. I was trying to imagine being so close to the beginning of life. This little girl had more hair on her head then I. I told my friends that I was going to go military style for the summer. I am tired of having greasy hair from putting suntan lotion on my bald spot and I hate wearing a hat. I wonder if there is such a thing as being a social meat eater? I am really good at forcing myself not to think about things when I'm hungry. I have so far managed to not eat meat today. I doubt I can maintain this through the week. I crave it.
I'm guilty and you're guilty too
Gravity Kills, 1997It's no secret that I have not been going out to the bars and clubs much lately. Hmmm, March... So last night I made the mistake of going to Crobar with $25 bucks in my pocket. Lucky for me I know enough people in this world that I was able to get in without dropping $20 at the door. I've only been there one other time and I didn't even realize it. I was in for a mild shock when I got my first beer and the bartender asked for $4.75. Quickly it dawned on me that I needed to ration my beers and then further rationalized a no tip tonight policy. It was working fine until I went for beer number four and the bartender gave me a sarcastic "thanks" when I tried to slip out without even leaving a buck. I wanted to explain my situation. That normally, having worked for tips myself, I always tip. I made a miscalculation and I... Not too much later it was time to go and since I still had the money for beer five I walked up to the bar where that same bartender was busy making a drink. I dropped two dollars in front of her, but she didn't look up so I just left. As I was walking back to my car with my ears ringing. I have been to a lot of clubs and either I'm getting old or that place was way too loud. I still felt guilty. I've been feeling guilty a lot lately. It may have started after I stumbled on this guy's site and followed his link to meat stinks. I've always been a dedicated eater of almost any kind of food. I've been a member of the Dennis Leary school of thought for some time and PETA's actions have often lead me to more eye-rolling then critical thought. At some level I have this tendency equate vegetarianism with the rampant indignation of a peculiar cult that lives in denial of their own carnivorously canine teeth. Such prejudice never had strong foundation. This unconscious fact was apparent to an old vegan friend that used to (and perhaps still does) drive around in a white Jeep with black "cow" stickers and always seemed to regard my lack of vegetarianism as only a matter of time. I can feel the walls of the cult of meat begin to crumble and it's a little scary. Despite my hermitic tendencies I've always been able to go with the group and toss back beers, joints, and brats with the rest of them. Whenever I felt the need to mingle I could do so easily. I don't know if I can (pardon) quit meat cold turkey. I can't waste the food in my refrigerator right? Another tendril of the octopus of guilt that I've been wrestling with for a while is Copyright. Recently John Perry Barlow gave his thoughts on napster. While the aged Motely Crue gave their thoughts in a crappy flash movie. I kind of feel sorry for Metallica now, its one thing to have thousands of fans dis you on the Internet, but when Motely Crue takes the higher moral ground… Sometimes fear that when I start getting into a rant that I might fall victim to over-confidence.
Now, if you are among the competent, you might derive some consolation from this research, since it implies that you are unlikely to be grossly overconfident. But perhaps you simply imagine that you are among the competent--precisely because you suffer from the overconfidence of the incompetent. And there is more to worry about. Overconfidence may decrease with competence, but other studies show that it increases with knowledgeability; that is, the more specialized information you have about something, the more likely you are to be overconfident in your judgments about it. Overconfidence also tends to rise with the complexity of the problem. This means that experts reasoning about difficult matters--doctors, engineers, financial analysts, academics, even the pope when he is not speaking ex cathedra--are apt to be seriously overconfident in the validity of their conclusions.I've always tried to be a humble person. I've always admired humility in others and I generally like to think that I'm succeeding in being humble. Am I overconfident in my own humility or is that possible? My brain is starting to turn inside out with the implications. I suppose I could try and learn from one of the masters. I've always considered Ghandi as one of the most important leaders of modern time. His simple secret to life, "Renounce and enjoy" is something so foreign to almost everything I see these days. It makes me wonder if society could ever cope with even half of the modern luxuries that it has created.
I know the path: it is straight and narrow
It is like the edge of a sword.
I rejoice to walk on it.
I weep when I slip.
God's word is: "He who strives never perishes."
I have implicit faith in that promise.
Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail a
I shall not lose faith.
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
- Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 1861
You can't be satirical and not be offensive to somebody.
- Tom LehrerA question from a recent interview with Tom Lehrer got me thinking.
O: Which is more important, being funny or making a point? TL: Well, to me, being funny is more important, but I don't know. Most politicians are so interested in making points that they don't... I'd rather be funny myself, and I'd rather listen to somebody with a little sense of humor. We used to have [two-time Democratic presidential nominee] Adlai Stevenson in my day, but I don't know if there's anybody like that now. Bob Dole could have been; he was the closest. He seemed to have a sense of humor, but he didn't show it in the campaign. I would have loved to have Bob Dole come out and really say stuff. But after a while they tamed him, I guess, so it didn't work. Not that he would have won anyway, but at least we would have had a fun campaign.I always felt that Bob Dole seemed like he was too restrained, like he knew this great joke but felt he was never in the right company to tell it. It was quite a sight to see him extolling Viagra. It was just a little too late to help his campaign. Tom remarked that now political satire is difficult because "everything is so weird in politics…" but it seems to me that, coming from the perspective of his generation, life has become weird. It's the Old Man Syndrome. Yet, the youthful struggles to be free and different from previous generations hasn't resulted in much actual movement. The freedom movement has opened up its own Pandora's box. We fought for the freedom from tyranny in the 40's. We fought for the freedom from communism in the 50's. We fought for the freedom from authority in the 60's. We fought for the freedom from responsibility in the 70's. We fought for the freedom to be greedy in the 80's. We fought for the freedom to speak in the 90's. We have so much "reality" being thrown up at us that it becomes harder to recognize it from the rest. It's as if freedom has offered up this great bounty of choices, but all we feel is confusion and despair. We always want something new, especially if it stands far enough away from what has come before that you can't gauge its quality. It intrigues. We throw ourselves into it. We drink it up until intoxicated. It reminds me of the scene in S.L.C. Punk!. After one character talks about how Rush's music was so deep and complex and his friend offers that they should listen to some tape he just got because it was new. I've had WTTW channel 11 on most of today and I even called the 1-900-288-1111 number for the $10 donation. One of the programs, Citizen Hong Kong, gave an intimate glimpse into the lives of a few.
Maybe I'm scared of losing things. Maybe I'm looking for something I've lost.Ed Wu is a collector of culture. He lives surrounded by his collection of comics, toys, movies, and books. It's a warm blanket to comfort him from things like the loss of his father. It was strange for me to have such a simple statement resonate with me. Half a world away, separated by land, water, language, and culture for a moment I understood his motivation. Sometimes the most compelling stories can be told without words. Volkswagon's "Milky Way" ad is such a subtle piece that its true beauty may not be too obvious the first time you see it. Another of WTTW's programs today was Bob Hope: Memories of World War II. What serendipity! Memorial Day is tomorrow. I'll be 27 tomorrow. Bob will be 93 tomorrow. John F. Kennedy would have been 83 tomorrow. I've recently learned that the state dance of Illinois and 12 others is square dancing.
You've got to Fight for your right to Party
-Beastie Boys 1986I had just entered my teenage years when the Beastie Boys released their debut album, License to Ill. It's the first album I ever taped off a friend in its entirety. It was track after track of irreverent fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly despite a lack of any chemical additives. It wasn't until I was nineteen that I allowed myself to succumb to peer pressure and smoked pot from a RC Cola can in the back seat of a vintage 70's American car at a private camping grounds one hundred miles outside of Chicago. What happened for the next few years would probably make for an interesting book or movie. While I can't deny its effect on me, I never became indoctrinated into the temple of the five-pointed plant of peace and harmony. I cared even less about smoking cigarettes. I quit after nine months. It became apparent to me that I had the need to experience these things if I was to move on to the bigger disappointments in life. I am too curious a person. I did experiment beyond the wacky weed, but I could never bring myself to try things like heroin or cocaine. At some point I could extrapolate the result in the same way that I don't have eat excrement to know I won't like it. For all my curiosity, I am far too guided by a sense of self-control to plunge too deep into the chemical seas. Pot stood alone as the only thing I could do in excess without compromising my sense of control. If anything, it only made me more lethargic. This fact caused me to rationalize self-medication in a long-term bout with insomnia. It pains me to write that I didn't heed the warning from my godfather made in 87'. He wrote in my high school graduation autograph book about alcohol and how "The damn stuff never did anybody any good." It wasn't until last year that I really understood this. The details are few, but the basic facts remain. It was my birthday. I was at a party. I decided to get drunk. I succeeded beyond any doubt. I have vague recollections of being pushed from a parking lot toward grass where someone began to punch me in the face. I didn't like it and tried to fight back, but I don't think I hit anything. I passed out and woke up in the hospital. A week later I went to DMV. My license expired on my birthday. Since the whole process went digital I figure most .gov employees and hackers can pull up my mug anyway. I would rather have first crack at embarrassing myself considering I'm so good at it. Now that I know I lose control when I drink, I govern my consumption strictly. It has taken me some time to discover what I can handle. It is a dangerous game to play. I am far luckier then most in that I can even tell this story. I started playing the game at an age much later then most folks in my generation and it must seem like I waited forever compared to kids these days. If the fact that I started late saved me from a more tragic fate then if I had began bogarting bowls while first listening to "Paul Revere," then maybe we should all take to heart Chef's line from the South Park episode called "Ike's wee wee,"
There's a time and a place for everything and its called college.For all of those that didn't lose their virginity on prom night college was only a summer vacation away. After college things get a bit more difficult.
American men may think they're studs - but a new survey suggests they're duds. The June issue of Men's Health says the average American guy has sex only 79 times a year. That's 11/2 times a week, only half as often as men in many other countries. Even more embarrassing is the revelation that American men masturbate almost as often as they make love.I am not doing my part in helping that average. I blame my self-control tendencies fueled by a fear of STDs. It's an excuse that helps my ego in the same way I equate my strong forearms to long term computer use. We all struggle with ego. We try to curb our desires for fame and fortune. We try to not make things into more then what they are. We try to not fall prey to misguided causes. We try to not emulate the worst television has to offer. We try don't we?
It's nice to know that while a recent Chicago law has been passed to stop raves with all those non-bar-attending-non-alcohol-drinking-commie-pinko-ecstasy-popping-ingrates. The law with such points as limits events to 2am and further tramples the spirit of fun and freedom.
In repsonse to this Wisconsin has declared polka the official state dance.
It makes me want to fire up Napster and download some Weird Al tunes right now!
"They are simply unauthorized exploitations of plaintiffs' famous holiday songs for cynical commercial gain, with the lyrics of the original works replaced by lewd lyrics," the suit alleged.Litigation of commercialized parodies makes me wonder if the problem lies in the parody or the profit or both? When I read something from TPR like:
UPI: Canadian scientists have implanted spider genes in a herd of goats, resulting in the production of silky strands in goat milk that can be used for sutures and other applications . . . Turner estimates the technology has a potential market of $2 billion . . . Additionally, he said, the substance likely has industrial applications, possibly replacing such things as Kevlar. It also could be used to cover domed stadiums and in the aerospace and communications industries. Both the US and Canadian military have expressed interest in using it for making anti-ballistic defense systems...And it inspires me to write: Spidergoat, Spidergoat. Milk out a bridge to cross a moat. Spins a jacket any size, catches bullets just like flies. Look out! Here comes the Spidergoat! Here comes the Spidergoat! What is to prevent me from being sued by Marvel Comics? Only time will tell. Since I've brought up genetic engineering and cartoons I can't help but wax nostalgic to the cartoons of my youth that didn't contain the violence of today's loony tunes. Some of my favorites were the ones featuring short skits about the products of tomorrow. They used to run in between Woody Woodpecker and Tom & Jerry episodes. I'm referring to the "classic" episodes. At some point these cartoons were updated to a "blank" & friends run of new episodes that were so ravaged by the PC mindset to be unwatchable. They were subtle couriers of sexism to American youth. The "Cars of Tomorrow" episode contained mother-in-law jokes and sight gags galore. It also had a car "for the ladies" sporting a front end not too subtly resembling amble breasts, a pink paint job, and flower beds. Then there was the car with the excessive wrap-around stainless steel bumper and glass floor "so you could see if the guy you just ran over was a friend of yours." Another episode featuring genetic crossbreed freaks of tomorrow was a menagerie that would make Dr. Moreau proud. Most vividly of them all I can recall the chicken crossed with a centipede to satisfy all the drumstick lovers of the world. What boundaries of good taste do I cross when I suggest the addition of the Iguana? That way you could remove some of the legs and they would grow back. Is pushing the boundaries of good taste a means to offend or to provoke thought? If the current state of humanity is that of a child trying to adopt the adult freedom that the Internet offers, when are we going to grow up?
Like the moon has a definite position whether or not we look at the moon, the same must also hold for the atomic objects, as there is no sharp distinction possible between these and macroscopic objects. Observation cannot CREATE an element of reality like a position, there must be something contained in the complete description of physical reality which corresponds to the possibility of observing a position, already before the observation has been actually made.
- Albert Einstein 1954Especially in the case of Bill Clinton where it is suspected he does not decide what to eat for breakfast before checking the opinion polls. Successful politicians have the amazing ability to only form opinions based on the observer. Since we can't look forward to a computer bug induced apocalypse to offer up any radical change in society all we have left is Election 2000. While most people are trying to decide whether they support cocaine (Bush) or pot (Gore) I would like to propose that there are more choices. The proliferation of big business and it's influence on government is poised to tip the scales towards big brother. The checks & balances of our society can only function properly if they are put in use. We have to fight the apathetic trend towards voting. It's a sad thing to note that here in Chicago there have been times where the dead have voted more then the living. The growing distrust in traditional sources of news have seeded the market for reality based television programming. Its reality clouded by the influence of observation. Shows like Politically Incorrect are few. It's guests show an unrehearsed parade of personal opinion. For whatever reason we work it is quite painfully apparent that the "bottom line" mentality of corporations have continuously been against the people. People's lives have been traded for profitability enough. I don't see this changing with the Bush or Gore. Not only because I have never even heard them address the problem, but because there is little doubt they are puppets of parties mutually rubbing the backs of big business. The only person running that has not only addressed the issue, but has been immersed in it for some time is Ralph Nader. It seems logical that in this post-copyright age of rapid social and economic redefinition we have someone in a high position that can slap the greedy hands from shutting the widening window of freedom that technology is opening to us all. A world connected suggests the end of national interest. A world connected suggests the end of corporate interest. A world connected empowers the individual by breaking the barriers that have filtered its will through representative entities.
You are what you is.
-Frank ZappaI relented and played some Quake 3 this weekend and while I still enjoy it, it just adds to my frustration that the Weapon's Factory Arena mod (WFA) is not out of beta testing yet. It appears that Trent of NIN might be just as anxious. I am not sure when I'll feel nostalgic enough to download the emulator for the 80's Vectrex, but it's nice to know that even such obscure relics are being preserved. My love of games is in no way restricted to those of the digital kind. Most folks grew up playing board games and the genre is alive and well. The Games Café is a great place to discover board games all over again. I recently purchased a few from there and so far Torres is the best of the bunch and it's sure to please no matter how old or young you find yourself. I also picked up the expansion set for a game I have enjoyed for some time, The Settlers of Catan. Someone liked that game so much he created an online version. A long time ago I used to play D&D. Most of the time it was while attending day camp at the Leaning Tower of Y (for YMCA) in Niles. I didn't care for being a player much, but "Dm-ing" was more my style and most people agreed and let me. I eventually got bored of it. I now realize that was a truly fortuitous choice since I could have succumbed to it's evil. Now that I know that Gary Gygax is in league with Al Gore I am certain of its evil nature.
Nowadays evil is turning up everywhere. Even Disney is the target of attack. If you go through some of the documents it's pretty amazing to see how this guy thinks. To have such a tenuous grasp on reality to quote Leviticus is quite marvelous when it contains such wisdom as:
Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with two kinds of seed: neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together. 19:20Fashion victims of the world your blood is upon you! Actually, I really enjoy reading the movie reviews from CAP Alert. Where else can you get blow by blow coverage of how much action is in a movie? I wonder why I bother to put up my thoughts here. Initially I thought it would be a good way to get me to start writing again, but lately I've suspected ulterior motives.
Much evolutionary psychology remains speculative. Some theories, however, can be tested. In one famous experiment, testing gender differences in sexual behaviour, attractive individuals were hired to propose point-blank to strangers around campus. Invited to have sex that night, 75 per cent of the men agreed, none of the women. This result is often cited as proof of an evolved difference. Many women, though, say that it simply shows that men are slime.I'm just going to have to buy this book. It just shows why Fox can even think to make a show called "Who wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire!" and not "Who wants to Marry a Gorgeous Babe!" If you can't be with the one you love, love the one your with. I repent my downloading of MP3s. The Onion has shown me the future and it's not pretty. Speaking of music… Why is music without vocals called instrumental and music without instruments called acappella? After reading this article about how little there is that is good on the internet, (unless good to you means porn) I have to admire Something Awful's contest to find the worst Geocities home page. Lucky for us there are sites out there to help find these things.
Ego, Ego. Ego come and he won't go home!
Mark McCollum-sung to the tune of that "banana" song
Chuck D of Public Enemy and Lars Ulrich of Metallica were on Charlie Rose's PBS show debating Napster last night.
Lars "We have no particular issues with home taping because you are talking about clear generational loses. But when it is the original master recording of our song available in the digital format that is a different story."It's plain that Lars is fairly paranoid about this technology and doesn't quite get it. He didn't want to get into the moral issue, but it is a philosophical one. It centers on the very nature of how people support the sources of the things they use and enjoy. Intellectual property has traditionally been strictly controlled. While I can't take seriously the idea that without control these industries would die. I do recognize the fear that these industries are experiencing. Who wants to be at the mercy of THE PEOPLE? Chuck mentioned that it's the accountant mentality of counting all those potential pennies as pennies lost.
Charlie "Even though they are not going to sell it, even though it is for personal use, none of that matters? In the end it's control"
Lars "At the end of it, it's control and the people-- part of what we're trying to do is make people understand that what they're doing is illegal."
Chuck "I look at Napster as just being a version of new Radio.—I look at this at power going back to the people. I also look at this as a situation where for the longest period of time where the industry had control of technology and therefore the people were subservient to that technology and—At whatever price range that the people would have to pay for."
Charlie "So but, where do- where does the people's power stop?"
Chuck "You brought up the point yourself, that even in 1967 when FM radio came about there was this big outcry that it was going to take all the artist music—take away from their sales point. When cassette recorders came in, there was this 'They are going to rob, they are going to take away from the sales.' And this has proven to be contrary to what has happened. Matter of fact, it's been a super-turbo boost to the industry. --For an industry that has prided itself off the enthusiasm of the fans, it's really funny seeing them put up their hands and saying this is the biggest thing since the Beatles, but we have to stop it. We have to regulate it. –This happens to new technology each and every time. I would count on the fact that exposure to a product will drive that fan base to pick up that product and contribute to the bottom line of an artist or business anyway."
Lars "You cannot look me in the eye and tell me they are not doing it for some kind of profit."
Chuck "Their doing it because they could be some technical nerds that just love to see change every second."
Lars "I respect you man, but in the United State nobody does anything for free."
If Lars could produce non-copyable CD's he would. Then he could sleep easier with the knowledge that no one is listening to his music without paying him. Maybe someday the technology will be available to give him the comfort he wants.
MP3Breifs.com, is the latest in underwear with an Internet connection. Since it's not about money, these briefs simulate actual ass kissing every time one of your MP3 files are downloaded.
The Budweiser 'Wassup' campaign has crossed over to Internet parody. It's time for the first commercial crossover. Comics have been doing it for years and with the latest influx of comics into movies it's only a matter of time for an Aliens vs. Predator movie. The computer game is one of those good and hard ones. The gold edition for $30 is totally worth it. But I digress, my idea is for a Budweiser & Volkswagen commercial. Picture a big traffic jam and a whole bunch of people saying "PassaaaaaaaaT!"
The Progressive Review offers more proof that one needs to do some research before you buy.
HARVARD: In early June, activists deriding sweatshop labor and the destruction of old-growth forests will protest outside the GAP clothing store in Harvard square. Momentum has been building, calling on GAP Chairman Donald Fischer to clean up sweatshop conditions, pay employees a living wage, and save the last of Mendocino, California's old-growth redwoods . . . The Fischer family not only owns GAP, Old Navy and Banana Republic clothing stores but Mendocino Redwood Company. Mendocino Redwood Co. is responsible for clear cutting old-growth redwood groves in Mendocino County. The Fischer's purchased 235,000 acres of forest land from Pacific Lumber in 1998. Clear cutting and the construction of roads and mills in unstable areas have caused mud slides and destruction that not only threaten the last of our ancient forests but Coho salmon found on the Mendocino coast.That's the problem with knowledge. It gets in the way of blissful ignorance. Ignorance is the thorn in the side of democracy. It does drive capitalism however. Many things get bought because of it. (also from TPR)
I could take the angle that it's just a symptom of the American culture of hedonistic indulgence. We are the biggest country in the world, but we don't want to take care of it. We want to be able to have fun despite the destruction it causes.
NY TIMES: The Ford Motor Company, which depends on sport utility vehicles for much of its profit, acknowledged today that they cause serious safety and environmental problems. In its first "corporate citizenship report," issued at the company's annual shareholders' meeting here, Ford said that the vehicles contributed more than cars to global warming, emitted more smog-causing pollution and endangered other motorists. The automaker said that it would keep building them because they provide needed profit, but would seek technological solutions to the problems and look for alternatives to the big vehicles.
Somehow corporate responsibility is different from personal responsibility. The bottom line wins out over all else. More people are getting hurt and more environmental damage is being done from our product, but the ignorant masses want it so we will give it to them. But hey, they are trying right?
The recent movie 'Insider' illustrated an important fact. Butts get kicked directly proportional to the rigidness of the position in which they sit.
"And the ``grand illusion'' of Renoir's title is the notion that the upper classes somehow stand above war."The paper was how war is never any benefit to a nation due to the ecological damage it causes. War does cost us a lot. So why are there about 30 "conflicts" going on and yet the
"Everyone's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it ever could about homosexuality."
- James BaldwinSome people think even worse things. GLBT folks can't help what they are any more then someone born to a particular race. Can anyone actually give me a reason why such behavior is bad or evil or whatever? Something concrete. No "the Bible says" stuff or anything like that. Plain, hard truth. Sure, it's uncomfortable to think about especially to straight males. This subject is the best way to make us squirm. Why can't people live and let live?
Today's Penny Arcade featured the clash of opinion on the recent U-571 movie. It was nothing overly dramatic or exciting. It made me think about the whole of concept of reviewing music, books, films, etc. The spectre of quality must hang over every awards judge like the Krispy Kreme fresh donut light to a dieting Oprah.
One of the biggest trends of the online web folk is the "me too" reviews section. It can be a little confusing to go to sites like Amazon.com and try and weigh all 457 reviews of The Sixth Sense. Though I still scan some and then use dvdpricesearch.com to avoid their prices and patent policy. The BS detector has to kick into overdrive, but eventually you end up finding certain opinions that you either regularly seem to share or ones that you can deduce your liking from how much that person hates it. So maybe the best reviewers are the ones that never grow and change their opinions on things?
Napster is the current focal point of much opinion. Limp Bizkit has decided to throw a free napster tour as more bands jump on the lawsuit bandwagon against Napster. A Salon article hits home on the real motivation, money (AKA greed) and the perils of relying on legal counsel.
I have tried my best to ignore the Miami Cuban Crisis, but it's amazing to see the further segregation of opinion after Saturday's little raid. I've come to enjoy reading The Progressive Review, but their take on it:
Overzealous cops and their incompetent management seems like more of a world-wide problem to me. In the end the kid was not shot or otherwise injured. He has already been exposed to so much I doubt that one night of fright will have that much of a lasting impact. It seemed prudent to arrive on such hostile grounds with an overwhelming force. Even with all the agents there cubans threw rocks and tried to make people not care about what happens to them. That's what we're supposed to think. It's scary to dismiss this police action just because we all got tired of hearing about it. I heard a story on the radio about Fidel Castro's take on the Raid. Speaking from the experience of many midnight raids he brings a bunch of unarmed officers. If any of the officers are killed, he suspects no public outcry when those responsible are executed. There are conflicting reports of the actual actions of the agents and it further fuels an overwhelming distaste of what the TPR calls the Mediacracy. Interestingly enough they have this report:
THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON
WE CAN LEARN
FROM THE ELIAN GONZALEZ CASE
Never, never, let small children go near:
-- Megalomaniacal national leaders, whether communist or capitalist.
-- The 1lth Circuit Court of Appeals
-- Members of the INS and Border Patrol who don't know how to handle guns safely
-- Members of the INS and Border Patrol who don't know how to handle small children and other humans safely
-- Members of the media who don't know how to handle facts safely
-- High government officials who think play dough is the best cure for post-traumatic stress syndrome
-- Hysterical relatives on television
-- Hysterical psychiatrists on television
-- Attorneys General who have already been responsible for the needless deaths of innocent small children.
-- Republicans who don't think family values apply to Cubans
-- Democrats who don't think compassion applies to Cubans
-- Clintonista snollygosters who go on TV and offer disingenuous legalistic arguments for pointing a submachine gun at a small kid.
-- Presidents of the US or mayors of New York who give us lectures on the rule of the same law that they chronically break with impunity.
DRUDGE REPORT: A new study finds TV watchers hate local news so much that 22 percent avoid the newscasts entirely, finding the stories repetitive and devoid of important information, such as who, what, where and when, the Los Angeles Daily News is planning to report on Friday . . . News reporter Harrison Sheppard in a planned Page One spread: "Among its findings: more than half say they don't care which station they watch because they see so little difference from one to the next; 45 percent say the news is too sensational; 28 percent say local news promos are irritating and/or intentionally misleading; and 38 percent want more of a balance between good and bad news.Overall TPR seems to echo the truth more then most sources, even if they cover Drudge. The Truth usually being annoyingly against the goals of those trying to controlling its flow. Shown further down the page...
FROM OUR OVERSTOCKED ARCHIVESI seemed to be backlashing from my own obsession with games and frivolity. I'm even starting Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent. If you are a Chomsky fan, Jorn is working on a nice section of related material. Then again, maybe it's my growing urge to kill people that is causing me to stop playing Quake. This is the epitome of the fragile validity of the entire realm of Psychology.
Before the drug war. . . .
[DC GAZETTE November 22, 1970]
The Public Safety Committee of the [DC] City Council held two days of hearings this month to hear scientific and public testimony month to hear about marijuana. Most of what it heard was expectable: scientifically, marijuana is a mild conscious-altering drug; it is not addictive, nor does it lead to the use of addicting drugs; it has been known and used and studied for literally thousands of years, and no physiological damage whatsoever has been discovered; instances of adverse mental effects from its use are extremely rare. Most significant to the council's hearing -- and to a good number of kids who are in prison on pot convictions -- was the fact, reiterated by Surgeon General Jesse L. Steinfeld, that "in the case of marijuana, legal penalties were originally assigned with total disregard for medical and scientific evidence of the properties of the drug or its effects. I know of no clearer instance in which the punishment for infraction of the law is more harmful than the crime." . . .
[Activist Petey] Greene "testified" on behalf of his grandmother, whose opinions on marijuana are based on practical experience. She once told her grandson to quit: "Petey, you gotta stop smoking those reefers because they make you too hungry, and I can't buy all that extra food. Later, on comparing its effects with those of alcohol, "She said she'd rather me smoke reefers and just sit and smile at people than drink that old wine and come in throwing chairs around. " . . .
The testimony of representatives of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was notable for its meekness. Although the narcs still refer to marijuana as a killer drug before high school audiences, and still try to imply that pot inevitably and immediately leads to heroin, and still pass out 1930's posters of marijuana as the Grim Reaper -- they backed off under Council questioning. The narc's Dr. Milton Joffe even allowed that although "legalizing simply for hedonistic purposes" was not warranted, "I'm not against pleasure. . .
Judge Charles Halleck recommended more realistic penalties, since present laws tend to cause the community "to lose faith in the entire system of justice." James H. Heller of the National Capital Area Civil Liberties Union called for the legalization of pot. He said he saw no reason that it should be treated any different from alcohol. (He admitted to having tried grass once, "but it didn't have any effect." "Maybe you just didn't know how to smoke it," Councilwoman Polly Shackleton consoled him) . . .
Terry Becker, a Quicksilver Times reporter, surprised everyone by calling for more stringent penalties and stricter enforcement. Becked wanted "everyone to turn on everyone to get busted;" it would hasten the revolution, he said . . .
Noting that Surgeon General Steinfeld had referred to the famous Alice B. Toklas marijuana or hash brownies but claimed the recipe was not to be found Alice's cookbook, [the Council's Republican chairman] Hahn opened the second day of hearings by setting the record straight. You will find the recipe on page 273 of Alice B. Toklas, announced Hahn, and having fulfilled his public responsibility, he ordered the proceedings to proceed.
"Although it is impossible to know exactly what caused these teens to attack their own classmates and teachers, a number of factors probably were involved"Hmmm, let me guess could it be..Satan?
"What behaviors children and adults consider appropriate comes, in part, from the lessons we learn from television and the movies (e.g., Huesmann & Miller, 1994)."
We all have to use our brains in determining what should be taken as a life lesson and what is to be taken as sheer entertainment. The main gist of this research is that we can't make that distinction. So is it really all this media and game exposure or the lack of a proper parent pointing out the line of reality? It is clear that those crazy killers from Littleton had not experienced extreme amounts of abuse from other students or even unusual in regards to other kids around the world. I've been on the receiving end of similar abuse growing up, but I had the support of my parents and teachers. I also allowed them to help me rather then bottle up the rage. I played all those violent games and had those fleeting thoughts of revenge towards my abusers. So what went wrong in my case and others?It is too easy to be a parent. Yet, I would not want to see laws regulating it. Yet, there is nothing to stop stupid and just plain bad parents from breeding. Like the Church being against abortion and birth control or the government thinking that people will just say no to drugs and that commercials of a cute girl trashing her kitchen will work. We have to cut through the rhetoric and find a way to help individuals. One-size-fits-all treatments never work. Human imperfection is a fact of life. Diversity is the nature of the human mind. You can predict it no better then the weather. Perhaps the truth is too frightening to admit. There is little burden on the critic or the heckler. It's not like what I've written is some new viewpoint, but it's strangely satisfying to rant away. The majority of what I see on personal web sites is some form of ranting. Is this the world wide bitch session?
Like a good percentage of Americans, I scurry towards the siren call of consumerism. It often results in post-purchase depression. Few things measure up to their packaging. My last fit of buying resulted in a stack of DVDs. I watched Grand Illusion last night.
This film is a sublime story of people encumbered by war, but maintain their humanity. Moreover, it suggests that we are neighbors not nations. It's not something you want to watch before you get shipped out to fight a war. Racism is such a key element in war and it sent the actual film through a convoluted ordeal only to pop up in 1999 as a near pristine DVD.
While reading my email tonight I came across the latest from Ana Voog of anacam.com. Her writing touched many things, but when I came across:
thing is tho...as much as people want 2 say that racism is the biggest
hurdle for "mankind" to get over...i disagree. it is definitely sexism,
which is by far more extensive. not a worse problem. both are equally as
bad. but as yoko ono said "woman is the nigger of the world"
It stirred something that was running in the background of my mind for some time now. I recently read "From Hell" by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell which touched on themes of how patriarchy usurped the original matriarchy. Originally females were in positions of power since they had the ability to give birth, but males managed to wrest it away. The Sun triumphs over the moon.
As long as we are entrenched in the classic view of duality then I don't think the sexes will ever be comfortable around each other. At what point do we mark the line that divides "thought from gender" from "thought from individual?" Science has pointed out the obvious connections of body and mind. We still make the choices amidst what our bodies want to us to do.
That seems to be the reason Clinton is where he is today. We realize that while he is weak in some areas he has his good points. For a politician it usually means offending the least amount of people. No one's perfect?
I am but a couple of clicks away from taking all of Quake 2 from my massively mega 8-giger. It prompted a scan of the WF forums:
Note: This is an exact replication of National Public
Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster, and
US Army General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a
Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.
So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach
these young boys when they visit your base?"
GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing,
canoeing, archery, and shooting."
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "Shooting!!!
That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?"
GENERAL REINWALD: "I don't see why, they'll be properly
supervised on the rifle range."
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "Don't you admit that this is a
terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?"
GENERAL REINWALD: "I don't see how, ....we will be
teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "But you're equipping them to
become violent killers."
GENERAL REINWALD: "Well, you're equipped to be a
prostitute, but you're not one, are you?"
The radio went silent and the interview ended.
And all I could think was, "Go Army!"
Last night I went to Riprock in Downer's Grove. It used to be Oliver's and reopened under the same management. They used to own Club Fever near 355 and Algonquin. That place did not reopen. Ladies night had the place properly stuffed. Our group found a place to sit in a corner near a speaker that cut out occasionally. Much like one of the speakers in my car that is often fixed by a fist applied to the dash. At some point after hearing a nauseating version of "I want you to want me" by the Kinks, a thought occurred to me.
Either the program exists or should exist. Akin to applying FX or filters in Photoshop there should be a program that would apply genres to songs. Need a disco version of Freebird? Wham. A watered down Musak version? Wham.
So now that Metallica has decided that Napster is robbing them of all their potential pennies I need to finally make some points about the current state of the music industry.
Artists make music. Music creates fans. Fans support artists. Record companies leech off this relationship. Now that the technology is out there to bypass the middleman, the middleman is fighting back.
Napster has cut off the hype machine as the bearer of new music. People can now share what they like and decide whom they will support. Artists are saying that people are stealing this music, not sharing. So what are radio stations doing when they broadcast?
All of a sudden we don't have to request a song to hear it.
All of a sudden we don't have to purchase a CD to decide if it's worth buying.
All of a sudden we can rely on ourselves to promote the artists rather then recording companies.
One only has to look as far as the recent music awards to realize how the industry is only promoting and recognizing their own creations. Fans do not steal. Fans share. Artists like Metallica are just showing that they don't trust their fans, they don't respect their fans, and they don't understand what is really going on.
My use of Napster has spurred numerous CD purchases that I would have never made otherwise. This parallels the practice of pirating software. I'm a gamer and I need to try before I buy. Piracy has never hurt a good piece of software. People buy the games they like. People buy the music they like. The people that are the exception are few. For most it's a temporary financial setback (i.e. they attend college).
Stop with the pseudo-intellectual "virii" already. The plural of "virus" is "viruses" -- at least in English. Latin itself had NO (known) plural for virus; "virus" itself is one of a few odd nouns which were neuter second declension nouns with nominatives ending in -us. The only noun out of those with a plural was "pelagus" (sea), whose (nominative) plural was "pelage." Since Latin didn't have a plural for "virus" (since in Latin it was a mass noun meaning "sludge" or "poison") the proper thing to do is to form the English plural.
Not much further down we get open source jokes:void main
Most /. threads run hideously long and ramble about in much the same manner as my beloved Weapons factory forums ( recently the "Weapons Factory – General" topic was renamed "Weapons Factory Rants and Raves") which seeded in me the thought of unleasing another talk show on the American public. This one will cater to the ravenous masses that frequent online forums. A Jerry Springer Show meets Politically Correct. It would have to have a portion of the screen dedicated to relaying the simultaneous online forum's contribution to the discourse since many of the most prolific writers are probably bound to some desk, feigning work.
I have just noticed that these Structure jeans I'm wearing have an inside pocket. That's nothing especially new, but the thing about 4" wide and 8" deep. I believe I have normal sized hands, but my longest finger is about 7". Note to self: Do not store coinage in this pocket.
I admit to having done it myself, but it's overused, the humor factor is gone, and it is just a lazy writing crutch. Say goodbye to messages using <RANT> </RANT> , <SARCASM> </SARCASM>, etc. People have been writing for a long time without it. That's it, no more, done!
Tax Time has innitiated a purchase of Quicken TurboTax deluxe. Opening it I discovered an envelope stating "Please open immediately!" Hmmm. Inside:
So am I cynical? I was yesterday and I'm feeling more comfortable with it today. Maybe I'll keep it. I might buy a lottery ticket tomorrow or I might just go to the gym again and jump on an exercise bike pretending that I'm in the worlds slowest bike race. I'll grab people's water bottles as they go by, dump it all over my head, and chuck it behind me. I think I just might win someday. Maybe if I paint it red, it will go faster.
What's with people wearing biker's tights to the gym? What's with biker's tights anyway? Why won't normal shorts suffice? It has to be some sort of conspiracy of the SPENDex industry. In order to make it a sport they had to come up with a uniform. Sports require uniforms above all else. Bowling has shoes and biking has tights.
Just don't wear them to the gym.
Is cynicism worse then sarcasm? Maybe I should migrate to irony or just make fun of people. Better still I should just make up a new type of humor. I hope laughter is still the best medicine.
I recently succumbed to the new age crack known to most as Everquest. After 5 weeks I extracted myself from it to suckle once again at the tit of quake. How did I do it? After all Everquest has about 18 servers with about 1500 players each at peak hours. Spouses and friends have been lost to it's grasp. Was I merely under the influence of a greater siren call? I can track my obsession of FPS (first person shooters) with the handy CLQ that claims it tracks 8,035,474 players on 112,365 servers. It's a hugely inflated number of players. For one of my alias's I have a lot of silly versions and my current one shows that I definitely play a lot. Since they only keep a year's worth of stats my 409 hours (17 full days) doesn't seem like too much . The real total is far too scary to contemplate, but it won't stop me from playing.
I stopped playing Everquest because I quickly realized that they were not offering much of a game. The addiction is based on building your character in the traditional RPG style of killing monsters. This process is so hideously boring that after a time I could barely suppress a yawn after progressing to a new level only to witness a new attack or spell animation for my dude. The rest of the allure is a wretched mutation of the MUD/chatroom aspect of social interaction. Your character can perform some rudimentary gestures or your can supply custom emotive responses that appear in a different color text. Overall I got tired of chatrooms years ago. There are only so many times you can login to a room under 3 different names and have deeply disturbing conversations with yourself and others until you choke on your beer with laughter. The ability to pick a busty wood elf as an avatar didn't appeal to me. Watching how easily it is to get free stuff and help by choosing a female character is always a fun experiment for 10 minutes.
I have slipped even further into quake addiction this week. I am in no way a superstar player, but I can hold my own. If I sucked, I don't know if I would be as addicted. It's intensly competitive, which appeals to me. It's the reason most of my friends don't like playing me at Tekken 3 for the playstation. If I beat you 17 games of 20 consistantly, how can you maintain interest? It is kind of funny to meet new people that claim to be Tekken 3 kings with knowledge of all 10 hit combo's and let them win for a while. I then open the can of whoop ass and they become flustered and angry. Fighting games do that.
Back when arcades were still relevant to me, Street Fighter 2 was the sheyot. The game was being played constantly. Rows of quarters or tokens lined the little plastic edge of the machine as people crowded around for the next position, the next challenger. Many people came to the arcade with the sole purpose of playing the game the entire time. Most folks had a favorite character to play since you couldn't change between matches. The winner was always trying to ride his quarter as long as possible. At different arcades there would be certain house rules. Some people frowned apon throws. They considered them cheap. It was a phenomenon. It was the original fight club and people got so worked up about a game.
One time a young boy that was probably 10 or so was playing this 20 something dude. The boy was trashing the dude repeatedly. After each game he got more and more pissed, until he threatened the kid "So you think you can kick MY ass?". The boy never said a word and left. He came back with a sercurity guard and loser was escorted out with applause from the crowd. I've heard that same phrase directed at me while playing various fighting games. The genre seems to pull at the fragile cords of the male ego. It is always worse when egos get shattered by a female player. Most girls didn't go to arcades when I did. If they did, they sure as hell didn't pump quarters into Mortal Kombat and find a position among the sweaty males. One of the many joys of the internet is that women can put the hurt on the guys in the privacy of their home. Virtual taunts will due for now.
Some people still won't play computer or video games. With the release of the next generation of home arcade consoles that combine DVD and internet capability, it's hard to imagine how much bigger it can get. It's a dizzying feeling for me. I was just a kid when my neighbor got the first home game system, the Odessey. It had the archaic paddle and a rudimentary lightgun. The paddle was for pong and the gun was for a lame shooting game. It involved a BIG square that bounced randomly about the screen and you shot it for points, but I digress. The game industry as a whole is getting better at gaining more followers into the fold and if digital delights are not your thing, then there are companies like Wizards of the coast that ask if you have "a brain, a deck, and a friend" then you can play their game. If you are too young for Magic, then maybe a little Pokemon? Magic is making WOTC a bundle and now Pokemon is set to do even more. After purchasing the venerable TSR it seemed they were ready to become the Microsoft of the gaming world. The much bigger fish called Hasbro showed up and gobbled up WOTC. The fact is that games are big buisness. Is this only the windfall of a booming economy or is this some new social shift towards entertainment? I suppose it's a foolish whim to dream of the day where political conflicts can be resolved on virtual battlefields.
I can't express the full wieght of my excitement on the release of Windows 2000. I couldn't help but be amused by the blatent use of a busty female on the advertisement for the Xcam video camera.
Less amusing is Jerry Lewis's opinion on female comedians:
"A woman doing comedy doesn't offend me, but sets me back a bit," Lewis said. "I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world."
Excite has a nice section of news named odd that is a constant source of the best of the daily news and accounts for almost half of Fark.com's links. I like Fark. It's a lot like memepool, but with more of a daily news slant. Memepool is still the king of the strangest links.
So Bloat is being updated on Mondays and it looks like Sally is gone for good. The opinions of T. Radhuis confirm that he does a lot of web sniffing and loves to nit pick. He fails to be as wonderfully sneering as Sally. However he did mention Barbelith which lead me to Bomb. I am a fan of Morrison, Garth Ennis, Gainmen, etc. So while I don't particularly see how the site is "a triumph of infobeauty", I do like it. Bah. Coming from Mr. "What Design?", I guess he won't lose any sleep. I just don't have what it takes to be in the top blogger ten. Maybe if it was stretched out to infinity I'd get a nice spot on the end. It does seem to be a bit of an odd thing to even rate weblogs. They are or at least should be reflections of the interests of the site owner. You should consider yourself lucky to like the same things. Sally at least recognized the huge ego trip that is weblogging. I'm just happy to be just skilled enough to get something up. After all, we all may just be blogging on the back of a big purple turtle sailing on the seas of manilla while eating a spam sandwich on Pita bread. No, I don't know what I'm saying.
A news clip from the past that I found humorous then and now, for different reasons.
I'd like to call a moratorium on any paragraph, sentence, or phrase in all caps. As we bravely venture toward the numerical summit of ten centuries, let us cast off this unsightly state of emphasis. In its stead, I offer the humble exclamation point. One will do, but feel free to add as many as you like. The thrust of your message will be in no way diluted, but may benefit by having people reading rather than skipping your message.It appears that the great secret of creating polls has been revealed. Just about every news article to game review has mini-polls drapping the sidebar or pushing aside a portion of the article to sit unashamedly amidst the text. Could it be that since NBC Dateline has begun "Live Online Polls" a hideous new layer of democracy has been uncovered? At least some web sites polls are meant as jokes, but could there actually be people out there that believe these things mean something?
I don't know if I can stand listening to another .com ad on the radio. The worst are for Life minders. I really don't see the need in having my mailbox getting any more ads. Though I could use my hotmail account. It's my designated spam firewall account.
I got tired with User Friendly. Penny Arcade is much more my style. I am if anything, a gamer. I managed to catch the whole birth of electronic games at the critical age when games meant everything. Now I'm older and I realize there are more imporant things like work, because that's the only way you can get more games. So I really do belong to the times. This has to be the great golden age of games. Which reminds me. Jagged Alliance 2 owns me. It beckons me to return to Alruco and continue the assault on Meduna.
I have Madden 2000 for the playstation and this is the first time the 85 Bears are not available (the 46-10 losing Patriots are!). I traded in Madden 1999 so I can't even play him in tribute!
I was so happy with my new plastic disc, I went into a frenzy at Amazon.com. When the clicking stopped, I had dropped almost $300 on CD's and DVD's. This means that I have to get a new DVD player. The Hitachi GD-2000 that came with this Micron system fails to work on 90% of DVD's I have tried. Micron was so generous as to leave a textfile somewhere on my hardrive. It states that upgrading my Diamond Viper 330 drivers will break the DVD. This textfile was posthumously discovered. Perhaps it's partly Diamond's crappy driver/utiliy setup that refuses to revert properly. Meanwhile Micron has gotten too big and now charges $35 per support call.
Time to start building my own systems. Inspired by an article from Maximum PC I will make my own dream machine.
I'm on top of the World!
Neil Gaiman has given me another reason to click .
I believe I'm doing the world a favor by not having a cam. Photos will have to do. Actually, the highlight on jennicam is the writing and for anacam it's the wonderfully creative cam alterations. Her writing is still unseen by me. That immense gallery was too distracting.
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