Transitions, Transmissions, TransformationsThis page has been archived. The current log and the log archives are available.
Music, of all the liberal arts has the greatest influence over the passions, and is that to which the legislator ought to give the greatest encouragement.
Does it come to anyone's surprise that music tends to draw fire from the conservative corner? While they try and stifle many a musician's free speech they stuff God everywhere they can. I have to agree about the dubious decision concerning the pledge. It's time to start crossing out "In God we trust" lest we be offended while committing our consumer commandment, "Thou shall spend, spend, spend!"
It doesn't matter. They could say, "One nation under pootie tang," I don't think it really matters.
- Alan Thicke
Before I get into the meat of the matter, I want to address the missing Bill Maher show, PI. In typical fashion CNN blows the details right from the start. "Although the program had suffered declining ratings in recent years," is plain wrong. Here is the relevant section of the 6/27/02 show:
Michael: Bill, tell me just before you go onto the next topic, though. Talk about corporate crime. There's something that just -- I mean, it's just really been bothering me. And it's about this show. It's the fact that Disney, which owns ABC, has canceled this thing.
Now, let me tell you something. I just think at a time when we have so many problems facing this country, this has not been a very good year for America. I mean, we're faced with a lot of crap right now. This is not the time to be reducing the number of voices that we have on television where there's discussion about the issues. We need more discussion of the issues.
[ Cheers and applause ]
I have -- let me just say this. I want to just say this. It -- it lessens the democracy when you have less discussion. You need more discussion. You need more people informed. You need more people thinking about this. I don't care about the ratings. Listen --
Bill: Whoa, whoa, whoa. That bothers me. Wait a second. This show is not going away because of the ratings. The audience --
Michael: That's what I read. What is that all about?
Bill: That -- See, Mike, that's why I am not mad at the network. I am mad at the press because they got the story wrong. We didn't go away because the audience went away.
Michael: But why is the show going off the air?
Bill: That's a whole different story, but it's not because -- it's not because --
Tim: Stand up and tell America why.
Michael: We have a right to know.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Bill: You know what?
Michael: Let me -- I don't think -- let me tell you. I don't think it is the ratings. I think --
Bill: I know it's not the ratings.
Michael: Let me tell you right now.
Bill: It's an insult to our audience there who stayed with us when it was not easy to stay with us. And it insults me on behalf of my audience that that gets out there, because the press is too lazy to find out. And it's just so easy to go, "dwindling ratings." Our ratings never have dwindled.
Michael: That's the truth. And the millions who are watching the show right now are actually watching it. The people who are over there on NBC now watching Jay, I mean, God bless him. But the people are asleep, all right? I mean, I hate to say it. I know he's a friend of yours, but, you know, there's so much crap on TV that --
Bill: He's not only a friend of mine. He's one of the best friends I've ever had, because this is a guy, even though we were competitors -- and again, you don't hear this story in the press often about how well we did. But we were competitors with Jay and with Dave. And in the top ten cities, we beat some of them often.
Bill: Gave them quite a run for their money. We were second, not third. Okay. Jay Leno never stopped being my friend.
Corporate sponsors pressured the network to drop the show when confronted with a quote taken wildly out of context by entities like CNN. The "controversy his remark created" is more like the controversy the media made out of his remark. Conspiracy theorists could conjure up a corporate controlled media consciously trying to castrate a source of criticism. It's probably just another a sign of incompetence and competition for finding that juicy quote. I have not agreed with some of the nonsense that Bill delivered, but I always valued the forum he created. It really needed to be an hour. If anything, this whole thing has shown that ABC/Disney cares more about sponsors than it's audience and they don't really care about Bill. In that same show they edit out his website plug from the transcript, but leave the evidence that it was there, "First of all, I have to plug my Website." and we have cowardice and incompetence side by side. I understand that ABC needs to keep sponsors, but the audience needs a weapon to fight the sponsorship veto of their favorite shows. The CNN article claims Sears and FedEx acted with haste to drop the show and doesn't name any others. Anyone that was a fan of PI should boycott any sponsor that dropped the show until they offer a public apology to Bill.
Pulling more from CNN we have this quote:
"We made a decision to go with straight entertainment programming in late night- That's just basically a scheduling opportunity that we felt over the long term had more potential."
-ABC Chairman Lloyd Braun
Yeah, right. There's nothing like the timeless quality of Jimmy Kimmel sex jokes with the potential to leave the audience dumb and distracted as we engage in war protracted.
A good ear for music, and a taste for music are two very different things which are often confounded; and so is comprehending and enjoying every object of sense and sentiment.
- Lord Greville (1554-1628)
There are few distractions like MTV and I am confounded by some of the videos I've seen lately. Truth Hurts's song "Addictive" contains tons of generic rhymes, "He breaks, me down, he builds, me up, He fills, my cup, I like, it rough" and strange rhythmic choices in the chorus, "He's so contagious, he turns my pages He's got me anxious, he's what I waited for / He keeps me guessin, spontaneous / He's so persuasive, and I'm his lady." Though I have to admit I first thought the line was, "he returns my pages" which makes a little more sense. Rakim cuts in with a little rap about his OG style relationship and confounds me with "We ball like we own the world, your only concern is you my only girl / And when we speakin in tongues / Breathin hard when I'm squeezin your lungs." Can "ball", "speaking in tongues", and "sqeezin your lungs" all be referring to the same activity? Later on "Just me and you high off sex I'm twisted / You OG'd and you OD addicted" seems to say, "You are hooked on having twisted sex with me, the original gansta, and you are over-dose addicted." I can understand being addicted to something, but not to an over-dose and how do you over-dose on sex?
The most pathetic plea put to music has a sequel and struggles for sense in this line, "Go 'head mommy breathe again, don't stop now straight to the top now." What the…WHAT? "So ride with me, G Force fly with me," Is this a request for a gravitation force to fly with P. Diddy? "Girl I wanna just, look in your eyes and watch the sunrise," Is he going to do this via the sun reflecting from her eyes like how you should watch an eclipse indirectly? Sounds like Diddy's got issues with women, "Got asian women / That'll change my linen / After I done blazed and hit em." Now you have to understand that it rhymes when you pronounce it "whimin."
Sure P Diddy is a crappy name and you can say the same for System of a Down. They share a love of lyrical chaos clearly contained in toxicity. "Conversion, software version 7.0 / looking at life through the eyes of a tired hub," means what? I have no clue. "Now, what do you own the world? / how do you own disorder, disorder," Who is he talking to? "somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep / disorder, disorder, disorder," Again, I have to admit I thought he sung "the sacred silence of cheese," which doesn't make any more sense except that it is all disorder. "When I became the sun / I shone life into the man's hearts," seems to suggest the disorder is a mental one involving delusions of grandeur.
It's sad when clarity comes in the form of Will Smith. Black Suits Comin' is clearly the work of a publicity machine in full gear. Anyone could pump out songs like this. I'm surpised most actor / musicians don't take up the reign of pushing pop sloop to prop up their picture. Where are the Kevin Bacon and Steven Segal tunes tied to their movies? "Come on and nod ya head with me," go out and watch MIB cause we're already filming number three.
The whole rehashing, remixing, and repackaging of music and movies moves me to tap the extreme angle of impossible proposals. A musical / cannibal / hannibal/ rap / action / comedy! Will Smith, Anthony Hopkins, John Van Owen, Ice T, and more! I have one song already.
Got to tell you a story 'bout a catastrophe
Bout a bad ass mutha couldn't let rappers be
He goes by the name of Hannibul
I don't have to tell ya'll he's a cannibul
When he ate Vanilla Ice it was understandable
Vannilla flavor is a favorite though it's kind dull
So he took a big bite of Ashanti
Washed her down with some nice Chianti
(sucking vocal sound)
Then he went down to the city
Ate a piece of P Diddy outta pity
Then made Jello of J Lo
But just watched it wiggle overcome with the giggle
Cause he just had his fill of all of Cyprus Hill
Guess who's back? Don't offer him slack
Cause he attacks those cutting rap tracks
Guess who's here, he don't drink beer
Like his Ice Ts and all his homies!
Truth tellin, I don't like what I'm smellin
Why I'm yellin? He's carving me like a melon!
What? You're not in the mood for my finger food?
I don't mean to be rude or considered a prude
I can't stand to be served my own ass
And now I can't sit so I'm a taking a pass.
Whatta host offering up rump roast on wheat toast
Fresh Prince pasta with Biggie Smalls meatballs for ya'll
OG homie-style cooking, the best band I be booking
So all you rappers out there, take care, beware
'Cause I got room for you in my best Corningware!
( repeat chorus a couple of times and end with the sounds of an oven buzzer)
The other road to success is to air out your dirty laundry in public and cast out controversial verse. One part lewd lyrics and 2 parts Dr. Dre beats are bound to cook up a big hit.
The best sort of music is what it should be-sacred; the next best, the military, has fallen to the lot of the devil.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
I wonder what he would have thought of rap or metal? I heard Soundgarden on the classic rock station. Should that scare me? What about when I saw The Man in Black cover Rusty Chain? Now we have songs about the Men in Black.
I'm interesting, the best thing since wrestling
The weakest spot in every man is where he thinks himself to be the wisest.
- Nathaniel Emmons (1745-1840)
To avoid showing weakness, I'm going to delve into political speculation again.The Palestinians can claim to be the least popular people on the planet. George Bush sets them up to fail in his recent speech. Telling them they can't have a leader they have elected and that they somehow have to convince every frothing fanatic to not take the fast lane to next world nookie is like getting Pat Buchanan to star in a sequel to Deep Throat with Condoleezza Rice. It's bad enough that terrorism alienates them from most of the world, but even those Arab nations that you would think sympathize with them don't. Oh, they might say they do, but they only thing they seem to support is Palestinian terror. Saddam offers huge rewards for Palestinians to kill themselves. Osama would love for them to blow themselves up all the time. They all make tons of money through the increased price of selling oil through hostile territory. If Saddam really gave a shit, he'd send them all his tanks, planes, bombs, and guns so they could kill Israelis in the civilized manner we have celebrated in movies like Pearl Harbor. It makes sense since they are only going to be blown up by American air strikes once we're sure we have enough bombs so our troop's biggest problem is keeping the sand out of their shorts. Bush will make a speech with unreasonable demands like democratic elections, weapon inspections, and a McDonalds in every town. No? Let's roll!
Bush enjoys demanding the improbable - if not the impossible - from people all the time. Hey Cuba, overthrow Castro! Hey Amercia, put that Krispy Kreme down and get in shape! What about the call to keep on shopping to strengthen our economy after thousands of people either can't find work or have to settle with significantly reduced incomes? It's a good way to take the attention away from your own incompetence by making demands of others that they can't meet.
Incompetence seems to be the new verve. From Enron to Arafat we have folks keeping record of their own foul deeds. Sure Arthur Anderson fellas found no trouble shredding the night away, but you have to wonder why they waited and Arafat could have send his records of supporting terrorists along with them. The FBI gets information, but doesn't know what to do with it. The Catholic Church can't figure out that sexual abuse is a habitual crime. The Media reports trivial crap and the overzealous Media coverage of trivial crap and expects us to notice the difference.
I don't even want to go into the depths of incompetence I witnessed during the internet economy. The many dot corpses tell the tale well enough. However, It is in this theme that I will offer my own impossible vision. You may be familiar with my liberal leaning in regards to the drug issue. While I certainly have no interest in ever taking certain drugs I love freedom enough to not deny your dangerous druggy druthers. Inspired by another onslaught of anti-drug commercials taking a creative twist of truth to tie in all drug use with terrorism despite the fact that most folks are likely to be buying American or at least the southern hemispheric version I have a plan of impossible proportions. Make all drugs legal and then offer the seriously addicting drugs like heroin and alcohol for free to addicts in a safe environment. Clean needles, nurses, and nutrition supplements and all they have to do is stay in these safe houses rather than go out and rob folks for the stuff or get into car accidents. One more thing is that the place is decked out with web cams and folks can sponsor an addict or watch or whatever, but the addicts can't leave until voted off. Since addiction is the problem, let's fight that.
I know the big problem with my plan is that republicans rather put drug users in jail than take the profit out of drugs. They rather have addicts murder and steal than give those poor bastards what they crave. If there is any connection to drugs and terrorism, it's that they share unfortunate actions of people put in desperate situations.
The interesting thing about people is that they grow and change. Once I actually bothered to mention Eminem, now I realize he uses controversy as a selling point. We are so sedated that the only way to get us riled is to push as many of our buttons as possible. San Kinison had to scream at us and terrorists have to fly planes into buildings. How many of us wake up every day to find we are middle-aged and out of touch? The youth are fed commercial dreams of materialistic paradise and the old are simply forgotten. Again and again I hear we are the freest of nations - the most powerful. We're just asleep and I have insomnia.
If we do not better our civilization, our way of life, and our democracy, there will be no use trying to "save" them by fighting; they will crumble away under the very feet of our armies.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author and aviator
I understand how deep the feelings run concerning the Israeli / Palestinian tragedy. Every article for the Israelis can be thrown with ones for the Palestinians. As much as the terror acts and persuasive arguments have tried to color the whole Palestinian population as either terrorists or potential terrorists it only takes a few moments of rational thinking to debunk such emotional generalizations. It is equally wrong to color all Israelis as blindly pursuing Zionist goals of occupation and expansion without concern for Palestinian life. Yet an extensive study of the region's history highlights the suicidal insistence of Israel to continue expanding settlements alongside the descent into desperate suicidal violence of Palestine.
The compelling parallel to other sources of conflict in the world is that the idea of self-determination has made colonization impossible without continuing and self-perpetuating violence. If the plight of the Palestinians is an American one, ("a struggle for national independence, civil liberties, human rights, as well as a struggle to establish an open market in an independent economy, free to market forces and free from Israeli domination.") then isn't the plight of the Israelis just as American? Take the American natives we displaced so long ago. Is the slaughter of the buffalo much different from the destruction of the PA's infrastructure? Is the portrayal of evil suicidal bombers much different from the portrayal of savages scalping innocent settlers?
What could possibly make territory so important? Is it some native variation of Jerusalem Syndrome? Why can't we have more inspired forgiveness and peace in the supposed spiritual hub of 3 major religions? Perhaps it all comes down to the very human tendency to be selective with our interpretations in service to our temporary needs. Pride prevents real change. Terrorism prevents real change. The ultimate failure of terrorism is that the party it is inflicted on is put into a catch-22. It can't reward the act with concession to demands and almost any hostile reaction short of genocide will only fuel more desperate acts of terrorism. The ultimate failure of diplomacy is the impossibility of consensus and the sheer difficulty of drafting win-win solutions. The supremely sticky situation for any would be arbitrator is that the horror of what has happened to the Jews in the past taints critical speech towards them as anti-Semitic and the horror of what the Palestinians are doing now subverts any notions that you are dealing with sane people.
Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.
-Arafat in 1974
That is the role of my generation. It was and remains the role of my generation. And it is also the role of the coming generations. If the Jews want a state - and I believe that the Jews do want a state - it is everyone's role. Not necessarily to fight in practice, but to be ready to fight. To be deployed for that.
You have to understand one simple thing: The Jews have one small state. It is a state blessed with skills, truly blessed with skills. But this is the only place in the world where Jews have the right and the ability and the strength to defend themselves by themselves. And that is a gift of God. That is what we must defend. Therefore, we must all know that we can never place our fate in the hands of anyone else, not even in the hands of those who are our best friends. Never."
-Ariel Sharon interview in 2001 where he was asked if he was still a Warrior (the title of his book.)
The appeal of the militant patriotism in this country is easy to see. It is a great place to be if you want to unload some anger. They give you a gun, tell you how we've been getting our ass kicked for the last 4000 years, tell you everyone around you is your enemy, and send you off more than ready to die for your country. At least that is how I see it. It is simple here. There are good guys and there are bad guys. The bad guys want to push you into the sea and end your people. Our planet has 800 million of them and 13 million of us, but damn it, we aren't leaving without a fight! Here is something to fight for, to be passionate about, right?
-Dror Nanas.The pull is to be the warrior even if you have to feign peace sometimes. It is easy to see how the children of both sides get caught up in the romantic notion of heroic causes. The casting of this historical struggle in simple terms of good guys and bad guys and mutual underdog impressions resell the fight for each new generation. I hope that a reallocation of territory and US financial aid would offer a chance for two states existing in peace. If only this complex algorithm for peace could benefit from idle computer time, would we ever find it.
In the first case, I don't blame David Letterman for the rampant appearance of top 10 lists as much as that first set of commandments in the Bible. Maybe Wayne is making up for the lack of 10 commandments of things you should do. It would seem he is merely re-sampling his own work and some Amazon reviewers confirm it. While watching the program version of 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace he admits that each point is sampled from the likes of Saint Francis, Einstein, Emerson, and others. So what we get is the spiritual guru equivalent of a music compilation CD. It would seem that success and inner peace would be hard to obtain outside of the spiritual context so I decided to remix Wayne's list in an open source programmer's light.
There is no one way to write code. What works for one may not work for another. If someone likes to program in Visual Basic, that does not make him any less of a programmer. Hold no language sacred.2. You can't give away what you don't have.
This is why Napster was doomed! Meditate on the paradox of peer to peer networking.3. There are no justified resentments.
You will get nowhere hating Microsoft. Strive to improve your own code and eventually coding peace will come.4. Don't die with your music still in you.
That Killer Ap you always were going to write is why you are here. Even if it's just a screen saver, it will be your damn good screen saver.5. Embrace Silence.
Enjoy the Silence is not just a Depeche Mode tune. Pausing your MP3 player at times could alert you to the noises your stomach is making because you decided to code 10 hours straight.6. Give up your personal history.
Keeping childhood nicknames is not always wise and sometimes a little hacking can do wonders with your credit rating.7. You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
Either borrow some code from these guys or take a break and attend your local rave.8. Treat yourself as if you already were as if you'd like to become.
Many of you probably have credit card bills reflecting this and should merely reference point #6. Rinse. Repeat.9. Treasure your divinity.
Those hours playing Black & White are important to your overall well being even if you spend the whole time spanking your monkey.10.Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you.
It's just like when you go to the doctor and explain that "It hurts when I do this." Don't do it!
The love of man to woman is a thing common and of course, and at first partakes more of instinct and passion than of choice; but true friendship between man and man is infinite and immortal.
A friend in need is a friend indeed
A friend with weed is better
A friend with breasts and all the rest
A friend who's dressed in leather
-Placebo, from Pure MorningYou can't chose your friends or what they wear or what they do or even get them to realize you exist. Why spend the effort nurturing complex relationships when you can sit at home and watch TV? The biggest conflict likely to occur is when you have two friendly shows on at once, but TIVO has taken a bite out of that dilemma.
I can see why Friends is so popular. It reinforces the idea right in the title. I'm just surprised NBC hasn't responded with Best Friends. CBS knows Everybody Loves Raymond because he's YOUR FRIEND!
TV friends don't ask much either. Tune in every week for a little bit and watch those commercials. I mean it! Plus TV friends are popular and most people can talk about them at work and their other friends probably "know" them too. This surely drives the soaps and talk shows. I'm not sure about COPS. Maybe you get to like the officers or do they have
criminals suspects that appear in multiple episodes. "You might remember Gary the crackhead from last fall. Here we are chasing him through this trailer park. He seems to be wearing the same cloths when we busted him for trying to buy smack from undercover Officer Hardlygivesashit."
It flows naturally that if people on TV are your friends, then you are likely to listen and learn from them. Thankfully your TV friends know about sex. You might not ever see them do it, but they certainly gots dem overtones, oh yeah! It's not important that guys watch, but girls must!
"Boys are watching in place of acting, and girls are watching and acting,"
-Dr. Cheryl L. SomersIt is interesting that the study seemed to lean on Hispanic-American teens. Maybe it's all those sexually spicy Telemundo shows that I don't really need to understand to watch sometimes. Maybe an updated report is due from the CMPA? Maybe we look too closely at some TV shows and not enough on others? It's worth noting that females are the key regardless of race for us being so damn smart or maybe as he suggests so dumb.
In most mammals, including humans, the developing organism has the potential to be male or female. Producing a male, however, is a complex process. When a Y chromosome is present, testes, or male gonads, form. This development is the critical first step toward becoming a male. When no Y chromosome is present, ovaries form.
Testes produce male hormones, or androgens (testosterone chief among them), which are responsible not only for transformation of the genitals into male organs but also for organization of corresponding male behaviors early in life. As with genital formation, the intrinsic tendency that occurs in the absence of masculinizing hormonal influence, according to seminal studies by Robert W. Goy of the University of Wisconsin, is to develop female genital structures and behavior. Female anatomy and probably most behavior associated with females are thus the default modes in the absence of androgens.
Biologically males are Y and females are Y not. It makes sense because males tend to be "Why we should have sex." and females respond "Why we are not having sex." Science also shows that while we do specialize there is quite a bit of overlap. It may irk some that the default sex is female. It makes males almost a specialized female. That puts a major reversal on the fe prefix don't you think?
I am well aware of the biological traits I endure in the service of maleness. There is the steady insistence of facial hair and steady retreat of hair on top. I have since shaved, but I did entertain some facial growth for a while recently. I have to tend the fragile male ego at times, but I have resolved the tragedy of occupation. I will go back to school and work at some job I will likely loathe to pay of the huge debt I incurred during the fake economy boom. Today I'm 29. I'm wiser and poorer than ever, but I will take the advice of a dear friend and buy a lottery ticket. What the hell!
I have tried a few odd jobs and even spent a week doing concrete construction, which made education much more desirable of a thing to me. I have come to realize again and again the value of friends and family. The best thing in the world is to know that someone is giving it to you straight. It's the kind of thing that really tugs at your default female side.
Universities are of course hostile to geniuses, which, seeing and using ways of their own, discredit the routine, as churches and monasteries persecute youthful saints.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do we deserve the world we have today? What does it actually take to wake people up in this country? Have so many of us become like the guy from The Matrix movie that they would rather stay asleep than face reality? How could rational people crave certain political labels or care what labels others choose to place on them? When did it become more important to teach children to submit to authority regardless of its impact on their freedoms over teaching them how to think for themselves?
No matter what, the government preaches abstinence. "It's what you ought to do! Condoms break all the time!" Teenagers should settle for a wholesome game of Twister or simply socialize at the next High School dance with their thong underwear safely out of view. It worked so well when Nancy Reagan decided it was as easy as just saying "No" to drugs. Two letters make one word that demands no thought and requires the speaker to not question why.
The dearth of leadership in the country may be because those worth following are not as interesting as your Gary Condits and OJ's. We are scouting out examples of corruption and idiocy in anyone in any sort of authority situation. We subvert any real respect in authority from developing in future generations by plaguing schools with inept administrations that are forced to rely on policy for what they lack in judgement. Putting computers in public schools is a great thing, but getting them in front a good teacher is a hundred times better. First cut the pork out of the education bills and then subtract the money wasted through the mismanagement of those inept administrators and maybe you'll find a little left to attract good teachers.
It is possible things are so bad that the next generation will feel compelled to change things like how my Mom never forced me to eat liver because she was forced to eat peas as a child. We don't have to become our parents. We can learn from them to be better. We could even outgrow their politics. Wouldn't that have made Daddy Bush so proud to have a progressive son? Maybe there is still time. People can change and grow right?
"First of all, people are fuck-ups. They are lazy. I mean c'mon. You've been in organizations. There are always three people that run an organization. Right?"- David Horowitz interview
There are few statements that lay out the underlying principal of the Republican Party in all its glory so succinctly. At some point shit happens to people and they just turn sour towards the notion that most people would rather have a helping hand than a handout. Never mind the fact that considering poverty as a dysfunction doesn't rule out society's role in fostering that dysfunction.
I'm not so keen on the Democrats take on things either. More often they just Ying to the Republicans Yang without much reason. Take the whole crap about some memo proving we knew about the possibility of the Sept. 11th attacks. What a bunch of horseshit these Democrats are flinging. No one payed attention to terrorists before that day and in true American fashion few care now. Democrats are too chicken to call the President on the real shit he's trying to pull.
Let's take this new treaty that "liquidates the Cold War legacy of nuclear hostility." The outrageous claims coming out of the Whitehouse about this treaty are insulting. The reality is that we are reducing the number of missiles that are ready to insure our mutual annihilation from about 5000 to 2000 per side. We both get to save money by keeping them in storage where hopefully no one with steal them. Not only that, but either side can opt to put those missiles back in operation within months of telling the other guy. So let's try thinking about this another way. You are in a big room with your "former" enemy. You both have 5000 soldiers beside you with guns ready. You both agree to dismiss all but a few thousand each. You send those troops to other rooms where they take off their fatigues, lock up their guns, and try and keep an eye on the gun locker while watching TV. Now you face your comrade with a big smile since it's so much safer to have to fear being killed 1999 times over than 4999 times. It never dawns on you that if you were friends, you wouldn't be pointing weapons at each other in the first place.
If you entertain the typical drinking dens where scantily clad females carry trays of various shots, then you are aware of the colorful names given to the equally chromatic concoctions. The simple amusement of hearing a pretty lady utter phrases like "Sex on the Beach", "Sex at my house", "Buttery Nipple", and "Horny Motherfucker" surely compels some men to feel obliged to pick one. I understand the reasoning behind it and why they don't have names hinting at what is more likely to occur after downing enough of them. If I ever discover a new and good shot made from 3 different sources of alcohol, I already have a bad name picked out, Menage a Quaff. This should prepare you for my following list of:
Realistic Shot NamesPrelude to Blackout
Logic and truth are two very different things, but they often look the same to the mind that's performing the logic.
-Theodore Sturgeon, More than Human
It feels like we're all perched on the frontier. It's urban isolation on a global scale. There's a mulching of old and new. There are things reappearing that were ahead of their time and other things submerging for their right time. The modern stage of conflict over type of government has been pulled into the old undertow of religious division. This has spilled over to the domestic side of things as research gets blindsighted by shortshightedness.
Maybe we are proceeding through natural societal growing pains mixed with growing global concerns that are nearing a significant precipice or maybe not. Though it does seem questions about sex are being explored again.
It's something that has been on my mind after recently finishing Dangerous Visions that contained the Theodore Sturgeon story, "If all men were brothers, would you let one marry your sister?" I also recently read Mark Twain's What is Man? and then caught this post by Douglas Rushkoff. This literary line of thinking had me wrestling with the repercussions of repression in the name of either simple discipline or deep moral feeling. Therein lies the problem. The natural urge is alive and well in the young while sex has always been most the restricted thing to morality monitors. We have to accept that some predetermined age marks an equal measure of sexual understanding to kids that many would have only taught abstinence. Do you know what their advice is to keep your mind off sex? Play a board game like Scrabble. Yeah, that's all we need is to have 7 or so little letters in front of us and try to make words out of them while fighting certain sensations. I got A, E, O, R, X, L, S and it's not helping any! I'm not saying that there is no such thing as abuse, but the law applies to some situations where the mutual consent and the facility to understand its meaning is there while some 23 years olds know less. It's on billboards, in movies, TV, board games, music, the suggestive shapes of common objects, and in people just walking by. Those young hormones don't care. "Hey kid, just say No." Easy.
The whole mess with Catholic priests seems to point toward the problems with sexual repression. Maybe if they didn't falter on masturbation and followed misogynist David Sim's advice about leaving it alone and it will leave you alone, they wouldn't be in this mess. Except for a few sad cases I think most occurrences of pedophilia are direct result from lack of orgasm. So please think of the children and masturbate. Um, I mean protect children by masturbating while not thinking about children and if you are a priest, do it while not thinking about sex either. Which reminds me of how in my youth I thought that priests and nuns were celibate because they were married to god who practiced Immaculate Conception and rapture. Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw yesterday, "Warning: Could experience rapture at any time." I can only assume it's happened to the driver before and he knows god just can't wait sometimes. I also remember from my Sunday school days that Mary had her encounter of the immaculate kind with the Holy Spirit. A confusing thing when put into the triumvirate context. No more confusing than trying to determine if you could have a monogamous relationship with someone suffering from split personality disorder.
Monogamy is a lovely idea, but it's running against the consumer culture of shopping around only to be disappointed with anything you get. The pressure to stay loyal is still there, but unfocused. Why else would we have so many sequels to things? Ten Friday the Thirteenth movies are not a sign of a healthy marriage. The Star Wars pre-quels are the motions of a spouse who has lost that loving feeling and read some self-help books to try and justify his continuing relationship.
So many things we do and believe in life seem as absurd as pictures of dogs playing poker. If we are machines confusing free choice with free will, could we live without pride or humility?
Without much humility or pride, but imbued with mischievous moxie I penned a few poetastic poems for you perusal.Taboo
First we'll have confession
Then a fun love session.
Oh, what's a priest to do?
After one then I'm through
Of this little love taboo.
Could it be repression
Till love becomes obsession?
Oh, what's a priest to do?
My libido done made a coup
To feel flesh that was new.
The press makes to scandalize
Bishops who had turned their eyes.
Oh, what's a priest to do?
Justice's call is coming due
Soon the parents will sue.
Certain certifications are very required
Or verily you won't be among the hired.
See, some scholastic skills are desired
And won't be learned by reading WIRED.
But your paper pass will be admired
Until some new tech must be acquired.
Oh, the countless acronyms listed so tired
Insure no ass won't be fired.
04.04.2002Why I hate your Weblog.
It has come to my attention that the weblogs of the world have once again come under attack by journalists. It's time to circle the wagons and offer a return volley of derisive dismissal and defensive declarations. But what is there to defend? The same majority rule of things being crappy applies to pages printed to paper or projected on PCs.
I understand the thoughts of some writers that people writing daily screeds for nothing dilutes their ability to do the same at more lengthy intervals for a fee. It's bogus, but I understand. If there is anything positive about writing a weblog, it's the ability to gain a little bit of understanding about different points of view. Lileks, points out that, "The newspaper is a lecture. The web is a conversation." The comment reminds me of the old Cluetrain Manifesto that stands out as something where its meaning is better than how it reads. Which is sort of like weblogs.
Using transitive logic I could apply the Cluetrain's first thesis, "Markets are conversations", and conclude that weblogs are markets. The currency of weblogs could be hits to stroke your ego and pay off in sales of your book or items in your wishlist. Unfortunately a weblogger market is as useful as a weblogger opinion to would be harvesters of this new media trend.
The diversity and transience of weblogs runs counter to making generalizations about them beyond the obvious. The enormity of their number makes any stab at them seem as petty, useless, uninformed, desperate, and tired as the weblogs they harp on.
I've tried on all the hats and memes of the moment. I've posted AIM chats and poetry. I've exposed a naively sincere concern for the state of the world and wrote lengthy stories about video games. I've spewed hate and bile for politicians, popular celebrities, and pandering commercials. I've written essays about film and popular culture and had updates almost entirely of links. I've made parody pages and reviewed books and beer. I've posted embarrassing personal stories and posted embarrassing personal views. I've corrected grammarical errors and mispelings and I've put them in on porpoise. Yet I've been spared from being the standard for narcissistic egocentricity (as redundant as that sounds.)
Web logs are infuriating because they are thoughtful alternatives to the self-important New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and their toady satellites, much of whose reporting has become hardly less biased than the bloggers'. Bloggers at least have the honesty to admit their biases up front. They don't pretend to be objective.
But they do provide a healthy criticism of the liberal establishment's hopelessly arrogant monotone. What's more, they make news interactive, so that we can all stop yelling at the television and actually do something. Readers can opine, as well as argue, grapple or exchange expletives with their host. That's something you'll never get in print.
- Norah Vincent, from the above LA Times link
When some of the massive herd starts mooing to a political beat someone is going to sniff to the wind and claim to know the direction the bullshit will be blowing. This goes against the inbreed nature of the herd that makes the prevailing wind a cyclonic circle jerk. You can find solace in local eddies, but don't think the herd will ever be significantly swayed one way or the other. To see it all as a tug of war of left and right leaves little leverage for us to move forward and we continue to sink in a pile of bullshit.
To know is not to know; not to know is to know.
- Kenu Upanished
You might think that after such a long time since I've written here that I might have been storing up for something really big and meaningful to write about. What are you thinking? What more could I offer up to the chorus of online bloviation? I suppose it should be enough that I think it's worth my time to write at all. One of the best reasons is to document my own opinions so I can note how they change.
When I moved back to Chicago I ended the no meat eating streak I was on. I couldn't maintain the idea that superior health or morality really mattered to me. I really don't give a damn what some ex-cattle cattle rancher has to say. See it's easy! Pick the causes that affect you the least. If you can stand not eating meat, then sign up for PETA. If you can only afford a small economy car, join the anti-SUV movement. If you ever hated your school, then realize things have only gotten much worse and maybe you should, um. You got me on that one, but if your not getting any, then maybe you should take a swing at the porn industry. It seems to be seeping into everything these days.
...Anyone else ever read the AD&D guide to sex? I tried to get my DM to incorporate those rules once, but he wouldn't.
- Original Flavored Whit
I know, you want to read it. It's the kind of rules that takes role-playing to a whole new level. Just be certain to wear your Ring of Protection after you quaff a Potion of Potency.
It's not all fun and foreplay on the Internet. Some people are having none of that, at least none of that gay stuff. Meet the folks of NARTH out to prove that you can be an intelligent bigot too! After all, those that went to college and assumed powerful positions are all about love and understanding and would never let their personal hang-ups interfere with that thing known as freedom that we in the US are so in love with.
RICHARD NIXON TO BOB HALDEMAN - You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.
RICHARD NIXON TO RAYMOND SHAFER [chair of a commission investigating drug policy] - You're enough of a pro to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we're planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell.
[The commission recommended decriminalization of marijuana anyway]
RICHARD NIXON TO HALDEMAN AND ERLICHMAN – [Northern California has gotten so "faggy" that ] I won't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco . . . Archie [Bunker] is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. . . . The son-in-law apparently goes both ways . . . [Another character in the show is] obviously queer. He wears an ascot, and so forth . . . The point that I make is that, goddamn it, I do not think that you glorify on public television homosexuality. You don't glorify it, John, anymore than you glorify, uh, whores . . . I don't want to see this country to go that way. You know what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that, so was Socrates . . . Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. . . . You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns . . . That's been going on for years, centuries, but when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual. . . . Now, that's what happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France. And let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn it, they root them out, they don't let 'em hang around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them . . . "Dope? Do you think the Russians allow dope? Hell no. Not if they can catch it, they send them up. You see, homosexuality, dope, uh, immorality in general: These are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and the left-wingers are pushing it. They're trying to destroy us.
- From the Prog. Review that got it from The Washington Post
When you really care about an issue, you start to see it everywhere. Gays, druggies, and terrorists are running rampant only if you happen to worry about such things (like what happened to the huge flag burning movement that we almost had an admendment against?). I have a feeling they represent far less of a threat than advertised. Gays and drug users are permanent fixtures of society. Laws and language against them won't ever get rid of them. Some people just need to move on to an issue where change is possible. Terrorism, even after Sept. 11, still ranks as one of the least likely causes for death. Terrorism as a tactic is the genie that has left the bottle and it isn't going back.
And that's what the Pakistanis and Indians want, too. Each side wants the US to come in and decide that the other side has to leave Kashmir. What has never been made clear is just what we have to do with it. As far as I can tell, it's that we're the only nation actually capable of kicking either of them out. Maybe we should kick them both out: announce that in one year's time we will nuke the whole area and make it useless, so they better both evacuate or make a deal between themselves before we do. Maybe that would solve the Jerusalem problem: tell both sides that if there is not one continuous year of peace in the area before then, that we'll nuke Jerusalem on December 31, 2005. Maybe we should just nuke the whole area and let God sort them all out. And while we're at it, let's take out Mecca. Of course we can't do that.
- Steven Den Beste
That's the point we've come to. The mess of the Middle East is such that most folks attempting to wade between extremes end up at the level of "just nuke-em" frustration. Of course we can't do that. Perhaps too many sitcoms and episodes of Oprah have shown us that most problems can be wrapped up in two or three shows and it's hard to swallow the sad truth that we are most certainly looking at years of bloodshed in Israel before they decide to stop. We can pray that our government has learned how dangerous it is to fuel hatred even if it's directed at an enemy. We can hope that the sword that severs this Gordian knot is not of the ICBM or biological variety. We can try to not worry ourselves to death.
You just can't entirely give up on a world when there are people in it that will sail around it in a boat they built from New York garbage.
He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.
- John Caspar Lavater (1741-1801)
The rumors of it's death are exaggerated. It still finds interesting links and those links find good commentary. It has morphed into something that no one could possibly want to read and contribute to in everything. So you might choose to see what's up about the latest Denzel movie and strictly avoid the religious threads. The filter aspect of the site is a bit worn. Matt has shown that he still cares about the quality of the conversations. I can't stop going there and an exit message is passe. If I don't like it one day, I always have tomorrow. I fidget with my fondness for it. Am I gaining the attention span of goldfish?
I have been trying to make sense of the perpetual political posturing. It appears that certain conservatives are taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty caused by the desperate actions of last September. Normally, after witnessing such abominable actions, I'd merely succumb to whatever vices I have available. Be it booze, pot, video games, porn...I mean, to live in this world fully aware of some of the shit that is going on in your name by folks that can't be bothered to tell you where your taxes went is difficult to deal with on a sober mind. But the feeling that all is futile is no better than feeding Bush's approval polls because of the fear of not being patriotic. You can love America and not love the President. You can be free to buy things, but choose to invest in the future. We are moths chasing flames.The whole notion of freedom is going to be defined and refined because of the Internet. Europeans target hate-speech and John Ashcroft targets porn. The bigots masturbate to one thing, the Anarchists fondle something else and everyone but the Germans play Wolfenstein. Is the next step to create a pornographic 1st person shooter between fetish leather wearing Nazi fraulines and well-hung Anarchist studs so you can offend everyone?
He is starting to see the futility of declaring war on certain nouns. It's more than a schism of "-ism"'s, but about resource rations for all the nations. It's about building farms to feed hungry nations rather than merely handing them food while the cameras are on. It's about building your neighbors up so there are less extreme conditions in the world and therefore, less extreme actions. Let's leave extremes to sports. We have a chance to build up Afghanistan into a better nation. We can guide them away from the extremes of their culture. The Utah Mormons gave up polygamy to become a state and certain Islamic customs have to change.
Can we ask them to change and not change ourselves? The language we use can corner us. Declaring countries, capitalism, or a culture evil only stops communications and invites conflict. Trying to solve our problems by declaring war on them only pushes it into different areas. Drugs are more of a problem now than before we declared war on them. How is a war on terrorism going to be different? How can you win without a fight? Equality.
"We need to say to the elites, particularly when they tell us that we must obey market forces, or that certain degradations of our life are inevitable: Gentlemen, we're the ones that put you where you are, and we don't want this from you anymore."
- John Ralston Saul.
It is a dream still not realized in this country. It is not solely due to lingering hatred between races, but to the disparity of justice offered between rich and poor. From Rodney King to Enron and from one drug addicted Bush daughter to the faceless masses of kids, they all deserve equal justice.
Evolution is not over. If one can take anything from the Olympics, it's that we are getting faster, stronger, and better all the time. Speaking as a lefty, I'm headed for either a Mensa membership or a straightjacket or even the Presidency.
"The real question is why everyone wants left-handers to be defective," says Chris McManus, a neuropsychologist at University College London whose genetic model of handedness is one of the most widely accepted in the field. According to his model, lefties are, if not more evolved, at least more recent arrivals on the hominid scene—the product of a second mutation that occurred somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 years ago, long after right-handedness became the norm.
Seeing that I'm a relatively new mutant helps explain my propensity towards thinking about the future and what we could become. I see freedom as an important part of the developing global culture. This is a freedom guided by reasonable regulations. The tragedy of the commons is a very important point against deregulation. I don't think that we need to do anything overtly drastic, but I do think it's important to pull the throttle back a bit. We are destroying the environment. Global Warming is a problem. The fact that we can see these problems now means that we can fix them later, but at a greater cost each year we ignore it. We are only trading our future for it. The Oceans looked liked an endless cache of fish and we pulled them into our nets as fast as some athletes pumped steroids into their bodies or as fast as certain banks poured cash into internet startups. How much of our society is built on sandcastles awaiting the tide?
Somehow I still have hope. We have more and more people on the planet every day. Some are born to create, some to destroy, and some are for everything in between. Human diversity is the liquid filling all the gaps as banal or brilliant as can be.
Sometimes I do get feedback about what I write here. I do appreciate it. Peter sent me a note about how he weighed in about that old Harlan Ellison interview with The Onion AV folks. I talked about it or around it a while ago. I've been thinking about taking another stab at writing seriously. I've been encouraged by his recent short stories and while I lack any tangible muse I do have the desire to tell stories. I've been flirting with writing, programming, 3D modeling, and (ugh) remodeling work. I feel like I'm waiting at the door of the plane for my time to jump.Back when I still lived in the city of Chicago and not the suburbs, my friends and I went to the Portage Park pool during the summer. They had a 10-meter jump. We were all in our early teen years and it was with some trepidation that we took to those stairs and plunged into the chlorinated depths. We all did it and loved it, except for Mike. He stood there for what was probably only 10 minutes, but what seemed like an hour. He stared down into the water, but would not jump. Eventually, the patience of a young lifeguard was exhausted and he started the teasing, "Watch that first step! Don't jump too far or it's all over...(etc.)" Mike took the stairs down. I wanted to smack that lifeguard. I don't know if Mike would have jumped even if he had kept his mouth shut, but it bugged the shit out of me. It did make me steel myself to criticism. I am all in favor of the constructive comment, but I hate the vindictive variety with all my heart. It's worse when I commit it. Though I wouldn't be too upset about a friendly push over the edge.
I may be able to fill a certain niche that seems under-nourished. I do plan on expanding the Virtual Reality wing of the fiction section. Write what you know applies. I also realize that I could tackle programming and writing, but I think it's important to have some focus in my life lest I become a goldfish.
Companions the Creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow Creators the Creator seeks - those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the Creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
-Fredrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
What God Wants, God Gets.
Insomnia allows me to experience the joys of low budget TV. Last night I found myself watching some woman preacher from the Wonder Lake Pentecostal Church of God barely able to finish a sentence without inserting a "hallelujah" or two. Then there is Ron Popeil selling, selling, selling and the other late night ads that seem to sell to the same folks that most spam is aiming for. It's the kind of TV that feeds off people's sense of inferiority due to the lack of one thing or another.. I'm not saying that TV at any other time of the day doesn't do this, but it becomes a bit more blatant the later it gets.
I tried really hard to watch the opening ceremonies. Have these international games ever been more about the country that hosted it? I was almost wishing to see more about Mormons. Start the proselytizing already! Because I don't know how much longer I can maintain this honesty with myself that I just don't know.
And that's my point, is that what is wrong with just saying, "I don't know? I'm a human being.
How could I possibly know the nature of God? I'll know when I'm dead.
Or I won't.
Or I'll just be taking a dirt nap.
I need the armor of faith to block out all the doubt I have about existence regardless of any way to verify my belief. I need a spiritual anti-missile defense system to protect me from evil and temptation.
Religion does a lot of things for people.
Giving them security is one of them.
And one of the ways you claim security is to claim you have the truth.
As soon as you claim you have the truth, you then try to impose it on other people.
The dark side of religion comes out of that imposition.
When my pope is infallible or my Bible is inerrant or I'm a member of the true church or I have the only way to God, then you feel justified in doing terrible things.
Look at what the Christians have done to the Jews.
Look at the people we burned at the stake.
Look at the religious wars we fought.
Those are not bright chapters in our history.
If I can't believe in a particular religion, then surely I must believe in my political leaders to dispense liberty and justice for all. Didn't I hear that in a pledge to a flag so many times? For what is the true enemy of freedom? What is the real threat?
Islamic terrorism merits separate discussion now. It is not the result of creative instability, but of the atrophy of a civilization exacerbated by generations of Western support for an artificial stability in the Arab and Islamic world. While most Islamic terrorism is culturally reactionary, another aspect of it is an impulse for change perverted by hopelessness. And terrorism is, finally, a brutal annoyance, but not a threat to America's survival, despite the grim events of 11 September. Osama bin Laden and his ilk may kill thousands of Americans through flamboyant terrorist acts, but their deeds reflect tormented desperation and fear, not confidence or any positive capability. Terrorists may be able to destroy, but they cannot build, either a skyscraper or a successful state. Destruction is the only thing of which they remain capable, and destruction is their true god. These men seek annihilation, not only ours, but their own. No entrances are left open to them, only the possibility of a dramatic exit. They are failed men from failed states in a failing civilization. Claiming to represent the oppressed (but enraged by the "liberal" behavior of most Palestinians), fundamentalist terrorists of so hardened a temper would not be contented, but only further inflamed, by any peace settlement that did not inaugurate their version of the Kingdom of God on earth. They are not fighting for a just peace, but for their peace--and even if they attained that peace, they would desire another. They are, in every sense, lost souls, the irredeemable. Their savagery is not a result of the failure of any peace process, but a reaction to their own personal failures and to the failures of their entire way of life.
I don't know what God wants, I don't know where Osama is, I don't know when the economy is going to recover, I don't know if Gore would have been any better, I don't know how the Rams lost, I just don't know.
"It appears that women, regardless of sexual orientation, respond to everything"
-Professor Michael Bailey
Here we are confronted by the evidence of an apparent openness of females to all things sexual. It's something seemingly reinforced by cultural standards and exploited by many. Howard Stern garnered more ratings with lesbians than with gay males. We can forgive females experimenting with females, but once a fella goes gay…he's gay for good. It's the Full Monty double standard fallacy in flicks for phalluses you never see.
The crux of the curious difficulty lies in the fact that our conscious views of what life ought to be seldom correspond to what life really is. Generally we refuse to admit within ourselves, or within our friends, the fullness of that pushing, self-protective, malodorous, carnivorous, lecherous fever which is the very nature of the organic cell. Rather, we tend to perfume, white-wash, and reinterpret; meanwhile imagining that all the flies in the ointment, all the hairs in the soup, are the faults of some unpleasant someone else.
But when it suddenly dawns on us, or is forced to our attention, that everything we think or do is necessarily tainted with the odor of the flesh, then, not uncommonly, there is experienced a moment of revulsion: life, the acts of life, the organs of life, women in particular as the great symbol of life, become intolerable to the pure, the pure, pure soul.
- Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces p 121-2.
The distress of Malawi Priests over the sexual overtures of women becomes understandable. The Taliban's practice of forcing their women to cover most of their bodies seems to stem from this same fear. When these things fail men retreat to hermitism and yet they are beset by dreams of women still!
O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.
-St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)
I can attest to the fact that sexuality can be problematic when performing difficult work. When it is necessary to keep a continuous line of thought engaged for lengthy periods a suggestive curve could collapse all my concentration. So I can see how certain spiritual souls see sex as something saturated in sin. But it's all about dodging the blame. A man can be just as synonymous with sex as a woman can. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then lust comes in the wink of an eye.
"The great thing about the internet is its leveling effect; online all opinions are equally WORTHLESS."
- Grant Morrison
To those honorable folks who would suggest that the self-publishing or weblogging "movement" is not worth the paper it isn't printed on, bear in mind that all writers eventually rise to their own level of incoherence. Those that like to lean, will. I like to vent a bit, but after the purge I tend to come back to the middle. As long as speech is free, we should take it out for some exercise. Is it better to be a silent fool or babble on till someone sets you straight?
Oh Mefi, how times have drawn you up only to bring you so low. I shall keep thee in my bookmarks, but as Puff Daddy once sang...Mo Members Mo Problems
All that glitters may not be gold, but it at least contains free electrons.
-JD Bernal ( 1901-1971 )
Still trying to ride the optimistic tide that traditionally follows the New Year without trying to burden myself with resolutions often dropped by February. Still wading into the slow job market, donning different hats and peeling apart the last vestiges of Internet ego. Peering over the wasteland of fading fads and financial failures. Seeing the travesty of corporate greed and malevolence. Searching for lights in the Ivory Towers and wondering if the bulbs are just being changed. Frustrated by what goes up and what comes down. Hoping that no matter who does it, it gets done. Worried that my contrarian tendencies of playing devil's advocate can bring the hoard of putrid patriotic pugilists marching to my door.
The snow fell yesterday in a conservative dusting for the 2nd day this year (the first snowfall occurred just before Christmas) in Chicago. It's certainly light compared to last year. Even all this white stuff around I can't help but think about the black stuff. It's so obvious that Bush was bankrolled by big oil and the only flow he's into is the stream of corporate bucks into his coffers. If that wasn't bad enough, he's channeling our own righteous anger and counting on big media's blatant blindness to our injustice.
It's great that Bush can sign a $26.5 billion dollar education bill while children in faraway places are getting a different kind of education. Since kids are quick to pick up a new tune, perhaps Bin Laden can capitalize on the commercial jingle. Oh I don't know…maybe the old Toy R Us one.
Anyway, I thought I would do my rant & ditty today. There's certainly no shortage of rants out there. Last time my colorful About You poem was inspired by exposure to David Allen Coe for the first time. It's meant to be read like a country song by someone that generally doesn't like country. Coe has written some pretty racist shit in the past, but now he's even touring with Kid Rock. Has he changed? Here's to second chances.
Nothing hath wrought more prejudice to religion, or brought more disparagement upon truth, than boisterous and unseasonable zeal.
- Washington Barrow (1817-1866)
I've been accused of being a bit hard on religion. With all that it's trying to sell me, I can't help being wary. With all the things people of one faith or another have done, belief is almost scary. I'm borderline theophobic. But my biggest problem with religion is its organization, because it just doesn't make much sense to me. "Split the stick, and there is Jesus" so they say. So why do you need a church, priests, ceremonies, and sacrifices? Does the money that TV evangelists beg for go to that special payphone to God they got backstage?
I feel like I've cut out the middleman whenever I smile at a sunset or marvel at the fortuitous force of gravity that keeps us on the same planet. How is an almighty God not aware of my fond feelings without being channeled through some creed? While I understand that priests can help people cope, I don't think any of them can show a path to God. If there were such a thing, a person would have to go alone. But most people have authority figures forced on to them from day one and don't see religion as being any different. To believe in that authority is like seeing only one star whenever you look at the sky.
Totem, tribal, racial, and aggressively missionizing cults represent only partial solutions of the psychological problem of subduing hate by love; they only partially initiate. Ego is not annihilated in them; rather, it is enlarged; instead of thinking only of himself, the individual becomes dedicated to the whole of his society. The rest of the world meanwhile (that is to say, by far the greater portion of mankind) is left outside the sphere of the protection of his god. And there takes place, then, that dramatic divorce of the two principles of love and hate which the pages of history so bountifully illustrate. Instead of clearing his own heart thew zealot tries to clear the world. The laws of the City of God are applied only to his in-group (tribe, church, nation, class, or what not) while the fire of a perpetual holy war is hurled (with good conscience, and indeed a sense of pious service) against whatever uncircumcised, barbarian, heathen, "native," or alien people happens to occupy the position of neighbor.
-Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces p. 156
As I've said before, if I believe in anything it's in the mystery of existence. Not knowing for sure makes it a game. Not knowing what the rules are makes it very interesting for the players. While plenty of people are happy with the old manuals, there are plenty of others making up their own rules. I'm not much for rules making, but I can imagine a particularly wile & playful God commenting in the afterlife "Well you were a pretty decent sort, but it was entirely up to you how you handled it. You all come back here anyway. So do you want to try Earth again or maybe a something in a different galaxy?"
As I mentioned in a previous entry, I was feeling a bit down. I decided to take leave of my depression. I feel like I've been mourning one thing or another for a year. My recent HD crash destroyed a large collection of photos I had taken of Seattle. Of course, the one photo of me in the hot tub made it.
One thing I haven't lost is my passion for writing. It was trampled, bruised, and beaten but I'm still writing and your reading. So without further ado, here's a few poems written recently whilst experiencing various moods.Who's to say? Tragedy on TV, this you gotta see
COMPETITION: An event in which there are more losers than winners. Otherwise it's not a competition. A society based on competition is therefore primarily a society based on losers.
- John Ralston Saul
I have to admit that I like competition. It drives me to excel. When the playing field is level and all the players have a good chance of winning it's fun. Outside of the realm of sports and games the chances of a fair match disappear faster than WB sitcoms. With the Taleban gone we can set our sights toward other threats. Iraq might be next, but it might be a little early to take any bets. Could the war on terrorism be the start of the domino-like fall of bad governments? Every time a terrorist attack occurs Bush should come on the air and spin a Wheel of War. We conquer the terrorist state that it lands on. It could be a mix between American Gladiators and Robot Wars called American Invaders. After Bush announces the unlucky winner members of the audience are selected to man the controls of remote bombers and tanks.
I'm as impressed as anyone is by our ability to crush insanely religious, pathetically poor governments. I'm so impressed that I have to wonder with the rest of you what John Ashcroft is all about. I thought having the most military might on the planet is how we keep terrorism in check. Freedom is not worrying about what people say. Certainly any military action will cause pain and suffering on both sides, but I really don't see these governments changing themselves into peaceful little democracies. Maybe they need a friendly little note.
Dear Middle-East fundamentalists,
Your religious zeal is somewhat charming in a medieval sort of way, but our economy depends on the oil your countries just so happen to have a lot of. We normally wouldn't give a shit about you and do not care how insane or corrupt your governments are. We don't care how you treat your women or how your "justice" system operates. In fact, the only time we even pay attention is when you start killing our people. When that happens we will return the favor in spades. The way things are going we'll use up all the oil on the planet in ten years and then you'll become irrelevant anyway.
While we're doing this straight up honesty thing, perhaps a letter from our legislative representatives would be in order.
Dear citizens of the USA,
We're still trying to work out whether to make actual decisions or merely use polls all the time. Saying 80% of those polled agreed to do something sounds a lot better than "I decided that this is what were going to do." In the past we have misspent your money and managed to create this huge deficit. We asked you all to help pay off the debt and that seemed to be working. Well...we kind of have the same situation with our foreign policy. We managed to make ourselves the target of some loonies that we may have a plausibly deniable hand in perpetuating. Sure treating other countries fairly might sound nice, but we've found that there is some profit maintaining various small-scale conflicts. There is nothing better than selling weapons to both sides. Not to mention trying out all the new toys we got. After they kill each other we can buy the land real cheap. While we are working out where our problems lie and formulating methods to handle them, it would be nice if we didn't have so many laws preventing us from keeping you folks safe. You guys don't really need privacy anyway. How are we going to protect you from the loonies amongst you without listening to your phone conversations, reading your mail, and spying on you from orbit? So don't worry and have a beer!
The Boys from Washington
What a difference a year makes. Last year Buy Nothing Day was a effort to fight rampant consumerism. This year it's almost like supporting terrorism. After all who wouldn't want to buy their child toy monsters to stretch until they scream, toy men with explosives, and toy monsters to create and destroy at will!
"We should not as a society grow life to destroy it. It's morally wrong in my opinion."
- George W. Bush
It's nice to know that the younger generation will be trained to enjoy creating and destroying monsters since we find it so morally repugnant ourselves. It's like those "shopper in training" carts I've seen for kids. They should have debtor in training stations where they receive calls from creditors demanding payment and threatening them with litigation.
Isn't it odd that some after the first time I decide to quote Pat, he resigns? No less odd than the bit of commentary centered about my quickies page.
"...the linkworthy site is just the format i need for my ex-wifes bookmarks page, she can't ever find anything anyhow... except how to dig deeper into my wallet!"
- from the "deleted" Metafilter thread
I put my favorite one on the page permanently. Since I linked to Metafilter I might as well comment about the crazy clash of the egos taking place. While rumors and stories of the A-list abound, a new Zeelister movement has started. I hardly put forth many words to the web these days, but I got a kick out of the whole thing.
It hasn't been too great of a year and last week I was feeling pretty low. If poor employment prospects weren't already clouding up the skies of my Sunshine Day, a critical computer hardware failure and car problems were like a couple of dark clouds cutting out all the light. But even that wasn't much compared to the news that my Uncle died last Monday.
We knew he was dying and yet...I don't remember the last time I saw him. Things happen, people go along with their lives and sometimes you never catch up with them before it's too late. I have my old memories and the stories that I hear, but my sense of him as a person is stuck with those old memories.
A couple weeks ago I did a moving job for quick cash. We were moving all the stuff from this older man's apartment into storage. There was an older woman that might have been his ex-wife, his son, and a friend there. As I was working I overheard the friend say, "He's causing you trouble even when he's dead." After the women had been grumbling about the whole business or whatever it was.
I just started thinking about what a mess I'd leave with my death and what people would say when I'm gone. I'm 28. People say I have plenty of time and that I'm still young. I still have time to do something that isn't about merely maintaining this life, but celebrating it. Maybe for all that everyone has lost this year we can now see what it is we have always had and can't be taken for granted anymore. The great American lifestyle and the vast pride we have in this country disconnect us from much of the world. We really are all one people on one little planet. A pale blue dot in the dark, cosmic sea.
Those seas might be as dangerous as the ones here. While some brave souls will go out alone. I think we all need to reach for the stars together.
The move from Seattle to Chicago went by with little in the way of trouble. Starting at 8pm on Sunday and ending at the same time on Wednesday the only significant part of the trip was Tuesday's 811 mile effort. The night before I had to sneak Jasper into a hotel in Tremonton, Utah. Late night cable provided cheap thrills beyond the reach of Porn Csars or censors. An episode of Emmanuelle 2000 contained an opening shot of the NYC skyline with the WTC towers unmolested by terrorists or concerned digital erasers. The plot even involved a connection between one couple having sex and the stock market rising. The rising animation was an appropriately phallic bar chart illustrating the phenomenon on the corporate office PC that the husband was staring it and spoke something to the effect of "Honey, I don't know what your doing, but keep on doing it."On the road (35K)
Wednesday started with rain and a rainbow. By noon the rain had turned to hail and a rainbow. By the afternoon high winds took over for the hail accompanied by a rainbow of their own. Lucky for me, I was going with the wind. The few times the road turned my truck shook alarmingly but stayed on the ground. I stopped to get gas and the truck rocked in place. Wyoming was the windy state I was in. In some parts winds up to 70 mph were reported that day.On the road (38K)
Thoughts drifted towards The Dust Bowl and sailed their way through global Martian dust storms only to remember the taste of Operation Desert Storm and finally wondering who is the The Bringer of War.On the road (26K)
I'm down with the IL state again. The internet job search has been cut down to POTS dialup Monster checks that only serve up a reminder of why I need to get those programming skills up to par. Cable modem spoiled me. I almost forgot how slow the web can be. Lucky I have plenty of remodeling work to pass the time with.Scoring wallpaper (20K) Steaming wallpaper (18K)
The one cool thing about remodeling work is the constructively destructive tasks. Scoring and steaming (or using DIF) to get wallpaper ready for scraping doesn't compare to ripping apart floors. I have 2 bathrooms and a kitchen to work with.Hall Bathroom floor (58K) Kitchen floor (35K)
While I channel my frustrations into tearing up wood and tile I have noticed that my Dad has been watching a lot of Home & Garden TV that's not on HGTV. The Christopher Lowell Show (Discovery Channel) and Trading Spaces (The Learning Channel) seem to be favorites. Christopher Lowell is an undeniably talented designer that happens to be very obviously gay. The Christian Coalition of America is determined to make sure everyone remembers they are backward bigots.
"We must safeguard our families from the insidious attack of the gay army. The [Christopher Lowell] show - diguised as a craft and home design series - is actually brainwashing our culture with pro-gay rhetoric."
- "Please Pat my ass" Robertson
There's so much more to talk about. I'm going to try and write a bit more regularly now. I've been impressed by what some people have been saying like this Bill Moyers speech. I'm glad to see Snappy Dresser is up again and Eric may be down but not out.I'm glad that we can laugh a bit at things like this. I have a 'make yurself a nuke' text file from the past as well.
Making and owning an H-bomb is the kind of challenge real Americans seek. Who wants to be a passive victim of nuclear war when with a little effort you can be an active participant? Bomb shelters are for losers. Who wants to huddle together underground eating canned Spam? Winners want to push the button themselves. Making your own H-bomb is a big step in nuclear assertiveness training - it's called Taking Charge. We're sure you'll enjoy the risks and the heady thrill of playing nuclear chicken.
I'm behind on emails and updates and life, but things will improve.