Log

Rainbows enjoyed with good company

Midwestern Valuables

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12.24.2002

It's web-a-logging that started all'da t-a-alking
A Lott got on their many m-a-inds.
And who knows what else they might find?

Bush says I-a-raq has nasty MD odors of we-a-pons within it's borders.
An oil spoils got to be m-a-ined
And who knows what else they might find?

Can you understand my-a-thinking with such a war-a-brinking
How hard it is to root for hu-a-manity?
We kill for a mere bauble, great minds we vainly hobble.
Can we spare a little more Ch-a-rity?

It sud-a-dunly seeming to be peace-a-fully dreaming
Is Bligh-a-fully seeing concerning certain-a-other beings
Gotta want more near the need
'Cause we got a world to feed

And it's only getting smaller every day.


It's times like this when it hurts to have your heart in the right place.

POE

12.16.2002

Farewell 2002

Is this New Communication? Well, what's its relation to the Real World?
Word-weilding gadget called Cyberspace. It sounds so big, but lacks a face.
All these terms meant to disguise
The drivel that we are drowning in.
Oh, we are finding new ways to share our speech, but it is the same crap in a new wrap.
Make no mistake that we are all wolves baying at the moon Blog-wise.
Wolf pack tactics collide in comments, but the sickness of the language likens to a loon.

Oh, if only I could get in the Holiday Spirit.
That Old time religious feeling for sacrifices and lots of kneeling.
Oh, to have a tree to place gifts near it.
Plant one that ticks so the kids may fear it!

Oh, the rush of love these wintry days.
With Nestle's Cash Crunch until Ethiopia pays.
The McProfit has lost it's luster in so many ways.

Whether oral or anal we must keep from ears and brain all
Free from innuendo lest our children's libido be stimulated to crescendo!
Just wait until you attend their alma mater so you can lust and lush up like Mudder and Fadder.

Maybe you prefer some other or both sides your bread butter.
Seems it's hard to take one serious since so many seem so Bi-curious.
Such gender stress will make your health grow less.
Rest easy under watchful eyes and ears
Bush is here to justify your fears!
Just wait to see how safer you will be
When protected from the naughty things you'd see.

Gaily they round us up so quick so not slow down good St. Nick.
Fondly now families exhume the love that leads us to consume!
Careful now before you drop while left in you some days to shop.

Santa knows from the good and bad.
He's just less sure yur a boy, girl, or just plain mad.

Our Government is in the clear
Routing out the causes for our fear.
Stupidly someone came out.
Now he has to bow out.
Never worry for the Democratically Endowed
For all the people will be cowed.

12.16.2002

There is a long history in every sentence, every word we speak has a tremendous history, every metaphor is full of historical symbolism; they would not carry at all if that were not true. Our words carry the totality of that history which was once so alive and still exists in every human being. With every word we touch upon a historical fibre, as it were, in our fellow-beings; and therefore every word we speak strikes that chord in every other living being whenever we speak the same language.

- Carl Jung, Dream Analysis, 1958

2002 has been recovery, repair, and reflection. I was not aware of the full damage that 2001 incurred. A hidden sinkhole had formed in the foundation of my life and I was standing above oblivious. How long should it take before you understand the context of your life?

Once deprived of gainful employment the parallax of economies, needs, and labors granted an acute case of vertigo. The adjustment was severe because life had not only been sped up, but compressed. I suffered from temporal bends. Video game therapy kept my reaction time hyper-tuned while I slowly tried to pry my mind from the teat of speed. But it wasn't just speed. The Internet connected me to news and information limited only by my curiosity-endlessly Creosote-like in appetite.

Anachronistic enemies demanded to be heard and confounded all attempts to be settled in real time. Just in time terrorism from Bali to Baghdad found more folks flirting with fascism. Journalists fought for coveted fatwas as guaranteed invites to GOP parties and talk show tours. Bonus points were awarded for increasing the contrast between cultures. Attempts to see human interaction on Earth analogous to a closed system that was given enough energy so that every particle became more extreme in it's actions were met with scorn. I was told indifference could never kindle hatred. It was black vs. white. It was good vs. evil. It was just a matter of choosing the right god, political party, economic ideology, and soft drink. Did school prepare anyone for the political implications of buying a car?

Human and animal behavior is also influenced by solar storm activity. The brain is a biological electromagnetic processor. Body functions are wired via nerves with electrical impulses traveling to and from the brain. The body is composed of mostly water and electrically very conductive. We are basically electro-biological beings. It is well known that geomagnetic disturbances caused by solar storms can influence the functioning of electro-mechanical systems. Why should electro-biological systems be any exception?

Physical, mental and emotional health are intertwined with balanced electromagnetic processes within the mind and body. It is easy to imagine how these same electromagnetic processes could be negatively influenced by electrically charged particles in the atmosphere and shifting magnetic fields. Health problems, aches and pains, moodiness, depression, irritability, violent or aggressive behavior are possibilities. Wars could very well be the outcome of these same electromagnetic disturbances. Notice the current social and political unrest everywhere in the world, while the largest explosions ever recorded in the solar system have recently occurred on the surface of the sun.

- Larry A. Wright

The fury under foot started long ago. I identified with firefighters trying to extinguish what they didn't start. The smoke hides the larger picture as we sail into uncharted waters. Do we have the strength to guide the Afghan people out of the cold and give them the courage to follow their hearts?

The real fighters on the front line have been female. Women may have come a long way, but some here still can't engage in "worldly" ways. Even as we look to nature to figure out fornication we are seduced by technology's suggestion that we can transform our sexuality.

Well, I think, with "Crash" it was getting very focused on the idea that we are re-inventing sex. We are at a major epoch in human history, which is that we don't need sex to recreate the race. You can have babies without sex. This is the first time in human history that has been true, and it means, for example, we could do some extraordinary things.

It's becoming disconnected from what it was initially, just in the same way we've taken control of our evolution. We are no longer subject to the laws of survival of the fittest in the gross physical way that Darwin articulated. Even though we're not quite aware of it, we don't know how to deal with it, we are messing around with our evolution at the genetic level.

So, I think, in the same way, sex is up for grabs, for reinvention. There have always been elements of politics, fashion, pleasure, art, in sexuality. But now those things are, in a weird way, almost the primary part of sexuality. So why not say, OK, how about some new sexual organs? They don't have to reproduce. They don't have to do all that complex chromosome splitting and stuff that goes with real reproduction, so why not have direct access to your nervous system and create new orifices that do god knows what?

In a way, you're seeing new sex, neo-sex, in this movie. Or do you even want to call it sex? It's obviously inducing some kind of pleasure the way sex does, but what is it?

I think that is happening. You see a lot of body modification. In the same way, we've never accepted the environment as it was given to us, we've never accepted the human body, either. We've always been messing with it to the full extent of whatever the technology at the time would allow us to do. But then there's also the other element of body modification that are not medical. It's social, it's political, it's sexual, it's cosmetic, it's fashion. Just what people will do now -- with scarring, tattooing, piercing and all that, and performance art as well -- it would have been unthinkable, at least as mainstream as it is now, not very long ago.

-David Cronenberg

There is ample anthropological evidence for our long held desire to control and shape our bodies. Enough to build a church. What moral justification could condemn such actions by free people? It's easier to find fault in the African practice of female genital multination, than the unpressured alterations of adults.

The motivation for modification need not be bound by sexuality, spirituality, or ephemeral fashion. Boredom will suffice as easily as the desire to stand out. The deliberate ugliness of 80's punk is the parent of Raver wear. They attract attention to the physical and make it easier to hide the mental. It also creates discomfort in the common conformist observer. Woe to the edification of etiquette when freak flags fly and slang is slung by all by-and-by.

When Mustafar or Stelarc hang themselves from hooks, or pierce themselves with sharp painful implements, they are only duplicating a practice found all over the world. It is a key ritual for many "primitive" and other societies for the person to go into trance and to demonstrate their "absorbtion" by the divine through the negation of pain and injury. The ModPrims claim that their performances are a pursuit of transcendence, proving the ability of the mind to go beyond the taxings and limitations of the body. Stelarc calls himself a "Cyberhuman," pointing to his belief that the future of human evolution toward a greater interconnection of men and machines will require humankind's mastery over (rather than suppression of) passion, suffering, and pain.

- Steve Mizrach, "Modern Primitives": The Accelerating Collision of Past and Future in the Postmodern Era

I have no real desire to modify my form. This is a side effect of already having metal plates in my head. But I understand the desire to control one's body. It comes from our moralistic growth away from slavery and it will continue. Feminism and/or neo-feminism is where the growth will come from. People can dismiss the Modern Primitives, but they find sex hard to ignore. When I look at the struggles today, sex underlies so much of it.

I had a very disturbing dream last night. In this dream, I found myself making love to a strange man. Only I'm having trouble you see, because... He's old. And dying. And he smells bad, and I find him repulsive. But then he tells me that everything is erotic. That everything is sexual. You know what I mean? He tells me that even old flesh is erotic flesh. That disease is the love of two alien kinds of creatures for each other. That even dying is an act of lust. That talking is sexual. That breathing is sexual. That even to physically exist is sexual. And I believe him. And we make love beautifully.

- Forsythe from the movie Shivers

It's not about seeing the world in blue-tinted glasses, but loosening up on the puritanical prejudices towards people playing with each other. Not all interactions are guaranteed to be good. Just as there are bad relationships and bad ideas on how to treat them. It's not certain whether things like "Stripper damage" are inherent in the job or a result of cultural friction. It's that same friction that reminds us that even when the participants are willing and control the content, objectification still occurs. It's not something that can be controlled by the subject. But so what if Suicide Girls and Rack Browsers open the door. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so is destructive objectification.

I must admit that I still wonder from time to time if the work I am doing contributes in any way to harm towards women. I don't worry much about objectification as an issue; I think that we all have a right to objectify and be objectified as long as it is not the only relationship one has with the other gender, as long as it is enjoyed by both parties. I have had opportunities to enjoy seeing my own body as a beautiful object, to look at myself through the lust in the eyes of my clients and lovers, to see myself as Goddess in the smoky mirror of the strip club. I have also done my share of objectifying others; who can count the times that s/he has said "Ohmigawd! Look at that ass/hair/face!"?

In my estimation, objectification becomes a real issue only when it is internalized to an unhealthy extent, and usually by those working in the industry. When a woman cannot see beyond her own surface, problems are bound to arise. I think this may also contribute to the phenomena of women's internalization of expectations regarding what I refer to as "the idealized female form." And this is more than an industry issue; the internalization of these often unreal expectations is the neurosis of the '90s, for both men and women. Women, though, seem to suffer the effects (anorexia, bulimia, etc.) more often than men.

- LaSara W. FireFox

People that don't want to be responsible for external stimuli have parental issues. The type of dress or lack thereof does not condone mistreatment in the same way that a man's feminine behavior does not invite a beating.

''A lot of these kids, white and black, want music that reaffirms their masculinity,'' he told Spin magazine. ''I'm straight, but I love going to house-music clubs and flirting with women and gay men. This is a leap most of America seems unprepared to make.''

Moby's assault is something Eminem (that Dr. Dre manufactured, pseudo-controversial, irresponsible-sure you're not a homophobe, you're just a money-hungry mediocre rapper) likely gay-baited his Boston-based bone-headed bruiser fans into doing with such skillfully lyrical love lines like this:

And Moby, you can get stomped by Obie, You 36 year old bald headed fag blow me.
I can't even pile all the blame on Eminem. Hip Hop is damn near doomed! J Lo's desperate plea, "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got/I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block/ Used to have a little now I have a lot/No matter where I go I know where I came from." is just as shallow trotting out her lover, Ben Aflect, for the dollars as Kid Rock did with Pamela Anderson. Nelly's songs only challenge each other for being the stupidest as rappers like Busta "bad" Rhymes run to Hollywood realizing they can't record the same rhythm and beat for every album.

There are still those that care and fight to keep us aware. It's a fight to put a light on injustice. It's a struggle to define the limits of tolerance. It's a lesson in understanding what we should fight and what we should treat with compassion.

This is a great time to have liberal leanings. You are challenged with the task of redefining goals and establishing arguments to counter the conservative complacency. The current conservatives have accentuated the simple as the liberals have gone to grasp the complex. It was only a matter of time before no one understood where the liberals stood, including the liberals. The conservatives can't be good conservatives without good liberals to stir their minds; checks and balances.

We are all driven to be murderers, martyrs, messiahs, or some manic mix. The messiah potential is always there, but it leads to stress-induced suicide or soon forgotten martyrdom. The celebrated martyrs are more like murderers and the self-professed messiahs are mainly mad. Maybe modern Man can only cope with a moderate messiah gently guiding us away from the abyss. Maybe the message will be carried by more than one: by the slowly evolving compassionate consciousness of our children coping with the world we created.

I definitely think prescription drugs have helped me. I get upset about it sometimes, because it is another addiction. When I miss my medication, I get withdrawal symptoms and feel sick. But all in all, they really just balance me out. They keep me from feeling the only answer to everything is to kill myself or, you know, spend money I don't have. There are those two extremes, and they both can be really hazardous. This keeps me on more of a middle ground. It upsets me when people say prescription drugs keep you from being who you really are, because I don't feel who I really am is someone who's crying all the time. I think I'm really who I am when I have the drugs.

The good thing about having female friendships is that there isn't any of that sexual tension involved. I mean, I have guys who I can cry to and have fun with, but it's not the same bond. A lot of the time, girls and guys become friends because one of them thought the other one was attractive. And there's none of that involved with being friends with girls. You can just be real.

Having female friends who you can have fun with and run around with and act all giddy with and then share your most embarrassing, real moments with is worth so much. And just being able to have people who can support your choices or, even when you fuck up in your choices, still love you through anything.

There's tons of drama in the relationships between girls. Girls have catfights and girls hold grudges. But when you have your best girlfriends who you've been through thick and thin with, you get past who looks better when and who gets what guy. With a boyfriend, you don't necessarily know if you're going to be with them in a certain amount of time. But you can be sure that your girlfriends will be there.

-Alison, 17 years old

12.05.2002

"You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. ... But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth, is truth."

- George Orwell, 1984

Henry-Fucking-Kissinger? It's a great way to usurp whatever creditability the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks would have. Saudi Arabia is probably breathing a sigh of relief and irony gets a shot in the arm. It's also certain to give conspiracy theorists ammunition for years to come and alleged quotes like this gain an extra eerie bite.

"Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government."

- Henry Kissinger, Bilderberg meeting in May 1992

Combine that with me prodding that sore tooth that is Eric Raymond's reasoning and I had to write something. He perpetuates the sophistry of claiming the "intellectuals" (oh so deliberately catch-all) pointing out what actions contribute to increased terrorism are apologist rhetoric for terrorist actions. His statement that, "An intellectual commits treason against humanity when he or she propagandizes for ideas which lend themselves to the use of tyrants and terrorists." suggests that Nietzsche be blamed for Nazism because his Will to Power was twisted to meet their demands. I'd like to know the "identifiable factions" he's referring to in, "the ideologies were shaped and enabled and apologized for by identifiable factions among intellectuals in the West."

Revolutionary absolutism is not a new term, Eric. Sorry, no points awarded. And saving a special layer of treason for postmodernism is a straw man argument, especially when you define it only as, "the ideology that all value systems are equivalent, merely the instrumental creations of people who seek power and other unworthy ends."

I'm not going to claim a great understanding of postmodernism. I have no rant, just a desire to know. Postmodernism seems to have sprung from the thinking that everything has been done before or that modernism wasn't good enough. It's where thinking outside of the box is the paradigm. It found its home in the imaginative zones of artistic expression to which critical analysis of its faults fell to aesthetic demands. It is easy to poke at postmodernism's lack of definable ethical basis (it mocks such things), but its suggestion of multiple truths and narratives do resonate with me more than a simple dichotomy of truth. Postmodernism comes to grip with the fact that not all death is bad and not all life is good. And that these forces (good&bad) permeate everything in differing degrees to confound final human judgement. It offers us the terrifying freedom to construct the world and make our value judgements without any appeal to external authority. It's not a tool to make all value systems equal, but it does render all value systems as things to be deconstructed, rearranged, and never be absolute. Isn't it an absolute view of religion that's fueling most terrorism?

Postmodernism is a prank for artists and philosophers. It is a tool for anarchy and irony. Is a self-professed anarchist like Eric is just being ironic? OK, he's not. He just doesn't know what the hell he's talking about and is afraid or unable to actually back his rants with evidence. It's the kind of crap that made me stop visiting Den Beste's site (who almost proudly admits to never doing research). There are other reasons, which I'll get to later. Den Beste doesn't seem insane, while Eric is looking more loony after each post. It reminds me of Dave Sim's Tangent. It even has such strange similarities as an "Axis" (Dave's is the feminist/homosexualist axis and Eric adopted Axis of Evil) to hate. Eric's latest ode to male courage feels like he had The Village People's Macho Men playing in the background while he typed.

So the next time you see a man claim the role of defender, don't sneer — cheer. Don't write him off with some pseudo-profound crack about macho idiocy, support him. He's trying to tool up for the job two million years of evolution designed him for, fighting off predators so the women and children can sleep safe.

I've finally taken a better look at the thinly veiled hate site that plays watchdog over the Religion of Peace™. They are eager for an article to, once and for all, pin the Palestinians as those only worthy of death and set the ball rolling to knock down every Islamic nation on the planet. It would seem Muslims are eager to give them more material. Where's the Muslim outrage against these horrible acts?

But which Muslims are we expecting to hear from? The pundits can't even read or speak the language that most of the Muslims would be expressing their outrage in. The warbloggers like to ignorantly lump all Islamic culture. It would be just fine if the focus was on how to stop and prevent terrorism, but the only solution offered is the final kind. The only emotion is hatred and disgust. Sure, hate the acts of terrorism, but you are a dangerous fool to think that they all support it. In fact, the more you keep shouting those thoughts, the more likely you are to find Muslims supporting terror out of fearing you (if they understand you, that is). Perhaps I misunderstand you or you me, or me me. Oh My!

Let's get to the real point. Islam is not going away. We have large portions of the world living at standard far below ours. Without asking for all the boats to be leveled, can we at least see that there are no boats at the extreme depths? I read the articles about the suffering of the people of Iraq. There are legions of those stories for countries in many parts of the world.

Follow through. The rhetoric for war has gone to the people's suffering. If we fight to alleviate suffering in Iraq, why do we take a blind eye to it elsewhere? Especially when we can do much in many of those places without needing violence. If the answer is that Iraq also poses as a terrorist threat, then action against suffering is only justified when we might suffer too. Might that pose a strange opportunity for extremist rebels of repressive states?

It's all a roll of the dice whether what someone might do next is worse than what you are going to do next. It's the place where ends and means meet. But, we're not mean. Ambivalent? Maybe. Angry. Abso-fucking-lutely! Hey, We're just following orders. It's company policy. We are detached and can leave the hard stuff to representatives and young soldiers. From there we can do anything. We could fix the whole Israel/Palestinian issue by applying our influence on Israel to toss their selfish Zionist fantasies in favor of peace. The tactic of keeping the Palestinian people poor, destroying their homes, and slowly settling all around them has been a great terrorist generator. Quid Pro quo killing is such an effective tool in keeping the hot potato of hate in the air. Let's Bomb Iraq!

These are great days we're living, bros! We are jolly green giants, walking the earth with guns. These people we wasted here today are the finest human beings we will ever know. After we rotate back to the world, we're gonna miss not having anyone around that's worth shooting.

Crazy Earl, Full Metal Jacket

The country has been showing signs that we are not all about the hate. Today at the local Wheaton College we had a visit by Bono and Judd. Bono thinks, "There is a moral compass here that sets the course for the rest of America." and it's a strange setting here in Wheaton where, "Even in the most bizarre worlds, self-described spoiled rock stars don't make appearances at campuses so conservative students are forbidden to dance on campus." Is this more of that postmodern irony? Wheaton has more churches than morals. It shows the power of guilt.

More than 17 million Africans have died of AIDS, with another 2.5 million expected to die within the next year. About 28 million people -- including 1.5 million children -- are infected with HIV.

The current administration has yet to exercise the "compassion" part of their self-imposed label. Fearing any inkling of a middle leaning, they hold on to the hard line on the use of condoms. They are not only keeping up with the Vatican's and Teresa's stubborn insistence to take an interpretation of text as something more important than lives, but they are determined to take the truth about condoms out of the public eye.

The Bush administration wants to spend millions more dollars on abstinence-only programs that put teenagers at higher risk for HIV. In Texas, these programs don't just censor information, they actively promote misinformation about condoms. And they deprive adolescents of one of the most important tools that they need to protect themselves from HIV."

-Rebecca Schleifer, HIV/AIDS researcher at Human Rights Watch

It's takes another Chicagoan, Cecil Adams, to set the facts down with his own take at the end.

…1992 letter to the editor from Mike Roland, editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, a publication of the American Chemical Society. Roland argued that "the rubber comprising latex condoms has intrinsic voids [pores] about 5 microns (0.00002 inches) in size. Since this is roughly 10 times smaller than sperm, the latter are effectively blocked.... Contrarily, the AIDS virus is only 0.1 micron (4 millionths of an inch) in size. Since this is a factor of 50 smaller than the voids inherent in rubber, the virus can readily pass through."

This sounds scary, but there are a couple problems with it. First, Roland bases his statement about a 5 micron latex pore size on a study of rubber gloves, not condoms. The U.S. Public Health Service says that condoms are manufactured to higher standards than gloves. Condoms are dipped in the latex twice, gloves only once. If just 4 out of 1,000 condoms fail the leak test, the whole batch is rejected; the standard for gloves is 40 out of 1,000. A study of latex condoms by the National Institutes of Health using an electron microscope found no holes at a magnification of 2000.

The second problem with Roland's letter is that it suggests, at least to the casual reader, that condoms offer no protection at all against HIV. That's not so. Roland himself estimates that condoms reduce HIV transmission risk by a factor of three. He cites a 1993 analysis by S. C. Weller suggesting that condoms are 69 percent effective in preventing HIV transmission.


We could debate the technical stuff all day. My point is this: for whatever reason--pores, improper use, etc.--real-world research shows condoms don't offer 100 percent protection against AIDS. Maybe not, say the AIDS experts, but if you tell people that they'll use it as an excuse not to use condoms. To which I reply: the arguably greater danger is that they'll use condoms the way some weight watchers use Diet Coke--as an excuse to continue dangerous behavior (e.g., promiscuous sex, not gay sex per se). If that's "anti-eros," as some people seem to think, too bad. A friend of mine who died of AIDS attributed his illness to a wild weekend he'd once had. It's hardly anti-sex to wish he'd stayed home.

Isn't it more compassionate to provide safer sex solutions rather than condemn those that can't maintain abstinence? Does it appeal to your sense of religious righteousness to deny those of lesser sexual discipline the proper tools to prevent disease? Do promiscuous people deserve to die?

I recently saw an episode of that old TV show with fellow Illinoisan, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Life is Worth Living. He was talking about history, about civilization's origin in light of the Church. Of language he referred to Hebrew for good, Latin for truth, and Greek for beautiful. He said that respectively they brought us the ideas of Person, Humanity/Law, and Science. In the same way they gave us Democracy, One World, and Technology. He made it a point that these ideas brought much wealth and prosperity, but also an obligation to the rest of the world. And that was to share.

Alas, he was pretty tight with the Church and failed to see far beyond it. The light can hide things as well as darkness. He was quick to find fault with the early unsettlers of rigid truth and thought. He carried his logic to the bloody end.

On the other hand, the Church discourages bad thinking, for a bad thought set loose is more dangerous than a wild man. Thinkers live; toilers die in a day. When society finds it is too late to electrocute a thought, it electrocutes the man. There was once upon a time when Christian society burned the thought in order to save society, and after all, something can be said in favor of this practice. To kill one bad thought may mean the salvation of ten thousand thinkers. The Roman emperors were alive to this fact; they killed the Christians not because they wanted their hearts, but because they wanted their heads, or better, their brains--brains that were thinking out the death of Paganism.

My conclusion is yes, there is a great struggle for the soul of the Church, and all methods of battle are necessary in order to win it.

The mind of a terrorist can use such logic. The Bishop seems kind in his manner and intent, but I see too much in common with the Taliban in this sense. I'm a firm believer in free speech. He seems to be in favor of Eric's call for postmodernism's treachery in pointing out how imperfect the perception of truth is in imperfect people. This resonates with his lack of understanding of men & women and their love.

THE BISHOP AND THE CLIPPER'S WIFE: The other day I was talking to that hard-working NYC journo Baird Jones and Dr. Rock Positano. Baird and Dr. Rock are your classic men-about-town. They're in the know about everything from Steinbrenner to Britney Spears. Every topic in the news brings up some yarn. Needless to say, one of the big conversational items is the mess the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has landed itself in with the laity. All these old-fashioned Catholics who never rebelled against a thing are talking and fighting back. Dr. Rock, who was Joe DiMaggio's closest friend, had this yarn about Joe, Marilyn Monroe and the most powerful Catholic bishop back in the days when you didn't talk back.

Says Dr. Rock, "Joe and I were at Three Guys Restaurant on Madison and 76th -- Joe liked their Yankee bean soup -- and we were talking about religion and power. Joe told me a story about an encounter he had with Bishop Fulton Sheen, the charismatic televangelist who topped TV ratings back in the '50s. Everyone -- Catholic, Protestant, Jew -- admired Fulton Sheen.

Joe said to me, 'Let me tell you a funny story. One day back in the '50s, I got a call from Bishop Fulton Sheen's office telling me that the bishop wanted to meet with me. My reaction was, What the hell would he want to see me for? But of course being a good practicing Catholic and a kid who learned growing up in San Francisco to respect the clergy, I thought I'd better pay the guy a courtesy call.' Joe got all dressed up, even wearing a tie, and went off to see the bishop. Everybody in Sheen's office was thrilled to see Joe. The bishop seemed happy to meet him.

* * *

"THEN JOE TELLS ME that Bishop Sheen suddenly starts to lecture Joe about his image, the influence he has on American youth and his responsibility to the Catholic faith. Joe was baffled, trying to figure out where this conversation was going. ... Then Bishop Sheen comes right out and says, 'Well, look, you know I'm talking about Marilyn Monroe. We don't know why you'd want to marry her.' "Joe is fuming, but respectful. Then the bishop says, 'She isn't the type of woman who gives people moral values.' At that point Joe stopped the conversation, saying, 'Now, listen here, Bishop Fulton Sheen, no is one going to tell me who to love and how to love. As far as I'm concerned this meeting is over.' "Joe just got up, took his coat and hat and left Sheen, the most powerful American bishop, completely speechless and with his mouth open. 'I took a lot of hell from people for going out with Marilyn,' Joe said, 'but you have to stand on your own two feet.'"

I understand postmodernism a little better than when I started writing this. It's important and courageous to shake the status quo, to wonder not only whether "2+2" could equal "5," but why we think it doesn't. It's fear that proposes we should not do this. The fear suggests you first arrived at such a conclusion arbitrarily. The status quo fights time and one who for time has fought, ran out of it. Farewell.

11.17.2002

Half of what we call madness is just some poor slob dealing with pain by a strategy that annoys the people around him.

-Lois McMaster Bujold

Mold removal from the attic is something I am really, really not enjoying. Thankfully, it is the last major task I need to do to get my parent's house sold. So it might not come as a surprise that I have been eyeing the web for any distractions.

It ranges from the intermittent fights here and there to videos and questionnaires.

All the fun and fighting fail to measure up to the simple act of sharing. I'm been mulling over the point of websites here. I don't know how I can really be much different or especially interesting to warrant the effort of others to read. I do know that it's a long journey in which writing and doing what interests me is the only way to ever interest anyone else.

Sometimes it feels pretty pointless. The forces of real power and influence seem distant and unconcerned. It is shown in the simplest of stories.

SAMOA NEWS- People were complaining to the MIBs about the pot-holes on the road again, they were calling the CS, saying, "Please sir, can you do something about the pot-holes on the road, they're ruining our cars." And the MIBs told these people, "Then leave your vehicle home, and go catch buses," and the arrogant people yelled back to the MIBs, "What, do you know that the Department of Commerce just recently raised the bus fares?" (Frustrated MIBs kindly suggested to them, "Then walk to where you want to go, idiot.")

Found on TPR

But the next story is...

- A drunk walked into the Central Station, looked around for a moment and walked back outside. Later, he went back into the office, stood for a moment, looking at the MIBs one at a time without saying a word. He was asked about his business, and he told the Watch Commander, "One of you is having an affair with my wife." The Watch Commander asked him, "What? How come you said that, and how do you know he is a cop?" The drunk husband just reached into his pocket and pulled out a badge and said, "Because I found this badge in my car this morning, and my wife went to the bingo last night by herself, and came back home around two in the morning."

So there's frustration mixed with the laughter. Dark humor is my favorite after all. It beats some of the other things out there. I think that in 50 years Japanese humor will have advanced far beyond human reckoning.

I'm afraid I have no videos myself. Some poetry will have to suffice. Sorry.

Maybe I should try again

The poet takes a drink and nods in one fluid motion

I can't force myself

I can't squeeze the words out like a grape in my fingers

Too messy

And I want it to be right, but I can't squeeze that same grape

Too slowly

The juice runs down hand my arm, but I forget

Then not a grape, an apple. Certainly not a cherry!

Or tomato

I could squeeze an analogy out of a potato.

It would be so good for you too

That is my beer you're drinking

Was, I need another

Maybe I should try again?


She was more real with each breath
I was suffocating

I counted each of them
Days grew shorter

Chapped lips licking old wounds
Days fell colder

Had I known how warm, how long
Nights were slower

Days spent between the flesh of her fingers
Hours were blurring

All the time waiting for the constant now
Found the moment

In you


Passing

I could try writing safely
I could try writing well
I could try writing about
Things to keep me from seeing hell

But I just love the corner of your eyes
But I just love the air you breathe
But I just love what you talk about
When you are anxious and want to leave

There is something in the moment
There is something more than real
There is something less than rigid
And I fear it's how you feel

It is slipping off the balcony
It is slipping soundlessly in sleep
It is slipping past the doorway
So I'll close and lock the keep

There's no use scrying for the answer
There's no use trying to reason why
There's no use denying any longer
For everything that comes to be will die

Gone before we'd tell
What you bereave
To what I steal
Their cost too steep
To live and lie


Saint Love

He's obsessed with the notion
Of making love to the Saints
But he's being held in check
By existential constraints.

For Forty two days and nights
Praying for a miracle
Some sympathetic spirit
Might send him a vehicle.

So he could drive drive drive drive
To that city in the sky
To sneak a peek at Venus
Stare Jupiter in the eye

He seeks a sacred union
Something more than earthly lust
Sanctuary of saint's lairs
He declares, "Heaven or bust!"

Dawn comes on day forty-three
Front door flung for him to see
No ride but a furry hide
Sat there staring in his yard
His moxie got a proxy
In one big ole Saint Bernard

11.15.2002

I'm sure that these are someone's genuine opinions, but opinion is surely a devalued currency at this juncture of the twentieth century, simply by virtue of the vast amount of it there is flooding the market.

-Alan Moore

While the awakening has been rather rude for some, the Great Online Conversation is starting to become something tangible to mass media. What was predicted years ago by the Cluetrain writers is becoming all too clear.

Recent attempts at Manifesto making have ignored the conversational aspects and have proved to be only effective in solidifying the converted toward the cause. Its preachy prose and uncompromising character are easy to criticize. So there's a desperate search to identify Anti-Idiotarian supporters, even if taken posthumously. It doesn't matter if the uncompromisingly pro-war message of the manifesto plainly stands at odds with Bill.

See, everyone got boners over the technology, and it was pretty incredible. Watching missiles fly down air vents, pretty unbelievable. But couldn't we feasibly use that same technology to shoot food at hungry people? Know what I mean? Fly over Ethiopia, "There's a guy that needs a banana!" SHOOP. The Stealth Banana. Smart fruit! I don't know. Once again, I was watching the fucking news, and it really threw me off. It depressed everyone, it's so scary watching the news, how they built it all out of proportion, like Iraq was ever, or could ever possibly, under any stretch of the imagination be a threat to us-wwwwhatsoever. But-watching the news, you never would have got that idea. Remember how it started, they kept talking about 'the Elite Republican Guard' in these hushed tones like these guys were the bogeymen or something. Yeah, we're doing well now, but we have yet to face-THE ELITE REPUBLICAN GUARD. Like these guys were twelve feet tall, desert warriors. KRRASH. NEVER LOST A BATTLE! KRRASH. WE SHIT BULLETS! Yeah, well, after two months of continuous carpet bombings and not one reaction at all from them, they became simply, 'the Republican Guard.' Not nearly as elite as we may have led you to believe. And after another month of bombing, they went from 'the Elite Republican Guard' to 'the Republican Guard' to 'the Republicans made this shit up about there being guards out there'. We hope you enjoyed your fireworks show. It was so pretty, and it took our mind off of domestic issues! The Persian Gulf Distraction.

-Bill Hicks

When they define their term, idiotarism, as, "the species of delusion within the moral community of mankind that gives aid and comfort to terrorists and tyrants operating outside it." and couple it with war dogma that insists conquest and occupation are the only way to defeat terrorism, they seal themselves into believing that disagreements on tactics are equal to supporting terrorists. It creates a false dichotomy based on half truths. It's not conversation, it's advertising a message.

One problem: there is no demand for messages. The customer doesn't want to hear from business, thank you very much. The message that gets broadcast to you, me, and the rest of the earth's population has nothing to do with me in particular. It's worse than noise. It's an interruption. It's the Anti-Conversation.

- Cluetrain

I define Anti-Idiotarism as Anti-Conversationalism.

The problem is that Anti-Conversationalism is not necessarily practiced by Anti-Idiotarians. When one weblogger decided to change her mind about things she received almost as much flack as another did for expressing concern over another site's rabid following.

It's hard enough to sympathize with the pro-war pundits without them engaging in strange, sick contests to purposely prod the watchers into writing rants. Just as it is hard for many to swallow even a small portion of Chomsky, since after a few hours you are inclined to feel dirty just for being born American.

The moderate course is set upon with steep angles to either side by the corruption that favors no party over the other. The best plan is to Follow the Money. To say it's for oil or drugs is not Anti-Americanism. It's about responsibility and reform. In the feverish call for war has a single pro-war person acknowledged that it might not be a good idea to be pumping money into governments and military organizations that turn on us eventually? In the same way, doesn't it seem insane to spend 4,494 million on treatment & education out of the 19,179 million budgeted for drugs?

Without addressing the non-ideological causes for terrorism no war will end it. Just as not properly addressing the demand for drugs will not prevent their import. Attacking state-sponsors of terrorism does not stop terrorism. Not that Iraq is one. No matter how many times Bush & Co. say it, it does not make it true. Terrorism is a tactic of the few and can only be met at such a scale.

The ultimate in giving form to the military is to
arrive at formlessness.
When one is formless, deep spies cannot catch a
glimpse and the wise cannot strategize.

Sun Tzu

If our enemy is without form, we cannot fight him. It leads us to seek the mastery that Sun Tzu spoke of.

One hundred victories in one hundred battles is not
the most skillful.
Subduing the other's military without battle is the
most skillful.

If we are not to fight with bombs, missiles, and bullets, we will with the overwhelmingly seductive qualities of success without oppression and freedom without corruption. Our own house is a mess and many are hypnotized by the media messages bombarding them daily. Instead of identifying with the more moderate when we think of the political left or right, we see the manic Michael Moore's and rancid O'Reilly's. Instead of hardening our positions when attacked, we should adapt and flow with the times. Microsoft's "embrace and extrend" philosophy has proven quite successful, but I rather point out Bruce's view.

Empty your mind. Be like water. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, it can creep, drip or crash! Be water, my friend.

10.30.2002

Okay? People value self-expression. Is 'story' going to go away? No. Is careful crafting going to go away? No. Are the professionals engaged in that going to go away? No. Well, except that IP – the concept of intellectual property – may, but that's a whole other side discussion. The thing is that people want to express themselves and they don't really care that 99% of everything is crap, because they are positive that the 1% they made isn't. Okay? And fundamentally, they get ecstatic as soon as five people see it, right?

Raph Koster, speaking at the March 2002 Game Designer's Conference.

I approach the almost guaranteed success of GTA: Vice City with mixed feelings. After all, it's bound to be chock full of prurient and violent content to satisfy the desires of its fans and rekindle the ire of certain morality monitors. The latter half will only suggest that the ESRB may not be enough to protect our precious teens from being seduced into a life of crime. Having Ray Liotta supply the voice for their onscreen avatar will only add to the hoard of teens converted to convicts since his performance in Good Fellas!

So it's time for another Violence in Video Games Rant. This time I've got the facts! It seems that one factor that may have saved my 29-year-old gamer ass from becoming a victim of these monstrous murder simulators is that, "Since the early 1980s, a body of research has been accumulating on the effects of playing violent electronic games. Early research findings on the first generation video games may have little relevance to understanding the effects of the newer, more realistic and graphic games." Kids growing up with Little Green Army Men must have been more peaceful than those with the more realistic GI Joe dolls. What if the Kung-Fu grip actually worked?

It's not just the realism of our playthings. According to Lt. Col. David Grossman "All you've got to do is study what kids are being rewarded for." Simple! Hmmmm, Pac-Man awarded players that were able to eat up all the dots on the screen, awarding gluttony. Power Pills would allow them to devour the very ghosts that chased them. Surely, this game is a drug user simulator! Wasn't Super Mario Brothers all about eating Magic Mushrooms while abusing turtles and using pipes to advance to new and secret worlds! Nintendo turned a whole generation of kids to drugs while Acclaim introduced the concept of not only defeating your opponent, but awarding gore fans with fatalities!

I can't say I'm a fan of the man. I'm sure Grossman thinks he's doing a great service with violent video and computer game swaps. Never mind that the board games swapped came from Milton Bradley, a division of Hasbro, that likely makes every game on either side of the exchange. I'm really quite amazed by the disingenuous aspects of his statements to the NYS legislature. They are in line with statements made by Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D. which contains 'facts' like:

Fact 2. Young people who play lots of violent video games behave more violently than those who do not. For example, in the most recent study of this type exposure to video game violence during late adolescence accounted for 13-22% of the variance in violent behaviors committed by this sample of people. By way of comparison, smoking accounts for about 14% of lung cancer variance.

That first sentence needs to start with "some." A 13-22% increase from the sample group does not indicate the length, nature, or degree of their violent behaviors. When a possitive sign for violence is guessing "murder" for Mu_ _ _r rather than "mutter,"we distort what violence is.

National Crime Victimization Survey

While it's obvious from the chart that the younger you are the more likely you are to be victimized, it shows a steady decline since 1994. I guess this is why Grossman went to different data from different countries when he said, "The impact of visual, violent imagery on children has been identified as the key variable responsible for an explosion of violent crime around the world. The per capita aggravated assault rate in the U.S. increased almost sevenfold between the mid-1950s and the middle of this decade. In Canada per capita assaults increased almost fivefold between 1964 and 1993." The overall assault rate could have been pretty low back in the 50's even adjusting for population. Wouldn't his sevenfold overall increase show a positive impact of video games by the otherwise decreasing violence in the age group using the games?

When cornered to link to actual evidence he makes poor analogies like, "The question is like asking what hard evidence do we have linking guns to murder?" Right! Before guns, people only died by accidents, disease, or old age. Before guns, wars were where large groups of men danced around each other until enough of one faction fell on the many swords they brought.

Beyond politicians posturing or people trying to gain publicity for their books, the question of the parent's role eventually comes up. At some point we have to decide how much of the planet is going to be sterilized of anything deemed possibly harmful to the most stupid and socially inept of our children lacking a 24-hour parental monitor to keep them from playing Counterstrike for 86 hours or from forgetting what's real and unreal and forcing another lame TV movie on the rest of us. Where should the responsibility lay? Should it be shared? Have voluntary rating systems protected kids from harmful influences or protected the parents from taking a greater interest in their children's activities or saved them from the difficulties of trying to explain why people are the way they are?

Lots of games are as stupid as the players and their critics. The Video Game Industry may be going the way of Hollywood by catering to the worst cravings of the mass market. After crap sells, the idea that something more feces-laced will naturally sell more is born. It's not that the movies and games are teaching us to have sex, be violent, or combinations of the two. It's that they are getting so dumb as to separate all meaning from the violence and sex so that it all becomes mere market-tested, prepackaged stimuli ready for consumption, but never completely satisfying-in a word, addicting.

While the majority is granted a greater sense of taste simply by passing into puberty or, for the slow blossoming set, adulthood, we are still compelled at times to sneak a peek at the puerile. Perhaps that temptation is enough to scare the more puritanical people. If they have such impure desires, yours must be of a whole horrible degree more unwholesome.

Even the saintly set seems smitten with the idea of being bad, if only for a while. As this episode of This American Life…I mean this episode of This American Life deals with. Confronting children with the realities of the world has a longer history than hiding them from it. Fairy Tales weren't quite so clean. The worried ones scraped out all that had real meaning.

In child or adult, the unconscious is a powerful determinant of behavior. When the unconscious is repressed and its content denied entrance into awareness, then eventually the person's conscious mind will be partially overwhelmed by derivatives of these unconscious elements, or else he is forced to keep such rigid, compulsive control over them that his personality may become severely crippled. But when unconscious material is to some degree permitted to come to awareness and worked through in imagination, its potential for causing harm-to ourselves or others-is much reduced; some of its forces can then be made to serve positive purposes. However, the prevalent parental belief is that a child must be diverted from what troubles him most: his formless, nameless anxieties, and his chaotic, angry, and even violent fantasies. Many parents believe that only conscious reality or pleasant and wish-fulfilling images should be presented to the child-that he should be exposed only to the sunny side of things. But such one-sided fare nourishes the mind only in a one-sided way, and real life is not all sunny.

- Bruno Bettelheim, from the introduction of The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Freud's credibility may have slipped for some, but he can still fill the gaps of why those chemical imbalances happen in the first place. When it comes to setting the sizes of the slices of the great pie chart of human influences towards personality and behavior, there's more fighting. Pinker has the edge when it comes to being more reasonable. His ideas also have some parallels with Spinoza and the concept of enlightened self-interest.

Even if there are parts of the brain that compel people to do things for various reasons, there are other parts of the brain that respond to the legal and social contingencies that we call "holding someone responsible for their behavior." For example, if I rob a liquor store, I'll get thrown in jail, or if I cheat on my spouse my friends and relatives and neighbors will think that I'm a boorish cad and will refuse to have anything to do with me. By holding people responsible for their actions we are implementing contingencies that can affect parts of the brain and can lead people to inhibit what they would otherwise do. There's no reason that we should give up that lever on people's behavior—namely, the inhibition systems of the brain—just because we're coming to understand more about the temptation systems.

-Steven Pinker

It sure takes the steam out of the newest excuse to be loose.

10.18.2002

Weigh not so much what men assert, as what they prove.-Truth is simple and naked, and needs not invention to apparel her comeliness.

- Sir P. Sidney

Instead of spending time creating his own Libertarian airline that, in the case of an emergency, drops oxygen masks and pistols to thwart would-be hijackers, Eric Raymond writes an Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto. It's given almost as much a smack down in comments as praise and gets a thumb up from saber rattling central.

Putting out the argument in clear and concise terms is exactly what we need, but this piece is chock-full of axe-grinding statements that hardly differentiate it from anything anyone has been doing sans the "whereas" laced manifesto decor. Eric's higher profile position will likely give it some exposure short of Woody's worldviews.

…He asks me what I'd do in Bush's shoes. Easy: I'd honour Kyoto. Join the world court. I'd stop subsidising earth rapers like Monsanto, Dupont and Exxon. I'd shut down the nuclear power plants. So I already have $200bn saved from corporate welfare. I'd save another $100bn by stopping the war on non-corporate drugs. And I'd cut the defence budget in half so they'd have to get by on a measly $200bn a year. I've already saved half a trillion bucks by saying no to polluters and warmongers.

Then I'd give $300bn back to the taxpayers. I'd take the rest and pay the people teaching our children what they deserve. I'd put $100bn into alternative fuels and renewable energy. I'd revive the Chemurgy movement, which made the farmer the root of the economy, and make paper and fuel from wheat straw, rice straw and hemp. Not only would I attend, I'd sponsor the next Earth Summit. And, of course, I'd give myself a fat raise.

I'm sure that when sitting in a haze of bong smoke one's response would be "Hell yeah Dude!" However, the gap between "would" and "could" is insurmountable. While I admit the baiting irony of the alliterative allegation about Pentagon spending in this post I don't see how totally defanging our defense will lessen our enemies. Some defense will have to exist to deter while positive actions lessen enemies.

Corporate greed is a symptom of the cultural greed we exhibit. Dismantling nuclear plants without alternative energies already in place would put a cramp in our electrically inclined lifestyle. Ack, it's inane, so I'll get back to Eric.

Let's examine the Manifesto!

WHEREAS, the Left has failed us by succumbing to reflexive anti-Americanism; by apologizing for terrorist acts; by propounding squalid theories of moral equivalence; and by blaming the victims of evil for the act of evil;

Oh, just spit it out and say Chomsky and his supporters (like Woody!) It remains true that "two wrongs don't make it right." To pretend the actions of our nation have never strayed from the purely righteous and that those actions have not shone or directly taught others to perpetuate and improve on those 'evil' acts is the most dangerous form of hypocrisy. It deliberately ignores the crux of the left's argument because of either overwhelming shame or blatant bigotry.

His next couple of "Whereas" concern poking the eyes of conservatives and libertarians for the foibles of some of their members. This leads to a number of assertions loosely translated thusly:

Having said that he affirms:

WE THEREFORE AFFIRM that both the terrorists and their state sponsors have made themselves outlaws from the moral community of man, to be dealt with as feral beasts are.

Eric's suggestion to rename it Guantanamo Zoo has been noted.

WE FURTHER AFFIRM that the `root cause' of Islamo-fascist terrorism lies in the animating politico-religious ideas of fundamentalist Islam and not in any signicant respect elsewhere, and that a central aim of the war against terror must be to displace, discredit, and destroy those animating ideas.

Pure wishful thinking that it is only about religion and that war (since this is what he's calling for as the solution) is the way to convince people that certain extreme views are bad.

He does rightly object to the overreaction of politicians to pass such things as the Patriot Act, the call for national Ids, and increased video surveillance of public lands. He also proposes that maybe we should be careful about suspicious characters that fit the terrorist profile. It's an unfortunate reality that transcends race at this time. He also proposes the use of force and I agree that terrorists are not likely to turn themselves in after hearing Bush speak, but not all forms of force are required.

He squeezes in some citizen gun-toting rhetoric that's sure to please lynch-minded morons intent on murdering Muslims. Then follows up with a statement positive of the pre-emptive position on Iraq.

WE DEFINE IDIOTARIANISM as the species of delusion within the moral community of mankind that gives aid and comfort to terrorists and dictators operating outside it.

I would have to assume that anything critical of attacking Iraq, Iran, etc. qualifies. Unless he's talking about how buying pot helps terrorists. Maybe there's some adopt-a-terrorist/dictator program I'm not aware of.

WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Left -- the moral blindness that refuses to recognize that free markets, individual liberty, and experimental science have made the West a fundamentally better place than any culture in which jihad, 'honor killings', and female genital mutilation are daily practices approved by a stultifying religion.

I guess Eric never met a free market he didn't like. This black/white form of argument is straight out of Bush's "you're with us or against us" party line. Confronting the cold grays of reality grimes the gears of the war wagons. Eric also makes sure by mentioning practices that occur throughout the Muslim world that he means to bomb all of Islam.

WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Right -- whether it manifests as head-in-the-sand isolationism or as a Christian-identity chauvinism that all but mirrors the Islamo-fascist fanaticism of our enemies.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Roberston and their supporters are bigots. While they are annoying assholes, they don't make a good comparison with murderous terrorists. They don't support murdering the many people they are prejudiced against. They just don't want them to have equal rights, primetime sit-coms, or interior decorating shows allegedly disguised as recruitment tools to the homosexual army (rumored experts at flanking maneuvers.)

WE ARE MEMBERS OF A CIVILIZATION, and we hold that civilization to be worth defending. We have not sought war, but we will fight it to the end. We will fight for our civilization in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds.

Invoking Sid Mier only scores points with the gaming community. War with Iraq will surely have its anachronistic moments. It still would be cheaper to have Saddam and George try out the upcoming multiplayer features of Civ3.

WE HAVE AWAKENED. We have seen the face of evil in the acts of the Bin Ladens and Husseins and Arafats of the world; we have seen through the lies and self-delusions of the idiotarians who did so much both to make their evil possible before the fact and to deny and excuse it afterwards. We shall not flinch from our duty to confront that evil.

Invoking part Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's "I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve"
and part Stephen King's "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker."
and then perhaps a duel parallel to Churchhill's "And if, driven to desperate hazards, he attempts invasion of the British Isles, as well he may, we shall not flinch from the supreme trial."
and Bram Stoker's "We, however, are not selfish, and we believe that God is with us through all this blackness, and these many dark hours. We shall follow him, and we shall not flinch. Even if we peril ourselves that we become like him."

But wait! We get another pompous paragraph!

WE SHALL SHED the moral cowards and the appeasers and the apologists; and we shall fight the barbarians and fanatics, and we shall defeat them. We shall defeat them in war, crushing their dream of dominion; and we shall defeat them in peace, using our wealth and freedoms to seduce their women and children to civilized ways, and ultimately wiping their diseased and virulent ideologies from the face of the Earth.

He's channeling Churchhill again, but fading into Coulter's final solution, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

In the interests of fair play, I wrote a manifesto too. Apples and Oranges?

I can't help but be amused by the backsliding Den Beste has been doing about his lack of backing up his views with research. Surely it's a mistake to consider any weblog akin to a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal. I'd think that the weight of his relative popularity would put pressure on him be more correct in his writing. He buries his points in his overtly verbose style. I find it harder to maintain any interest in reading every word. I did catch this:

As this blog has continued, I have changed my opinions on certain subjects. For instance, early entries here concerning the struggle between the Israelis and Palestinians tend to be sympathetic to the Palestinians. When I wrote those, I did not know about the Barak proposal or the later attempts to modify and sweeten it, which Arafat ultimately rejected. Some think those proposals were still unfair, but I do not, and once I learned about them I ceased to be very sympathetic to Arafat or the people who let him represent them.

I could chalk this up to either a difference of opinion or his stubborn refusal to address the flaws of Barak's proposal. After reading Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's answer and Chomsky's take "If you looked at the maps, you immediately saw that you can't possibly be praising this as a magnanimous and forthcoming offer." I am leaning toward the latter on my views of Steven. Any movement by Steven has been slight and has never deviated from the uncompromisingly hawkish (with all apologies to Woody's sympathy towards said bird.)

If we look at the rejected plan from the Palestinian side of "learning to use and improve on the actions of others" then consider this:

To recall to you, those who may not know or have forgotten, in February, 1971, Egypt offered a full peace treaty to Israel, exactly in terms of official U.S. policy. It didn't even mention the Palestinians, wasn't an issue at the time, didn't mention the West Bank. It just mentioned Egyptian territory. Israel recognized it as a genuine peace offer, considered accepting it, decided not to--remember, this is the dovish labor party, this is Golda Meir's government, not Ariel Sharon, although Sharon in fact was, under their orders, implementing some of his worst atrocities at that time. These were bipartisan programs.

So, no mention of the Palestinians, full peace treaty. Israel decided not to accept the full peace treaty that was offered by its major adversary, Egypt, on the assumption, openly discussed internally, in Hebrew, that they thought if they held out they could do better in gaining more territory. The United States had to make a decision. Should it continue to support the official policy, the one Bush reiterated at the U.N. a couple of months later, and go along with Egypt, call for a full peace treaty? Or should it follow Henry Kissinger's preference of what he called "stalemate," meaning no negotiations, just delaying tactics, slow integration of the territories within under Israeli control, of course funded and backed and supported by the United States, while the U.S. continued to block diplomatic settlement.

Fast forward to the more recent Saudi Arabia plan introduced by Thomas Friedman that put the prospect for peace back in Israel's court.

Again, more serious journals, like the Wall Street Journal, recalled, I'm quoting, that the idea of the Saudi Arabian resolution proposal is not new. Saudi Arabia first presented it in 1981, but the "hard line Arab states" shot the plan down. But now, two decades later, they seemed to have softened. The plan at that time was blocked by Syria, Iraq, and Arafat's PLO. Although, possibly, Israel wouldn't have accepted it anyway. We can't be sure. That's quoting the Boston Globe.

Well, let's return to the real world. The PLO approved the resolution, didn't shoot it down. It did officially approve it, with qualifications however. The qualification was that the 1981 Saudi plan did not mention the PLO. As for Syria, it objected to one thing, namely, the fact that the Saudi Arabian proposal did not refer to the conquered Syrian Golan Heights.

The other Arab states, their reaction was ambivalent. They didn't reject it, but they awaited some sign that the United States and Israel would show some interest.

What about Israel's reaction? It's not mentioned in the reporting but it was there. Shimon Peres condemned the Saudi proposal, this is '81, because it threatened Israel's very existence. The official Labor Party newspaper, Davar, reported that the Israeli air force had carried out military flights, with U.S. planes, over the Saudi Arabian oil fields. This was, they interpreted, as a warning to the United States not to take the proposal seriously, or else. If it did, Israel would use its U.S. supplied military capacity to blow up the oil fields. The Labor Party newspaper described this as so irrational as to cause foreign intelligence services to be concerned over Israeli bombing of the Saudi oil fields.

One of the leading Israeli intellectuals, well-known in the United States, Amos Elon, described the Israeli reaction as shocking, frightening, if not downright despair producing. Over toward the center right, correspondent Yoel Marcus condemned what he called the frightened, almost hysterical response to the Saudi plan, which he regarded as a grave mistake.

It all comes back to the I/P conflict. It's a major part in fueling terrorist hatred and it's a calculated risk by both parties vying for their homeland. Saddam can be contained. It is not as imminent as Bush would like us to believe. It is the best way to distract us from his lack of balls to use our ample influence with Israel to end this once and for all.

Speaking of balls. I have a creative way to deal with Saddam. Much talk has been made about the difficulty in killing him, so why not let him live? What better way to rob his of his power than by robbing him of his masculinity in his male-dominated world? All we need to do is have someone slip him a Lupron Fyxx and wait.

10.11.2002

The measure of our intellectual capacity is the capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems.

- C. W. Churchman

Long time no rant.

Trying to find a good job in this economy is about as hard as trying to figure out why Iraq would ever attack us. Republican rhetoric, a.k.a. weapons of mass distraction from domestic difficulties (WMDDD) has succeeded in defeating congressional confusion on how evil Saddam really is. Iraq now takes the high chair in the axis of evil hierarchy.

Less Claypool once said the funny thing about weekends when you're unemployed is that they don't mean quite so much, except that you get to hang out with your working friends. I'll add that during the week you can watch hours and hours of C-Span. Some Mefi folks talk up the words of Byrd. I've been thinking of the much harder to find words of Biden. I listened with great interest his speech about "following the ball" concerning the White House's ever changing positions on our security priorities. I will endeavor to find the speech rather than quote from memory. It put things in focus for me.

Getting beyond calling those in favor of war "bloodthirsty oil profiteers" or those in favor of peace "limp-wristed liberal appeasers," I simply wonder "why now?"

Den Beste has typed more words in favor of fighting Iraq than anyone I've seen online. His arguments are well thought, if not a bit too verbose. But he doesn't convince me at all that Iraq is a threat. Just as most of the debate in Congress for attacking Iraq was fear-based hyperbolic speculation. Nothing like a harangue harnessing a nuclear herring to hurry the House and Senate to hitch a ride on the war train.

The first thing established was that Saddam is the most evil of all evil people and that if he had any WMD he would use them faster than you could say "Shiite!" After all, the US's War on Drugs has done little to keep drugs from pouring into the country. So how could our trade sanctions prevent terrorists from hiding fissile material in their rectums to pass to Saddam? I was left to wonder why they stopped short of showing the damning proof of Saddam's evil eclipsing Satan's in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Osama has Bin Lost his importance. The variably spelled Al Kinda(evil) can relax and spin off another interpretation of Islam like the Wahbi Dabi Do.

Ethel could be the best counter to USS Clueless. Who else would not only bring up the oil tangent, but also put it in the proper light?

The feather in the cap of the "Attack Iraq" position resides in how no one wants to seem to argue against removing Saddam from power. Even if you only believe he is half as evil as is claimed, doesn't the idea of a democratic Iraq for family vacations sound appealing? An Iraqi vacation will be a cheap alternative in this post-dot/Enron economy. You remember the economy right?

09.12.2002

A wise man reflects before he speaks.--A fool speaks, and then reflects on what was uttered.

- Abbé De Lille (1738-1813)

 It doesn't matter how much you hate war when you have enough of the right people fighting against you. Call it the Axis of Evil or the international network of terrorism, it's fighting us the only way it can. It doesn't even matter if you're a Muslim, unless you're the right kind of Muhammed bin Abd al-Wahhab instructed Muslim you are an enemy.

US foreign policy is a mess. We need to be more consistent. Simply put, we should not support any dictatorships, ever. But as screwed up as our policy is and as bad as our actions have been in the past we are undeniably in a position to do something about terrorism. We've turned a blind eye to Saudi Sheiks, who in the process of milking the wealth of their own country to feed their hedonistic whims, have sold out their own countrymen while turning a blind eye to the indoctrination of a form of Islam dedicated to murdering everyone else.

I have changed my position on things. I thought long and hard yesterday. We can't wait for the next attack. Iraq is as good as any a place to start. Iraq is not a cuddly kitten and even though it is not a military threat, (so I swallow my sarcasm) it is a terrorist threat. The destabilization I feared in the Middle East has come to mean the undermining of current regime's authority in the region. This will make it more clear who our enemies are. If the Saudi royal family falls then there will be no more need to pretend we are friends.

We can't have everything. UN approval would be nice. If they don't give it, they only undermine their own authority to make UNSC resolutions. Bush's speech put them in that position. He finally made a decent speech.

"When you are powerful like you are, you guys, this is the time to be nice,"

Jean Chretien, The Canadian Prime Minister

Be nice to Saddam? Canada has officially entered irrelevancy in regards to US policy. Jealousy and greed are both to be avoided. Greed is certainly ugly and everywhere.

"Their urine has got as much tar as the equivalent of a person who smokes about 80 cigarettes a day...and that's even among people who don't smoke."

The details can muddy the waters of our resolve. The conflicts of interest and greedy land grabs can sap our idealism. I don't go easily into accepting the war with Iraq and the implications of the future conflicts it will inspire. However, we can not afford to not take action. Dialogue and diplomacy only work with those interested in peace.

The real challenge for America is not merely to defeat the network of terrorism, but to maintain a free society while doing so. Corporate America's role will be to serve the people over profit and to restore confidence and goodwill.

New York represents of the diversity of America and why the attack there more than anywhere else so deeply resonates with the rest of the country. Not only do we owe those that died that day to act against terrorism, we owe it to them to clean up our act.
Note: This is as close as I ever got to becoming a pro-war peon. Whew. I claim temporary insanity.

09.05.2002

It is better either to be silent, or to say things of more value than silence. Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.

- Pythagoras (582-500 B.C.)

 The August silence was a nice break to catch up on other things and an attempt to curb rabid commentary on my part. I find it all too easy to fall into the troubling topics that warblogging types constantly turn over. It's also easy to want to wax vitriolic on various insidious incidents and atrocious actions happening somewhere in the world every day. On the internet you're always only a click away. Click wisely!

September is back and the talk of war is in the air. This time it is Iraq and it is not because they are hiding Al Qaeda or Bin Laden. It's because... No, wait. It'll come to me in a second. Oh yeah, they are making weapons of mass destruction and hiding it from those myopic UN inspectors. Bad Saddam! BAAAD!

Russia's fissile flea market may have created the ultimate in carry-on luggage for an errant Iraqi to make a pre-emptive strike against the US and help even up the 270 million people to 20 million odds. Maybe they'll send their chemical weapons via UPS packages set to explode when the scent of a Starbucks crappicino is detected. They are sneaky that way. Sure, we've been flying hundreds of thousands of missions over Iraqi airspace to enforce no-fly zones and drop the occasional bomb or two, but we can't find evidence of facilities for making Mass destruction type-deals. (If you actually read the Asia times article, then you may be amused by all the operational names like Provide Comfort and Infinite Moonlight. This thorough article by Lieutenant Colonel Gregory C. Sieminski explains a lot.)

One might come to the conclusion that Iraq is broke, beaten, and barely able to function. The view that having oil means having a good economy is being eroded by news of Nigeria defaulting on $33 billion. Is Iraq a paper tiger of terror used to keep the war wagons rolling down the list of America's least favored nations? Will going at Iraq without the UN's seal of approval dilute the goodwill of our allies and only strengthen Al Qaeda again?

13. By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy's must be divided.

14. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few.

15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.

16. The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few.

- Sun Tzu's Art of War

I certainly have no love for Saddam, Bin Laden, and the rest, but our government hasn't shown itself entirely competent or benevolent in the past. The custom of double standards when dealing with terrorism is making enemies. We don't need more enemies. Ones like Jose Padilla are homegrown poster thugs for the Dept. Homeland Security. Then there's our nutty "friends" like Robert Goldstein with plans for DIY crusades. Steven might certainly hope a war with Iraq destabilizes the Middle-East, but I think that the result will be another booster shot for Al Qaeda as we prop up another fractured country.


It's essential to insure our democracy that we have true information to work with. We depend on the Media for this. They are supposed to be the vocal arm of the people curtailing the government from doing what it pleases. So when there are big stories under-reported by the major outlets of news, it undermines our democracy. At least for the folks that have access to the internet, we can hear about these things and start a debate.

The numerous forums and weblogs are the front lines of online debate. It's hard to determine the future of weblogging given certain governments' handling of access. Weblogs can be anything you want to them be and that scares people. Welcome to the Wild, Wild Web.

07.31.2002

Thanks. I needed a nudge in the right direction.

Boot Camp

I was hanging on by a dream I couldn't even remember. I had to in this classroom. According to Jason the ten of us were the scum of the scum. We were the excrement that rose to the top of the great sewer of humanity. All plucked from the brink of our respective states that have deemed us fit to be hung, poisoned (why use two words when one does just fine?), beheaded, or electrofried. Jason sought to succor our souls with a step up on the other side. It was boot camp for Baal. Our chance to get a head start in Hell's hierarchy.

As I gazed about the room I wasn't impressed. Though I guess the most evil among us ain't adorned with horns, hoofs, and beady little eyes. I even recognized a few. There was Marilyn Swanson of Kansas who drowned her daughter for giving her that c-section scar that made her that less profitable a porn star. Harold Clifford loomed near the back of the class like a psychotic shadow. A tall, gaunt man that liked to burn retirees in their Florida estates as he fed their pets to the gators that lived by his shack in the swamps. I even recognized Saleh something-or-other, a Saudi, that finally killed enough women for what he perceived to holy infractions that they decided to put him down. It was a pretty international group and showed America's hold being the psycho killer capital of the world to be slipping away. I didn't even see any Brits and didn't they start it all? And myself? Well, I knew I had done something, but it was like trying to remember the word for "trying to remember what's on the tip of your tongue."

"Kyle, you are not paying attention." Jason lashed out and I could feel a sting for every syllable of "attention."

Jason was soul sucking darkness that oozed a first class kind of evil. He had on the finest suit I've ever seen and handsome features that perfectly set those damn eyes. Eyes that sank your heart into a pit while they promised to pull you out. His voice was smooth and slithered its way into your head till you could taste it.

"I'm going to show you how to do things in minutes what it takes monks in the mountains all their lives to learn. It's all quite simple, but they spoon feed you like babies. There's no point in patience. They just want power over you instead of power in you. So don't worry about meditating, taking a deep breath, or tweaking your chakras. Just look into my eyes."

And so we did. Wouldn't you?

I suppose some time passed, but I know a lot of stuff passed into us as we dipped our souls into his eye-sockets. I can't explain it in any way that would make sense. Afterwards it was like we had new limbs that we could flex that resided in newly lit corners of our minds. Half the class starting floating while the rest pushed their desks around without ever touching them. A chaotic display of killers carrying on. One word from Jason had us all back in our seats at attention.

He congratulated us. A door in the back of the classroom opened up to nothing. I couldn't stand to stare into that and tried to look out a window. It was just mushy gray outside. I found my eyes fall and fixate on the windowsill. White paint was peeling off in thick layers. It was as if someone had just kept piling it on, coat after coat. Never caring about what lay beneath or how bad it looked. It blended into the soupy gray mess of the outside. I could hear Jason call out names and hear them shuffle their way to the door one by one. Marilyn grabbed my armed and pulled me with her. As I stepped over the threshold I held my hand out to grab the inside wall.

There was nothing except the side of the building and a concrete ledge where the class had lined up like suicidal jumpers. It wasn't just darkness. It didn't give anything back, not even an answer to my nervous cry. It ate my scream and wanted more. I looked back inside and saw Jack walking out of the classroom through a door opposite this infernal portal. Then they started jumping. That bitch was still tugging at my arm. My right foot slipped and I started careening. I swung my right arm with Marilyn over the edge and fell on my back. I somehow managed to keep a grip to the inside wall with my left hand. Marilyn somehow managed to hang on while her nails invaded the flesh of my arm. My shoulder was making sickening sounds at it swayed with her over the edge. Eventually she fell and left a trench down my arm that quickly flowed red.

I ran after Jason in hallways that looked like a hospital. Sure enough, as I came to entranceway a nurse with an elderly women on a stretcher crossed my path and stopped, blocking me from passing. It hit me like a wall of red rage. I was going to ram past them.

"Get the Hell-", I caught myself and flexed that new mental muscle and sailed over them like a cross between an OJ rental car commercial and Peter Pan.

The halls were now filled with nurses and doctors going every which way, but not a trace of Jason. I called out his name. They all echoed my words without looking at me. They didn't even slow their pace. I screamed his name and they screamed in a mocking chorus. I ran and finally found stairs down. I practically fell down them I was going so fast. Then I saw the exit and it wasn't a sick soupy gray. It was clear, bright, and beautiful. I was outside in no time and started out to the street.

A man stepped in front of me. He was this fat Asian man wearing black jogging pants without any shirt. He was barefoot and sported a big red tattoo on his belly. His bald head shone in the sunlight. The Tattoo was a letter "D" with a curly tail sticking out of the bottom of it. The tail ended in the shape of a spade. He starred at me and then laughed. That's when I remembered that I wasn't some monster. I was Kyle Dermont, substitute teacher. The only thing I've ever killed were bugs and the occasional fish when I went out with my friends to the lake. Then the fat man spoke.

"Come back anytime. We're always looking for a few good men!"

07.30.2002

I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgement of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons.

- Buddha

It's getting harder to ignore the increasing coverage concerning blogging. They're even tracking down the entomology of the term. The article guesses Jorn, but I think it was Peter.

I know I've been a little snarky about the blogging books coming out, but I wasn't entirely serious. I only point that out because there seems to be a rash of misunderstandings coupled with thin nerves in our wee weblogging world. Most of the time folks can ruffle each other's feathers, but long held hostility becomes like water to a duck's back. While some people seem to get into conflicts for the fun of it, some can't seem to help it.

The very latest debate centers on the Best British Blog contest by the Guardian. Some of Tom's points seem valid, but I think he overestimates the effect of contests. It's not going to do squat to such an amorphous thing as blogging. The majority will either ignore them or leave them to the peripheral of their attention. Should we really worry about those that change their output to please the judges? Bloggers are already getting judged in real-time. Is the fear that they might slide into a kind of camwhores.com content for cash? I agree the concept of a contest is stupid, but I don't see the point in some high and mighty boycott other than to get attention. If the Guardian wants to give away some money to some bloke or [whatever the equivalent female British term is], then good for the lucky person.

It's one thing to be nitpicky and another to hold some seriously flawed opinions. I used to read Jorn's page regularly, but his stance on the Israel / Palestinian (I/P) thing at a point seemed too one-sided. This is significant because his was the first weblog I found during a search for information about A.I. Now that I know a lot more about I/P, I am even more conflicted. I can only imagine that people leaning toward one side or another must think certain articles that clearly indicate each side's willingness to continue this are false. Why else would one side keep building settlements and the other keep sacrificing their most gullible citizens. I can't claim I've ever read much of either of these books. I can't say that I have not done my share of armchair philosophy and political pseudo-punditry, but Eric's series of posts on the issue seem to sell Islam a little short. After all, I'm sure you are as likely to find something about X number of virgins in the Koran as you are about not having female priests in the Bible. Should we be surprised that there are Arab Jim Jones'es and a large supply of folks to follow them?

I think I'm just a little taken aback by the bloodthirsty views being put forth by so many lately. Is this fallout from the frustration of seeing so many things collapse?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

- Gandhi

For diplomacy we must have rational parties that are ready to make concessions. We suspect that is not the case with the likes of Arafat and Saddam, but can we expect the next guy to be better?

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will...The pledge of nonviolence does not require us to cooperate in our humiliation. It, therefore, does not require us to crawl on our bellies or to draw lines with our noses or to walk to salute the Union Jack or to do anything degrading at the dictation of officials. On the contrary our creed requires us to refuse to do any of these things even though we should be shot.

- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

It is not enough to want peace. One must call out those that actively work against it. Whether they are your company or your state representative. Your silence to their actions is acceptance. The more foolish among us would prefer not to understand them and just hate them all. How can you subvert what you don't even try to understand?

[60.8] Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.
[60.9] Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.

- The Examined One, Koran

I may not be the biggest fan of religion, but Voltaire once said that when it came to money, everyone is the same religion. As more corporations show their patriotism by going bankrupt and having their CEO's take residence in the Cayman Islands, can we afford a war at this point? I suppose we'll just charge it.

Alliteration Watch

As has been noted here, part of the trouble in which America finds itself has come from the transformation of language by the country's elite into a miasma of marketing mush of merely momentary meaning.

- Sam Smith of The Progressive Review

Since this entry is almost saturated in quotes, I figured I'd snatch Sam's Google grab to clinch it.

  [This was found in the Google archives, although the original site, posted by a Harvard law student - Publius - in 1999, is gone. The quotes are allegedly from one Harvard law professor]

"If there's anything some ninny on the Supreme Court wearing Gilbert & Sullivan opera outfits has said that's useful in the last hundred years, I haven't heard of it."

"All that stuff about public-interest is a load of crap."

"Land is different from a kid. Land has immediate value."

"What's that Commie organization in D.C. called? The EPA or something."

"You're never on the wrong side of a case."

"Somebody's gotta make money, and it's me."

"There nothing stupider [than] the Miranda Rule. Argh! The poor should get away with murder, just like the rich?"

"Your training has to be in running the world. It can't just be in crunching words."

"I can tell you how to beat the test [to get into Legal Aid Bureau]. Just write down 'tax and spend.' And to think, some of these people [in Legal Aid] were in my class. Just goes to show you, it all wears off. No permanent damage."

"I'm wearing this tie to cheer you up. It is a functional tie."

"This is my opinion, but the more money you have, the happier you are. I haven't reached the point where diminishing marginal utility is setting in. I don't even envision it happening."

"All we want in this world are police and insurance. And the smart."

"Hate is very important...you must want to kick [liberal judges] in the knees...you must want to tear off their robes..."

"That's the worst thing for a lawyer, to actually believe your argument."

"Altruism is bad. If you're not for yourself, who will be?"

"You will be the ones who will pull the society levers to make sure that the proper number of people die. Remember: we have to kill people."

"I didn't LOSE those cases. [My clients] are in jail, but it's good for society."

"You will graduate from HLS, and you will be highly paid for the damage that you do to society, and you will give something back to this place, and I will benefit financially, and I will bless you."

"Numbers are fantastic! You can do anything with them, even find reasons to allow family farms."

07.26.2002

Slower Traffic Keep Left

Stimulants to get you up
Depressants to get you down
Spun round to pound
Out your allotment
To furnish your apartment
To pine away for some future spouse
Who won't commit without a house

All the while for future fretting
All the time engaged in getting
Only stopping for sleep
Only recoiling to leap
Attack! Attack! Attack!
There's some fool
Thing we still lack
Till they finally
Tally up the hours
To calculate your
Allotted graveyard flowers

Oh hurry, at a faster pace
Reserve a shady resting place
To watch the grass come up
To hear the rain pour down
The feel the world spin round
To taste your sacred ground
You finally made it

07.17.2002

An artist need not know the wavelength of a color to use that color in a composition.

- - Jack Dollhausen,Supa-Genius

Few measure up to this man that could make any Mensa member modest in mere moments. Even the great Sathington Willoby, who penned the bill that banned the use of certain things like this and that could not conceive the invention of so many this's and that's that have moved us all towards the notion of Jack's Supa-Genius. So it's with a heart laden heavy as if by lead or even perhaps something further down the chart just short of einsteinium, that I approach a certain measure of doubt to the events one night in Champaign-Urbana, Il, in the year 1978.

Let me make it clear that I do not doubt the accuracy or even the possible existence of the Aesthetron. Nor should you reject my suspicions as something spun out from the copyright conflict of my Cognitive Cap and his Cerebro-Copulator. No, this is quite beyond specious speculations, but concern a separate, sinister act of stealing!

Donning the noble guise of science Jack performed a switcheroo portrayed in such pictures as The Red Violin and The Freshman. It is no secret Jack has a touch for art. The thought that his talent could tackle the task of turning out copies of those ancient ceramics is a near certain one. Proof? Well, Jack would not be as careless to leave it lying around, but a strict testing of the tested ceramics could ascertain whether they are the correct fragments. This is all I ask.


Attractive things work better.

-Norman, D. A. Emotion and design: Atrractive things work better.

The theory may still let webpages escape the consideration of Aesthetron testing, but it's nice to know that good looks are not entirely useless. I may be a candidate for this place merely because I eschew graphic wing-dings and icons. CSS positioning may be the next big change for this place. Rather than give a detailed run down of the tweaks I've been toying with, I'll just say I've only messed with the CSS setting a bit and decided to not specify a font anywhere. If you followed that link and saw the quoted claim that Arial is easy to read, then without getting into a rant about Arial I will simply make an appeal to authority.

The concept that "the simpler the form of a letter the simpler its reading" was an obsession of beginning constructivism. It became something like a dogma, and is still followed by "modernistic" typographers...Ophthalmology has disclosed that the more the letters are differentiated from each other, the easier is the reading. Without going into comparisons and details, it should be realized that words consisting of only capital letters present the most difficult reading-because of the equal height, volume, and, with most, their equal width. When comparing serif letters with sans-serif, the latter provide and uneasy reading. The fashionable preference for sans-serif in text shows neither historical nor practical competence.

- Josef Albers, Interaction of Color

It is one thing to care about the quality of the typeface and the position of text and quite another to comment about content or the motivation for the entire enterprise. As someone unfortunate enough to care about online writing, I can only shake my mouse in dismay over the coming deluge of weblogging books. I can only imagine this as a form of vanity publishing where those talked about in the books are the only potential buyers. Anyone else can only be described as a fool. Why? The first rule of "blogging" (what a horrible term for those too lazy to pronounce an additional syllable- Thanks Peter!) is to talk about blogging. The biggest source of information about the topic is online. Could there be some hidden philosophical revelation in any the 6 or so books coming out. Not a chance. More likely these guides to free online publishing are invoking Samuel Johnson's cry that "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." They mock the form they write about!

If there ever was a more verbose rallying cry for those folks freely writing on the online frontier, then I have not seen it.

Thanks to e-lit, our own universe-upending revolution, the center of literary power has shifted, suddenly, and for only the second time in history. To the extent that it's humanly possible, moneyed types have become irrelevant. As Barney Rosset, editor of the aforementioned Evergreen Review, has said, "For once the technology is in the hands of the relatively impoverished." The web has made it possible for a writer to develop a more or less gigantic international following without the patriarchal blessing of rich bastards. With our submissions pasted into the bodies of email messages and our virtual galley proofs, we are not forced to make the Manichean compromise of getting into bed with manipulators of matter and movers of merchandise.

Hence the existence, no doubt eventually fatal, of a powerful cadre of internet haters. To play Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, to hold the keys to the only form of immortality available in a godless age: is there any prouder accomplishment for an untalented person of the merchant caste? And do you think they are going to sit back and let those keys be wrested from their pinching little claws by a bunch of literary lumpen-proles like us, who don't even use paper when we move our mental bowels? They're closing ranks now. Have you noticed how many books coming out of New York these days are dedicated not to the long-suffering spouses and children of the authors, but to their agents and editors? These dedications tend to be more succinct but no less nauseating than Colley Cibber's 600-word grovel to the inbred aristocrat who urged him to do Shakespeare a big posthumous favor and rewrite Richard III.

-Tom Bradley

The would-be usurpers of the status quo of publishing have to fight the same waves of indifference and straddle the moral line that troubles today's poets. That's if they actually care to get paid. Most don't seem to any more than your average Jerry Springer guest expects to receive more fortune than ridicule. What better way than writing to both fondle and flay your ego while wrapped up with a tidy disclaimer?

If I promised to never mention blogging, would you buy my book? I don't even have to ask you to buy my second one. As any librarian will tell you, the publishers have perfected the fetishization of bound books. It has them stealing books and claiming only they could take care of some sacred tome. Then there is Mel's need for the proximity of Catcher in the Rye in that Conspirasy Theory movie. I had to bookend a bit of silliness to this thing.

Note: I'm more convinced that Saudi Arabia is the true root of terrorism than of Iraq's threat level. I attempted to write up a convincing argument for war and even went for the cheap emotional plea at the end. I failed to really convince myself that military action against Iraq would do anything to lessen terrorism. I have no idea how to address how we would be able to pay for rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq into friendly democracies. The strong feeling for definite action is held in check by the realization that such actions will most likely increase our problems. The strong desire for peace is being held hostage by the constant threat of more attacks. Bush's speech may have been his most effective, but it highlights his self-righteous, brash tone that can't bear honest doubt and reflection about the proper course. He demands the impossible in order to appear justified when those demands are not met. I don't expect Bush to be "nice" in dealing with Saddam, but it can't hurt to lay off the Texas style bravado.


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