Saturday, December 17, 2005


Magical Blend Articles "Enlightenment Awards" Richard Bach:
"Ritual has never appealed to me. It does not to this day. For me, not for anyone else, but for me, I feel strongly that ritual is not the way to go. There is a sense of oneness that from time to time I'm aware of in my life. Certainly not all the time, and there are times when I get frightened and when I get upset. But at the best of times, it's a personal oneness with that beautiful It, that divinely indifferent Is that really doesn't care if you'd chosen to be an upright biped on the surface of a small planet of a minor sun on the edge of a minor galaxy of one of the multiple trillions of universes. That's OK. It doesn't matter what form you take. The Is knows us only as a perfect reflection of Itself, period. And we are free to have our fears and beliefs of separation from it, but the Is doesn't care any more than a parent cares when their child goes out and plays and one day is the bad guy at cops and robbers and the next day is the good guy. The parent says, 'Those are games. I know who you are, and I love you for who you are. And that's all that matters.' That's a very rough analogy.

...I think the source of our sorrow and the source of our joy are intimately entwined. Our sorrow is that we have forgotten who we are, we have forgotten we are one with that source of all life--absolutely indestructible, perfect, joyful. The source of our joy is when we remember that. So if I could say one word, in the deepest sense, without any explanation, to myself, I would say "remember.""

Richard Bach

Magical Blend Articles "Enlightenment Awards" Richard Bach:
"I think all the major events of our lives are events that we call to ourselves. We forget. There's this wonderful and very important event when we're born, and we forget everything that's gone before, or else we'd be such a mass of rememberings that we couldn't operate successfully on this planet. One thing I really want to do this time-and I have an indefinite number of choices and lifetimes that don't have to be in sequence at all, because they're all going on simultaneously, I believe-is I want to experience this kind of relationship. I want a chance to attack this kind of challenge. I do that not knowing if I'm going to do it right or if I'm going to screw it up. And sometimes when you screw it up, you do it right. Sometimes when you say goodbye, that's the right thing to do in a relationship.

Other times they're very puzzling: How can you have something where you learn so much from each other-and marriage partners, of course, are the first, best teachers of each other-but you reach a point where there's no learning going on? I was startled to reach a point with Leslie where we had nothing to teach each other. The very best each of us had to give was not what the other wanted or needed at that time. And so I realized, it's like when you're in the fifth grade or the eighth grade and you have a teacher that you really love, the time nevertheless comes to move on. You'll never stop holding that person in great regard. And you'll always look back fondly on that. But you've learned what she had to teach you, and now there are other things. To cling to staying in the fifth grade or the eighth grade year after year when there's no learning going on is, to me, not the highest choice."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Magical Blend Interviews "An Interview Robert Anton Wilson"

Magical Blend Interviews "An Interview Robert Anton Wilson":
"I've always had a strong intuition that all of this that's been going on, from the first unicellular organisms up to the present, is not all a bad joke intended to end up in catastrophe. It's going to higher and higher levels.

...What I try to get at in all of my books, and especially in this one, is the notion that we cannot solve our problems by looking around to find out who's to blame for them and punishing them. This has been tried throughout history, and it's never produced any worthwhile results. It's led to a lot of what subsequent generations regarded as senseless persecutions. A little while ago, before the tape started, you were wondering whether it was warm milk or cold milk that increases your tryptophan. This is the first generation in human history where a large percentage of the population have talked about how to change their brain chemistry to function better. It's no accident that we've got this incredibly brutal and stupid war on drugs, because obviously a lot of people are going to be experimenting with things the government doesn't think it's safe to let us experiment with. I'm sixty-two, and I keep waiting for the day when the government thinks I'm old enough to make up my own mind about issues like this. But I guess I'll have to keep waiting. They've already taken my tryptophan. Now they're trying to take away my vitamin C."

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Dan Millman"

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Dan Millman":
"The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth

1. Discover Your Worth
It is a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. -W. Somerset Maugham

2. Reclaim Your Will
When running up a hill, it is all right to give up as many times as you wish-as long as your feet keep moving. -Shoma Morita, M.D.

3. Energize Your Body
Your body is the ground and metaphor of your life, the expression of your existence. It is your Bible, your encyclopedia, your life story. Everything that happens to you is stored and reflected in your body. In the marriage of flesh and spirit divorce is impossible. -Gabrielle Roth

4. Manage Your Money
There's a certain Buddhistic calm that comes from in the bank. -Tom Robbins

5. Tame Your Mind
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. -Buddha

6. Trust Your Intuition
The great decisions of human life usually have far less to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness. The shoes that fits one person pinches another; there is no universal recipe for living. Each of us carries his own life-form within him-an irrational form which no other can outbid. -Carl Jung

7. Accept Your Emotions
The key is not to resist or rebel against emotions or to try to get around them by devising all sorts of tricks; but to accept them directly, as they are. -Takahisa Kora, M.D.

8. Face Your Fears
Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. -Brendan Francis

9. Illuminate Your Shadow
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. -Henr"

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Dan Millman"

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Dan Millman":
"Emotions are neither friends nor adversaries, except as we make them so. They are as natural as the weather that passes overhead. Sometimes we like the weather, and sometimes not. Feelings, like the weather, change throughout our day, moment to moment It seems important to notice the difference between what we're thinking and feeling, and how that doesn't have to drive our behavior or determine what we actually do.

...One essential step in spiritual life is to recognize the reality of our true natures. Someone who's brought up in a Quaker or a pacifist household may deny that part of themselves that is assertive, even aggressive or violent at times. They may think, "I'm only peaceful. I'm only good." But this is not realistic. No one is only one thing. Jung said, "In each of us lives a little of all of us."

One of the reason babies are so charming is because they're real. We see their light and their darkness. If you don't think babies have any bad sides, ask the kitty cat who wanders too near. So "Illuminating Your Shadow" is about seeing and acknowledging the different facets and qualities we have.

I went to a Jungian psychologist some years ago, because as a teacher I felt I needed to know my own shadow better. Any teacher needs to be humbled by seeing the sides of ourselves we would prefer not to see-like how I've taken more than I've given, how I've stolen people's time and attention, how I've lied to myself and to others.

Once we begin to see and accept ourselves as we really are, we have more control over those "other sides of ourselves" that can otherwise reveal themselves in destructive ways. We free up immense energy, and we develop compassion and humility in the process. We've all experienced this, for example when we've had a relationship difficulty and seen aspects of ourselves that aren't so angelic. Not a pleasant experience, but an illuminating one."

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Marlo Morgan"

Magical Blend Interviews "An interview with Marlo Morgan":
"...reality is already a web of fictions, and many a nonfiction book speaks the truth. Consensual reality is categorization, so trying to hang a label on any work whose aim is to bust open the seams of consensual reality is doomed to failure. In the final analysis, Marlo Morgan's guided tour into dreamtime has to be judged on the affect it has on the reader, for if the reader experiences, in some small way, an opening to the inner world, labels such as fiction and nonfiction begin to stop making sense. The truth may be experiential rather than factual. It is not the controversy here that's important; it's the story. As Shakespeare said, 'The play is the thing.'"

Soul Flight: An Interview with Richard Bach : Soul Flight: An Interview with Richard Bach:
"I think it's not because I'm unusual but because I'm so much like everybody else. Turns of life that fascinate me fascinate a lot of people. There is a family of us who have this yearning for a kind of excellence that we can manifest every day of our lives, a family who wants to believe we're not pawns, we're not victims on this planet, that knows we have the power within us here and now to change the world we see around us! One of the great cosmic laws, I think, is that whatever we hold in our thought will come true in our experience. When we hold something, anything, in our thought, then somehow coincidence leads us in the direction that we've been wishing to lead ourselves. A little voice says, 'Why don't you turn right, here at this street corner up here where you always turn left?' And, listening, wondering, and maybe with a little smile, we turn right. And we turn right down the channel through which runs the river of coincidence, which then picks us up and takes us where it will, drops us off at the place that we've been holding in our thought.

...I could write my perceptions but not hers. I believe that Leslie and I were led to find each other, led through the years we lived together, and led to part. There's so much to learn! When a marriage comes to an end, we're free to call it a failure. We're also free to call it a graduation. We didn't say, "I guess we weren't led to each other, I guess we're not soul mates after all." Our graduation was part of the experience we chose before we were born, to learn how to let each other go. We're two expressions of life, which decided to share the experience of 21 years in space time. Good times and terrible ones, everything in the books and more, they're still true. We're apart because we decided to have different futures. I've remarried now, beginning a new adventure as Leslie begins hers, but I'll never forget that she's always been as much a soul mate to me as I've been to her--we've lived some powerful lessons together."

The Peaceful Warrior's Way: Frequently Asked Questions

The Peaceful Warrior's Way: Frequently Asked Questions:
"One of the most common beliefs about 'spiritual life' is that it requires fixing one's insides -- only having positive thoughts and good feelings. In contrast, my books focus on behavior -- on kind and courageous action.

If I returned from the East, wore a robe, and sprouted a white beard -- or if I did a Western pilgrimage and returned with a Ph.D., turned serious, kept my distance, stayed private and aloof, or gathered a community of followers, I might attract a number of seekers who need a parent. But I believe it is my simple, ordinary humanity that helps me to build bridges.

I'm here to teach, to share, to remind people of that they already know but might have forgotten -- not to impress the impressionable. It is not my purpose to convince others of my views -- only to express them with clarity. As a former athlete and coach, I prefer practical outcomes to abstract philosophy. Albert Einstein advised, 'Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.' Simplicity isn't easy; it's quite a challenge to bring metaphysical abstractions down to earth. Those who prefer intellectual models can find them elsewhere."

Steve Guttenberg is my new hero.

Zap2it - TV news - Finding Wisdom in Steve Guttenberg's Bible:
"'Rob Thomas called me and he said, 'I read that you don't want to do television.' I said, 'Oh, that's not true. 'Veronica Mars,' that's a great show,'' he says. 'He said how about coming on and doing a season with us?' I said, 'Do I get M&Ms in my trailer?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Ice cold Evian?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'A smoothie at 4 p.m.?' He said, 'Yes.' 'And Starbucks at 5:30 p.m.?' 'Yes.' And the most important question, 'Can the journalists that I'm speaking to now have a date with Kristen Bell?' and the answer's 'Yes.

# Guttenberg on the amount of "Poseidon" green screen work:
I actually filmed it here [at the bar]. We're actually filming a crowd scene now. [He starts waving his arms and bellowing.] Hold on! Don't let go of me! You can make it! Cut.

# Guttenberg on rumors that his "Veronica Mars" character is based on billionaire Mark Cuban:
I do know Mark Cuban. I love his cigars. I know they're illegal in the United States, but I love them. I always walk into a cigar place and say, 'Do you have some Cubans?' And they never do, that's illegal, but you go to the back and you get a Cuban. And I put a little mark on mine. So I know it's Cuban.

# Guttenberg on a much-desired "Three Men and a Little Lady" sequel:
It's actually called 'Steve and a 16-year-old' and it'll only work in Kentucky.

# Guttenberg on keeping the common touch:
I think about the little people. Not often. I spend most of my time with the people who work with me -- the woman who brushes my teeth, the man who puts on my shoes, my bedwarmers -- I have four or five women who sleep in my bed from 7 until 9 and then at 9:05 I ask them to leave and I go right in bed and it's snuggly.

# Guttenberg on his relationship with the little people:
My belief is this: There are the poor, there are the very poor and there are the rich movie stars. I like being the rich movie star.

# Guttenberg on the reasons we haven't seen much of him lately:
I'm not a worker, really. I'm more of a playboy. Here's the deal: You make a lot of money so you don't have to work. You don't make a lot of money so you can work.

# Guttenberg on other reasons he may be been hidden from the public eye:
I don't not work because I'm rich. I don't work because I live In Czechoslovakia. It's just such a tough commute. It's the commute that kills you. To get here for a 6 a.m. call from Czechoslovakia, I have get up at around 3. I have to go to sleep at around 6. It's the traffic over the Bermuda Triangle that's really bad. Other than that it's pretty smooth. I take side streets. ''"

Continued Steve Guttenberg Hero Worship

"You had a string of hits in the 1980s. What have you been up to lately?
There are 100,000 actors in the Screen Actors Guild. Only 2,000 of them make more than $75,000 (£42,000) a year. That means 98,000 actors make less than $75,000 a year. From 1980 to 1990, I shot more films than any other actor in the Screen Actors Guild apart from Gene Hackman. Everyone keeps asking me that stupid question: 'What are you doing?' I say: 'Why do I need to do anything? I'm rich.' Do you want me to be poor again? Do you want me to go back to making tomato soup out of ketchup and water? Or would you like me to be a multimillionaire and be rewarded for all the entertainment I gave you for all those years? I'm enjoying life now. If I was a plumber and I'd done the most plumbing jobs between 1980 and 1990, everyone would be saying: 'What a great plumber' - he says 'f**k you to the world and he's enjoying himself.' But for some reason, as an actor, you're not allowed to say: 'I'm f**king rich, bro.'

If you're so rich, why do you work at all any more?
I love the fame and the money and the power. You have to keep working to have that. Listen to Hugh Grant. He freaking hates acting but he still works to have the money, fame and power. If he didn't work, they'd forget about him - and when he arrived at a restaurant, a new Hugh Grant would have the best table. Fame, money and power: that's why people become actors, directors or producers. They love the juice. I don't care who you are. I'm sure if you dig deep, Joe and Ralph Fiennes do it because they want to be noticed. It's great to see people liking my work but [sigh] I'm just saying what the truth is¿"

Shark-Shaped Submarine Is Latest Cousteau Star Vehicle

I too want a shark submarine.

Make it so.

Shark-Shaped Submarine Is Latest Cousteau Star Vehicle:
"Propelled by a wagging tail and covered in a flexible, skinlike material, the sub—created by Cousteau and a team of scientists and engineers—swims silently.

The steel-ribbed, womblike interior is filled with water, requiring Cousteau to wear a wet suit and use scuba gear to breathe"

Future Hi: The Internet is Dead: Long Live the Internet!

Future Hi: The Internet is Dead: Long Live the Internet!:
"...there are many things that will never allow this draconian, dark age future to come to pass. The first is the nature of capital itself which will continue to reward ANYONE who trys to create something better. If the telco's want to lock it down, first hundreds, then thousands of smaller companies will come into play to make a new internet, Google has already bought up thousands of miles of 'dark fiber' for reasons unknown. But if their recent actions are any indication, they could very well be positioning themselves to become the savior of the US internet in the advent of a telco lockdown. They are already offering free Wi-fi in several places. Unfortunately Google has already used their muscle power in equally un-free-market ways. For example, they had the city of Mountain View give them a monopoly on free wi-fi access. Totally bullshit, but that's the story. But alas, that brings us to another more promising possibility:

xMax technology can change everything all over again. It gives the power of the network to everyone. It will allow anyone with $100 to set up their own very long range (up to 20 miles) wireless ISP. And because the power is so low, it falls outside the range of FCC regulation. Of course, they could try to regulate it, but then they open up a pandora's box of major public backlashes, not to mention that to regulate low power wireless like xMax, means that now wireless airplanes, remote controls, and garage doors now fall into this regulatory scheme as well. Not to mention the already pervasive wi-fi that is already out there.

With a technology like xMax saturating the marketplace, you're looking at the ability of every computer becoming a node on the network. This type of network is also know as a mesh-network. With every computer equipped with one of these xMax transcievers, what are the telco's going to do? At this point, it will become completely obvious, even to your average consumer just how unfriendly and downright customer hostile the telco's are. Who needs cell phones, cable TV and commercial Clear Channel radio, when everyone can download, transmit and communicate anyway they want, whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want from small, cheap and out of control, very powerful, long range xMax-like devices?"

Pimp my crib! Bringing theft to Iraq. Along with all that freedom and democracy.

Boing Boing: Army officer charged with using Iraq $$ to pimp out her NJ crib:
"A female Army officer has been charged with using money intended for reconstruction in the holy cities of Iraq to pimp out her New Jersey crib with a bangin' new deck and a hot tub. Oh yeah -- and then there was the ill-gotten Escalade...

Lt. Col. Debra Harrison is the fourth person to be arrested and charged in the scandal, and the second army officer. Snip from a report by James Glanz in Friday's New York Times:"

Witness Muddies 'Fatal Vision' Convictions - Yahoo! News

I still remember watching the mid-80's Fatal Vision movie starring Gary Cole. I think it always stuck with me because it was just over in Fayetteville.

Witness Muddies 'Fatal Vision' Convictions - Yahoo! News:
"Lawyers for a former Green Beret convicted in the 1970 slayings of his wife and daughters, a crime dramatized in the best seller and miniseries 'Fatal Vision,' say a new witness has come forward and the court should throw out his murder convictions."

Tribal life

Culture Change - A return to tribes:
"Shamans and basket-weavers never went away entirely. They will come back strongly as soon as petrochemical medicines and plastic bags, for example, go by the wayside. Because the timetable is really a lot shorter than the typical oblivious modern shopper suspects, a return to tribal organization is indicated and should be strongly encouraged.

The only model of sustainablility the world has is native, traditional cultures. The dominant culture of commercialism calls them “primitive.” Would you rather be part of a tribe that lives for ten thousand years or more, or be part of a technological consumer culture that appears to have a limited span of perhaps 150 years at most? The Oil Age has been going for about a century. No one knowledgeable puts the oil age past the middle of the 21st century. Some of us see it ending much sooner.

Are DVD machines, strip mines, automobiles and other weapons of mass destruction worth the brief gratification brought by reductionist science? People see some convenience, but conveniently ignore that it's mostly to the benefit of greedy corporations. The common assumption of those who do not accept voluntary conservation and who believe in endless economic growth cannot visualize anything but a continued resource-extractive society. The overtly materialistic culture is utterly lacking in respect for our fellow creatures and other peoples’ cultures. Instead, extermination and firepower are revered, especially by the U.S. power structure and many myopic citizens."

Fun Bits About American Torture / In many ways, the U.S. is now just as inhumane and brutal as any Third World regime. Oh well?

Fun Bits About American Torture / In many ways, the U.S. is now just as inhumane and brutal as any Third World regime. Oh well?:
"Oh my God, yes, yes we do torture, America that is, and we do it a lot, and we do it in ways that would make you sick to hear about, and we're doing it right now, all over the world, the CIA and the U.S. military, perhaps more often and more brutally than at any time in recent history and we use the exact same kind of techniques and excuses for it our numb-minded president cited as reasons we should declare war and oust the dictator of a defenseless pip-squeak nation that happened to be sitting on our oil.

This is something we must know, acknowledge, take to heart and not simply file away as some sort of murky, disquieting unknowable that's best left to scummy lords of the government underworld. We must not don the blinders and think America is always, without fail, the land of the perky and the free and the benevolent. Horrific torture is very much a part of who we are, right now. Deny it at your peril. Accept it at your deep discontent."

"To push Godwin’s button, not every Nazi was evil."

fantastic planet » YOU IGNORANT BASTARD:
"The problem I can see, though, is that this self-satisfied, smug approach to conversation can very quickly cause an anti-intellectual backlash. When we don’t acknowledge that other individuals are just as capable of learning as we, our pseudo-superior attitude can really detract from whatever message we’re trying to relate and turn our fellows against us.

This even relates to Gnosticism, which, for thousands of years, has unfairly laboured under the assumption that it is, at its root, an “elitist, intellectual” philosophy. It’s not– not in the least bit, but when we discuss Gnosticism and begin by assuming that all non-Gnostics are dumb hicks, we sure make it seem that way. But, we’ve got to give people the benefit of the doubt! We should *always* give our fellow humans the benefit of the doubt. Who are we to say who is right or wrong? All we can do is share our own experiences and recognize the possible validity of any other individual experiences.

This isn’t to say that it’s wise to assume complete knowledge of this or that thing on part of other people. It’s all about the approach. Instead of speaking to others with a patronizing voice, we might instead begin by asking others to share their knowledge of the subject in question. If they don’t know anything about what we’re talking about, we can’t assume that it’s because they’re unable to do so and therefore we are intellectually superior. In short, it behooves us to stop acting like smart-ass know-it-alls and to start treating those with whom we disagree as just as intelligent as we are, even if they believe in something that we find completely distasteful.

This also isn’t to say that we shouldn’t speak about what we find distateful in other belief systems. The key difference is, to me, to try to differentiate between an off-color belief system and the individuals who perpetrate that system, at least at first. To push Godwin’s button, not every Nazi was evil. "


"This is my boom-stick!"
While others are digging latrines, giving orders or
hiding, you're the one out there giving the
undead a fatal headache. Aggressive and brave
to the point of foolhardiness, you never think
twice about killing because that's what you do
Typical skills: Marksmanship, melee weapons.
In your free time you: Train hard.
Chances of survival: High (though you have a
dangerous job you're a professional zombie
Secondary class: THE PSYCHO

After The Zombie Apocalypse, Which Role Will You Fit Into? (11 possible results!)
brought to you by Quizilla


Star Trek Rumors:
"However, did you know that:

1. Shatner's not the only captain in the flick
2. Patrick Steward would also be in this movie,
3. As would Scott Bakula, because
4. It takes place in an alternative universe where all of that is possible.

I'm not sure what to make of it. It sounds less like a viable film project, and more like a fan fiction writer's wet dream. Hollywood, if the screenwriter pens himself in as an important character, pass on it."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

But who will think of the children?!

"Let's get the bullshit out of the way: Stern isn't going to Sirius to say fuck, but to talk like an adult. One of their channels, Raw Dog Radio, has been playing tributes to Richard Pryor, sans bleeps. What is clear from listening to Sirius is that the lack of fear of the FCC is only one factor. The other is the utter corruption of programming on terrestial radio.

Every few years is another payola scandal, with some artist getting a push from the record company with a little blow attached. FCC rules which block many songs from airtime, uneven rules which punish Stern and not Oprah.

In short, you have a terrestial radio world which has alienated listeners for years, for any number of reasons, starting with increasingly restricted playlists. Wanna know why you have to tolerate Jessica Simpson, that's why. As MTV moved towards reality programming, videos got shunted up to the 100's on digital cable on MTV2, and music was merely the atmosphere behind the shows. "

Laundry Revolution

Sandy would never stand for it.

Organization Strategies: Google vs. Yahoo! :
"I do laundry this way, too. Whatever clothing items wrinkles are of consequence on (shirts and pants) get folded or hung up when I am done with my laundry. Other items (socks, underwear, t-shirts) remain in my clothes hamper, and I take them out as needed. When I need to hamper again to take my dirty clothes to the washer, I just throw the remaining clean clothes on the floor. I dream of a dresser that is just two hampers that you could switch back and forth in this manner. Seriously, do you need to match up and fold your socks, put them in the drawer, take them out of the drawer to wear them, put them in the hamper, put them in the washing machine, put them in the dryer, put them back in the hamper, fold them, and put them back in the dresser? Throw a step or two out of this convoluted process.

Yes, I am single, and live alone, which is conducive to these strange ways of doing things."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lifehack Your Books: Dogear, Writing In Books, and Apologizing to Librarians-- The Glass is Too Big - J Wynia

I always did this. All my books are filled up with dogears and highlights. Never realized I was a heathen.

Shoot, I used to dogear my comic books when I was a kid. Then, of course, I was bit by the insane collector virus most of my high school years... bags and boards and double copies and all that nonsense.

Thank god that didn't last.

Lifehack Your Books: Dogear, Writing In Books, and Apologizing to Librarians-- The Glass is Too Big - J Wynia:
"I personally believe that there is no greater respect that can be shown a book than by using it.

The first taboo I think everyone should just plain get over is the taboo of writing in books. I write in most of my books. Notes about the content, things the content reminds me of, etc. When you just plain write in the margins, inside the cover, etc. there’s no way the notes for that content will get lost. They’ll forever be attached to the text they refer to.

The second is the folded over page corner (dogear). I know some of you just tuned me out as a heretic, but I dogear pages. Worse than that, I dogear for 2 different purposes. I use the top right corner of the right page as my bookmark."

Science catches up with ancient wisdom

BBC NEWS | Health | Brain scans help think away pain:
"It may really be a matter of mind over matter - scientists suggest it is possible to control brain activity to reduce the pain you feel.

Stanford University researchers found seeing brain scans and using mental exercises helped reduce pain.

A UK pain expert said the work backed other studies which suggested changing how people thought about pain could reduce its effects.

The research is in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science."

What the future will think of us.

Kung Fu Monkey: The War on Christmas:
"'Yes, yes. Different theories attribute different factors, young Blorglings. But it is universally agreed that 'The War on Christmas' movement marked the moment that America had become just ... too stupid to survive.'"

A worthy goal.

The Dilbert Blog: Tis the Season to Be Irate:
"All I ask from life is that I be slightly less miserable than the people who hate me. I call that winning."

But the free market is the answer to everything, right?

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things:
"Clay Shirky says:

From today:

'AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. are lobbying Capitol Hill for the right to create a two-tiered Internet, where the telecom carriers' own Internet services would be transmitted faster and more efficiently than those of their competitors.'

Translation: 'We like everything about the internet, except the way it keeps us from locking out the competition, so we want something just like the net, except less useful to the user, but with more pricing power for us.'"

AlterNet: Reality and Spin in the Media

AlterNet: Reality and Spin in the Media:
"Another instance is when the media itself will decide that they want to create a fog-fact -- they don't want something known. The most notorious example of this was the recount that the media itself paid for after the Florida election in 2000. There was enough controversy about it that a consortium of the major players in the media business -- the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Tribune Company -- which is the Chicago Tribune -- the Los Angeles Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the St. Petersburg Times all got together and said we're going to recount these votes and we're going to find out who really won. And they went and they spent a million dollars on it. And who really won, presumably, was news."

"Indolence beats hell out of work... To any sensible being, the very idea of work is repugnant. It wastes time better spent... " Amen, brother.

"We have lost the sense of community. Bladed weapons would restore it."

There's a kernel of a philosophy there.

Untitled Document:
"I am persuaded that the gravest catastrophes to afflict this misguided planet were the inventions of agriculture, clean water, and antibiotics. Without these pernicious conceptions our squalid race might consist of a few millions of savages picking bananas and slaughtering the occasional bison. I do not say this in criticism of savages. Theirs was a reasonable existence. I like bananas, which contain potassium. Bison is succulent. A savage could sleep late.

We should have let well enough alone.

...Savagery is unjustly contemned. It is true that savages plundered, tortured, and made war mindlessly and without cease in a state of profound mental benightedness. So do we. As I write, the American president bombs some country or other, it doesn’t matter which either to him or me. The Secretary of State, Kind Of Leezer Rice, runs about advocating torture. Her performance as First Iroquois puts the United States exactly on the moral level of any other Neanderthals. But then, that is the usual state of man.

The distinction is only that we butcher in volume, wholesale as it were. Ours is a brutishness made impersonal, stripped of the fun and human touch. Misbehavior that savages effortlessly wreaked with materials and implements ready to hand, we achieve with sprawling industries that make unnecessarily complicated means of destruction. Why an elaborate bomber? Why not an obsidian knife?

Don’t misunderstand me, lest I be thought unpatriotic or subject to a balmy idealism. I believe that people should kill each other, in the greatest numbers possible, with abundance and overflow. But I say this as a matter of principle. In practice, as amusement, a bow and arrow allows a more leisurely extinction and lets all participate. It is more democratic. Sometimes it is well to sacrifice efficiency to entertainment.

Further, savages did not build shopping malls. When a primitive came out of his yurt or hogan or beaver lodge, he found nature lying about him as insouciantly appealing as a floozy in her boudoir. He presumably liked such vistas as much as we do. He did not respond to his appreciation by building a subdivision to bury what he appreciated.

Perhaps we are out of touch. Hunter-gatherism constitutes a superior form of being. Indolence beats hell out of work. It is much more pleasant to loll around the tipi, enjoying the breeze soughing over the plains and telling off-color stories than to go to some air-conditioned dismalalium and rot for thirty years as a compelled cubicle wart in an office painted federal-wall green. To any sensible being, the very idea of work is repugnant. It wastes time better spent in lazing, swimming, or the company of girls. Work usually requires effort. Effort is not a good thing. It should be essayed only in times of desperation.

I believe that modernly it was the Protestants who came up with the curious notion of the redemptive value of work. Of course, in the higher social classes the enthusiasm was usually reserved for work done by others. Like self-flagellation, enthusiasm for labor results from a perverse in-turning of the religious impulse. It gave us such horrors as Puritanism, Massachusetts, and sweatshops full of children. I see little good about it.

But it was agriculture that doomed us. Before this irreparable mistake, the females of the species spent an hour or two a day picking things to eat from trees, or finding roots and berries. The men sallied forth from time to time and killed something—food, each other, or the neighbors. It was a relaxed approach to things, and left time for admiring sunsets and raiding other tribes for women. But then….ah, but then.

Then came farming. It required foresight, husbandry, and ploughing. None of these had much to recommend it. The practitioner had to plan, to save seed corn, to remember things; here were the awful seeds of bureaucracy. Soon he was getting up at ungodly hours of the morning to dig holes and carry great lumpish things and remonstrate with mules. By contrast the savage, replete with bananas and bison, enjoyed a gentleman’s leisure.

The worst defect of agriculture was that it allowed the population to grow like over-sexed kudzu. A few people when spread over a large world are picturesque, or at least avoidable. When they can grow food, a profligate fecundity takes over and soon you have roads, malls, stoplights, and disordered people who want to ban drunk driving.

What good has come of it? Some might argue that the Cherokee in his natural habitat could not read and could not manage the rudiments of arithmetic. In this he closely resembled a high-school graduate. It is true that to some extent the gurgling adolescent of today can use a calculator. The Cherokee had nothing to calculate, a far better thing. Instead of spending twelve years unhappily learning nothing in a regimented ignorance factory, he learned nothing while running through the woods and climbing trees. The choice is, as we say, a no-brainer.

The vices of the savage were precisely those of today. His virtue was that he could apply them only locally and spottily. Because he had no refrigeration, he saw no profit in killing more bison than he could immediately eat. Because he did not practice agriculture, he could not reproduce excessively, and so there were always enough bison. Incapacity has always been more a check on mankind than judgement.

The only hope may be avian influenza if the virus would only abandon its shiftless ways and mutate, although an asteroid strike would serve if I knew how to foment one. Perhaps the Black Death might return. I do not put much faith in radiation poisoning. It has not been adequately proven, though it might serve as a backup.

Those few of us remaining could live torpidly on Pacific Islands, eating mangos and crabs and only occasionally dismembering each other, intimately and with machetes. We have lost the sense of community. Bladed weapons would restore it. Between hecatombs they might lounge on white beaches and watch gorgeous red sunsets over a dark and threatening ocean. We are here for but a short time anyway. Better that we eat coconuts and rut than unduly document things."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lateral Thinking

My center is giving way, my right is pushed back. Situation excellent. I am attacking - Ferdinand Foch

"Whose idea of freedom is it then?"

As it should be obvious, I'm diggin' pretty hard on this blog I discovered - You Are A Cog.

Of course, that's "discovered" in the same sense of Columbus discovering America when there were already people living there.

Like that.

Any place who's tagline is "The intermediate stage between socialism and capitalism is alcoholism"... well, you just know that's worth a read, don't you?

Go. Now. I command thee.

You Are A Cog.: War:
"We’re fighting for Liberty? For Freedom? Whose freedom? Mine? I was free before we starting fighting? Wasn't I? Theirs? OK. Theirs. Whose idea of freedom is it then? Define that. I think it’s pretty important that before I say I’m willing to have someone possibly splash my guts onto the wall behind me that we get the definition of freedom clear... So why don't we just figure out exactly what were talking about here. Thats important. Thats very important.

The United States fought for Freedom and Democracy in the 18th Century. Surely we have it. We won it with blood. So did Canada. And Australia. And Norway. Didn’t they? Maybe we have more Democracy than they do.

OK, Freedom, Honor, Belief and Democracy aside, war is about life and death. Thats important too. Thats what you're getting into when you're getting into war so you need to be crystal fucking clear on that. You better believe - more than believe, you better know - that dead means dead. That those boys that are dying are not coming back. Ever. And I've got a hunch that they sure didn’t think of honor and freedom and glory as bits of their skull sliced through their brains, as fire seared their eyes open and scalded their lungs dry. I've got a hunch that they'd be just like you and me. That they thought about Their Girls and Their Family. Their Kids. Their Home. That they thought, please wouldn’t it be great to see them all just one more time. Please."

As lucid an explanation for how capitalism and imperialism mesh as I've ever seen. Certainly the funniest.

You Are A Cog.: Economics, Part Two:
"Tangentially related to Capitalism is Imperialism. They are not the same thing.

Imperialism is sitting on the bar stool right next to Capitalism. Imperialism is the bad-shot-friend. You know, when you're drinking beers and then someone says, 'Let's do shots!' And then the night gets hazy and you have to piece together the full course of events from the fragments of other people's stories, what your clothes smell like and the leftover contents of your pockets. Imperialism has its own ideas on how things should work that make sense to Capitalism - after a few shots. Inebriated by its own success, Capitalism says, 'Yeah man, that's so fucking right. You're so fucking right!' And so it goes."

A religion I can finally get behind.

You Are A Cog.: Reverend Birdy, Part One:
"Blessed Are The Hot Chicks, For They Lighten the Visual Burden."

Work Out Your Own Salvation, Do Not Depend On Others. - Buddha

Take an active role.

You Are A Cog.:
"I still get plenty of news and entertainment. Here’s the difference. I have to take an active role. I have to seek it out. Would you consciously seek out Seinfeld or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air so that you could watch it a second time? Do you care which Apprentice is fired or what Crib MTV wants to show you? Does Katie Couric tell you anything that you need to know to start your day? Does Jay Leno tell you anything you need to end it? There is a Soap Opera channel. An entire channel dedicated to Soap Opera. Or Golf. Or Game Shows.

If the presence of television has become such an integral part of our lifestyle than what do these sorts of viewing habits and this sort of programming say about that lifestyle? Think about that.

Maybe not having a TV isn’t such a strange idea after all."

"Why do we stand for this shit?"

You Are A Cog.:
"This is it.
This is your life.

You wake up, you get ready for work. You go to work and the work things happen. People are upset and people laugh, they tell stories about the non-work things that happened to them and relate to the other work people in this way and that. You drink coffee. They talk about the work things that happened or that need to happen and the day goes on and the day goes on. You drink more coffee.

You go home and the home things happen. People are upset and people laugh. They tell you stories about the work things that happened to them that day or the school things that happened to them that day. Or they don’t. You eat dinner. At some point you decide to go to sleep. Maybe you’re tired, maybe you aren’t.

Tomorrow is another day. And tomorrow after that and then tomorrow after that and then tomorrow after that one too.

This is your life.
This is my life.

Why do we stand for this shit?
What choice to we have."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nature's Money Cycle

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
"So you can't afford to heat your house and somebody went and cut your Medicaid and food stamps. 'Oh no!' you say burnin a spare child for warmth. 'Whatever will I do.' Don't worry poor people! Hope is on the way in the form a multi-billion dollar tax cuts! 'Oh but Fafnir those tax cuts won't help me,' you say, 'the vast majority are going to super-wealthy investors.' Sure they will! When we help out the richest one percent we help out everybody! It's all on accounta the mysterious beauty of Nature's Money Cycle.

Money starts out in Congress where it rains from Senatorial clouds in the form of torrential tax cuts. It collects in rivers and flows downhill into billionaires and large corporations where it is evaporated by lobbyists and rises into the air in the form a campaign contributions which condense in the atmosphere which turn into Congress again, which rain the tax cuts and start it all over again and the wheel of life rolls on. The Money Cycle is all around us every day!"

"we are a generation without secrets"

goddessat3am: from warren ellis' blog:…we are tore up:
"i've tried to explain this to people before but no one seems to understand what i mean when i say we are a generation without secrets. anything anyone could do to us, anything we could do to ourselves has already been splayed out in all its bloody glory on some talk show, or lifetime special, or reality tv. nothing in us is sacred, nothing hides itself away for the sake of staying sacred. we've been horrifically exposed and so we know nothing other than how to expose ourselves in the most painful ways. this isn't vilification, either; i am entirely complicit. i strongly desire to be a nude model, to pose for erotica websites. i have nothing sacred, and therefore desire to open myself up. nothing would make me happier than knowing someone somewhere is coming all over his or her hand thinking about the image of me naked.

this is fucked up but i don't see any way to remedy it."

Death Penalty

Kung Fu Monkey: Corey Maye Death Penalty:
"I am not per se against the death penalty. But I oppose the death penalty in the United States for the same reason that while I am in no way knee-jerk anti-war, I oppose the current Iraq War: it's poorly thought out and poorly executed, leaving the working class to bear the brunt of mistakes made by rich white fat men in suits*. I am a Death-Penalty Pragmatist, as much as I am a War Pragmatist.

A perfect example of why I hold this opinion is the currently blog-swarming case of Corey Maye:

Let's summarize: Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frigthened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.

(More details at BattlePanda.)"

Finding killer puts psychic on TV

Finding killer puts psychic on TV:
"Lebanon County detectives thought they knew who killed Mark Arnold in 1993, but they didn't know where to find the perpetrator.

Jan Helen McGee told them the killer was at a beach, probably Ocean City, Md., or Rehoboth Beach, Del. Detective Paul Zechman called the police departments there and, sure enough, they found suspect Robert Wise living in Mr. Arnold's stolen car at a shopping mall near Rehoboth.

Mr. Wise is serving a life sentence in state prison for the murder.

...District Attorney Deirdre Eshleman said she was not sure she believes in psychics, but that she couldn't dispute the results."

"Fuck this. We’re Americans. Americans don’t torture. Period."

d r i f t g l a s s: Sunday Morning Comin' Down - Part II.:
"The “This Week” round table was also interesting for two reasons.

First was Cool Papa Fareed Z. articulating for the s-l-o-w children in the room why Torture is Bad. Why it endangers us. That the US has always been the gold standard for moral authority, and Bush pisses that away at our collective peril.

And, yes, to anyone who might be reading this twenty years hence, instead of saying “Fuck this. We’re Americans. Americans don’t torture. Period.” we really are having an internationally public hairsplitting Republican Tent Show about torturing people in custody.

...Fareed seems to understand that as we set the moral standard for the world, so shall we be held to that standard by the world. The Party that feverishly impeached one President for blowjobs and yawns as another lies and lies and lies and sends our children to their graves seems to think the rest of the world will sit still for their sickening hypocrisy.

He seems to understand that wars come and go, but what the GOP is throwing away by picking nits over something as primally evil as torture will damage us irreparably and for generations."

"Harm nothing with hatred"

"There is no sin, only "missing the mark", and this consists of hurting others intentionally." - Charlotte Berney, Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism

All The Rage - Rumor Control

All The Rage:
"We’re about 24 hours away from the March DC solicits, which should shed some more light on the “One Year Later” era. In the interim, I’ve heard a few rumors, which may or may not be true. But erring on the side of caution, consider this a

First, I’ve heard that Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow will being the mayor of Star City, when his title picks up OYL. The second rumor had Birds of Prey pegged to disappear OYL, but I now hear that’s not the case at all. And finally, there was a wild rumor about Jason Todd becoming Robin again, while Tim Drake would be the new Nightwing. I don’t really buy that one, as it just doesn’t make any sense. But it’s definitely out there…

Guess we’ll know more tomorrow…

This Has A “Sliding Doors” Factor of Five Out of Ten"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Principles of NLP - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Principles of NLP - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"NLP is sometimes described as an empirical epistemology. That is, it is a way of knowing whose evidence is experiment and observation, rather than results derived from some overall theory. It is eclectic, that is, it draws heavily on results from other fields if felt useful, and acts as a 'toolbox' [REF] in the sense that it is silent as to any pre-specified purpose or application, leaving that ultimately to the end user(s) to decide.

NLP is a divergent subject, and so different individuals will have different formulations for what they consider 'principles of NLP'. However there is common agreement that some principles, which date from very early on and in some cases were borrowed from other fields can be identified as 'principles of NLP' with annotation describing their universality if need be.

The map is not the territory

"NLP epistemology" follows Alfred Korzybski (1933) and Gregory Bateson's (1972, 1979) postulations that there is no such thing as "objective experience." The subjective nature of our experience never fully captures the objective world.

Behind every behavior is a positive intention

There is no failure, only feedback

Choice is better than no choice (and flexibility is the way one gets choice) - The ability to change the process by which we experience reality is more often valuable than changing the content of our experience of reality.

The meaning of your communication is the response you get

Meaning is in the eye of the recipient. This is an "As-if" concept: it may not be true, it may be that the recipient is mistaken, but if you work on the basis that the recipient's understanding of what you say (and not yours) is the important one, it will lead you to communicate in a way that gets the actual message across and heard, even if linguistic gymnastics [ie flexibility] are needed to do so.

Multiple descriptions are better than one

Because of the systemic nature of human's lives, often a person in a situation cannot see answers that a person standing outside can. So by moving between different perceptual positions, it is claimed that one can see a problem in new ways, or with less emotional attachment, and thus gather more information and develop new choices of response.

If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got

Use whatever works

NLP incorporates the body as well as the mind - the body impacts on the mind, as the mind impacts on the body. How one stands, walks, moves, breathes, and holds muscle tensions, will have an impact on a person's emotional state.

Conscious understanding is not always needed - unlike traditional therapies, effective change, and/or learning at an unconscious level, are emphasised over and above conscious understanding. According to NLP, change does not always require interpretation and analysis, it requires development of ones map of beliefs about the world and oneself, so that what was previously inaccessible becomes possible, and this can be effected in very many ways."

NLP - Map/Territory

Free Coaching Resources from NLP Coaching:
"One of the first concepts to be introduced in an NLP practitioner course is the idea that people are like mapmakers. We create internal representations of the world. We absorb information through our senses and code it so that it can be stored as part of our mental map. Then it is available to us when we need to interpret new experiences.

For example, we may need to go to a building we have never been to before. When we get there, we know from our internal map, 'This is a door, it indicates where to enter the building.' We may never have seen that particular door before, but we know from our mental map what the purpose of a door is and how to use it.

Maps are essential. But for maps to be useful, we must distort, delete and generalize. If we did not delete parts of our experience, the mental map would be too cumbersome. Imagine if a map of Alaska were the actual size of Alaska without any distortion, deletion or generalization. It would be too big to be useful. Similarly, we cannot include all the details of our experience in our maps.

NLP is interested in how we distort our experience to make our maps. How we feel, our state of mind, our knowledge and memories are shaped by our habits of distortion, deletion and generalization.

One of the NLP presuppositions is that 'The Map is Not the Territory'. This presupposition reminds us that all of our experience is subjective. Every internal map we have of an event or person or situation is distorted. Our map of the event is not the event. It is not a perfect representation of objective reality.

This seems simple enough to grasp, but it is human to forget and to think that our map is reality. For this reason, we are more often limited by our mental maps than by the constraints of external reality. We don't question the map."

"Learn how to do things because they fulfill us"

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
" my lectures bring me from industry to industry, I find myself amazed by just how little fun most people are having. Whether separated from one another by policy, competition, or cubicle, the last thing that seems to occur to people is to have fun together—when it should be the first priority. Instead, managers feel obligated to reign over employees; executives think they must hoodwink their shareholders; sales believe they must strong-arm their clients; and marketers assume they must manipulate the consumer. All for the life-or-death stakes of the next quarterly report.

Why do we motivate ourselves and everyone else in our lives by acting as if our very survival were in question? The language and logic of business are organized around the survival instinct, even when survival is not in question. This is inefficient, unprofitable, and, perhaps worst of all, depressing.

Instead of relentlessly pursuing survival even after our survival needs are met, we must learn how to do things because they fulfill us— because they are, in a word, fun. Fun is not a distraction from work or a drain on our revenue; it is the very source of both our inspiration and our value. A genuine sense of play ignites our creativity, eases communication, promotes goodwill and engenders loyalty, yet we tend to shun it as detrimental to the seriousness with which we think we need to approach our businesses and careers.

If we can switch our orientation to fun, and see it not as an anarchic threat that needs to be quelled but rather as the core motivator and source of meaning for all human thought and behavior beyond basic survival, we will enable ourselves to reach levels of success that were previously unimaginable."

Don't allow the facts to confuse your faith... God forbid.

Gates of Horn: Christmas...what really happened?:
"The Roman Christians who made their political contract with the Emperor Constantine, whom some of them regarded as the Messiah, made sure to include the rituals of his personal religion when organizing their new and politically correct religion. Constantine worshipped Mithras, the god of the everlasting Sun, as most of the Roman soldiers did.

Among the ancient rites of Mithras were the Eucharist, the concept of sins being washed away by a blood sacrifice taught by a Saviour, the Resurrection, the birthday celebration of Mithras on the 25th of December, and many more.

These popular and ancient rituals became for the first time an essential part of the Roman pattern of Christianity and have been honored by them ever since 325, three centuries after the birth of Jesus. To put it bluntly, Jesus became Saviour, Messiah, and Son of God by winning the election and the majority vote of the Council of Nicaea. These things were not Church dogma or doctrine before that time. The vote was unanimous because those who disagreed were exiled. We are very familiar today with consensus based on intimidation. Politicians don’t change over the centuries and these Christians were playing politics with the Emperor, who was looking for an authoritarian religion he could support."

This Magazine: The Rebel Sell

This Magazine: The Rebel Sell:
"How can we all denounce consumerism, and yet still find ourselves living in a consumer society?

The answer is simple. What we see in films like American Beauty and Fight Club is not actually a critique of consumerism; it’s merely a restatement of the “critique of mass society” that has been around since the 1950s. The two are not the same. In fact, the critique of mass society has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumerism for more than 40 years.

That last sentence is worth reading again.

...What Fight Club and Rabbit, Run present, in a user-friendly fashion, is the critique of mass society... The central idea is quite simple. Capitalism requires conformity to function correctly. As a result, the system is based upon a generalized system of repression. Individuals who resist the pressure to conform therefore subvert the system, and aid in its overthrow.

This theory acquired such a powerful grip on the imagination of the left during the 1960s that many people still have difficulty seeing it for what it is—a theory. Here are a few of its central postulates:

1. Capitalism requires conformity in the workers. Capitalism is one big machine; the workers are just parts. These parts need to be as simple, predictable, and interchangeable as possible...

2. Capitalism requires conformity of education. Training these corporate drones begins in the schools, where their independence and creativity is beaten out of them—literally and figuratively. Call this the Pink Floyd theory of education.

3. Capitalism requires sexual repression. In its drive to stamp out individuality, capitalism denies the full range of human expression, which includes sexual freedom...

4. Capitalism requires conformity of consumption. The overriding goal of capitalism is to achieve ever-increasing profits through economies of scale. These are best achieved by having everyone consume the same limited range of standardized goods. Enter advertising, which tries to inculcate false or inauthentic desires. Consumerism is what emerges when we are duped into having desires that we would not normally have.

...What American Beauty illustrates, with extraordinary clarity, is that rebelling against mass society is not the same thing as rebelling against consumer society. Through his rebellion, Lester goes from being right-angle square to dead cool. This is reflected in his consumption choices. Apart from the new car, he develops a taste for very expensive marijuana—$2,000 an ounce, we are told, and very good. “This is all I ever smoke,” his teenaged dealer assures him. Welcome to the club, where admission is restricted to clients with the most discriminating taste. How is this any different from Frasier and Niles at their wine club?

What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws).

...Once we acknowledge the role that distinction plays in structuring consumption, it’s easy to see why people care about brands so much. Brands don’t bring us together, they set us apart. Of course, most sophisticated people claim that they don’t care about brands—a transparent falsehood. Most people who consider themselves “anti-consumerist” are extremely brand-conscious. They are able to fool themselves into believing that they don’t care because their preferences are primarily negative. They would never be caught dead driving a Chrysler or listening to Celine Dion. It is precisely by not buying these uncool items that they establish their social superiority. (It is also why, when they do consume “mass society” products, they must do so “ironically”—so as to preserve their distinction.)

...We find ourselves in an untenable situation. 0n the one hand, we criticize conformity and encourage individuality and rebellion. On the other hand, we lament the fact that our ever-increasing standard of material consumption is failing to generate any lasting increase in happiness. This is because it is rebellion, not conformity, that generates the competitive structure that drives the wedge between consumption and happiness. As long as we continue to prize individuality, and as long as we express that individuality through what we own and where we live, we can expect to live in a consumerist society.

It is tempting to think that we could just drop out of the race, become what Harvard professor Juliet Schor calls “downshifters.” That way we could avoid competitive consumption entirely. Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking. We can walk away from some competitions, take steps to mitigate the effects of others, but many more simply cannot be avoided."

Kafka has nothing on the U.S. government

The Washington Monthly:
"Seriously, is this true? I'm just gobsmacked. Congress is passing laws that the American public isn't allowed to know about? Any of us might be prosecuted under one of these laws that we don't know exists? Courts are being asked to interpret laws they've never seen?

This gives Kafakesque a very chilling and newly concrete meaning.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seemed skeptical of the Bush administration's defense of secret laws and regulations but stopped short of suggesting that such a rule would be necessarily unconstitutional.

"How do we know there's an order?" Judge Thomas Nelson asked. "Because you said there was?"

Replied Joshua Waldman, a staff attorney for the Department of Justice: "We couldn't confirm or deny the existence of an order." Even though government regulations required his silence, Waldman said, the situation did seem a "bit peculiar."

"This is America," said James Harrison, a lawyer representing Gilmore. "We do not have secret laws. Period." Harrison stressed that Gilmore was happy to go through a metal detector. "

Very Cool [Geek stuff]

KryptonSite: The Teen Titans' Cyborg Heads To Smallville:
"The Teen Titans' Cyborg Heads To Smallville
The fifteenth episode of Smallville's fifth season will feature a guest appearance by a popular member of DC Comics' Teen Titans.

The hero in question this time around is Cyborg, a character who rose to popularity in the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez New Teen Titans comics who also is features on the Cartoon Network's Teen Titans animated series.

The title of the episode is, of course, 'Cyborg.'"

'tis true, 'tis true...

Environmentalism as National Security

Rolling Stone : The Hawk:
"Stern and officious, Jim Woolsey comes across like the hard-core hawk he is -- a former director of the CIA with access to high-level officials in the White House and the Pentagon. But going against the grain of old-school conservatism, he has become the loudest voice in a growing chorus of 'cheap hawks' who want to wage the war on terror with plug-in cars and fuel made from manure. A member of the Defense Policy Board, Woolsey wants to defeat terrorism by freeing America from its dependency on foreign oil, rather than routing the enemy with costly wars. 'America's energy demand is financing terror,' Woolsey says. 'We don't need pie-in-the-sky hydrogen scenarios that are twenty years out. We don't have that kind of time.'

Among the techno-fixes Woolsey promotes: producing ethanol from prairie grass and corncobs, harvesting biodiesel from farm waste and adding a battery to existing hybrid cars. 'Plug-in hybrids could get up to 150 miles per gallon,' he says. 'And since electricity is comparatively cheap, you would get the functional equivalent of fifty-cent-a-gallon gasoline.'

Woolsey's primary goal is to bolster America's national security. But his energy-independence strategy would also curb global warming, create a market for clean-energy providers, strengthen the dollar, cut the deficit and generate international good will. 'It's not just win-win,' he says. 'It's win-win-win-win-win.'"

What Drives All Human Behavior?

Notes for future ref... Anthony Robbins [Yes, infomercial guy... keep an open mind.]


What Drives All Human Behavior?

Avoiding Pain & Gaining Pleasure

The secret is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.

If you and I want to change our behavior, there is only one effective way to do it - we must link unbearable and immediate sensations of pain to our old behavior, and incredible and immediate sensations of pleasure to a new one.

The Six Needs


To Effect Lasting Change

Raise Standards
Change Limiting Beliefs
Change Strategy

For Success

Decide What You Want
Take Action
Notice Results
Change Your Approach as Needed

3 Decisions That Control and Determine Your Destiny

The decision about what to focus on
The decision about what things mean to you
The decision about what to do to create the results you want

The Science of Neuro-Associative Conditioning

Decide what you want
Get leverage
Pattern interrupt
Create Alternatives

Processing Emotion

Learning and Using

Emotional Mastery

Identify what you feel
Acknowledge and appreciate
Get curious about the message
Get confident
Get certain
Get excited
Take action


Love and Warmth
Appreciation and Gratitude
Excitement and Passion

Values Hierarchy

Move towards:

Happiness - be happy, be cheerful and have fun
Love - be loving, compassionate and caring
Growth - grow physically, mentally and spiritually
Enthusiasm - be enthusiastic and passionate about life
Adventure - make life an adventure
Contribution - contribute to the well being of others

Move away from:



Invest 10% of income

Security [Money Market Savings] 50%
Growth [Aggressive Mutual Fund] 50%

Profits from Growth = 50% re-invest, 50% to dream purchases