Saturday, January 07, 2006

Warren Ellis Speaks Clever

Is there room in this world for organized religion of any kind?

I have a soft spot for it. It's the compost bin at the end of my garden. And there's plenty of room in there for it.

T-Shirt Hell has some funny shirts...

"I'm a T-Shirt Hell T-Shirt Wearing Whore"Contest:

I am 26% Gay

According to the Gay-O-Meter here: Channel 4's Gay-O-Meter

TikiBar TV kicks all kinds of ass

Funny video podcast...

...with drink recipes!

TikiBar TV:
"A video podcast made by sophisticated misfits in a bachelor pad. An apartment turned into a bar; no need to ever leave. There is a strange van parked outside that might be the FCC. We're not coming out without a fight."

Go to bed

Why Sleeping In Darkness Can Decrease Your Risk of Developing Cancer:
"...female night shift workers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the rest of the female population.

A fascinating study in the December 1, 2005 issue of Cancer Research provides new information that might partly explain why this is.

Researchers found that sleeping for several hours in nighttime darkness promotes a healthy blood level of a hormone called melatonin, which can significantly suppress the growth and proliferation of breast tumours.

They also found that sleeping while exposed to light at night causes a dramatic drop in blood melatonin levels, setting the stage for growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells.

This study provides evidence that may partly explain why breast cancer is five times more common in industrialized nations compared to less developed countries. It may also explain why visually challenged people have lower rates of cancer than people who have no problems with vision."

Friday, January 06, 2006


Behind The Chuck Norris Mystique - Defamer:
"Chuck Norris is kind of like Jesus, but instead of dying for your sins, he will karate-kick you in the face until you achieve salvation."


Entertainment News Article |
"Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has admitted the United States did not anticipate the insurgency in the country, NBC Television said on Friday."

The Tits, Ass and Cuteness Test - "In your case, your lower than average score suggests you appreciate a sluttier look. Kudos!"

I just couldn't help myself, really.

Except for never feeling any attraction to Kate Moss - though when she was caught doing coke it was kinda hot - it's actually probably kinda accurate.

I feel dirty now.

T and A and C test

Skinny and Sexy
Raw score: 44% Big Breasts, 31% Big Ass, and 44% Cute!

Thanks for taking the T and A and C test! Based on your selections, the results are clear: you show an attraction to smaller breasts, smaller asses, and sexier composure than others who've taken the test.

Note that you scored low on both breast and ass size. This means you appreciate thinner, harder bodies. You are most likely to appreciate a super-model. Relatively, you are less attracted to round, soft, sloppy women.

My third variable, "cuteness" is a mostly objective measure of how innocent a given model looked. It's determined by a combination of a lot of factors: lack of dark eye makeup, facial expression, posture, etc. If you scored high on that variable, you are either really nice OR you're into deflowering teens. If you scored low, you are attracted to raunchier, sexier, women. In your case, your lower than average score suggests you appreciate a sluttier look. Kudos!

Recommended Celebrities: Kate Moss and Kate Moss, but 'em post-coke-binge for a cheaper date.

"What is fate?"

"What is fate?" Nasrudin was asked by a scholar.
"An endless succession of intertwined events, each influencing the other."
"That is hardly a satisfactory answer. I believe in cause and effect."
"Very well," said the Mulla, "look at that." He pointed to a procession passing in the street.
"That man is being taken to be hanged. Is it because someone gave him a silver piece and enabled him to buy a knife with which he committed murder, or because someone saw him do it; or because nobody stopped him?"

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Suburban Guerrilla » Enemy Threat:
"Now why do you suppose James Moore, author of “Bush’s Brain,” is on the no-fly list?"

Derren Brown kicks ass [...hypnosis doesn't exist]

Article - Derren Brown: The Heist:
"Under the guise of a motivational seminar and a follow-up documentary, can Derren Brown persuade any of his group of responsible, middle-management businessmen and women to steal £100,000 in an armed robbery? Such is the premise for the most ambitious and challenging of Derren’s specials to date. It’s a look at what little it takes to cross into deviant behaviour and a masterclass in persuasion.

Derren, how did you come up with the idea for this show?
“As ever, these things come about by thinking what I'd personally like to see on TV. I'm finally having my TV removed and replaced by a tropical fish tank, which I hope will provide more interesting viewing. I've also always had a vague distaste for the cult of selfishness apotheosised through self-help seminars, which form the starting point for the show.”

How would you describe what it’s about?

“For me this is about the fine line that we tread between normal and deviant behaviour; the nature and process of persuasion; what little it takes to push us into behaviour that is designated anti-social; and to quote Banksy - the fact that more crimes are committed in the name of obedience than disobedience. And generally far worse crimes.”

Is it possible to get someone to obey ANY order? Are they hypnotised?

“You have to realise that hypnosis doesn't exist: it just works on people's natural suggestibility, their expectations and capacity to unconsciously role play. You can't make someone do anything they don't want to do. Clearly if a hypnotist could make someone to steal £100k just by telling them to, the world would be a different place, and I suspect that hypnotists wouldn't bother doing shows in pubs or dodgy Spanish holiday resorts. So the challenge of the show is to insiduously massage these people to the point that they will make the decision themselves to hold up an armoured security van and point a gun at the guard, but without ever telling them to do so. Were I to ever suggest the idea, they'd obviously refuse. It has to come from inside them at the right moment. The viewer will follow every aspect of the persuasion process that takes place over 2 weeks: nothing is added or taken away.”


Q: In case Uri Geller's reading this and wants to challenge you to a fight: who'd win?

A: Me. We'd mentally zap each other from opposite corners of the room, but his powers would be inferior due to the age difference. He's 78 and I'm 26. And I'd keep calling him a bender, which he doesn't like. So eventually his head would explode - i'm imagining quite messily - and then McKenna would be forced to take his place. I'd pull his jumper over his head before he had time to ask me to stick my hands together, so he'd run around unable to see while I chased him, flicking his gooch with a wet towel. I'd do the same to Blaine and any of them. Daniel Radcliffe was well. Bring it on."

The culture of fear, cowardice and terrorism

"Islamic terrorists here, as always, are depicted as omnipotent villains with quite attainable dreams of world domination, genocide, and the obliteration of the United States. They are trying to take over the world and murder us all. And this is not merely a threat we face. It is much more than that. It is the predominant issue facing the United States -- more important than all others. Everything pales in comparison to fighting off this danger. We face not merely a danger, but, in Bush’s words, an 'unprecedented danger' -- the worst, scariest, most threatening danger ever.

And literally for four years, this is what Americans have heard over and over and over from their Government – that we face a mortal and incomparably powerful enemy on the precipice of destroying us, and only the most extreme measures taken by our Government can save us. We are a nation engaged in a War of Civilizations whose very existence is in imminent jeopardy. All of those plans for the future, dreams for your children, career aspirations, life goals – it’s all subordinate, it’s all for naught, unless, first and foremost, we stand loyally behind George Bush as he invokes extreme and unprecedented measures necessary to protect us from this extreme and unprecedented threat.

It is that deeply irrational, fear-driven view of the world which has to be undermined in order to make headway in convincing Americans that this Administration is engaged in intolerable excesses and abuses of its power. The argument which needs to be made is the one that we have seen starting to arise in the blogosphere and elsewhere: that living in irrational fear of terrorists and sacrificing our liberties and all of our other national goals in their name is the approach of hysterics and cowards, not of a strong, courageous and resolute nation.

Several weeks ago, Digby wrote a widely-discussed post describing how Bush followers are driven by their all-consuming and pitifully child-like fears of terrorists, leading them to consent to any measures taken by George Bush as long as he promises to save them. And this weekend, Kos wrote a similar post, in which he contrasted the classic and previously defining American bravery of Patrick Henry with the frightened Bush followers who beg the Government to restrict their liberties in exchange for saving them from the terrorists.

If the blogospheric reaction of Bush supporters is any indication, this argument is as politically potent as it is self-evidently true. Kos’s post provoked shrieking seizures among the tough-guy, blindly loyal Bush followers -- the ones who revealingly give themselves play name like Rocket and Captain and who never tire of touting their own toughness. In response to Kos’s post, they squealed and they yelled and they called him all kinds of names – they did everything but refute the argument.

And notably, in their anger, there was none of that smug bravado or all-too-familiar attacks on the courage of Bush opponents, because with this plainly accurate depiction, they stand revealed as being driven by nothing other than limitless, irrational fear. They are scared and they want to continue to implant their extreme fear into our national policies and onto our national character."

“...but of course there are obvious exceptions”

The Dilbert Blog: Silent Words:
"I’d also like to proclaim here and now that all future sentences I utter are appended with “but of course there are obvious exceptions.”

This is important because about half of my time spent interacting with people involves me staring dully at them while they point out the obvious exception to whatever I’ve just said.


Me: “Nice weather.”

Other Person: “Not everywhere on earth. Plus, the day is young. It could still get cloudy later.”"


'Surely, the only true revolution is the freeing of the mind from its own conditioning... not the mere reformation of society.'

'The person who reforms society is still caught in society; but the person who is free of society, being free from conditioning, will act in his or her own way, which will act again upon society.

'So our problem is not reformation, how to improve society, how to have a better welfare state, whether communist or socialist or what you will. It is not an economic or political revolution, or peace through terror. For a serious person, these are not problems.

'The real problem is to find out whether the mind can be totally free from all conditioning, and thereby perhaps discover in that extraordinary silence that which is beyond all measurement.'

-- J. Krishnamurti, London, 1955

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Got the munchies?

Rhode Island Becomes 11th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana:
"Defying the state’s governor, the Rhode Island House of Representatives yesterday voted 59–13 to override the veto of a medical marijuana legalization measure approved earlier this year. In so doing, the nation’s smallest state joined ten others in bucking the federal government’s Supreme Court-backed prohibition against using the plant even for medicinal purposes."

Positively Jungian [or, why religion screws you up, part 876] - Baptist leader accused of soliciting male prostitute:
"A leader of the Southern Baptist Convention has been arrested in Oklahoma City on a lewdness complaint for allegedly propositioning a plainclothes policeman.

...Police say the Reverend Lonnie Latham was arrested Tuesday night in a motel parking lot after soliciting an officer who was posing as a male prostitute."

"So much for plain language and original intent."

"Listening to the Bush Administration and its defenders try to justify George Bush’s deliberate and ongoing violations of the law, one can’t help but notice that the Constitution and Congressional statutes sure do seem quite 'flexible' in the hands of those seeking to defend him -- a particular irony given how stridently Bush followers rail against such legal theories in other contexts.

...So much for plain language and original intent."

Yes, it IS stupid.

WorkingForChange-Six degrees of Osama bin Laden:
"There he was at Brooke Army Medical Center over the weekend, once again getting it wrong: 'I can say that if somebody from al-Qaida's calling you, we'd like to know why. In the meantime, this program is conscious of people's civil liberties, as am I. This is a limited program ... I repeat, limited. And it's limited to calls from outside the United States, to calls within the United States.'

So then the White House had to go back and explain that, well, no, actually, the National Security Agency's domestic spying program is not limited to calls from outside the United States, or to calls from people known or even suspected of being with al-Qaida. Turns out thousands of Americans and resident foreigners have been or are being monitored and recorded by the NSA. It's more like information-mining, which is what, you may recall, the administration said it would not do. But now Bush has to investigate The New York Times because Bush has been breaking the law, you see?

I really don't think he'd sound like an idiot if they kept him informed. He would, however, still sound like a kid trying to get out of trouble by tattling on something Billy did: 'My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program (the NSA surveillance program) in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy.'

There he goes again. He is being deceitful and insincere. Bush and Co. have broken the law, and furthermore, it was completely unnecessary to do so. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is not a hindrance to tracking down al-Qaida -- every objection to its requirements is easily refuted.

So Bush breaks a law he didn't remotely need to and then denounces anyone who discusses this as helping the enemy. Come on. It's so stupid."

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 4PM Annual Review

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 4PM Annual Review:
"4PM Annual Review

Lawyer: You need to learn how to be human. Be less perfect; you don't have to be so precise about everything. Be less professional. Any questions?
Secretary: Yeah. Do you have a handbook for how to be human?
Lawyer: Oh, now you're going to be a smartass.

701 5th Avenue
Seattle, Washington"

Keifer Sutherland defends Britain against Christmas Trees [and may just be my new hero]

Just Jared: Kiefer Sutherland Drunk:
"...At 2am bar staff refused to serve any more alcohol. Undaunted, Kiefer persuaded management to let them loose in the lobby.

He ordered yet more booze on room service, then staggered around the entrance hall, entertaining pals with a bizarre, flailing breakdancing routine.

It was then that a huge Christmas tree caught his eye.

'I hate that f***ing Christmas tree,' he declared. 'The tree HAS to come down.'

Kiefer warned staff: 'I'm smashing it - can I pay for it?'

A staff member replied: 'I'm absolutely sure you can, sir.'

The Lost Boys star - famously ditched by Julia Roberts five days before their wedding in 1991 - then hurled himself into the Norwegian Spruce, sending baubles and lights crashing to the ground. Pulling pine needles out of his hair and t-shirt, he said to a hotel employee: 'Ooh sorry about're so cool. This f***ing hotel rocks.'"

They're just evil fuckers. [It's early and I haven't had caffeine. It's still true though.]

Crooks and Liars:
"James Risen, co-author of the New York Times blockbuster article exposing warrant-less spying on Americans, appeared on NBC's Today Show this morning. Risen has published a new book, 'State of War', that includes Bush's NSA Wiretap program along with other damning revelations.

Risen made some important points during his interview:

* 12 or more officials blew the whistle on NSA program. Risen describes these people as patriots who believed that the spying program was illegal. 'They were motivated by the purest reasons.'
* Risen reports that Bush may have suggested that pain medication be withheld from detainees. There is some evidence that this may have been the beginnings of a slippery slow which lead to torture and the mistreatment of detainees.
* The CIA asked as many as 30 Iraqi-Americans to go to Iraq prior to the war and use their contacts to determine the state of Iraq's WMD programs. In each case, the individual returned to report that all of Iraq's WMD programs had been ceased or destroyed in the prior Gulf war. Iraq nuclear program, in particular, was said to have been destroyed by bombings in the first Gulf war. The CIA dismissed the reports as Saddam's propaganda. Here again, we have more evidence that the Bush Administration ignored intelligence that did not help their goal of starting a preemptive war on Iraq.
* During the period from 9/11 through the beginning of the Iraq war, Risen say that the checks and balances on the Executive Branch broke down. Foreign policy was radicalized at the hands of Rumsfeld, Tenet, Cheney, Rice and a few others who would not allow career professionals in the State Department to participate."

Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy:
"Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"

An astute observation

2006: A Year of Living Dangerously by Eric Margolis:
"The world responds to natural disaster when TV cameras are present. We began 2005 with the frightful Asian tsunami that devastated Indonesian Sumatra, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Thanks to TV crews, the world’s heart went out to the victims, and billions of aid were promised. As usual, only about 25% of the money pledged ever materialized.

The year ended with Pakistan’s calamitous earthquake. There were few TV teams covering this disaster and so the world largely ignored the tragedy. The oil-producing states of the Muslim World were notable in their incredibly stingy response, preferring to waste billions on war planes they can’t even fly and white elephant building projects while needy Pakistanis shivered in the cold. India and Pakistan, presented with a golden opportunity to begin resolving the Kashmir dispute, played childish games of tit for tat with one another instead of taking constructive action."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

" American culture insecurity is rampantly bred into us."

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"...some people don't push themselves because they're either afraid of failure, or they're afraid of success. The formr is pretty easy to understand. Nobody likes bad results. And in American culture insecurity is rampantly bred into us. So people limit themselves to safe bets. But there's also the fear of success. Fear that magic really DOES work, which requires having a responsibility of some sort associated with one's practice of it. People are afraid to take the reins of a power they deem godly; they fear becoming Icarus, of falling prey to hubris and being struck down.

We're also kept down by modern Western thought, which dictates causality and Cartesian duality. Not content with disagreeing with more esoteric thought, the egregore of Western civilization has sown the seeds of fear into our heads--the fear that, if we embrace beliefs outside of a certain norm, we are insane. Not evil, which can be romanticized and thereby reclaimed, but insanity, which supposedly denotes a REAL danger."

Censorship [with Japanese pornography as the hook to keep you interested]. Oh, and zazen, which is actually the important bit.

Hardcore Zen: CENSORSHIT:
"The problem with censorship is that it’s always completely arbitrary what gets censored and what doesn’t. Japan’s attitude towards pornography is a great object lesson. Japan has always had a tradition of erotic art. After WWII, when MacArthur and his posse came in to fix up the country, they knew something had to be done about that. I’m not really sure what happened next. But I assume it went something like this. MacArthur and his boys tried to explain to the Japanese that all this nasty stuff had to go. But the Japanese didn’t really get what was wrong with that stuff. Since the Americans could not explain why porn was sinful to people who had no concept of what a sin was, they gave the Japanese some specific guidelines which were meant to achieve the aim or eradicating pornography in spite of the public’s utter lack of comprehension about the reasons for doing so. The solution was to denote specific parts of the human body that were forbidden to be portrayed in works of art.

...The thing is, though, the Japanese still don’t really seem to get why these things are nasty. Thus Japan produces a huge amount of truly hardcore porn, some far more explicit than would be acceptable in America or Europe, while scrupulously avoiding the display of sexual organs. In other words, you can show anything at all as long as the human reproductive organs are covered, usually with digital filters. Um, not that I would look at any of this stuff except for, erm, research purposes.

This seems funny to we Westerners who understand the underlying reasons for this censorship. We’re also baffled by societies that take censorship to its ultimate extreme by forcing women to hide their entire bodies from public view, while at the same time allowing citizens of all ages to enjoy public beheadings. But it really shouldn’t. Our own criteria for what should and should not be hidden from public view are just as arbitrary.

The problem with censorship is that it cannot possibly work. When you hide something from public view, people just desire it more. If we didn’t allow people to look at photos of tangerines, the Internet would be full of illegal newsgroups for downloading the juiciest pictures of luscious, ripe, young tangerines. It’s especially true in the days of instant communication via computer networks. Censorship hasn’t become just difficult. It’s become absolutely impossible. The concept of parental controls on computers is a joke. Kids today know more about computers than their parents can even dream of.

That’s one level of censorship, the public level. There’s another level of censorship which most of us are not aware of. We censor ourselves constantly. And I’m not just referring to the way we don’t say or write certain things. We have to do that or society cannot function. Not to mention that if we did say all those things, we’d be spending all day nursing black eyes and picking our teeth up out of the gutter. There is also a much quieter more personal form of self-censorship at work. There are many things that cross our minds that we do not allow ourselves to think of. This self-censorship often works so well that we are not even aware that these thoughts and ideas are part of our psychological make-up at all.

One of the strange side effects that people who practice forms of meditation occasionally report is the feeling that they are experiencing thoughts that are not their own. If this is handled badly, the person will sometimes get the idea that they are experiencing psychic communications from demons and even from God. But what is actually happening is that you have stopped censoring the things that cross your mind... All the nasty stuff you ever shoved into your brain comes flying out. And even more worse, all the beautiful things you ever imagined start to come out in gorgeous three-dimensional Technicolor®. Lots of folks get swept away by that stuff and stay swept away for the rest of their lives, all the while amassing hordes of followers eager to learn the secret of how to get swept away for themselves.

...This is why I remain convinced that Zazen is the only way to go. Any level of arbitrary censorship you introduce into the situation just causes more trouble. We believe we are censoring wrong thoughts while allowing right thoughts to come through. But like the Japanese laws on pornography, our own criteria for what should and should not be hidden from ourselves are completely arbitrary. They are developed through years of conditioning. Some of this conditioning comes from outside, but most of it we do to ourselves.

And yet, you need to be able to practice some kind of self-regulation. We do need to know right from wrong. Otherwise you’d end up like Hunter S. Thompson or somebody like that. Or you end up just buying loads of porn and never doing anything else. Zazen is the perfect exercise of true self-regulation. You force yourself to sit there and not move or do anything about it while allowing your mind to go about what it needs to do without any fetters at all. Eventually it settles down of its own accord. This can take a long time depending on how thoroughly you scrambled things up before you sat down on your cushion. But in time, with practice, right and not right become absolutely clear and all forms of censorship are unnecessary."

*This* I want to see.

The Australian: Judge tells priest to prove Christ existed [January 04, 2006]:
"AN Italian judge has ordered a priest to appear in court to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.

Mr Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Mr Cascioli inthe parish newsletter for questioning Christ's historical existence."

Hollywood 101 » Bums On Seats:
"Now, one KING KONG-sized film supposedly eats two tickets for anything else because of its run time. Of course, the McDonald’s cinema paradigm means every film theatre has thirty-seven screens, each the size of a 1971 Philco television set, so there’s no real shortage of other (mainstream Hollywood) things to see. So, honestly, that argument seems to hold little water in most places. It’s not like the days of my youth, when the Southend Odeon was considered a marvel of modern technology for having three whole screens. And, frankly, summer movies have always been shit, so there’s not an incredibly compelling argument to make for The Creative Death Of Hollywood. No more compelling than usual, anyway. It’d be easy, probably too easy, to make the case for Hollywood having forgotten how to make movies. FUN WITH DICK AND JANE is not a $100 million dollar movie. I mean, come on. STEALTH should have been direct to DVD, as should DOOM. The creative and financial crisis is obvious."

Oh Heaven Forfend!

Now you'll have to teach your inbred brood about things like, you know, REALITY.

No Touch Monkey!:
"Some teenage soccer players and their parents saw more sights than they wanted when they stayed at a hotel where about 200 swingers were having a New Year's Party."

I particularly enjoyed the flummmoxed response of the folks from Clearwater, Florida, known round the world as the home of Hooters.

"'We thought we were coming to Orlando, not the Las Vegas Strip,' said Mark Gilbert, the father of a boy who plays on the Clearwater Chargers, a group of 13-and-under players from Florida."

*Note to parents* - in case you haven't managed to figure it out yet - It's not the job of the rest of the world to foam-rubber the harsh corners of existence to spare your precious little monsters. It's your job to teach them how to deal with the world.

The Disney-fication and the sad entitlement of "It's my right to never feel uncomfortable" of the world continues...

It's not gonna be getting what you want that makes you happy, it's gonna be who you'll become in the pursuit of what you want. - Anthony Robbins


Leadership Qualities:
"Many people seemed to suffer from what Ashley Montague,
the great Rutgers anthropologist, called 'psychosclerosis.'
'Psychosclerosis' is like arteriosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries.
'Psychosclerosis' is a hardening of the attitude.
When that happens, we cease to dream, to see, to think, and we cease to lead."

Freelance Living

Freelance Living - Are You a Peaceful Warrior? Are You Living on Purpose?:
"...Success in life is not only about stuffing our heads with more information and knowledge, but using what we learn in the real world to better our lives. We already know more than we can use in 10 lifetimes. Everyone who is overweight knows what to do to lose weight. It's not the knowing that loses the weight; it's the doing).

...Choice means giving up something you want for something you want more.

...Dan suggests there are four purposes to life:

1. Earth is a school, and life is our daily classroom.
2. Our work or job IS our form of service to the planet.
3. Life is about overcoming challenges, problems and hurdles, as well as finding and fulfilling our talent.
4. Making moment-to-moment choices means we NEVER have no purpose. Our purpose is the next choice.

...If we don't learn the easy lessons, life will continue to present them in harder ways until we "get" it.

...GET THIS: we CANNOT control our thoughts or emotions, therefore we are not responsible for our thoughts and emotions.

This was a powerful and potentially, controversial distinction, one that truly explodes some of the myths we accept as truths. We are taught to believe we can and should control our thoughts and emotions. We spend a lot of time, energy and life force trying to control the things that are uncontrollable. "Control your thoughts, and you control your life" is a popular notion. The truth is, we can't stop a thought from happening. Try to stop a thought from entering your mind before it happens. Can't do it. You might be able to influence, push away or distract yourself after a thought appears, but you CANNOT STOP A THOUGHT FROM ENTERING YOUR MIND. Thoughts happen without our conscious control. We are NOT responsible for our thoughts.

Can we really control our emotions? Let's test it out. Right now, TRY to feel terrified; now, depressed; now, surprised; now, anxious; now, sad. Here's a really tough one for some people: feel happy. Really TRY to feel these. Dan says emotions are like the weather patterns of the body. They pass. We are NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR EMOTIONS. You have NO control over your emotions. Trying to control things you have no control over is a misuse of vital life force and energy. If we can't control thoughts and emotions, what can we control?

WE CONTROL WHAT WE SAY. WE CONTROL HOW WE ACT AND BEHAVE. WE HAVE CONTROL OVER WHAT WE DO.Spend time and energy controlling that which you have control over."

Funny. [But true]

Fantasy and Science Fiction - Plumage from Pegasus:
"I HAD TO run a few errands downtown, but I hesitated to go.

What if I ran into bloggers?

Ever since the total, irretrievable collapse of the Internet in a chaos of viruses, worms, spam, terrorism and busts by the FBI anti-porn squad, that archaic species of human had become a bigger street menace than mimes, Jehovah's Witnesses, or panhandlers ever were.

Still, I had some banking business that had to be conducted in person, and I couldn't put it off much longer. And I hated feeling like a prisoner in my own house, living in fear of the depradations of this class of homeless attention-grabbers."

Alchemical Braindamage

Alchemical Braindamage:
"Just don't forget you have options. When it's not rewarding anymore you can walk away. Fuck that rock and fuck the hill. Try answering to yourself for a change and not the delusions swirling in your head. It may be a dream you can't leave yet, but it's still just a dream."

The bad news [and then the good news]

Alchemical Braindamage:
"The bad news is that people are swiftly being herded into a number of alternatives. We have the Hellworlds of 'war that won't end in our lifetimes' , ' peak oil' , 'clash of civilizations' , 'climate collapse' or 'the new world order' . People wander into these headspaces because for whatever reason they feel like this stuff represents some unavoidable modification to the game rules they've already laid out. Is it your secret desire to run free across the decimated wasteland of a collapsed western world? Maybe if you name is Ran Prieur. But chances are the only reason you're there is because you convinced yourself that the carrot at the end of the stick just got yanked into the bowels of post apocalyptic nightmare and you can't help but follow it. Until you see what's leading you into these places you'll never be free of them.

And the sad thing is, in light of our earlier considerations, these nightmares aren't just in your head. They infect the world, they spread, they become more real. You plumb these dark dimensions and in doing so you solidify them and call them forth, and lay the groundwork for others to fall into them. And so very few of us have the discipline to back out of the trap, even if we could see it.

Thankfully we also have the Hyperworlds, the realms of unleashed progress, opportunity creativity and abundance. '2012', 'The Singularity', ' Electronic Retribalisation', 'The Archaic Revival', 'S.M.I.L.E'. Each of these has their cheerleaders and evangelists. The main danger to these places is apathy. Of sliding into complacency and neglecting the need for challenge and growth. I do think the mature person chooses to live in a joyful, promising world of limitless opportunities, while "

Monday, January 02, 2006

“Do what you can with what you have, in the time you have, and the place you are”

"1. Of whatever persuasion, religious fundamentalism is a global curse.

2. As is market fundamentalism.

3. The CIA is probably the mother of all terrorist organizations.

4. The world’s “most powerful democracy” is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy. The US is run by a surprisingly small number of power brokers who revolve through the doors of the White House, Big Oil, Defence, Security, Trade, Embassies, the World Bank and numerous blue chip boardrooms."

...39. As Einstein pointed out, you can’t solve serious problems with the same mind set that created them. You can’t deal with climate change without experiencing a change of consciousness. We’re already half way through the first decade of a new millennium, and our leaders are still stuck with a medieval mindset. And we’re stuck with them. Meanwhile, many thousands of citizens have moved on from the Newtonian view of the world, with its focus on certainty, dualism, us-against-them, good-against-evil. A post-modern age requires a fluid sense of strategy, deep empathy, the acceptance of multiple stories. It seeks from leaders a way of coping with paradox, a flair for handling complex projects in surreal environments, an understanding that holistic thinking matters more than spin, trickery and photo ops. While such a mind shift is gathering speed at the grass roots, the mentally decrepit “survival of the fittest” war-horses at the top are trying to quell the new awakening with the age-old strategy of invoking FEAR. It is a strategy that comes easy, as their own demons rise up to haunt them, and they desperately seek to unloaded their terror. But the global mind shift required for a sustainable future is underway, and grass-roots groups are cleaning up waterways, reforming third world aid, shining a light on injustice. Their rallying cry becomes ever more relevant: “Another World is Possible. Let us build it.”

40. Among these activists was Nkosi Johnson the heroic South African AIDS sufferer who was asked, not long before he died, aged 12, what motivated him at such a young age and with such a debilitating illness to campaign so tirelessly for his fellow sufferers. His answer speaks for everyone: “Do what you can with what you have, in the time you have, and the place you are”.

You decide. Just you.

Alchemical Braindamage:
"What you can do, and do quickly, is take a conscious attitude to it. Right now you're probably pursuing someone else's idea of treasure at the heart of the labyrinth, and hence you're playing by the rules they taught you in order to get it.

A very mundane example of this is the typical middle class careerperson. We might ask ourselves what the fuck this poor bastard thinks he's doing in that cubicle 40 hours a week, but that's the parameters of the game for him. At the end of that road is his hypothetical treasure, his sense of bliss. Will he ever get it? Probably not, because he entered that game with no clear idea of where it would lead, or where it might end. Chances are he learned his vague dreams from someone else who lived their whole life with the same vague dreams. Another lost soul in the Hellworld of bourgeoisie prosperity.

You want to break out of that shit? Quitting your job won't do it. You'll just be broke and homeless and still wondering how you're going to get that brass ring one day. You've just fallen into a backroad of that particular Hellworld. You'll probably wander around for awhile and eventually recreate the same scenario with a few modifications. If you're really serious about getting out, then define what you want, ( which you've already done) , define what you have to do to get it( ditto), and what sort of view of life you need to make it happen. You make the rules, you set the standards, you decide if you succeed or fail. Not your parents, not your friends, not your significant other, your children, or society. You do. Your game. Your world. Your life. And if you're going to be here, then you better make your reasons good ones."

Subjective Reality and Objective Effects

Alchemical Braindamage:
"It's hardly cutting edge to postulate the idea of the reality tunnel, or gloss, or filter, or metaprogram, or various other names for deliberately altering your subjective experience of the objective world. I'd find it hard to believe many of my readers wouldn't be familiar with Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary and/or NLP. So lets take it as a given you can change your view of the world. Winner script, loser script, pessimist optimist yadda yadda.

Where most of these folk stop short is the idea that maybe your subjective reality tunnel might actually have objective effects. This veers dangerously close to what's known as solipsism. Even the leading lights of the counterculture shy away from erasing the boundary between the observer and the observed world. The notion that our minds and the world around us might be engaged in some kind of organic interplay at the deepest level is a bit unsettling, even to those who make a career out of denouncing Descartes. Sadly the word 'quantum' has become as fuzzy and useless as the word 'god'. And while certain lip services are rendered to the idea of the observer created universe, the only people who actually roll up their sleeves and engage with that notion by and large are the occultists. Most people simply indulge in a quest to find out what's 'really' true about the world and act accordingly.

...the task of modifying and upgrading your reality tunnel takes on an altogether different order of importance.

You can found this idea on several levels of operation. You might say something as simple as decisions informed by a particular reality tunnel tend to reinforce that reality tunnel. You might say that your views affect the views of those around you. You might say your memes spread as well as they may to your surroundings. And if you're prepared to integrate the psychoplastic ramifications of your intention on the quantum substratum of reality, perhaps through the phenomena of synchronicity, then you've got a whole gamut of vectors whereby your mind infects the surrounding world."

Games and World View

Alchemical Braindamage:
"In a very real sense, the world view you have is a game, which you play in the pursuit of what lies at the resolution of the game. Everyone, including you, goes through this continuous process of deciding what you want, what it looks and feels like and what you have to do to get it. Some people define very clear games that have very clear end points, while others slap together endless open ended scenarios whereby they spend their whole lives chasing some nebulous notion of externalised happiness, usually to no avail."

It is always now.

Hardcore Zen: IZOD MISSIONARIES IN THE SPIELING GENDER POOL or How to Keep It Together Without Really Trying:
"I've been straddling two different worlds. I have friends in both. I know people who are so artsy they have never been able to hold down a normal job. They cannot deal with the bullshit involved. And I have friends who are totally corporate, who completely buy into the idea of getting ahead and making money and all that. For many years I felt kind of half-assed about it. I could never commit to either direction. I couldn't go totally corporate because it was such an obvious sham. You were always chasing after a carrot on a stick. But you were never, ever, ever gonna get that carrot. It continues to amaze me that so many people seem to believe that eventually, if they run fast enough, they're gonna get that carrot. On the other hand, I saw the misery my artsy type friends had to endure. They were always scraping just to get by. (Of course, some people make artistic careers work, and more power to ya if you can. The world needs more good art.) Me, I always kept a day job in the straight world and did music and Zen and that kinda stuff on the side. Though, truth be told, I was, and am, far more comitted to music, art and Zen than I'll ever be to the corporate type stuff that pays my bills.

One of the things sitting Zazen does for you is show you just how lame and ridiculous most of the 'straight' world is. Once you begin to see through the scam, it can start to be very difficult to play along with it. Go far enough into it, and you begin to see that the entire universe as most people conceive of it is absolutely false. The material world is an illusion. The spiritual world is an even cheezier illusion. When you run into this, it can be tempting to just want to walk away from it all.

...The fact is, no matter how much you hate the day to day drudgery of your life, you are here because this day to day dudgery is where you really want to be. You don't want to live in the world of Perfect Bliss, no matter how much you think you do. You want to live in the world of jobs, and bosses, and paperwork and car insurance payments. That is your true desire. You can find out what your true desire is by simply opening your eyes and looking around at where you are right now.

Lost of us don't wanna face this. When I gave this answer at my talk last week I could tell from the face of the person who'd asked that this was not at all what she wanted to hear. I can relate to that because when I first heard it it was not at all what I wanted to hear either. I wanted Perfect Bliss, man! I still sometimes do. But I cannot deny the truth. And the truth is what I'm living in right now."

It's all about getting past the conceptual framework. Failing that, developing one that works for you and makes you happy.

"The questioner pointed out that if, as Buddhists always say, all concepts of reality are ultimately wrong, then even the Buddhist concept of reality is also incorrect.

This is perfectly true. Ultimately it's all a bunch of B.S.

...But Buddhism doesn't seek to throw everything in the Dumpster®. Buddhism offers a philosphy that attempts to approach as closely as possible a true conceptualization of reality as it is, while understanding clearly that such an attempt can never truly succeed. It is the attempt itself that is worthwhile, not its relative success or lack thereof.

...The degree to which your conceptualization of reality is close to reality as it is determines your ability to be happy. To take an extreme example, there are plenty of people in this world who imagine that if they could kill a rich person and take all his money and get away with it, they could be happy. But that idea is utterly wrong. On the other side you have supposedly "spiritual" people who believe that if they could only escape from this world into the perfect spiritual world they conceive of in their minds they would be happy. Also wrong. You might ask how I could possibly know these ideas are wrong if I haven't actually killed anyone & gotten rich from it, or made it to whatever version of Paradise you subscribe to. The answer is, I do. And even if I didn't, it wouldn't matter. I am not living among ill gotten riches, nor have I made it to Paradise just yet. So what does it matter?

Buddhism is about looking at the facts of your life as they are. Live here and live now. This is the only way of life that makes sense because you can never be anywhere else.

...[it] is intended to get you to put away all your ideas about life, the universe and everything, and allow yourself to experience yourself and the world as they really are, apart from these conceptual frameworks."

"...thank God for Dick Cheney"

Kung Fu Monkey: The Half-Assed President:
"...let me see if I understand the plan here. We're not going to set a timetable or any benchmarks for when we're pulling American troops out of Iraq. Because what we used to call 'operational planning' and 'strategy' is now 'cutting and running'. But at the same time, we're not going to fix the infrastructure, so those soldiers who are there indefinitely will be the targets of increasingly large numbers of pissed-off and radicalized civilians.


This is my main complaint with the current Administration. If they had policies I disagreed with, but actually accomplished something, I could kind of wrap my head around it. But George Bush (and this, in my useless and humble opinion, should have been the one issue of the last campaign), is the half-assed President. Was going to get Osama, never got Osama. Was going to rebuild Afghanistan, bailed out of Afghanistan. Was going to secure the Homeland, and the 9/11 Commission shows how they haven't finished the job. New Orleans was going to be rebuilt, but it ain't happening. Sent our soldiers into a war, but with no clear mission plan and not enough equipment. Now we find he was going to rebuild Iraq, and he's half-assing that. Other than massive tax cuts for the rich during war time and some really spiffy tricks in promoting people who will tell him whatever he wants to hear, he really hasn't accomplished, for better or worse, anything.

All I can say is, thank God for Dick Cheney. I sleep better knowing that there's at least one firm, if evil, hand on the wheel. I, personally, welcome our Cheney-bot Overlords."

First Discovered Law of 2006

Kung Fu Monkey: The Light! IT BUUURNNNS!!:
"First Discovered Law of 2006: If ten years after the fall of the Soviet Union you're still using 'socialist' or 'commie' as perjoratives, no one else has to take you seriously."

See, but Christianity has always had one unwavering truth, from conception to the present day!

Unless of course it absolutely hasn't.


Children's Past Lives DOGMA BITES MAN:
"Throughout the first three centuries of the Christian era, there was no single Christian doctrine. Christian theology and doctrine—interpretations of Christ's teachings blended with ideas from other philosophies and religions—were hotly debated for at least three hundred years. Many of the tenets of the faith that Christians take for granted today were, during this long period of flux, simply one point of view among many.

It is a fact that some Christian sects and writers accepted reincarnation as an enhancement to the teachings of Christ. Origen, one of the heralded Fathers of the Church and described by Saint Gregory as 'the Prince of Christian learning in the third century,' wrote: 'Every soul comes into this world strengthened by the victories and weakened by the defeats of its previous life.'

So if reincarnation was an idea in currency with early Christians, why have all traces of it disappeared from the Christian religion we know today?

By the early fourth century, strong Christian factions were vying with each other for influence and power, while at the same time the Roman Empire was beginning to fall apart. In A.D. 325, in a move to renew the unity of the empire, the absolute dictator Emperor Constantine convened the leaders of the feuding Christian factions at the Council of Nicaea. He offered to throw his imperial power behind the Christians if they would settle their differences and agree on a single creed. Decisions made at this first council set the foundation for the Roman Catholic Church. (Soon after, the books of the Bible were fixed too.) For the sake of unity, all beliefs that conflicted with the new creed were banished; in the process the factions and writings that supported reincarnation were thrown out.

Then, with the applause and support of the Christian leaders, Constantine moved to eliminate competing religions, and to make his personal grip on the Empire even more absolute. The result of the marriage between church and imperial state was a new Church made in the image of the autocratic Roman Empire. This is why, according to some historians, the Church exalts unquestioned central authority, imposes a singular dogmatic creed on its followers, and works so hard to stamp out divergent ideas. This is important, because reincarnation fell outside the official creed."

In the battle between Santa and Jesus...

The Dilbert Blog: Funniest Comment So Far:
"There have been a lot of funny comments to my posts. My favorite so far is from Guy, in response to my question of whether Santa or Jesus would win in a fight:

'And as for Santa and Jesus, the answer is Jesus. Because he can walk on water he could drag Santa to the middle of a lake and hold him under while he stayed pleasantly dry. Now if you were to include the nine reindeer and twelve apostles then the fight might get more interesting.'"

Joss Whedon is funny. [In other news, water remains wet; sky, blue.]

Insider - [TV Guide Online]: "Many people have asked me, 'Joss, what is the future of television? What will we watch? And how will we watch it? Surely you must know, for you are wise, and slender.' I usually smile and say nothing, because I wasn't actually listening to the question. But it's a good one, and I think it's time I let you in on a few highlights of Television-to-Be.

The networks will all be creating exciting, innovative new spin-offs of today's shows. Approximately 67 percent of all television will be CSI-based, including CSI: Des Moines, CSI: New York but a Different Part than Gary Sinise Is In and NCSI: SVU WKRP, which covers every possible gruesome crime with a groovin' '70s beat.

...Lost has that one-of-a-kind alchemy that really can't be copied. Therefore, look for the original series Misplaced, as well as Unfound, Not So Much with the Whereabouts and Just Pull Over and Ask!

In a stunningly cost-effective move, CBS will air How I Met Your Biological Mother, That Bitch, which is just old episodes of How I Met Your Mother with snarkier narration. HBO's Westminster will continue the trend pioneered by Deadwood and Rome by making 19th-century England really dirty and weird, like Jane Austen with Tourette's. (Actually, I can't wait for that one.) Also, the constant slew of cable mergers will result in the creation of CinePax, a channel that's just very confused about its morals.

Every year another film actress gets "too old" for film leads and finds a (sometimes much better) home on TV. This trend will continue a few years hence when the aging but feisty Dakota Fanning headlines CSI: Vancouver Made to Look Like Chicago.

...And what of me? My short-lived series Firefly was the basis for the epic action film Serenity (now available on DVD! I have little or no shame), and the future will see even more incarnations of this visionary work, as it returns to TV as Serenity: The Firefly Years, then back to film as Firefly: Serenity's Sequel, back to TV as SereniFly, and finally end as the direct-to-eyeglasses series Choose a Damn Name Already. I promise it'll be as heartwarming and exciting as the original Serenity, now available on DVD. (Explain again this thing you call shame....)

That's all I can tell you, except for one last thing: Veronica Mars will still be on. Veronica Mars will still be on. We clear about that?"


Fred On Everything:
"After profound analysis and some air guitar, we decided that the gringos actually want a police state. (Remember, it was late at night. But I think the same thing in the morning.) Why wouldn’t they? The folk who yowl about civil liberties like alley cats undergoing a hard birth are mostly writers and artists and others of the professionally disagreeable, who are always yelling, “Yo momma” at politicians. They amount to…what? Two percent of the population?

The rest want five hundred channels on the cable, beer, porn, easy sex and two weeks a year at Disney World. They don’t read much, largely because of honest inability, and count on their fingers, up to maybe six. They’d be perfectly happy to have storm troopers on every corner. Uzis and flack jackets lend drama to lives that don’t have any. Hitler was a consumer product."


Fred On Everything:
"Last night Stu and I sat under arched brick vaulting in his living room and communed with a certain amount of tequila, yes. Actually in hindsight the amount seems rather less certain. I’ll swear to nothing. Of course at five in the morning Stu did start bouncing up and down on his bed and playing the air guitar to Pink Floyd.

You have to understand. Stu and I are in a Twelve-Step Program. It is because we are Recovering Washingtonians. The first step is to get on an airplane to Guadalajara. The second step is to find the right relationship with your Higher Power, which I think means a really big amplifier. The third step is to find a Mexicana who does not have Ideologically Significant hairy armpits or a stupid-looking little blue blazer and a snotty attitude."

Criminals and Government [Seems obvious, dunnit?]

Fred On Everything:
"Criminal enterprise is far more efficient than government. Though probably less criminal.

Think about it. The drug trade, heavily mediated through Messico, is a service industry, like delivering pizzas. After all, people want drugs—only the gummint doesn’t want people to have them—and the narcos don’t make anybody buy them, even fidgety little school boys mad with boredom. (The government forces these to take otherwise-illegal amphetamines. Pablo Escobar never did that.)

By contrast, people don’t want fifth-rate schools and unpleasantly wholesome FBI heavies who look like armed accountants snooping through their library records, but government does force them to buy these unwanted services. It does force your boy children to take drugs that would land them in jail if they bought them from free enterprise, such as Colombian drug lords.

Organized crime is a better deal. I much prefer the friendly neighborhood dope dealer to any federal official. I can tell the former “no.”"

Insight [and Immigration]

Fred On Everything:
"It being New Year’s, I doubtless ought to say something profound about the passage of time, or the meaning of life, or What is Art? Or the significance if any of the last year. It’s what columnists do, although we don’t know any more about it than anyone else. (You didn’t know that time was passing, right? You need me to tell you? OK. It is. Send money.)

All right, then. Here is Cosmic Truth: Each year is more comedic than last. We’re all idiots. Life’s a sitcom. There is no hope. Now you know.

Being in Mexico adds perspective, at least if you watch the great booby hatch to the north. I especially like the Warn Terr, the preferred toy of the latest Bush. Down here we read all about how the feddle gummint is keeping terrace out of the US so everyone will be safer than probably lots of them want to be. (I’d rather be in danger. Just leave me alone.)

Anyway, it’s all PR. A couple of weeks back a friend drove a Mexican woman and her two kids to the airport in Guad to fly to a border town where a coyote was going to smuggle them across the border. And did. Nobody thought much about it. Coyotes are regarded hereabouts as a form of public transportation, like light rail. Only the gringos are clueless. But that’s a given."

NEXTWAVE: Healing American by beating people up

Or, Warren Ellis brings the crazy.

"RRRAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!! Action! Excitement! Explosions! The Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, or H.A.T.E. (a subsidiary of the Beyond Corporation(c)) put NEXTWAVE together to fight Bizarre Weapons of Mass Destruction. When NEXTWAVE discovers that H.A.T.E. and Beyond(c) are terrorist cells themselves and that the BWMDs were intended to kill them, they are less than pleased. In fact, they are rather angry. So they make things explode. Lots of things."