Saturday, January 14, 2006

On Religion - Any God who's first priority is ensuring that all worship him is a needy, juvenile attention-whore.

"God is like the ultimate Bad Date or Bad Boss: a needy, egotistical, rageaholic Deity who needs needs constant adoration and is too fragile to handle the least bit of criticism. So we always had to shut-up, suck up and give God lots of praise. You know, the old Praise Jesus Or He'll Torture You To Death in Hell."

Got a note from a buddy the other day... Hi Gayle!... who had been knocking about on the blog and read some of my thoughts on my upbringing and being raised Catholic and what kind of effect that had on me... And the upshot was that she felt bad about how those experiences shaped me. A bit of comapassionate pity, well intentioned and heartfelt, to be sure.

Of course the first reaction, having been inculcated into the Japanese culture these past few months was to think "Oh, but no. It wasn't so bad for me. Just a little thing." Damn Japanese humility. But really, that's true. It's not as if I was plied with the sacramental wine as the priest touched me in my special place or anything.

But the psychological conditioning that organized religion imparts on you can be just devastating. And I don't see how it can't be. I know that when I'm least aware, I find those same destructive habits of guilt and shame creeping in from the shadows. I've nothing but envy for those who have somehow only managed to extract the love and compassion aspects of Christianity from their respective indoctrinations. But I think those that have, while still espousing the party line doctrine of whatever their organization, are either disingenious, in denial or lacking introspection.

I don't think any genuine spirituality or connection to... god, the source, the Is, the implicate order, the tao, whatever you want to refer to it as... is going to somehow be reliant on the strictures and dogma of some church.

And organizations, by their very nature, despite whatever the best of intentions, after establishment... the first order of business in virtually all cases is the continued existence of that organization.

And to maintain the organization any and all actions are deemed appropriate.

Holy Wars? Sure. Covering up for pedophiles? Of course. Suicide bombings? Yep. Blowing up clinics and shooting doctors in the head? God wills it so. Filling impressionable young minds with visions of a fiery hell of eternal damnation and torture to get them to be life long members of the church... filled with fear and guilt and repressed sexuality and anger? Every. Goddamn. Day.

When I first... drifted... away from the church at about 16, it was an odd mixture of normal teenage rebellion, the illogical inconsistencies of a God - an omnipotent, omniscience entity who's first commandment was to worship him above all others...

[Side note: I love the fact that the 10 commandments don't say he's the ONLY god, only that he should be worshipped above all others. "Do not have any other gods before Me." Not, "There are no other gods." Now why would THE GOD talk about other gods? Kinda blows that monotheism idea all to hell, but I digress...]

Any God who's first priority is ensuring that all worship him is a needy, juvenile, attention-whore. So, there's that.

One of the big reasons though was a sense of dissillusionment. It was probably about 10th, or maybe 11th grade when I had my confirmation. And despite the misgivings I was starting to have about the church, a part of me had the naive impression that when I was confirmed SOMETHING would change. Ostensibly, confirmation is when the Holy Spirit is supposed to descend upon you and touch you. Sounds like a big deal right? And a part of me expected it to be.

But nothing. Nada. Zip. No sense of communion with the Holy Spirit. No grace. Just another empty ritual.

Religion... organized religion... only seems to fulfill two functions. One is the obvious. Control of people. It's no accident that religion forms the basis of much government, and has, over the millenia. Even today, from the obvious religious theocracies to, for example, America, were large groups only WANT to establish a religious theocracy.

The other role religion seems to fulfill is the understandable, and somewhat healthier need for community and connection amongst people. A good motivation, and a reasonably healthy one - the need that is - not the embrace of religion. Because virtually all religion, and certainly all mainstream religion, develop this sense of religious community through an exclusion of others and the idea of the elect. The Pope, when pressed, says that anyone not a Catholic is going to hell. For large swathes of the American populace, if you haven't "accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior" - same deal. Radical Islam - Jesus, you don't even need that one spelled out, do you?

Religion - Making People Feel Better by Damning Everyone Else™

Given the wealth and variety of religious dogma throughout history, the idea that any one collective has happened upon the "one, true religion", that has somehow survived unto the present day... it's just laughable. It flies in the face of everything we know about human nature, the willingness to alter data - holy books included - the sheer inability to any degree to transfer the subjectiveness of human experience into "objective" truth, the eminently subjective nature of religion and consciousness experience... the list goes on and on and on...

The human needs for certainty, comfort, special"ness" - being part of the "elect" - the desire for control and authority, the pitfalls and fallacies of any hierarchal organizational structure... wrapped up in a tidy package of a needy, vengeful God whose purpose in creating the world, if you look at the eveidence, seems to have been so he can damn the vast majority of its population to the tortures of fire and suffering.

Sorry. I deny that religion and I deny those ideas.

The closest I've come to religious ideas that I'm comfortable with are religions that at least don't vacillate on their nature. Which is to say that they own up to the fact that religious experience is completely personal. The sheer number of people I've known who have said "I'm Catholic but I don't follow *this specific* teaching of the Church" is just mind boggling. You know what, you're not really Catholic then. You may want to be Catholic [or Jewish, or Muslim, or what have you] but if you deny what the organization considers fundamental teachings, you don't make the grade.

But people are needy and dependent and crave a sense of community, no matter how false. So instead of just nutting up and saying "No, I'm not" this or that or what have you, they go to Church every Sunday and bask in the contentment that even if they don't believe the stories they're surrounded by, at least they're not alone.

You're not really a member of that Church, you're making up your own religous theology, predicated on nothing more than your own comfort levels and personal preferences. At least own up to it.

Religious experience is, at best, a process and not a dogma.

I try to be a decent person. Try to have compassion and not hurt others. Try to be aware and conscientious and kind. And I think most people do too.

And if that isn't good enough for some patriarchal law-giver hell-bent on appeasing his sense of need and ego and condemning billions upon billions of souls.... well, then...

Fuck Him.

And if that is the "one, true God" let him strike me dead as I type this.

Nope. Nothing. Not even a tingle.

Fundies and Arch Conseratives: "It's really closed- loop, reinforcing kind of culture." - Comments:
"...agree with the comments that these folks are totally driven by fear and rage. But fear is their first and deepest emotion.

...I may have posted about this before, but about eight years ago, my Baptist minister cousin sent me a letter saying he was praying that all liberals like me be eliminated but a few left alive and put in cages on the Capital Mall, so that people could walk by the few caged survivors and point at them and say they never want to allow those people to "return" to America.

I don't know what set my cousin off. He was fund-raising for a Bible college at the time, so I suspect he had just spent long hours driving around in a car, listening to Rush Limbaugh and working himself into a rage. (Which is pretty much like masturbating while driving all day.) Got to the hotel at night and needed to pound his way to his glorious release. I'm probably the only liberal he actually knows, so I got the letter even though I barely know him. I've only see him every few years at family reunions or weddings when we were always friendly to each other.

My cousin is about 60, so he wrote me this piece of hate mail in his mid- 50s. In many ways, his bio fits what you’ve all been saying about right-wingers: he was a sensitive, pudgy kid who was often teased, he didn't do well in school, went to Bible college, became a Baptist minister, always serving at small rural congregations. He was not a great success as a pastor, so he switched over to fund-raising and has done okay. Not super. Just okay.

So by almost all cultural standards of success, he’s pretty mediocre. But he married a good, smart fundie woman and raised three nice kids who are now adults---albeit adults who went to Bible colleges, got married, attend conservative megachurches and are now homeschooling their kids or sending them to Christian "academies." etc. It's really closed- loop, reinforcing kind of culture.

In short, I think my cousin is a right-wing conservative because i it appeals to all his rage and fear. But also because right-wing Republican stufff is emotionally engaging in a way that liberal stuff is mostly not. My cousin is not a thinker. He's all emotion.--especially darker untapped emotions.

Both fundies and Republicans know how to directly appeal to people’s emotions. In fact, that’s their main appeal, since their actual policies and theology aren’t particularly sane or even attractive.

I come from a fundie family. I'm convinced a lot of fundies struggle with undiagnosed clinical depression. Fundies talk obsessively about Joy and Victory Through Christ and praising God. But God is not to be questioned and any anger at God is immediately shut-down. God is like the ultimate Bad Date or Bad Boss: a needy, egotistical, rageaholic Deity who needs needs constant adoration and is too fragile to handle the least bit of criticism. So we always had shut-up, suck up and give God lots of praise. You know, the old Praise Jesus Or He'll Torture You To Death in Hell.

As a fundie, once you've accepted Christ as you personal saviour and Lord, you're saved. You're a new person who puts on a happy face and talks about the joy, joy, joy, joy down in your heart.

But of course, all your old rage, fears and loathings don't go away. They just lie there in the dark. Which is why it's so easy to get fundies whipped up about liberals and gays and brown hordes coming across the border. It’s just redirected rage."

Comments on Freeper Conservative Thought - Comments:
"Often they are vigorous proponents of 'free enterprise' who take pride in working for large corporations because it gives them a vicarious sense of winning in a Darwinian competition.

Within their organizations, they are not innovators, leaders or solid hard workers -- usually ass-kissing, parasitic bureaucrats, as useless and obstructionist as the worst paper-pusher in the civil service that they so disdain.

Powerless and continually fucked over dozens of ways every day by the corporations they idolize, they redirect their rage at those who threaten their carefully-constructed mental edifice -- people who don't conform politically or socially to their constricted way of life, those who refuse to partake in infantile, unquestioning adoration of empty symbols like Party, flag, military and religion.


...I think the main difference between the two groups is that while both share a history of hurt from having been picked on in their younger days, by and large the liberal nerds rechannelled their persecution into a sympathy for the underdog, while the ones who became freepers, LGFers, or Jonah Goldberg decided they'd salve their wounds by making themselves over in the image of their former oppressors.


...They're all so scared. They're scared of everything. I mean, yeah, life is full of bad shit that can get you hurt or killed, but the rest of us manage to function without the nagging fear that a brigade of scary scary 'Islamofascists' are going to suddenly appear and launch a human wave attack on our local Target while we're there, pricing the holiday-print paper towels.

...They are your informers. They are your collaborators. They are the ones who would turn your ass in in a heartbeat, if they thought it would ingratiate them with whoever holds the power. This is why they're OK with wiretapping, rendition, torture and other creepy police-state powers. It's what the guys at the top -- the (currently) successful versions of themselves -- want and that's just fine with them. They think the guys at the top will protect them, and to hell with everybody else.

Just keep suckin' up to the boss, wingnuts, and maybe the axe will fall on somebody else."

Land of the Free! Except, you know, not...

Daily Kos: Bush to criminalize protesters under Patriot Act as "disruptors":
"...A 'little-noticed provision' in the latest version of the Patriot Act will empower Secret Service to charge protesters with a new crime of 'disrupting major events including political conventions and the Olympics.' Secret Service would also be empowered to charge persons with 'breaching security' and to charge for 'entering a restricted area' which is 'where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.' In short, be sure to stay in those wired, fenced containments or free speech zones.

Who is the "disruptor"? Bush Team history tells us the disruptor is an American citizen with the audacity to attend Bush events wearing a T-shirt that criticizes Bush; or a member of civil rights, environmental, anti-war or counter-recruiting groups who protest Bush policies; or a person who invades Bush's bubble by criticizing his policies. A disruptor is also a person who interferes in someone else's activity, such as interrupting Bush when he is speaking at a press conference or during an interview.

What are the parameters of the crime of "disruptive behavior"? The dictionary defines "disruptive" as "characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination." The American Medical Association defines disruptive behavior as a "style of interaction" with people that interferes with patient care, and can include behavior such as "foul language; rude, loud or offensive comments; and intimidation of patients and family members."

What are the rules of engagement for "disruptors"? Some Bush Team history of their treatment of disruptors provide some clues on how this administration will treat disruptors in the future.

(1) People perceived as disruptors may be preemptively ejected from events before engaging in any disruptive conduct.

In the beginning of this war against disruptors, Americans were ejected from taxpayer funded events where Bush was speaking. At first the events were campaign rallies during the election, and then the disruptor ejectment policy was expanded to include Bush's post election campaign-style events on public policy issues on his agenda, such as informing the public on medicare reform and the like. If people drove to the event in a car with a bumper sticker that criticized Bush's policies or wore T-shirts with similar criticism, they were disruptors who could be ejected from the taxpayer event even before they engaged in any disruptive behavior. White House press secretary McClellan defended such ejectments as a proper preemptive strike against persons who may disrupt an event: "If we think people are coming to the event to disrupt it, obviously, they're going to be asked to leave."

...So now the Patriot Act, which was argued before enactment as a measure to fight foreign terrorists, is being amended to make clear that it also applies to American citizens who have the audacity to disrupt President Bush wherever his bubble may travel. If this provision is enacted into law, then Bush will have a law upon which to expand the type of people who constitute disruptors and the type of activities that constitute disruptive activities. And, then throw them all in jail."

Coffee and Donuts

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

Personally, I think Fu Manchu did it.

Chinese cartography | China beat Columbus to it, perhaps |
"...Columbus found the New World in 1492; Dias discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488; and Magellan set off to circumnavigate the world in 1519. However, there is one difficulty with this confident assertion of European mastery: it may not be true.

It seems more likely that the world and all its continents were discovered by a Chinese admiral named Zheng He, whose fleets roamed the oceans between 1405 and 1435. His exploits, which are well documented in Chinese historical records, were written about in a book which appeared in China around 1418 called “The Marvellous Visions of the Star Raft”."

Taoist in old age

Robert Anton Wilson | Santa Cruz Metro Article:
"OK, so at what point is Wilson kidding and at what point is he serious?

'The older I get, the less seriously I take anything,' says Wilson. 'The Chinese say the wise become Confucian in good times, Buddhist in bad times and Taoist in old age. I'm old enough to be a Taoist. I don't see anything very seriously.' Not even, as it turns out, mortality.

'I know I'm going to die sometime soon: five weeks, five months, five years,' says Wilson. 'I don't know, maybe 50 years if stem cell research moves along. But I don't know and I don't care. And I can't take it seriously anymore. If George Bush is president of the free world, who can take anything seriously?' "


Robert Anton Wilson | Santa Cruz Metro Article:
"'Intelligence is function of feedback. The more feedback you get, the more intelligent you become. The less feedback you get, the stupider you become.' "

"Faith is a reason to become stupid"

Robert Anton Wilson | Santa Cruz Metro Article:
"'Faith-based organizations say we don't need any more research, we know enough now, we can be dogmatic, whereas researchers say we don't know enough now, investigate, research,' argues Wilson. 'Faith is a reason to become stupid: 'From this point forward, I will remain stupid.' To me, faith-based organizations are responsible for everything I see wrong with this planet. Research-based organizations are responsible for everything I like about it. Before the French Revolution, the average life expectancy was 37 years. Now it's 78 years. All due to research-based organizations. Not at all due to faith-based organizations. All faith-based organizations give you is George Bush. Research-based organizations give you cures for disease.'

At age 17, Wilson was planning a career in electrical engineering when he came across a copy of Alfred Korzybski's Science and Sanity while perusing the library bookshelves at Brooklyn Technical High School. Korzbyski -- who will be featured in the 'Tale of the Tribe' class along with other seminal thinkers like Giordano Bruno, Giambatista Vico, Friederich Nietzsche, Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon and Marshall McLuhan had as profound an influence on Wilson's young mind as his work would have on that of later generations.

Wilson was particularly taken with the Polish semanticist's critique of newer European languages. 'Korzybski suggested dozens of reforms in our speech and our writings, most of which I try to follow. One of them is if people said 'maybe' more often, the world would suddenly become stark, staring sane. Can you see Jerry Falwell saying: 'Maybe God hates gay people. Maybe Jesus is the son of God.' Every muezzin in Islam resounding at night in booming voices: 'There is no God except maybe Allah. And maybe Mohammed is his papa. Think about how sane the world would become after a while.'

Maybe it would.

'Well, yeah,' says Wilson. 'Maybe. "

Sexual Identity, sexual fluidity and The Matrix

Rolling Stone : The Mystery of Larry Wachowski:
"One night in January 2001, Larry Wachowski, co-director of the blockbuster Matrix movies, walked into a dark club in West Hollywood, where the rules of identity easily blurred, just like in his films. The Dungeon served the devoted BDSM -- bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism -- community in Los Angeles.

...In the weeks following their first encounter, Larry Wachowski returned to the Dungeon to see Mistress Strix. Boundaries fell swiftly, stunning the Los Angeles bondage community, which prides itself on the fact that mistresses keep their submissives at arm's length. The relationship between Larry and Ilsa, both in their thirties, would eventually destroy two marriages and possibly alter the creative course of one of the most influential movie trilogies of the past quarter-century...

..."Larry is a cross-dresser, and his wife was not comfortable with him dressing as a woman. I trusted Larry to be just a client, and Ilsa to be just a dominatrix." Sources in the Los Angeles BDSM community say Ilsa Strix was not the first "pro dom" that Larry Wachowski visited.

Psychiatrists disagree about what forces are at work in men who cross-dress and take the ultimate step of having gender-reassignment surgery. One camp considers men of this type to have a "gender-identity disorder," to be "women trapped in men's bodies." In recent years, another group of doctors labeled some men who demonstrate these tendencies to be autogynephiles -- straight men who are essentially sexual fetishists, aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women.

...At the Cannes Film Festival that year, when Larry and Ilsa appeared together on the red carpet, Ilsa looked stunning, like a movie star -- perfect skin, blond hair falling to her shoulders, white teeth gleaming. Larry Wachowski did not look like Larry Wachowski. His face looked feminized; his eyebrows were plucked, he wore large teardrop earrings, and a knit cap covered his head. His fingernails were manicured. Both Larry and Ilsa seemed ecstatic. The press, including columnist Liz Smith, reported that Larry might be taking female hormones, in anticipation of sex-change surgery."


The Most Succesful CounterCulture Ever -
"Many attempts are made to counter the dominant mainstream powerbase. Whether you call it counterculture, subculture or countermovement or whatever, the idea is the same. Let’s organise a group of people so we can brand together and stop being part of the system and build our own world.

Our own world where we can be free and live as we want. Such initiatives are doomed to fail. All the big legendary movements failed horrendously. The beat generation disappeared before most people noted it existed. The hippies now all drive middle of the road cars and live with their wife in a suburb. The punks are dead for quiet some time now. All failures, except one …

House music is still very much alive and still expanding ever more so.

...Now I know that techno is not big in the US. And this is another sign how viable this movement is. R&B and Hip Hop are assimilated by the Borg Recording Industry of America. Resistance is Futile, you will be assimilated. That’s why the mainstream outlets push R&B and Hip Hop. It fits their business-model of having a famous artist to whom fans come bring all their earnings as soon as their pay-check arrives.

Not so in house music. Producers and DJ’s take their fair share of the loot, but only through party-organisers and club-owners. There are hotspots in the US like Miami, New York or Detroit. But it’s not any near the situation in Europe. England is sold on house music, Germany has crossed over, France is crazy about it. Eastern Europe is totally bonanza. We even got a complete island owned by the house-revolutionist.

Here in the Netherlands we have one million people going to raves, clubs and parties every single weekend. We have a couple of nationwide radio stations that are owned by conspirators. But there is more.

More important than the financial buying power this movement has generated, are the neurological consequences. House music is linked to drugs use everywhere. Positive, mind changing & growth enhancing drugs like MDMA, mushrooms and GHB. After a couple of parties most people can’t revert back to being normal. Ever again!

There is a big difference between house music and rock music. Rock music is a descendant of the blues. It is about being miserable and negative. House music is about feeling good, about looking at the bright side of life and finding the positive more important.

One of the famous Dutch house saying is “Lekker belangrijk” which roughly translates to “Like we care”. It’s said whenever someone starts about his job, his income or the success he has had. Everyone is equal when people are celebrating (high as kites).

...It even gets better. Even the most braindead, rightwing factory worker changes his behaviour after some good partying. No longer he is interested in working his way up the social ladder, making a career and following instructions as left by mom & dad, the state and church. O no, this new born rebel has a new cause to fight. To party the next weekend.

One of the looming crises the establishment faces today is that our generation don’t want to work as hard as they used to. Job security isn’t as important any more. Any job that will pay for next weekend’s party will do.

To sum up: this is a life changing counterculture that is raking in money. There is so much money involved that it will never die."

Karma and the Isolation of Facts -

Karma and the Isolation of Facts -
"The popular view of karma is that if you do good you will be rewarded with even more good later on in your life. If you do bad, bad things will happen to you. We see that this is ostensible untrue: so many bad people have great fortunes and even more good people have great misfortunes.

This is what forces adherents of karma to adopt either, heaven and hell (yes, Christians have some kind of karmic belief), or start believing in reincarnation. Otherwise karma would be unfair.

But that is the whole point of karma. Karma is a blind force that only states that whatever you do, it has consequences. You cannot avoid getting karma. Everything you do either gives you good karma, or bad karma. And you will face the consequences no matter what you do.

So how do you make karma part of your daily life? Well, you don’t and here’s why:

There is an old problem called the isolation of facts. The idea of karma is that due to some facts you did, you will face some factual consequences. Lucky for us one cannot isolate facts. Even though facts means the opposite, in reality facts do not exist.

Facts are a fabrication, an abstraction. The problem is this: what do you count to be part of a fact and what not. Facts cannot be isolated. Everything is connected to everything else...

This means that even though one accepts karma in ones life, you cannot know which deed is good and which one is evil. Hence you can ignore karma completely. Your most benign act might have the most evil consequences. Not only for you, but for the whole world. Imagine the loveliest couple giving birth to the next Hitler.

Fact is that you have no way of knowing what is good or evil, and given karma as it is, it’s best and most safe to ignore it completely."


Puking on Paroketh -
"I love Nietzsche. I can't recommend reading Nietzsche enough, but hey, that just might be me. My Nietzsche explains things like this (remember this is Nietzsche, not me. I would never take such an irresponsible viewpoint):

You have the Ubermensch and the Untermensch (don't you just love this right after not caring about fascism?). What makes the difference? The Untermensch needs a story to justify his actions. Where as the Ubermensch doesn't.

This is why I think it’s important to learn storytelling and go beyond it. People feel that they have to account for their behaviour. That they have to give “Good Reasons” why they did such or so. Not the Ubermensch. He just answers 'Why? Because it was my will.'... Where as the Untermensch comes along with an elaborate story trying to justify his action as not being insane...

By the way this is not fascism at all. Within fascism the Untermensch tells each other these stories to b(r)and together and exert power over the Ubermensch and other groups of Untermenschen. Fascism is just another Untermensch label."

"...the world is too big and too small at the same time."

Puking on Paroketh -
"Because well, you see, one of the many problems is that the world is too big and too small at the same time. Media and marketing are making the world smaller and smaller by bombarding us with more and more images throughout the day. On the one hand we are powerless because the world is too big. On the other hand you are held responsible for all the horrible things you see. Once a year I go out and celebrate the day I met my lovely girlfriend in a three Michelin star restaurant (together of course, not alone). Sensational food. But at a price where you can feed someone in Africa for at least a month. How can you do that?

How can you go on living like you do while other people in the world are dying in droves? Well the answer is: very easy. Reject equalitarian notions and become elitist. Or better yet: be honest and accept your elite position. Don’t tell me tall tales about how you are making the world a better place because you ain’t.

Make your world smaller. Realise that your world is limited to the people that you care for and love. Why not limit your responsibility as well to just the well being of those people.

Who cares that the US is more and more fascist? That Europe is a modern day vassal state? How does it impact your personal life and the ones you love? Probably not much. In fact you profit from it big time. Ask anyone in Africa or in North Korea. Why are people nowadays more and more against the war Iraq? Not because they think injustice has be done. But because it hurts the ones they love. Friends dying in Iraq. Price of gas going up. Not because they think it's unfair for the Iraqi's. Only a little more than 100.000 Iraqi’s died since the war started. That’s a lot less than the one million who died during the sanction years. It would be hypocritical to complain now."

The New Slavery

Money Management -
"Some time ago, the world abolished that wonderful trade the Dutch invented: slavery. But those who have, had to come up with some new trick to keep the masses slaving in their factories and plantations.

So the invented “your own home” and the mortgage. Nowadays people slave away in sick buildings with imbeciles as co-workers because they have to pay the rent. They sell hours of their lives away in order to be the same as the guy next door.

No, to do better, you have to quit your job and slack off, superior mutant! Start your own business. Be your own boss. Learn some kind of skill that actually sells itself."

Disbelief and Deconstruction

The Free Rider -
"The first master of disbelief was Karl Marx. He opened our eyes and showed us that the history of the world wasn’t some Geist’s march, but the struggle between those who have and those who don’t.

Then Nietzsche, the second master of disbelief. He opened our eyes even more. Class struggle was nothing more than everyone’s personal Will to Power. The weak banded together to defeat the strong. No high morals behind socialism and its communist followers at all. Only the decadency of the anti-life morals of the Christians repackaged with the people as the new Christ.

And finally Freud appeared and tried to show us that it wasn’t even our own Will to Power at work, but our subconscious. The great actor unmasked as a simple biological automaton.

The path to trance-end this biological automaton I call magic."

Following Bliss

Aliveness 101: Honoring the process. . .:
"... the rush of joy that the athlete experienced at that moment didn’t just come because of a success on the mat, but instead that the success on the mat had served as a vehicle for a different understanding, and that this understanding was actually a certain kind of pleasure that only comes in moments where you learn something new about yourself. Where you have discovered it, through trials and risk, and made it through to another side.

..."Joseph Campbell described this kind of journey really well when he said that each individual must follow their own bliss.

I have heard people interpret that as selfish. But it only appears selfish from a particularly restricted point of view. The restriction is that what you feel may bring you bliss, may also be potentially unhealthy for you, and others around you. And, I do think that can often be true.

However, should we see past that stage, and perhaps no longer find those potentially dangerous habits as ‘healthy’, and therefore lacking in joy. . . .when we have fully realized the areas, shadows, and spaces where suffering was involved for all kinds of people, I believe we grow tired of it. . .that happening may very well come to you as the thought, “this does not make me happy, this cannot be following my bliss!”

After all, BLISS is a huge word. It’s loaded with all kinds of very cool sensory implications. So it spurs that idea, “hey, it must be more then this!” . . .and that brings about changes in the entire scene.

Changes for the good, spaces for the happiness. . . . . ..and much - much more."


"The old games will always be with us;
Spontaneity vs. Control
Freedom vs. Structure
Love vs. Isolation
-Tim Leary"

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Basic Summary

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Basic Summary:
"This guide to the ideas in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People will help anyone more effectively build relationships and motivate others. The following has been edited down to simply establish the book’s core ideas...

* Never criticize, condemn or complain.
o Self-criticism is extremely rare. Your criticism won’t be welcome.
o Criticism makes others defensive and resentful.
o Positive Reinforcement works better.

* Make the other person feel important.
o People deeply desire feeling important and appreciated.
o Praise others’ strengths and they’ll strive to reinforce your opinion.

* Frame requests in terms of what motivates others.
o Ask yourself: “Why should someone want to do as I ask?”"

Environmentalism as Patriotism

Sustainable Business, Green Business, Renewable Energy, Organic & Green Investing, Green Capital:
"...being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do. Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence - that is for sissies, defeatists and people who are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.

Living green is not just a 'personal virtue,' as Mr. Cheney says. It's a national security imperative.

The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It's petrolism. Petrolism is my term for the corrupting, antidemocratic governing practices - in oil states from Russia to Nigeria and Iran - that result from a long run of $60-a-barrel oil. Petrolism is the politics of using oil income to buy off one's citizens with subsidies and government jobs, using oil and gas exports to intimidate or buy off one's enemies, and using oil profits to build up one's internal security forces and army to keep oneself ensconced in power, without any transparency or checks and balances." » The Live Superheroes Of Indianapolis » The Live Superheroes Of Indianapolis:
"mr. ellis

hi,i’m a superhero…..seriously.

some friends and i have become tired of the muggers, rapists, and general riff raff causing problems in our city.

this is not a joke.

we’ve started a group called the Justice Society of Justice (offering twice the Justice as the leading competitors) and we go out and fight crime on a semi nightly basis.

...originally,we just thought it’d be funny to go out as superheroes and “fight crime” as a sort of street theater…but after the first hour and the sheer exhilaration of it all,we completely changed our mind. there are real problems,and no one wants to deal with them. some one has to do something.

...say a small prayer to jack kirby for us."

I'm not saying he's right... but I understand.

You Are A Cog.: Quotes From My Office:
"Quotes From My Office
'I'd rather err on the side of 'fuck you' than on the side of 'fuck me''"


The Rude Pundit:
"Oh, sweet Martha-Ann Bomgardner, you who would not take the name of Alito as your own, come over here and dry your tears on the Rude Pundit's shoulder. Yes, yes, it is a shame that Sammy had to endure such harsh questions in his hearing, questions like 'What do you think?' and 'Did you mean it when you said?' and 'Why did you do that?' It's so sad, isn't it, that big mean Ted Kennedy wanted to know why Sammy joined the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

...Aww, you cry so deliciously, poor Martha-Ann. The Rude Pundit bets that you cry more bravely than that ten-year old girl when she was strip-searched by cops as they probed her ten-year old vagina and anus for packets of drugs. The Rude Pundit bets that you cry more loudly than that retarded guy whose co-workers sodomized him with a broom handle. The Rude Pundit bets that the tears of everyone ever affected by your husband's decisions now and in the future pale in comparison to the tears that streak your face right now."

Sacred and Profane Masks

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire:
"“I think in the east there is a whole different perception of the cosmos, it's architecture, and existence in general,” explains Chopra of that “voice.” “In the East there is also the great Pantheon of Gods. And each God represents a certain state of being. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and represents our quest for luxury and comfort. Ganesh is the God if wisdom and remover of obstacle - he represents our aspirations toward wisdom and enlightenment. The Indian Gods and what they represent are the seeds to great Super Heroes! I also think there is a certain acceptance of contradictions in Eastern mythology - a basic understanding that the sacred and the profane, the sinner and the saints are actually the same players who have just managed to exchange masks for the time being. The mythic traditions of the east feature a lot of these elements and I think they resonate more and more with folks here.”"

Friday, January 13, 2006

The essence of Batman

"Batman/Bruce to me is a Renaissance Man. He's got an amazing amount of skill sets that are all dialed in on the genius level. He's a detective, a criminologist, an escape artist, a martial artist, a science expert and a weapons expert, etc. But in the end, as it's been mentioned before in other places, he's a human being, with all the flaws and such that make him even more interesting as a dramatic character.

Bruce/Batman to me, is not driven by the death of his parents anymore. Yes, it was the catalyst and a driving force at first, and yes, seeing his parents murdered before his young eyes is something that will stay with him forever, but I don't feel he's haunted by it anymore. What Bruce does now is honor their memory each and every night by going out into Gotham as its protector and in a strange way its advocate. Because what he does each and every night is saying something to the people of the city: This city will never fall prey to the evildoers. It may be banged up and kicked around sometimes, but it's always gonna get back up and keep fighting, keep living, because as trite as it may sound, to keep on keeping on is what it's all about. Evil and darkness will not win. Good will triumph as long as you don't turn your head - or as that old saying goes (I'm paraphrasing): all that takes for evil to win is for a good man to say/or do nothing."


Boing Boing: Photo: chicks smooch in Tienanmen Square under guards and Mao: "...chicks smooch in Tienanmen Square under guards and Mao"

Torso was a great graphic novel

...and Fight Club directed by Fincher is one of my favorite flicks. So this should be a slam-dunk.
I Watch Stuff! - David Fincher directs Torso:
"According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Fincher is set to direct Torso, a thriller based on Brian Michael Bendis' graphic novel of the same name. "

Sometimes folks miss the obvious

Disinformation :: Norwegian Doomsday Vault:
"'In Norway they're building a Doomsday Vault. It costs three million bucks and it will house a supply of two million seeds from every one of the world's crops.

'I'm not sure what scenario they're picturing but here's the problem as I see it: It is being built a mere 1000 km away from the North Pole.

'How could there be an Armageddon that destroys all of the crops and seeds, yet allows transportation to the North Pole? And who exactly will be left to make the trip? If they're really serious they should stick some breeding pairs of humans in there."

Well I've NEVER experienced anything like this. Right Sandy?

The Dilbert Blog: Men Versus Women:
"A friend shared with me an observation that I thought was provocative enough to get you all riled up. He says that when men tell a story about how their day went, it’s usually focused on something good that happened. When women tell a story about their day, it’s usually focused on something negative."

More healing power of religion... [or, the Devil shoots! He scores!]

The Dilbert Blog: The Devil:
"According to MSNBC, about 50 people died in Saudi Arabia during the annual ritual of throwing stones at the devil. Apparently a stampede broke out when somebody tripped on luggage. That sounds like a poorly conceived punch line, but it actually happened. And it isn’t the first time. In 1990, 1,426 people died in a stampede while throwing stones at the very same devil. (No word as to whether luggage was involved.) And in 2004, the devil killed another 244 stone-throwers the same way. By my count, the score is Devil 1,720 and Believers 0.

This is on the same day that the guy who shot John Paul II was freed. Clearly, the devil is having a good day.

I think it’s interesting that when you pray to God for a new bike, it hardly ever materializes in your bedroom within seconds. But when you throw stones at the devil, quite often you get an immediate response. That’s an example of good customer service."

Top Secret: US Navy SEAL’s Cryptid Ape Video at

Top Secret: US Navy SEAL’s Cryptid Ape Video at
"I’ve learned, through a confidential source, that at least one unit of the US Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) has had a remarkable recent encounter with unknown apes in Africa. And a video was taken...

What the former SEAL relates is that he was involved in covert operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1997 and 2002. According to his account, his team observed a group of thirteen 'chimpanzee-like' creatures between 4.5 to 5 feet tall, uniformly gray all over their bodies, with rows of seemingly porcupine-like quills running the length of their backs.

The unidentified apes walked bipedally and were observed by the SEAL team in the act of killing another animal. When the creatures became excited or agitated, the quills or spines stood erect from their bodies."

Political civility

Republican sermons about civility:
"But having to listen to Republicans piously lecture everyone on the need for dignity and civility in our political process in the wake of that sorry contrived spectacle yesterday is so patently corrupt that even our national media ought to be able to see that. But they can’t, and so they are actually operating from the premise that Democrats engaged in character assaults on Sam Alito yesterday which truly offend Republican standards of decency and are simply beyond the pale.
...These Paragons of Civility who are oozing sermons today about how such attacks prevent 'good people' from entering public service are the same political lowlifes who spent the 1990s screaming that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered in order to cover up their affair (even though she’s a lesbian) and that Bill Clinton is a serial rapist who oversaw a drug-running operation from an Arkansas airstrip. They spent many years and tens of millions of dollars investigating Bill Clinton’s penis, semen stains on dresses, and Henry Cisneros’ mistress.

They routinely depict political opponents (such as Al Gore and Howard Dean) as being mentally unstable lunatics, and insinuate that war heroes like John Kerry and Jack Murtha are cowards who shot themselves on purpose in order to get their medals. Those who criticize the war policies of the Commander-in-Chief are traitors and subversives, and are deemed to be 'on the other side.' Rush Limbaugh has spent the last 20 years pumping into the heads of 20 million followers overtly eliminationist rhetoric directed at anyone who deviates from their ideology. He has been joined by a ca"

I get this weird feeling too... of not keeping up, of this idea that I might be missing something...

This Is Your Brain On Tech / With a mind crammed with gizmo jargon, where's the room for sex and love and deep, earthly knowing?:
"Can you keep up? Can you process it all? Because if you desire to partake of the modern world and take full advantage of its manic all-consuming gizmo joys, you pretty much have to. A functional understanding of such hyperactive tech data is the modern requirement, the mandatory condition of urban existence. Participate, or fumble and stumble by the wayside as new possibilities for communication and invention and frustration race by, and you're stuck standing there, pining for rotary telephones, pondering a time before digital toasters, thinkin' 'bout naps.

...Verily, as I race through the mad wonderland of modern tech like Mary-Kate Olsen through a bottle of tequila, am I limiting my ability to learn, once in my life, the fine art of dendrology? Orchid taxonomies? Whale song? Do I still have sufficient intellectual space to learn conversational French or to bake superlative croque monsieurs or build my own fine oak furniture? Is it too late? Am I frying all my wiring? Or maybe, just maybe, helping it all function better?

...But you also might wonder what the hell is happening to my short-attention-span mind as I learn, as fast as my brain will allow, the 14,000 functions of my Canon Digital Rebel, or how to process photos in RAW format (which, by the way, I have zero need to do but oh my God I don't want to not know such a thing because gosh what if I want to suddenly become a pro photog and start shooting more than just snapshots of family and dogs and my girlfriend in the shower? Such is the odd peer-pressure of techdom).

You might wonder whether it's all worthwhile, or if I am, in fact, going partially insane. But one thing is sure: We would both stand in awe at the power and range of the human brain, our seemingly infinite capacity to learn and evolve and fire up new synapses to put it all together into some sort of frantic, kaleidoscopic tapestry. Hell, the fact that we can still function amid all of this gorgeous and maddening tech noise, not to mention (in my case) still think reasonably clearly and write semi-coherent sentences and pay my bills and have multi-angled sex with my SO and still remain upright, is indeed a testament to the variegated genius of the human animal. And also, of course, to wine.

But it is not enough. It is never, ever enough. Flipping through the broadband digital cable TV feed the other night, I caught a random home-remodeling show, all about how to turn this ugly little room in this upscale little house into a sexy little den, all recessed ceilings and stone shelving and this amazing tile flooring with a round ornamental centerpiece in the middle, and oh my freaking God, the range of knowledge of basic materials and techniques and tools, just to install some goddamn flooring, was like listening to a docent at the Louvre explain Matisse to a child. I mean, how can I learn all that? Where will I possibly put it all? When do I start?

And when, pray tell, do I get to put it all down and take a deep breath and just go read a damn book?"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

An honest deity.

" ex-Air Force officer named John Presmont was sitting in his room on East 31st Street in New York City when a voice spoke to him and told him he would be the founder of the next great world religion... For several months before that, he had been laboriously plowing through all the scriptures of the great religions - Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist, Taoist, and so forth. Earlier still, he had chewed and digested a great deal of modern psychology and sociology. ...Nonetheless, he was abashed by the Voice.

'Why does it have to be me?' he cried.

'Because you're so gullible,' the Voice answered solemnly."

Positive Attitude

Robert Louis Stevenson:
How to Be Positive

* Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

* Make the best of your circumstances. Everyone has problems. The trick is to make laughter outweigh the tears.

* Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.

* You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.

* Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.

* Do the things you enjoy doing, but stay out of debt.

* Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary burdens are harder to bear than the actual ones.

* Hate poisons the soul, so don’t carry grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

* Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.

* Don’t hold post-mortems. Don’t spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes.

* Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

* Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

Realistic Idealism

Chet Day's Natural Health Circus: Energy Sinks:
"A few years ago, I would have dropped everything I was doing and would have spent hours trying to explain my point of view to someone who confronted me...

You see, in those days, I not only still wanted to please everyone, but I also still thought it was possible to please everyone if I just wrote hard enough and made myself clear enough.

I hadn't yet learned that some individuals aren't as open-minded as others, and that some people are so entrenched in their points of view that no matter what you say to them you can't move them off the hard rock on which they stand.

Of course, the letter I spent hours writing might or might not be read with any degree of attention, but you can be sure a response would be forthcoming that would require more thought and more writing, and this might continue for days.

A classic energy sink.

Was anything gained by a dialogue like this?

No, not really, since both parties had points of view they considered the correct one.

Was anything lost by a dialogue like this?

Yes, hours and hours of time and energy that would have done more good had both of us involved in the energy sink used that time and energy for something other than to argue our particular point of view.

...But do I reject what all energy sink letters say?

Not at all, and this is an important point for learning to deal with energy sinks.

By not engaging in the energy sink, you save valuable time and nerve power; but by ignoring what the person had to say, you may miss a possible opportunity for growth."

Perspectives on life via the modern American workforce.

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 4PM Finalize Itineraries:
"4PM Finalize Itineraries

Grunt: Can I get those itineraries?
Agent: No, life's a bitch.
Grunt: Life's what you make of it, not what it makes of you."

You can't stop the signal...

Wired News: Hackers Rebel Against Spy Cams:
"When the Austrian government passed a law this year allowing police to install closed-circuit surveillance cameras in public spaces without a court order, the Austrian civil liberties group Quintessenz vowed to watch the watchers.

Members of the organization worked out a way to intercept the camera images with an inexpensive, 1-GHz satellite receiver. The signal could then be descrambled using hardware designed to enhance copy-protected video as it's transferred from DVD to VHS tape.

The Quintessenz activists then began figuring out how to blind the cameras with balloons, lasers and infrared devices.

And, just for fun, the group created an anonymous surveillance system that uses face-recognition software to place a black stripe over the eyes of people whose images are recorded.

...Dutch journalist Brenno de Winter warned that the European Parliament's support for data retention doesn't ensure security, and makes citizens vulnerable to automated traffic analysis of who communicates with whom through phone calls and internet connections. "What we have seen is a system that fails because we miss out on too much information, and even if we have all that information, it doesn't give us the right information and it is easy to circumvent," said de Winter.

CCC member and security researcher Frank Rieger said hackers should provide secure communications for political and social movements and encourage the widespread use of anonymity technologies. He said people on the other side of the camera need to be laughed at and shamed.

"It must not be cool anymore to have access to this data," said Rieger, who argued that Western societies are becoming democratically legitimized police states ruled by an unaccountable elite. "We have enough technical knowledge to turn this around; let's expose them in public, publish everything we know about them and let them know how it feels to be under surveillance.""

Good thing there's no more racism. Or... NC in the news!

But golly, I lived in NC for 17 years and I never saw any racism!

No, wait.

I mean the complete, utter and absolute opposite of that.

[Oh, and you get the joke? A black book! See, cause they were black! God I hate people sometimes.] - Greensboro, North Carolina: News: Official: Wray hid 'black book’:
"Former police Chief David Wray misled city leaders when he covered up the actions of a “secret police” unit that targeted black officers for unfair internal investigation, Greensboro officials said.

Part of the cover-up included the hiding of a “black book” that contained photos of at least 19 African American officers, officials said late Tuesday. The book was eventually recovered by investigators probing allegations of misconduct within the Greensboro Police Department."

Feels like a little bit of truth. Or, why I hate corporate media, pt 2,784

"...I appreciate that Alito's wife may geuinely find this stressful and bummer for her, but I just can't stand the fact that our media which can't seem to understand that people who support groups which try to reduce women an minorities on campus, who rule in favor of warrantless searches of 10 year old girls, who will likely declare the uterus state property, who shoot down almost any racial discrimination claim, and who support the practice of striking jurors based on their race might cause a few tears as well.

The media keeps declaring these hearings to be just political theater, and then they focus on the soap opera.

This. Shit. Matters. Pretend you care, or get new goddamn jobs."

Those wacky Italians. [Good Catholics, every last one of them.]

Oddly Enough News Article |
"Most Italians feel more guilty about over-eating than they do about cheating on their partners, a survey has found, suggesting that people in Casanova's native land care more about staying slim than staying faithful."

"You're right."

The Peaceful Warrior Quarterly, January 2006:
"People argue endlessly over the issues of gun control, abortion, religion, politics, sex education, crime, and drugs. Yet nothing seems to change. Do you have any suggestions how to bring people together?

Today, as in the ancient world, two polarized schools of thought fight for dominance: At one extreme we find the idealists, including many religious orders and political theorists. At the other extreme we find the realists, such as many mechanical engineers, police detectives, and successful politicians. With their fundamentally differing worldviews, idealists and realists propose divergent solutions to society’s problems.

If this world were populated only by realists, we would live in a pragmatic, outcome-oriented, cynical society, where the ends always justify the means—a society of efficiency and expediency, staring straight ahead, never looking up toward the heavens to glimpse our highest potential or possibilities. And if our world were populated only by idealists, society would collapse under the weight of one utopian experiment after another—well-intentioned but unworkable systems like Communism, which had to be imposed on an unwilling populace through authoritarian control, intimidation, and propaganda.

Idealism is what we strive for; realism is how we actually live. Both schools of thought have benefits and liabilities, and both are essential to the whole, balancing one another like day and night, sun and moon. Somehow, we have to bridge this gap—not by convincing one worldview to agree with the other, but through understanding, tolerance, and respect—finding common ground, so that those arguing across the fence over gun control, abortion, and drugs do not simply see one another as evil or crazy.

Within each of us is an idealist and a realist; we wish to do what is ideally best but end up settling for the best we can do right now. We are real people striving toward our ideals.

The following anecdote expresses one way to bridge the approaches of realist and idealist: While walking through a marketplace, a wise man came upon an excited crowd circling two men who were arguing passionately. Shaking their fists and yelling their opposing views, they were about to exchange blows when the sage happened upon them and asked one of the combatants to tell his side of the story. After hearing one side, the sage pronounced, “You are right.” Immediately, the other adversary demanded his right to be heard. So the sage listened, and concluded, “You’re right.”

“But they can’t both be right,” observed a bystander.

“You’re right,” said the sage before continuing on his way."

8 mins of some really kick-ass parkour running

The Peaceful Warrior Quarterly, January 2006

The Peaceful Warrior Quarterly, January 2006:
"Q: Should we judge ourselves and others, or accept any kind of behavior?

A: Judge with compassion.

The universe was created to teach us, not for us to judge.
Yet we judge ourselves and our world.
Those quick to judge are slow to compassion.
Those slow to compassion have forgotten that
hurtful people don’t go to hell;
they are already in hell;
that is why they behave as they do—
and ultimately no one gets away with anything.
Resenting people only allows others
to live in our head rent-free.
And despite our judgments,
reality happens anyway.
So let us judge with compassion,
until we finally realize that
our primary business is not forgiving others
but asking forgiveness."

Zen Judaism

Drink tea and nourish life.
With the first sip... joy.
With the second... satisfaction.
With the third, peace.
With the fourth, a danish.

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.

There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?

The Tao does not speak.
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others.
The Tao is not Jewish.

To find the Buddha, look within.
Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
You might want to see a specialist.

"Both light and darkness exist, but we can choose where to rest our eyes, our attention, our hopes and dreams." - Dan Millman

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rocky Balboa

I don't care. I'm gonna see the next Rocky.

By bringing the world Rocky III, Stallone is allowed to do anything he wants. Ever. And I'll watch it.

[This is funny though. I would also pay to see this.]

I Watch Stuff! - The Best Movie News Ever:
"If I were directing this bad boy, I'd trash whatever script they've got now and just film scene after scene of Sylvester Stallone old-people stuff. Like yelling at the TV and forgetting where he put his reading glasses. And then every 15 minutes or so, a boxing glove would appear on screen and knock him out."

Being from the South, I'm almost ashamed I've never said this.

Next time I head to NC, I'm totally gonna find a brother and ask 'em about the "slave thing".

And then I will get my ass handed to me by an angry black man.

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Meeting with HR:
"2PM Meeting with HR

Co-worker #1: I pretty much hate that stupid nursing consultant.
Co-worker #2: I know. Me too.
Co-worker #1: She's so phony. It's 'cause she's Southern.
Co-worker #2: I know! I hate Southerners! And I'm not even black!
Co-worker #1: Uh...what?
Co-worker #2: Well, you know. The slave thing. Don't you hate her because of the slave thing?
Co-worker #1: Uh, no."

Why American Business Fails

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 2PM Training:
"2PM Training

Tech: Okay, now right-click there.
Admin: Here?
Tech: No, right-click. Right there.
Admin: Okay...
Tech: No, get rid of that. Right-click. Right there. Right-click. Right-click...Which button are you clicking?
Admin: The left one."

Can't buy me love

The Lazy Way to Success: Work: No amount of money makes it worth doing:
"Why would anyone who already is worth a billion dollars continue to try to earn even more? Unless that guy is using ALL his wealth to create a healthier, happier, more peaceful world (which no billionaire seems to be doing), then that man clearly needs to get a life. I mean business is fun and creative and all that but, criminy, there are higher, vastly more fulfilling, and infinitely more useful pursuits than spending one’s life amassing excessive net worth.

Another weird thing about money is that its value is an illusion. The value of money is based on mutual agreement. Everyone has somehow accepted that money is worth something and exchanges goods for it. Unfortunately that value erodes over time as governments print as much new money as it wants.

Tragically, people spend their precious lives, even to the point of sacrificing their health, doing stuff they hate, and/or doing stuff that is actually harmful to others and the environment, and/or doing stuff that has no intrinsic value, just so they can get money. That is an enormous price to pay to amass something that can’t buy love, health, happiness, or spiritual fulfillment and that is destined to be worthless."

Kung Fu Monkey: Writing: Characters and Race

Kung Fu Monkey: Writing: Characters and Race:
"Let's face it -- if television showed real life, then 25% of Christian characters would be what we typically class as evangelicals, 15% would be atheists, one out of ten characters would be black, one out of ten would be Hispanic, and the same number would be completely foreign born. Only one out of four would have graduated from college with a bachelor's degree. Or to make a point which I hope won't piss off too many of my screenwriting/executive friends, if television even vaguely resembled reality there would be ten times as many visible minority characters as there are Jewish characters on television.

Yeah, tell that to every NBC Thursday night comedy lineup for the last ten years.

And what does TV give us instead? Smart white folk in cities, or redneck white folk in the country. Or, occasionally, twee smart white folk in rural settings. (This may be one of the reasons I like My Name is Earl so much -- the make-up of that town is the closest I've seen to what, from my travels as a stand-up showed me, would be the actual make-up if that town.) I'm not carrying a banner for color-blind casting or writing for politic's sake; I'd like to see more of it because what we have now is just shitty writing."

A way out...

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"A way out...

Let go of it. Change your response. Take control of your reaction. Understand that you do not have to be slave to your normal chain of emotions or to the expectations of others. Refuse to let it get you down. Remember that it is your ego that is a tool - use it, don't let it use you. Use theatrics. Play. Remain ridiculously calm. Step back and think for a moment. Ask yourself if it really matters in the grand scheme of things. Try to justify it. Find out if it is for the 'highest good' whatever you deem that to be. Find your center and stay there. Work to heal others by healing yourself. Seek out emanations of love and beauty. Don't let the fear of change stop your transformation. Forgive your perceived mistakes. As often as possible do what feels good and right deep down. Put into life what you hope to get out of it. Play Devil's Advocate with yourself and examine things from as many angles as possible.

Good luck."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


This actually clears things up a bit... The, shall we say, somewhat less than macho - from a purely Western perspective - behavior of Japanese males makes a lot more sense in the context that one of the ideal sexual norms, as recently as about a century ago, was one of homosexuality.

It'd be as if, say, the social customs of ancient Sparta were still the norm in Greece a century ago.

I'd always wondered why Japanese men and boys were so comfortable amongst themselves... [despite the lip serviced derision of the "okama"].

A piece of the puzzle...

Shudo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Shudo (衆道) is the Japanese tradition of age-structured homosexuality prevalent in samurai society from the medieval period until the end of the 19th century. The word is an abbreviation of wakashudo, 'the Way of the young' or more precisely, the Way of young (waka) men (shu). The 'do' is related to the Chinese word tao, considered to be a path to awakening."

Monday, January 09, 2006

"It's exactly as hard as standing up and telling people to shut the fuck up..."

You seem to have worked hard to establish an individual identity in your field. How much of that process brought you into conflict with publishers' PR people, and what was your approach when their ideas conflicted with yours? How hard is it to be your own man in a world that's ruled by the perceptions others paint of you?

It's exactly as hard as standing up and telling people to shut the fuck up because I know they're not going to promote the work properly anyway. Either because they don't have a PR system, or because their PR dept. is utterly overwhelmed. Usually, I don't even have to shout -- people just let me get on with it because it's easier and because I'm right.

I couldn't give a shit about other people's perceptions of me. I care only about people doing what I tell them to and then getting out of my way.

Which I know sounds arrogant and horrible. But, ultimately, no-one in the publishing business gives a shit about my work except me. They all leave work at 5.30. I'm going to be doing this until I die, and possibly afterwards. So you'll do what I say when it comes to my work, because I'm the one who has to live with it.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Karma and problem solving

Free-Beingness Blog » Blog Archive » Problem-solving Is A Trap:
"The usual methods of dealing with human suffering, such as problem-solving, trying to resolve “issues,” trying to heal “wounds,” etc. etc. are all traps. Here is why.

All of these approaches are like the old Chinese toy where you put the finger of one hand in one side and the finger of your other hand in the other side, and then pull. The harder you try and pull them apart the tighter the grip becomes, and the more stuck you are.

This is what happens with problem-solution tactics. The more you grind down into the mindset of problem-solving the more stuck you become. This is because that mindset itself is the cause of your suffering. It is the mindset of focusing attention on stories and drama.

Drama has its own internal logic, and that logic is the pattern of ever-recurring suffering and pain. It is a negative loop that never ends. Trying to end suffering by solving problems keeps you right dead center in the drama of the suffering itself. Your mind grips the problem, and the more you focus in on it that way the tighter the grip becomes.

...The more you focus on them the tighter the grip of suffering and pain becomes. It is an endless negative loop. This is what eastern philosophies call the wheel of karma. While you’re in that wheel and playing that game, perversely enjoying that little drama, you can never get off."


Toxick Bloging: Entrainment & The Psychology of Alternative Selling:
"...Entrainment is not a force but a phenomenon. Entrainment is evidence that energy conservation has occurred. Resisting entrainment requires more energy than entraining with the masses. Holding an alternative perspective means you are processing information in an unconventional manner—your internal rhythm is different from the reverberations of those around you. Maintaining an unusual rhythm requires more energy than entraining with the thoughts of those around you.

But before you flock to the herd, bear this in mind: Faking entrainment can lead to mental breakdowns. This was inadvertently discovered by Dr. Saul Asch in an experiment with such devastating consequences the United States set up a panel to review all future psychology experiments on humans.

Dr. Asch had a person come into a test room, ostensibly to be one of six subjects in an experiment on eyesight and perception, but the study was actually designed to ascertain levels of compliance. The person was actually the only subject. The other five people were actors, students pretending to be subjects. All six were asked which line was the longest of four projected on a screen and labeled: A, B, C and D.

The first several times, the actors would all say that the correct line was the longest. Then, the actors would say the second-to-longest was the longest. The point of the experiment was to determine incidence of compliance and seek any commonalities. Among those people who complied erroneously with the group, meaning that they would agree with the group instead of saying that the correct line was longer; about a quarter of this group had a mental breakdown in the next 12 months.

As Dr. Asch inadvertently proved, stating things differently than how you see them is dangerous to your health, provided you aren’t in a totalitarian government. The truth of the matter is that working in a corporation is akin to being in a totalitarian state. Just as in a monarchy, limited good can come from questioning the reality of your boss, manager or any overlord.

...To stave off negative psychological ramifications, one needs to distinguish between what you hold as true and what you say for work and self-preservation. While somebody is neurotic to the extent they cannot say what they mean and mean what they say, ignoring the real power of overlords is hazardous to your status. Instead, develop your own culture of support outside of your network of work contacts. Many people have found such support through local chapters of the Joseph Campbell Society, Alcoholics Anonymous, Landmark Education among many other non-religious organizations."

As good a motto as any...

Toxick Bloging: Entrainment & The Psychology of Alternative Selling:
"Questioning THE SYSTEM and wearing your politics on your sleeve is dangerous to your status, but squelching your authentic perspective is devastating to your psyche"

The internet is shit

The internet is shit:
"...I can name 20 people from my old school class who aren't in Google. I can walk into any public library, no matter how tiny and underfunded, and find facts, stories, amazing information I would never touch in a month of webcrawling. I can go into a bar and hear stories Usenet hasn't come close to in its 22 years of waffle. 'Oh but what about the stuff you CAN get on the web?' the netheads say. But they're missing the point.

The internet is not the sole basis upon which you can determine existence. It sounds simple but people are starting to forget. If it doesn't have a website, that doesn't make something low quality. If you can't Google your blind date, that doesn't make them a freak. If one website says something about anything, it's more than likely pure invention and shouldn't be taken seriously. Checking your sources does not mean finding another website that says the same. Fiction is self-perpetuating.

...And then what? Then we can move on. If we truly understand that the internet is shit then maybe we'll go back to looking elsewhere to check our information instead of just Google. Maybe journalists will do proper research again. If we remember that the medium isn't the message then maybe we'll stop aimlessly surfing for something amusing when we could actually be doing something fun. And, crucially, if the internet is just seen as occasionally unavoidable, maybe those websites that give us something special will be all the more amazing for it."

People are dumb. And don't know it.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich: The world is not Darwinian:
"There seems to be this belief among a lot of people that the world is rational and that bad ideas won't last long because they'll be extinguished by good ones.

I think this leaves out one big thing: incompetence. And, sometimes, a lack of experience.

You'll hear people say 'That was a stupid commercial' and then some smartass will reply, 'Well, if it didn't sell, it wouldn't be on TV!'

Not true.

Just because something is a bad/ineffective commercial doesn't mean it will be removed anytime. I once worked in a company, for example, that was doing a horrendously bad job marketing--literally spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month without bringing in more than a FEW clients--and yet the bad idea wasn't extinguished.

Similarly, one of my favorite psychology studies is about how people are not only incompetent, but they don't know they are incompetent. I love the title: Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments (read it here)."