Saturday, February 04, 2006

Remembering Gandhi by Jeff Knaebel

Remembering Gandhi by Jeff Knaebel:
"I believe that Gandhi was totally correct when he said 'We must be the change we wish to see.' The point where change must occur is at the individual, personal level, multiplied by about 6 billion. As the cartoon character Pogo said, 'We have met the enemy and they is us.'

Once when Gandhi’s great friend, the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, was visiting a Bedouin camp in Iraq, the chief told Tagore, 'Our prophet has said that a true Muslim is he who, by his words and deeds not the least of his brother-men may ever come to any harm.' Tagore then noted in his diary, 'I was startled into recognizing in his words the voice of essential humanity.'

As I speak, the country of my birth is systematically, in cold-blooded calculation, destroying the Iraq of which Tagore spoke. When the killing will stop, no one knows. I stand before you with a deep sense of shame. My country’s actions are a stain upon humanity.

...Arundhati Roy, the Indian winner of the Booker Prize for literature, wrote in The Algebra of Infinite Justice '… a world laid waste by America’s foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgar policy of ‘full spectrum dominance’, its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched though poor countries like a cloud of locusts…The International Coalition Against Terror is largely a cabal of the richest countries in the world. Between them, they manufacture and sell almost all of the world’s weapons, they possess the largest stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction. They have fought the most wars, account for most of the genocide, subjection, ethnic cleansing, and human rights violations in modern history. They have worshipped, almost deified the cult of violence and war…""

Truth is Perception

More funny at the link. Good stuff.

a life in the day of cheezygoof: 10 truths (depending on your perception):

1. Elvis is dead.
2. Jesus was not White.
3. Rap music is here to stay.
4. Kissing your pet is not cute or clean.
5. Skinny does not equal sexy.
6. Thomas Jefferson had black children.
7. A 5 year old child is too big for a stroller.
8. N' SYNC will never hold a candle to the Jackson 5.
9. An occasional BUTT whooping helps a child stay in line.
10. Having your children curse you out in public is not normal.


1. O. J. did it.
2. Tupac is dead.
3. Teeth should not be decorated.
4. Weddings should start on time.
5. Your pastor doesn't know everything.
6. Jesse Jackson will never be President.
7. RED is not a kool-aid flavor, it's a colour.
8. Church does not require expensive clothes.
9. Crown Royal bags are meant to be thrown away.
10.Your rims and sound system should not be worth more than your car."

"...asking what it 'really' is, where we are 'really' going, is so very much the wrong question."

Alchemical Braindamage:
"It's like Jacques Vallee has said; when you look at contact-type experiences as a whole, the only thing they really have in common is a confounding of rationality. But at the same time there's always enough loose threads there for the paranoid or the skeptic to weave something out of whole cloth. It's like you have the option at all times to go pronoiac or paranoiac. The experience is meant to shove you definitively one way or another. You could grab your rifle and hit the rooftops, start some idiotic cult or newsletter... Or you could change your whole life, heal your spirit or have the knowledge and conversation of the holy guardian angel.

...It's up to us to decide what we want, where we want to go with our world. Down into the toilet, or to the mountaintop? And I fear that asking what it 'really' is, where we are 'really' going, is so very much the wrong question. I do believe there is free will, and I do believe there is an intention, a purpose to the universe. And all that purpose can do is set the stage. If we chose to sail off the cliff, that's up to us, and if we can choose to step up and take on our true intended station on this planet, or in the universe, that's up to us too. But what's certain is that we are being MADE to decide, and decide soon.

A lot of us will break towards the low road, aligning ourselves to anger and fear and false appearances, what Steiner called the 'old moon'. The poisonous delusions and despair of the dark night dragging them under forever. And a lot of those folks will think of themselves the way my friend would do in that situation: fighting against the darkness, rifle clutched in hand, living like a hunted animal in an endless terrorscape. He wouldn't have betrayed himself, but he wouldn't have lived up to everything he was gifted with.

It is what we make it."

"I used the WCM approach all through my marriage with--I thought--pretty good results. Needless to say, I am now single again."

The Dilbert Blog: The WCM Method:
"Today I will teach you the most important rule about getting along with your mate.

The biggest relationship mistake you can make is to assume that because you have some special training or knowledge on a topic, that your opinion should be extra important. You could be the world’s most respected expert on insects, for example, but if your mate insists that caterpillars grow into chipmunks, there will be no talking him or her out of it. You could try saying, “I have a doctorate in bugs, I know what I’m talking about” but your mate will hear “I am an overbearing ass pimple who doesn’t know a fly from a suspicious mole.”

So forget about how much you know, or how smart you think you are, or how much extra information you might have recently collected. That will not help you. Instead, I offer you the only solution: The WCM Method.

WCM stands for Who Cares Most. If you want your relationship to have a chance, defer all decisions and interpretations of fact to the person who cares the most.

In practice, this will mean that women will make 98% of all the decisions and be “right” 98% of the time. Compared to men, women care more passionately about just about everything. Men mostly scratch what itches and call it good. BOCTAOE.

Many women and some men who read this blog will sharply disagree with my gross generalization. To you I say with all sincerity, “You’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

See how easy that is?"

I hate bicycle helmets

Treehugger: Helmets - for whom? Cyclists or Motorists?:
"As anticipated, we had a flurry of comments, wondering why the riders weren’t wearing helmets. This question raises many others that are rarely asked. Like why don’t motorists ride buses, instead of driving cars? Because buses are 25 times less likely to cause a motor vehicle death than cars. And if in 2004, there were 37,142 driver/occupant US road fatalities, compared to 725 pedacyclist deaths, why it is that cyclists should wear helmets and not motorists? (and it can't be because there are less bicycles out there, ‘coz we already know that bike sales exceed cars.)

It might be illegal, in some jurisdictions, to ride a bike without a helmet, but when cancer is the second greatest cause of death, in the USA for example, it’s perfectly legal to smoke cigarettes, a known cause of cancer. Another report suggests that while deaths and injuries did fall in Australia after it was made compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets, that the number of cyclists also fell, by 40%. An issue noted by the British Medical Association, who holds the “long-held view that compulsion could discourage cycling, which would have a negative overall effect on public health. It has always maintained that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.” And has rejected the idea that cycle helmets should be compulsory. Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture here. Designing cities to include cycleways as legitimate public thoroughfares, not some tack-on to existing roadways will save many more lives (from increased exercise, and from less direct contact with automobiles). Bikes helmets are not preventative medicine, they are merely bandaids."

Be an interesting place to work...

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 1PM Lunch:
"Software Engineer: We had free pizza today to celebrate sexual harassment or something like that. I didn't really pay attention. I just got the pizza."

LSD Tested on British Troops - Google Video

This is a brilliant old video of an LSD test on British Troops.

"One hour and ten minutes after taking the drug, with one man climbing a tree to feed the birds, the troop commander gave up..."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Because everyone should know what a labiaplasty is.

Love Me, Love My New Labia / Because nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" like stimulating plastic surgery. As seen on TV!:
"Where have you been that you haven't heard of, say, labiaplasty, the happy cosmetic reconfiguration of the outer labia of the vagina for purposes of, well, the happy reconfiguring of the outer labia of the vagina for cosmetic and beautification purposes? Makes for a fabulous proof of your love.

It's simply the latest thing. It's simply the hottest trend alongside Brazilian Butt Lifts and Six Pack Tummy Tucks and "Gummy Bear" breast implants (named for the new silicon material that resembles the beloved candy in heft and general squishiness and, one likes to think, overall addictiveness) and hymen-reattachment surgery (!) and male pectoral implants and the umpteen other newfangled cosmetic procedures that are marketed like some sort of bitchin' sports drink by celeb-wannabe L.A. surgeons and which are right now being featured on hideously moribund and yet strangely fascinating shows like "Extreme Makeover" and "Dr. 90210" and in the back of high-end Condé Nast nouveau yuppie magazines you should never read.

These are the things you need to know. This is the world in which we live and the culture about which we fight like drunken cats to make sense of, and it is my belief that you simply cannot go through this modern world anymore without knowing that increasing numbers of men are getting uncircumsized (cosmetic foreskin reconstruction) and women are getting their labia reconfigured like a '69 Trans Am on "Pimp My Ride."

I am not sure what to make of this. I am split down the middle like a manly calf muscle awaiting a new silicon insert. Is it cause for wanton celebration, a championing of the radical utopian idea that we should be absolutely free to mold and shape our fragile but oh-so-transitory vessels as we see fit for this brief bizarre mutant thing we call life and why the hell not?

Or is it something to be dreaded and mistrusted and even mourned, a loss of humanity and our connection to nature and the careful processes of time? Is it a little bit of both?

The line of what's acceptable and what we're capable of and what we should allow for our bodies is ever shifting, baby, and it's all you can do you make sure it doesn't get drawn across your face."

The Chicken in the 'Verse

"***Why did the chicken cross the road?***

Mal: Because the other side of the road was the only place it could live life on its own terms, without being meddled with.

Zoë: Because that’s where the job was, Sir.

Wash: It followed a really hot girl chicken that could kill it with its pinky. Do chickens have pinkies? No? We’ll I don’t know then.

Jayne: The money was better over there. (mutters) Lousy seven percent...

Kaylee: To meet shiny new chickens and see the sights.

Simon: That’s where the Alliance was hiding its sister.

River: To get to the other side.

Inara: It just suddenly, for no apparent reason, decided to pick up and abandon the luxurious life it had on this side of the road. That’s not odd, is it?

Book: It was a pilgrimage. Wracked with guilt over the atrocities it had committed, the chicken decided to devote the remainder of its life to God in a desperate search for redemption. Just a guess.

Jubal: What did you say? Am I a road?

YoSafBrige: Because you were over there, sweetie.

The Operative: The chicken’s motivations are not my concern. Getting it across the road is. "

It's a "Full House" indeed.

Noted because the last time we were in Japan, "Full House" was the only American show that was regularly on TV here. I grew to detest it, even more than it probably deserved.

[Now, of course, it's "Jessica Obasan No Jikembo" that's on constantly. That'd be "Murder, She Wrote". I'm beginning to hate that old woman. Hoping maybe, just maybe, once she'll be the victim.]

Also, apparently Jodi Sweetin/Stephanie Tanner grew up to be a bit of a hottie.

Which makes me feel a little dirty now. - Foxlife: Entertainment and Lifestyle News - Meth Addiction Led Jodie Sweetin of 'Full House' to Live 'Double Life': "The actress who played cute little Stephanie Tanner on the 1990s hit sitcom 'Full House' confessed yesterday to battling an addiction to methamphetamine.

'I was leading a total double life,' Jodie Sweetin, 24, said yesterday on 'Good Morning America.'"

YouTube - Brokeback to the Future

Everything can be made gay.

[This is hilarious]

"We're from the government. We're here to help."

"...cops are not on our side. They aren't your friends, they aren't here to help, and they don't want to hear your side of the story."

Video of a San Bernardino Sheriff's Deputy shooting an unarmed man who appears to be complying with orders. | MetaFilter:
"Video of an unarmed man being shot by a San Bernardino Sheriff's Deputy while appearing to comply with orders.

Senior Airman Elio Carrion, 21, had been riding as a passenger in a Corvette that was involved in a brief, high-speed chase with the deputy that reached speeds of 100 mph before the Corvette crashed into a fence, authorities said. The videotape, shot by Chino resident Jose Luis Valdes, shows Carrion sprawled on the ground and repeatedly telling the deputy, 'I'm on your side.' The deputy then seems to shout, 'Get up!' after which Carrion appears to lean forward. 'I'm going to get up, all right?' he says. The deputy then fires his gun three or four times from about five feet away. 'Shut … up, you don't get up …!' he shouts. Moaning in pain, Carrion responds: 'You told me to get up.' The deputy then radioed in to dispatch that shots had been fired. [LA Times]"

Wired News: LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?

Wired News: LSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?:
"BASEL, Switzerland -- When Kevin Herbert has a particularly intractable programming problem, or finds himself pondering a big career decision, he deploys a powerful mind expanding tool -- LSD-25.

'It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain. Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used, ' said Herbert, 42, an early employee of Cisco Systems who says he solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead -- who were among the many artists inspired by LSD.

'When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing,' said Herbert who intervened to ban drug testing of technologists at Cisco Systems.

Herbert, who lives in Santa Cruz, California, joined 2,000 researchers, scientists, artists and historians gathered here over the weekend to celebrate the 100th birthday of Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD here in 1938. The centenarian received a congratulatory birthday letter from the Swiss president, roses and a spontaneous kiss from a young woman in the crowd."

GWB sets land speed record for being full of shit.

KRT Wire | 02/01/2006 | Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports:
"One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally."

We have too many laws in America

Cheese? Seriously?

CDFA > Public Affairs > Press Release:
"CDFA dairy foods investigators, working with local law enforcement on a multi-agency rural crime task force, have seized 600 pounds of illegally produced soft, fresh cheese, also known as “bathtub cheese,” at a ranchette near the community of Perris.

...Other agencies joining CDFA on the multi-agency task force were the Riverside and San Bernardino county sheriff’s departments, the Ontario Police Department, and the Riverside County departments of environmental health and code enforcement."

Black comic book characters

The Absorbascon: BHM 2: Tempest:
"Joshua Clay, like apparently all black American characters in comic books, came from the mean streets of somewhere and got involved in gangs. He got in trouble with The Law, and was given the choice of jail or enlisting in the army, a concept so wrong I scarcely have the strength to discuss it."

Ah yes, this feels relevant.

Alchemical Braindamage:
"I've recently felt it important to consciously balance the 'slant' of the site more towards the middle, and away from the excessively catastrophic and doom based. In keeping with the thoughts expressed here, I am being more careful about deliberately 'selling' a particular view, especially to myself.

On a more personal note, I'm very concerned right now with moving my personal view more in the direction of enthusiastic optimism. Y'see, lately the biggest disconnect has been between my objective experience, which is undoubtedly of a higher quality in terms of constructive complexity and productive personal growth than ever before, and my felt experience, which has increasingly been wracked by tension, anxiety, feelings of looming pressure, and most recently cataclysmic paranoia, and borderline psychosis.

What I've come to understand is the hidden trap inside the idea of 'struggle'. The idea that I have to struggle to become happy, productive, positive and a fully realized person. This is doubtless a carry-over from my youth where I was surrounded by a family rife with crime, depression and addiction, generally disaffected and antipathetic toward society, unhappy, and lonely. It seemed my life at that time was nothing more than a struggle to not go under. It never occurred to me to simply change my view of life."

Oh sweet, sweet irony. You really can't make these things up.

Police Officers Sue Over Police Surveillance of Their Protests - New York Times:
"The demonstrators arrived angry, departed furious. The police had herded them into pens. Stopped them from handing out fliers. Threatened them with arrest for standing on public sidewalks. Made notes on which politicians they cheered and which ones they razzed.

Meanwhile, officers from a special unit videotaped their faces, evoking for one demonstrator the unblinking eye of George Orwell's '1984.'

'That's Big Brother watching you,' the demonstrator, Walter Liddy, said in a deposition.

Mr. Liddy's complaint about police tactics, while hardly novel from a big-city protester, stands out because of his job: He is a New York City police officer. The rallies he attended were organized in the summer of 2004 by his union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, to protest the pace of contract talks with the city."

Everything you ever need to know about the State of the Union address

Overcompensating: Actual Things That Happen to Jeffrey Rowland: Cake or Death:
"Did you guys see the 'President' last night? I didn't. If I wanted to be condescended by someone less intelligent than me I'd go to the indie record store."

Waxing nostalgic

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 12PM Find New Intern:
"Worker #1: Yeah, maybe he wasn't the best intern.
Worker #2: How was I supposed to know he'd go off his meds?
Worker #1: He sure did love opening mail, though.
Worker #2: Yeah. He sure did love opening mail."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Christianity takedown 101

Toxick Bloging: 25 Things to Research If You Want to Learn the Truth Concerning Christianity:
"25 Things to Research If You Want to Learn the Truth Concerning Christianity
from the incomparable website

1. Ancient Near East Texts/Mythology Pre-Dating the Old Testament
2. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Other Creation/Flood Myths that Pre-Date the Old Testament
3. Zoroastrianism and the Persian Influence on Bible Doctrine
4. The Problem of Evil (Theodicy) and the Hiddenness of God
5. Myths of Dying-Resurrecting God-Men and the Christ Myth
6. Philo of Alexandria
7. The Book of Enoch
8. Gods and Goddesses Assimilated to Become Yahweh and Elohim (El)
9. Natural Empirical Evidence (Science) vs. Supernatural Belief Systems (Faith)
10. This Life vs. Eternity: Weighing in on the Immorality of Heaven and Hell
11. Gospels Not 'Historical' Records, but Anonymous Third-Person Narratives
12. The Christian Canon and the 'Evolution' of Jesus' Godmanship
13. Saint Paul and the 'Re-Creation' of the Christian Myth
14. Israel/Hebrew/Jewish Archaeology
15. Ancient Near East History (Canaanite, Hebrew, Egyptian, Persian)
16. Bible Criticism
17. The Nag Hammadi Library
18. The Ugaritic Texts
19. The Amarna Tablets/Letters
20. The Dead Sea Scrolls
21. The Gnostics
22. The Origin of Satan, Devils, Angels, Heaven & Hell
23. The Jesus Myth
24. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent
25. Critical Thinking"


"Those in denial benignly smile and see what they imagine to be 'the big picture.' They are working from 'within' the system. They sweep up all the horrible facts and hide them under some intellectual rug. They live in a world of grotesque stereotypes writing off dissenting human beings as apologists, cowards, Canadians and the French. They believe that Americans have a direct hot-line to righteousness and see things that others are incapable of understanding. They've convinced themselves that the Republicans haven't seized power through big lies, misinformation, an unconstitutional and illegal use of evangelical churches and illegal election rigging, but rather that the Democrats can't put up good candidates. Like all dictators, despots, traitors and fascists, the Republicans are brilliant at propaganda, disinformation and the art of the big lie. They're masters at providing the fairy tales that the deniers so badly need to hear."

Here are the basics.

Words help deterimine what we see:
"The language we speak affects half of what we see, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago.

Scholars have long debated whether our native language affects how we perceive reality – and whether speakers of different languages might therefore see the world differently. The idea that language affects perception is controversial, and results have conflicted. A paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports the idea – but with a twist.

The paper suggests that language affects perception in the right half of the visual field, but much less, if at all, in the left half. The paper, 'Whorf Hypothesis is Supported in the Right Visual Field but not in the Left,' by Aubrey Gilbert, Terry Regier, Paul Kay, and Richard Ivry – is the first to propose that language may shape just half of our visual world."


Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
"Unlike corrupt activist judges who twist the Constitution to force equal rights on unsuspecting Americans, Justice Alito will represent nothing more than the will and intent of the Founding Fathers, from Alexander Hamilton's longstanding devotion to warrantless strip-searches to Thomas Jefferson's belief in the need for police to fatally shoot unarmed purse-snatchers to James Madison's deeply-held conviction that the executive branch retains the right to break the law. Rest easy, America! Your long, national civil liberties nightmare will soon be over."

GW takes firm stand against satyrs, werewolves, centaurs.

Quite the leader.

The Rude Pundit:
"'Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research – human cloning in all its forms … creating or implanting embryos for experiments … creating human-animal hybrids.'"

"But enemies are everywhere and they are seconds away from killing you with their laser breath."

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
"Freedom is on the march, especially in places like Iraq and Palestine. Their recent elections have proven once again that freedom is a photogenic spectacle involving smiling brown people with ink-stained digits. Kudos, Iraq and Palestine! You are a credit to purple-fingered invasion mascots everywhere! But freedom cannot rest easy because terror is on the rise, especially in places like Iraq and Palestine. Their recent elections have elevated violent right-wing radicals to power who support terrorists and death squads. You're dead to me, Iraq and Palestine! And after all the Iraqis we blew up to set you free! The only solution is to reinvade our own invasion of Iraq to free freedom from itself! Giblets hereby redeclares Operation Reliberationization! There can be no end but redevictory.

There are those of you who have said that Giblets doesn't have a plan for victory. Well Giblets has a plan, and his plan is to tell you that you don't have a plan, because your plan was to point out that Giblets didn't have a plan before Giblets went and implemented his plan - which totally would've worked if Giblets actually had a plan! Being right is not a plan! Being wrong with resolve is a plan!"

Show Black Manta some respect.

The Absorbascon: BHM 1: Black Manta:
"People sometimes make fun of Black Manta because he got a less then stellar rep during his days on the Superfriends. But for me, Manta's got the 'autobuy' power: if Black Manta's in it, I buy it. He's the first villain ever really to strike a personal blow against a hero, when he killed Aquaman son. As such, Black Manta was the herald of our New Era of Villainy. He's also the 'highest-ranking' black villain in the DCU.

So show Black Manta some respect. Or else."

The Real State Of The Union

The Real State Of The Union / How to address a bitter, war-torn but still somehow giddy and deeply horny nation:
"But look. In one short year, the sneering, all-consuming GOP has gone from master of all domains, from owning every aspect of the federal government and launching multiple failed wars and abusing all laws and spying and wiretapping and torturing and lying, to one of the least stable parties in ages. Scandals, indictments, arrests, Abramoff, Enron, DeLay, thousands of dead U.S. soldiers and nothing to show for it but more enraged terrorists, an economy running on fumes. Regimes built on lies and religious fearmongering never last. It's like a genital rash -- it just seems to take forever to heal.

Are you not reassured? Because this is the amazing thing. There are languages left to learn. Countries you have still not visited. Musical drumbeats you have not felt deep in your tailbone. There are sexual positions and tongue-related sensations and deep longing stares you have yet to hold in your body the way an open palm holds a small bird. It might take another lifetime or three. This is just fine. We have time. Lots of it.

Did you know every religion in the world has some variant of a belief in past lives, in reincarnation? It's true. Most believe that this earthly plane is merely an intense cosmic schoolroom for our spirits, albeit one of the harshest and meatiest and most spasmodically radiant in the galaxies. And yet we keep coming back here, over and over, millions of times, to learn all the aspects, dark and light and murderous and blissful, so we can move to the next level, help the universe hum that much brighter.

My fellow Americans, I am here to tell you I have no freaking idea why it's set up this way. But I can tell you one thing: It sure makes for one hell of a ride.

Thank you and God bless America."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Recurring Dreams

The last five or six years I've had two dreams that recur at least twice a year, if not more often. Generally very vivid and strong. In one dream I decide not to play football my senior year of high school. In the other I'm repeating either my senior year or my entire four years at the Naval Academy. In both cases they've both been, at least once each, so strong and vivid that it's taken me a few moments after waking up to fully remember that I did play ball my senior year and that I didn't do first class year at the Academy twice.

When you read and overthink things as much as I do, you engage in a little pop-psych 101 to see if you can crack the code of why these same dreams re-emerge from time to time.

With the not playing football one... well, the thing is... the 1985 Chicago Bears and the graceful power of the best running back of all time - Walter Payton - notwithstanding... okay, and also the Raiders... I never really loved football. I don't even follow it anymore, to tell the truth. And I didn't start playing football in high school because of some newfound passion for the sport. I started playing ball, really, at the very consistent prodding of my dad and older brothers.

In hindsight, I do appreciate it. It did make me more well rounded, stripped off the baby fat and made me appreciate that aspect of life. It's certainly not an overstatement to say prior to that I was a little bookish.

But here's the thing... I remember feeling, that if I did play football I'd get approval and respect from them. Basically, that they'd like me more. So, in a very real sense I started playing football out of this need for approval from them. I mean, I was never very good. I spent 3 - 3 1/2 years as a second [and even 3rd and 4th] string player, though I was kinda proud of the fact that I actually got decent enough to get a couple starts my senior year. But I always felt I was never living up to the examples and expectations of my All-County, All-Pro, all-jock, all-go, no-quit older brothers. That I was some kind of disappointment for not being more like them.

So the big reason I started playing football, regardless of what positive things I did get out of it, was out of this sense of not being good enough and wanting approval. But as I get older I realize that this need for approval is kind of unhealthy and leads to bad, bad things. And ultimately, whether or not anyone approves of how I live my life doesn't really matter. Which has lead to other complications, but that's a whole nother essay.

Whether it's getting my ear pierced, getting out of the military, not working, not pursuing a lucrative "career" "worthy" of my education, shaving my head, drifting back and forth in and out of vegetarianism... the people in my family have been the ones most likely to give me a hard time of it. And even though I know, for each of them, the motivation for their actions come from different places, it all materializes to me as a sense of disapproval for not fitting into whatever mold of me their perspective thinks I should "be".

But knowing that I was so needful [is that a word?] for approval when I was younger, and probably still am to some degree, instead of finding ways to resolve and integrate it, I find myself psychologically berating myself for being so needy and not and not finding who I wanted to be at an earlier age instead of trying to mold myself into the expectations of those around me.

So when approval issues rear up, be they me feeling needful of approval, or me feeling disapproved of, or feeling I shouldn't feel a need for approval, I think the dream of me not playing football my last year of high school turns up. Of standing up for what I was really interested in as opposed to just going along...


As for the USNA dream, I'm probably a lot less clear on that. Especially since I just had the high school one the other day and haven't had the Academy one in a bit. But I think, despite the fact I went to the Academy really to fulfill the expectations of others and get approval - the same issues as before - I think it brings other things to surface. Primarily of regret. My life at the Academy, encapsulated, is probably in and of itself one I do wish I could redo in a number of ways. Hell, my first class-nearly didn't graduate-ream of unhealthy decision making is the most obvious example. But I think when it comes up - the dream, that is - it probably has some basis in the desire to "do things over". Some sense of regret for paths taken or not taken.

Or when I have these dreams I'm actually visiting parallel timespace dimensions where I've made radically different choices in my life. Even odds, that. Who's to say?

Confessions of an Economic Hitman: 'Remember Noriega, remember Allende, remember Lumumba. Remember, remember, remember.'

Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Gary Younge: A hit man repents:
"On November 24 2002, Lucio Gutierrez swept to power in Ecuador's presidential election. It was a momentous victory for the populist, leftwing leader who had pledged support for the poor indigenous Indians in a country where 60% live in poverty.

The way John Perkins tells it, within a week Gutierrez had a visitor. 'An economic hit man walked into his office and said, 'Congratulations, Mr President, I just want you to know that over here I've got a couple of hundred million dollars for you and your family if you cooperate with your Uncle Sam and our oil companies. And over here I have a man with a gun in his hand and a bullet with your name on it.''

...And the whole time that economic hit man is in your office he's saying, 'Remember Noriega, remember Allende, remember Lumumba. Remember, remember, remember.' There's a long list of guys who did not go along and were either overthrown or assassinated ... They may say it more subtly, but the message is very clear.'"

Freedom on the march

See, cause wearing a frickin' Tshirt, that there's an act of terra! And certainly illegal, right?

I'd say wake me when it's over but it's likely to be a long nap.

Capitol Police arrest antiwar activist Sheehan - Politics -
"Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

The T-shirt bore the words “2,245 Dead — How Many More??” in reference to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, protesters told NBC News."

State of the Union '06

d r i f t g l a s s: The State of the Union?:
"We can long as you capitulate with everything I say.

I want to long it's only you who gives anything up.

We can debate...but you are forbidden from bringing up the inconvenient fact of my five years of lies, incompetence and serial reckless fuckuppery.

I want to keep this long as my racist, Christopathic Party gets to continue to march unmolested under Karl Rove's banner and keep calling you cowards and traitors for political advantage.

Ignore everything we have said and done and not done for the last twenty years -- and in the last twenty minutes -- and bend over.

...Because I can't take the "Trust me" gospel too seriously from a man with blood on his teeth and Karl Rove still by his side and running his White House, instead of behind chicken-wire and trading cigarettes to get the good trailer and his hair done up real purdy for his conjugal visits from Jeff Gannon.

This is the bitter and divided world you and your minions created, Mr. President. And you did it deliberately, calculatedly and with premeditation.

On September 11, 2001, without earning or deserving it, you were handed a Truly United States of America. And for tawdry, partisan motives you and Karl and the rest of your Shitkicker Mafia decided to drive a venomous wedge straight through its heart without any regard of the poison you were unleashing into the body politic."

Determinism - "Who asks you to do so?"

Thornton's Guerilla_Blog: Superstition, sustention, & sanity. . .:
"At a conference on genes and society in Cambridge last year, a speaker worried that we are succumbing to genetic determinism, the idea that DNA shapes nearly everything about a person. But such determinism is false, he argued, since the environment too contributes heavily to behavior and personality. The soothing implication was that environmental influences are somehow less constraining than genetics.*

*(Ask yourself does the idea that 'environmental influences are somehow less constraining than genetics' make sense?)

...its been clear for some time that environmental influences are no less determining than genetics, and that character is set by circumstances as much as biology. As B. F. Skinners work in behaviorism showed, the molding effect of the environment is powerful and often predictable, and recent research on the neural "reward pathway" in the brain has laid the groundwork for understanding precisely how the self is shaped by experience.

...Well see, following Wilson and Wright, that we are still gripped by morality and that the law doesnt lose its teeth. Nor, just because we admit that we havent built our motives and character from the ground up, will we become any less unique, or creative, or committed in what we do. Cravings, ambitions, and altruistic concerns will still have their way with us.

However, we might become a little less egocentric in taking credit for our accomplishments, and a little more wary of piling on blame for "failures of will."

...By dropping the idea that people essentially create themselves, well likely pay more attention to fostering the social and economic conditions which bring out the best in us.

And to the extent that the notion of uncaused free will fuels the desire for retribution, support for the death penalty and other needlessly harsh punishments should diminish.

Questioner: Last night you said God is guiding us. Then why should we make an effort to do anything?

Ramana: Who asks you to do so?"

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke

'This is not just about cartoons, but standing up for our values' - World - Times Online:
"THE Danish editor who brought the fury of the Muslim world on his country by printing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad defiantly declared yesterday: “We do not apologise for printing the cartoons. It was our right to do so.”"

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Stunningly Obvious.

LEAP: Mission Statement:
"Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of law enforcement who believe the existing drug policies have failed in their intended goals of addressing the problems of crime, drug abuse, addiction, juvenile drug use, stopping the flow of illegal drugs into this country and the internal sale and use of illegal drugs. By fighting a war on drugs the government has increased the problems of society and made them far worse. A system of regulation rather than prohibition is a less harmful, more ethical and a more effective public policy."

Car buying 101

Now Sandy is no longer limited to the bicycle in order to pursue her shopping agenda. Look at that happy face!

Japanese Construction

Uncle Takeshi took us by a house his firm helped design/build. I particularly enjoyed the built in mirror ball in the karaoke room and the TV built into the bathtub.

Only in Japan.

Our friends have issues.

Who buys Jesus scotch tape? I ask you?

The final piece of the apartment puzzle.

Knowing nothing about art or the artist... but I like the colors. And now that our blank wall has something on it, I can rest.


Every cell in your body is replaced within seven years.

Think about it.

Hometown boy makes good.

Koshimoto apparently trains at a boxing gym right here in Fukutsu. Fukuma-side, leastways. Also, at age 35 he gives my sad 33 year old self some hope.

Koshimoto outpoints Chi to become new WBC featherweight champion - Yahoo! News:
"FUKUOKA (AFP) - Japan's Takashi Koshimoto has won a split-decision victory over Chi In-Jin of South Korea to become the new World Boxing Council featherweight champion.

...Koshimoto, ranked fifth in the WBC, improved his record to 39 wins, including 17 KOs, against one defeat and two draws. He became Japan's oldest world champion at age 35."

There is no proof for anything. Ever. You're welcome.

The Lazy Way to Success: Musing Our Existence:
"For the record, there is no factual basis that anything exists. The world that you are experiencing is all happening inside your brain. You may think it is happening outside but that is an illusion. You have been “tricked” to think that. Everything that you think that you are seeing and hearing on the outside is really occurring on the inside. Your brain is the “creator” of the whole thing.

Since everything you are experiencing is internal, that means your world is 100% dependent on the condition your brain. Basically, the world is as your brain is. If you are depressed, your experience of the world is viewed through lenses distorted by depression. If you are paranoid, you perceive fear at every turn. If you are happy, your world is bright and cheery. If your brain is asleep, you miss the whole thing.

There is no factual proof that the world is nothing more than a figment of your fertile imagination."

Apparently they haven't been paying attention

d r i f t g l a s s: In less than one lifetime...:
"...when I read Andrew Sullivan’s jeremiad entitled “Getting Their Wives” – about how his shock in learning the precise level of barbarity to which his good, good friends and Republican Overlords have descended – it was grimly interesting in a “Nature Channel” kind of way. I mean who besides the self-lobotomized can claim to actually be surprised that this government is now openly behaving in ways that are morally indistinguishable from the tyrants we used to claim we opposed...for doing the very things...that we are now doing? The hard-core GOP portion of the country is delighted that we’re finally getting around to torturing innocent brown women and children. These blood-drunk creatures live for this shit, and I suppose we should all consider ourselves lucky that they don’t demand that Rummy put it up on pay-per-view.

The rest of us are, of course, horrified, but hardly surprised – only a straddling, self-blinding evolutionary failure like Sully would have the nerve to pretend astonishment that same thugs who publicly sneer at the ideas of Law and Constitutional safeguards – and who he so volubly supported – would now turn around and behave like…thugs…who have no regard for the rule of Law."


Posthuman Blues:
"According to Rucker, sufficiently complex natural phenomena could indicate advanced intelligences from parallel universes harnessing the computational substrate of our universe to 'think' themselves into existence. "

The only way I could read the Bible

Being Reasonable: The Blog > Douglas Rushkoff on Turning the Bible into a Comic – and Then Some:
"I’ve been disturbed over the past decade or so that the Bible, which is really a non-linear narrative meant to be understood on a multiplicity of levels simultaneously, has instead been interpreted by contemporary Americans as some kind of literal history. People have gotten so locked into the Bible as something that must have “happened” that they lose the ability to relate to its stories as ongoing. These are the dynamics underlying the human experience.

So it’s this terrible irony: “belief” in the Bible as actual history, or worse, as a real estate claim, reduces the document’s ability to live. It’s the same sort of problem that lawmakers face when the Constitution of the US is treated as something set in stone rather than a document that can evolve. That’s really the creationist/evolutionary argument in a nutshell. Amazingly, if you really look at the Bible, you see that God is arguing for an evolutionary outlook on reality, anyway. "

The Church of Elvis

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"March 2006 – The Second Coming of Elvis Christ

A corpulent pensioner with a deliciously earthy Southern accent wanders into a 7-11 wearing a white jumpsuit. While he possesses no memory of his identity- at least at first- he knows that he desperately craves jalapeño and cheddar Go Go Taquitos (TM) 'know whut I mean, man?' The owner summons police hoping to return the man to his home. However things take a turn for the weird when, over a week’s time, forensic scientists discover that the man is Elvis Presley. After several sessions of orgone therapy the King’s amnesia breaks and we learn that he has been shipped to the Dog Star to have the Christ spirit implanted in his body. The King then demands peanut butter and banana sammiches, claims Graceland and kills all of his daughters ex-husbands with fire shot from his finger tips. "

James Randi

Las Vegas Weekly:
"After all, while it's true that opportunists profit from the murky worlds of the paranormal and the unknown, and that some people will believe anything, it's also true that scientists have falsified data to get grants or overlooked inconvenient phenomenon to maintain the status quo in their field.

Well, as iconoclastic writer Charles Fort once noted, 'Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name.'

...Randi can be eloquent and is quite the showman; he is also wildly intelligent—he got a MacArthur genius grant in 1986. But according to his detractors, Randi's main qualities are his malice and hypocrisy. He's hell-bent on tearing apart anyone he deems a kook, including distinguished scientists and Nobel Prize-winners. This is amusing, as Randi has no scientific credentials whatsoever (although he did once write an astrology column for a Canadian tabloid and host a paranormal-themed radio show).

In 1997, Randi threatened to fly to Sri Lanka to persuade Arthur C. Clarke to stop advocating cold fusion. (Clarke, a genuine scientific visionary, inventor of the communication satellite and award-winning author, received degrees, with honors, in physics and mathematics.) In 2001, on a BBC Radio program, Randi attacked Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize-winner and professor of physics at Cambridge University.

Why? Josephson was interested in the possible connections between quantum physics and consciousness. Randi also has a penchant for lawsuits—he once tried to sue a writer known for covering the UFO beat, simply because he printed some unflattering but verifiable information about the magician. Randi left the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) because of all the litigation against him.

..."In and of itself," says a man once denigrated by the skeptical movement, "skepticism has made no actual contribution to science, just as music reviews in the newspaper make no contribution to the art of composition."

The universe is full of mystery, as well as charlatans. It is up to the individual to weigh evidence objectively. Just don't use your intuition to do so, or you could be the skeptics' next target."

Hey! I coulda got promoted!

If I had been in the Army instead of the Marines. Or had had the vaguest notion of staying in beyond my 5.

Army's Rising Promotion Rate Called Ominous - Los Angeles Times:
"But the recent trends in promotions have stirred concerns that the Army is being forced to lower its standards to provide leaders for combat units that will be deployed overseas.

'The problem here is that you're not knocking off the bottom 20%,' said a high-ranking Army officer at the Pentagon. 'Basically, if you haven't been court-martialed, you're going to be promoted to major.'"

Scum. Bags.

Spies, Lies and Wiretaps - New York Times:
"Mr. Gonzales, who had the incredible bad taste to begin his defense of the spying operation by talking of those who plunged to their deaths from the flaming twin towers, claimed historic precedent for a president to authorize warrantless surveillance. He mentioned George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These precedents have no bearing on the current situation, and Mr. Gonzales's timeline conveniently ended with F.D.R., rather than including Richard Nixon, whose surveillance of antiwar groups and other political opponents inspired FISA in the first place. Like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Bush is waging an unpopular war, and his administration has abused its powers against antiwar groups and even those that are just anti-Republican."

Black Adder talks Wise

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | 'Every joke has a victim':
"It is absolutely right and reasonable that religions should be protected from threatening language, behaviour and written material but I support the amendment to retain the right to abuse and insult, because of the essentially irrational nature of religious beliefs. That is not to dismiss them: indeed, I'm a great believer that the most important and most sustaining things in life are essentially irrational. Love, beauty, art, friendship, music, spirituality of whatever form, these things make no rational sense yet they are more important than any qualities that are rationally measurable. Those who think that, as they lie on their deathbed, they will be able to judge the success of their lives by how big a BMW they could afford at the end of it, are in for a big surprise. However, it's their irrational nature that leaves religious beliefs wide open to interpretation, allowing occasionally practices to be established that are wholly contrary to the mores of a civilised, liberal society.

Those practices must remain open to the widest critique, including what could be perceived as insult or abuse. "

Harsh Truth

Takedown of Carville and Begala's book...

American Prospect Online - Washington’s Worst:
"Boys, here's a tip: On television, Tucker Carlson once glibly dismissed the personal-injury case that made John Edwards rich as a 'jacuzzi case.' In that case, a little girl's intestines were pulled out through her anus. Tucker Carlson is not a good guy. Gary Bauer's political positions, if enacted, would drag this country back to a much crueler time. Gary Bauer is not a good guy.

Tim Russert spent the entire year pretending not to know the details of a critical national security story -- See pages 137-141 of your own damn book -- in which he was intimately involved. I don't care if one of you is hosting a sports-talk show with Little Russ Jr. Little Russ Sr. is indefatigable only in his pursuit of his own perceived eminence. Halprin's The Note is a daily transmission belt of all the phony talking-points you rail against over 11 chapters -- ask Eric, if you don't believe me -- and that he is one of the 'smartest people you know in the media' sadly doesn't surprise me a bit.

Crossfire is -- or, rather, was -- the problem. Remember that Begala was as gobsmacked as Carlson was when Jon Stewart declined to play his assigned role. Being the opposing meat puppet to Bob Novak, a truly evil presence in American journalism, isn't engaging the issues. It's being an accessory. In fact, the strangest anecdote in the book comes when, while interviewing Begala and Novak, Wolf Blitzer clumsily insults Begala's Catholicism.

Begala righteously -- and rightfully -- goes up the wall citing, among other things, the fact that his eldest son is named John Paul, after the late pope. (Good thing for the kid, too, that he was born recently. In another era, he might be named Urban Gelasius Begala.) Unanswered is the question of why Begala ever would appear on television again, not only with an evil homunculus like Novak, but with a host who so casually spit on his religious faith. It's the same question John McCain can't answer: Why would he embrace a president who slandered McCain's child for political advantage?

When, in God's name, is enough simply enough? "

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Wisdom of Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert | The A.V. Club:
"Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don't mean the argument over who came up with the word. I don't know whether it's a new thing, but it's certainly a current thing, in that it doesn't seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. People love the president because he's certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don't seem to exist. It's the fact that he's certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?"

Basic psych...

GNN Profile: bengsmack:
"...human beings have a need to know. The Zeigarnik Effect demonstrates that people are motivated by incomplete information. At the next party you’re at, half-way through the party walk past a girl and say to her, “I overheard half of your conversation earlier and I really agreed with what you were saying.” $10 says she’ll break away from that group and come ask you what she said earlier. She’ll be dying to know. If you want to be a jerk, start putting on your coat and tell her you’d love to tell her but you’re running late and to call you.

If I had simply emailed a sentence about incomplete information, you would have dismissed this idea. People are more motivated to learn and remember incomplete information than when something is given to them directly. The process of building suspense, of dividing information, increases the audience’s titillation and makes them more likely to buy or take whatever action they are directed, or at least to give you more of their attention than they would have otherwise. Many times Direct Response advertising will build up a person’s fear, making them feel incomplete and at risk until they purchase what will assay their newfound fear. "

The Mafia doesn't even fuck with people's wives

Since when did this become America?


Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic - Yahoo! News:
"The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of leveraging' their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show."