Friday, March 10, 2006

It's All Relative

The Zen Koan of Jack Johnson
JACK JOHNSON - It's All Understood Lyrics:
"I was reading a book
Or maybe it was a magazine
Suggestions on where to place faith
Suggestions on what to believe
But I read somewhere
That you've got to beware
You can't believe anything you read"


Fred On Everything:
"Now, I get mail saying, “What’s it like to live in Mexico, Fred? Isn’t it full of, you know, deadly viruses?” Well, yes, but they’re optional. If you buy a little plastic bucket of yogurt, an envelope comes with it that says, “Deadly Viruses.” You don’t have to eat them. You can give them to a passing child.

Anyway, life in Messico. The country still works on a distributed paradiggem. That means that if you want a quart of milk, you walk a block to where there’s a little Pedro-and-Maria store that probably used to be a living room and now it’s a store. If you want a donut, you walk two blocks in another direction to the bread shop. You tell Conchis that you want two of those gre-t-t big ones with clumps of maple sugar or something on top and you chat with her a bit because that’s how it’s done. Then you go back home and chomp on them.

See, it’s because Mexico is still primitive. Pretty soon it will get modern. Then it will have a shopping center three miles out of town with a Mall-Wart that will close down all the little shops in Joco. Then you will drive fifteen minutes, fight other angry unhappy people for a parking spot, and save seven cents on your donut. And maybe die on the way back, trying to eat a donut while using a cell phone. (Every cloud….)

...In the US the most important things are efficiency and making money, which is why it is real efficient and has lots of money and all sorts of technology. There is a definite upside to money.

Mexico isn’t so hot at any of those things, but it has a certain livability to it. It’s more personal. Most parents recognize their children on sight, people know each other, and towns go in for huge seething festivals for their patron saints, or because it’s Easter, or maybe just Wednesday. A Mexican doesn’t need much prodding to launch a fiesta. In Joco on fiesta nights the plaza is so jammed that it takes twenty minutes to cross it. You’ve got three bands going at once and kids on dad’s shoulders and fireworks fizzing and whirling on tall wicker castillos. Most of it would be illegal up north. So would everything else, though. Consistency is a Nordic virtue, much overrated. There has to be a reason why intelligent people want to live with so many rules, but I don't know what it is.

There’s a relaxed feel to things here. If you want to ingest a brew, you can sit on the sidewalk (in a chair) at the beer joint on the plaza and watch Mexico go by, mostly on motor-scooters or cuatrimotos, those four-wheeled things that roll over and crush you. Kids of about nine drive them, but not where they can roll over. The girl-watching is excellent, the women not given to scatological demonstrations of morbid virility. Joco reminds me of Athens, Alabama, in 1957.

Not everybody would like it. If you are the kind of pedestrianly lordly (can you be that?) and meddlesome retiree who really wants to live in suburban Lauderdale but can’t afford it, don’t come here. Go to Lauderdale. Live under a bush. Better yet, play in traffic. You wouldn’t like Joco.

A lot of the streets aren’t paved. There’s burro traffic, and horses. They would probably give you germs. There aren’t any anti-smoking regulations. The second-hand smoke would make you crump from cancer before you could whip out your EPA-approved mini-oxygen set, and probably dissolve the paint from your car.

Actually, there aren’t many regulations of any kind. Everything is disordered, and people take care of themselves. If you want a beer, you go to the beer store, where the owner’s kids will be playing inside, and no one will arrest the owner. Not nearly enough things are illegal here to suit the emerging North American taste. Try Canada."

Basic psych/Robbins/NLP/emotions

Illegal Workers

Illegal Workers - the Con's Secret Weapon:
"....none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they're staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it's 'jobs.' In conservative lexicon, it's 'cheap labor to increase corporate profits.'

Recently George W. Bush insulted working Americans by saying that we need eleven million illegal immigrants here in the United States because (in a slightly cleaned-up version of the more blatantly racist comments of Vicente Fox) there are some jobs that 'American's won't do.' As the modern-day Sago miners, and the 1950s Ed Norton character Art Carney played on the old Jackie Gleason show (who worked in the sewers of NYC) prove, the reality is that there are virtually no jobs Americans won't do - for an appropriate paycheck.

It's really all about breaking the back of the most democratic (and Democratic) of American institutions - the American middle class.

... Conservatives can't just come out and say that they are pleased with the estimated eleven million illegal workers in the United States driving down wages. They can't brag that, behind oil revenue, Mexico's second largest source of income is money sent home from illegal "cheap labor" workers in the United States. They can't point out that before Reagan declared war on working people in 1981 we didn't "need a fence" to keep out illegal immigrants from the south, in large part because the high rate of unionization in America at that time, and enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants, served as barriers to the entry of illegals into the workforce. They won't acknowledge the corporate benefits of a workforce whose healthcare is paid for by taxpayers but whose productivity belongs to their corporate masters.

But conservative strategists have noticed that the workers - and the voters - of the United States are getting nervous about nearly 10 percent of our workforce being both illegal and cheap. This has led conservative commentators and politicians to resort to classic "wedge issue" rhetoric, exploiting Americans' fears -- while working to keep conditions relatively the same as they are today.

They talk about building fences. They worry out loud about brown-skinned Middle Eastern terrorists slipping in amongst the brown-skinned South- and Central Americans. They warn us of all the social security money we'll lose if illegals have to leave the country and stop paying into a system from which they'll never be able to collect. They even find themselves obligated - catering to both working-class fears and to the bigots among us - to promote the idea of giant fences around the country to keep illegals out. (A fence that would, no doubt, tremendously profit their big contractor friends.)"

The Grim Meathook Future » Blog Archive » Full text of the Grim Meathook Future thing:
"...most of the people with any genuine opportunity or ability to effect global change are too busy patting each other on the back at conventions and blue-skying goofy social networking tools that are essentially useless to 95% of the world’s population, who live within fifteen feet of everyone they’ve ever known and have no need to track their fuck buddies with GPS systems. (This, by the way, includes most Americans, quite honestly.)

You can’t blame them for this, because it’s fun and it’s a great way to travel and get paid, but it doesn’t actually help solve any real problems, except the problem of media theory grad students, which the rest of the world isn’t really interested in solving.

Feeding poor people is useful tech, but it’s not very sexy and it won’t get you on the cover of Wired. Talk about it too much and you sound like an earnest hippie. So nobody wants to do that.

They want to make cell phones that can scan your personal measurements and send them real-time to potential sex partners. Because, you know, the fucking Japanese teenagers love it, and Japanese teenagers are clearly the smartest people on the planet.

The upshot of all of this is that the Future gets divided; the cute, insulated future that Joi Ito and Cory Doctorow and you and I inhabit, and the grim meathook future that most of the world is facing, in which they watch their squats and under-developed fields get turned into a giant game of Counterstrike between crazy faith-ridden jihadist motherfuckers and crazy faith-ridden American redneck motherfuckers, each doing their best to turn the entire world into one type of fascist nightmare or another.

Of course, nobody really wants to talk about that future, because it’s depressing and not fun and doesn’t have Fischerspooner doing the soundtrack. So everybody pretends they don’t know what the future holds, when the unfortunate fact is that — unless we start paying very serious attention — it holds what the past holds: a great deal of extreme boredom punctuated by occasional horror and the odd moment of grace."

"...things are getting strange again." WARREN ELLIS' THE MINISTRY 03 - What Goes Into the Sausage?:
"I wouldn't think there's much doubt that things are getting strange again. And not the good kind of strange. A woman married a dolphin yesterday. Seriously. A US senator has declared that no woman can get an abortion in his own state unless she's a committed Christian virgin who's been beaten to within an inch of her life and anally raped. He said it on television. Quantum physicists are teleporting light. The truth behind that old 'where's my bloody jetpack' view of the future is that the future is clearly not going to be that simple. In the last few months, I've started to get the feeling that maybe old miseryguts JG Ballard isn't right all the time, and the near future, at least, is going to be anything but banal. Unless, of course, you're already so dead inside that anything short of Jesus Robots descending en masse from the centre of the sun dispensing immortality juice and flying cars makes you yawn.

The future's getting weird and scary. My futurist friend Matt Jones said to me the other day that, in one sense, the future is a race between the Bright Spime Future and what other smart friend Dr Joshua Ellis has termed the Grim Meathook Future. What's the Grim Meathook Future? Take a look at New Orleans -- what is now called the K-Hole, the hole that Hurricane Katrina left in the United States. Everyone knew in advance that the 2006 hurricane season was going to be a freak one. The K-Hole is the remains of a massive system failure. That's the Grim Meathook Future: infrastructures that cannot cope. Dead bodies laying for two weeks on the streetcorners of the most powerful nation on earth: that's the Grim Meathook Future. Things turning backwards. I live on an island that's just been informed that there's probably not enough water to go round this summer. Turn that sentence around in your heads a few times."

The Myth of Safety

Once Upon a Time...: The Myth of Safety:
"As a nation, we continue to suffer from an exceedingly dangerous delusion: that if we only take the correct actions, we will somehow manage to insulate ourselves entirely from all those who wish to inflict injury upon us. To put it kindly, this reflects a rather astounding degree of immaturity. At the same time, we also know that no one actually believes this fable: while our leaders wage war on a country that was no serious threat to us in the name of 'safety' and with the alleged aim of reducing the terrorist threat -- while in fact, the occupation of Iraq predictably has had exactly the opposite effect -- they regularly remind us that another attack is inevitable. The fact of a future terrorist attack is a certainty, we are informed; the only unknowns are when, where, exactly how, and the extent of the devastation.

This is another form of the seeming paradox I discussed in a recent essay about responsibility: our leaders seek leave to curtail our freedoms, to engage in widespread spying, and to take any number of further actions justified in the name of security, while they also tell us that we will definitely suffer future attacks. As I pointed out in the earlier post, they thus want to do whatever they wish, while they simultaneously tell us that all such efforts will be futile, at least in part. In this manner, they can act in whatever manner they choose and, when they fail, that failure will not be their responsibility. And when they fail again, they will propose the same solution: they will insist they need still more power and that our freedoms will have to be curtailed still further -- but even that, they will remind us, still will not guarantee our safety. There is only one winner in this perpetual game: an increasingly powerful and oppressive government. History has taught this lesson repeatedly, over thousands of years, and still we will not learn it."

""Shut the fuck up... and find your own fucking shoes."

From Warren Ellis' BadSignal:

I can't get excited about a RFID-SpimeWorld-blogjectsphere-InternetOfThings future where we get to google the location of our shoes in the morning. Data-tagging everything so we know where all our stuff is seems to me to be an essentially Autism Spectrum enterprise. Arphid socks are right up there with the Segway in the list of infantilising technologies, to my admittedly cranky and fairly slow mind. I don't wanna walk, I wanna be carried along by an electric pushchair. Shut the fuck up. Walking won't kill you. And find your own fucking shoes.

What is the point of making it easier to find, gather and read lots of different information streams? This is where SpimeWorld makes sense to me. It generates history. And history is what we learn from, so that the mistakes we make are at least new. And combining viewpoints gives us a better, more complete look at the present. Which in turn allows the future to leak in. And that's what I'm interested in.

And God said "Thou art humanity, sole life in the universe, unique in all things... oh wait a sec, I fucked up"

Boing Boing: Liquid water discovered on Saturn moon:
"'We have the smoking gun' that proves the existence of water, said Carolyn Porco, a Cassini imaging scientist from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

If Enceladus does harbor life, it probably consists of microbes or other primitive organisms capable of living in extreme conditions, scientists say."

Oh Yeah.

Let's All Get ADD! / What do coffee, cell phones, the Net, stress and sleep drugs have in common? You, silly:
"No one is getting enough sleep.

No one is getting enough sleep because everyone is so damned stressed.

Everyone is so damned stressed because everyone has way, way too much to do and far too little time in which to do it.

Everyone has way too much to do and far too little time in which to do it because modern technology has made us a thousandfold more accessible and more wired up and more media drenched and able to communicate in 157 different instant digitized ways, has given us entree to so much astounding information at so much faster and more unbearable rates that it has, in effect, compressed time into sweaty slippery little knots we are forever trying to untie as quickly as we possibly can even though we can't.

Slathered all over this is the fact that the Internet is a gorgeous wanton free-for-all of deliciously annoying distraction, porn and Instant Messenger and iTunes, eBay and Amazon and roughly one million blogs, RSS feeds and multimedia and movie trailers and the great time-sucking killer app of the 20th century, e-mail, and did I mention the porn and the music?

It's enough, verily, to give normally sane and balanced and disciplined people a serious case of attention deficit disorder, the inability to focus for any length of time on any one project at hand without the mind and the eye and the desire immediately jumping away to the umpteen other activities and ideas and fun bits your brain felt it was ignoring by trying to focus on one measly paltry thing.

...This is why God invented coffee. Coffee is our national narcotic. Caffeine is time's Viagra. It is no coincidence that the rise of the godlike Starbucks Corp. coincided almost exactly with the rise of the Internet and the cell-phone explosion and the dot-com boom -- that is, with the insane rise in instant communication and multitasking. Caffeine helps up keep up with the mad onslaught, even as it destroys our ability to calm the hell down and get some deep rest.

Did you know caffeine has a half-life in the body of six hours? That if you drink a big cup around noon, half of its 80-100 milligrams of nefarious caffeine are still bouncing through your bloodstream by dinnertime, and by midnight you've still got a happy glob of the stuff slapping at your exhausted brain stem like an angry wife slaps her ex-husband? Do you wonder why we're taking more and more sleeping pills and screwing with the body's natural rhythms and entering a vicious cycle of artificially jacking up/calming down to the point of, well, exhaustion?

But here's the big picture. The whole point. The payoff. The coup de grace. Pay attention now.

"...Because I have news: We have been misled. It is one massive lie, a great myth of modern American culture that the more you think, the more you multitask, the more you process and analyze and ponder and the more stuff whirling around your brain at any given moment, the smarter and more connected you are. It is, in short, a total crock.

We equate deranged, caffeinated busyness with smarts, with success, when in fact the exact opposite is true. Just ask the yogis, the gurus, the healers of the past 5,000 years: It is actually when you calm the mind, clear things out, breathe deep and sleep deeper and clean out the toxins and the caffeine and the Ambien, that's when real wisdom, real intuition comes your way. The rest is just, well, noise. Happy delicious annoying caffeinated sexy fun infuriating obnoxious unstoppable noise, but still noise.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jack LaLanne: Isn't Life Just Great!

Jack LaLanne: Isn't Life Just Great!:
"AC: What is your feeling, though, about the famous declaration of the enlightened person who says, 'Thy will be done'—in other words, 'It's not my will but the will of a higher power that does everything'?

JL: Well, I don't believe that. I believe we are put on this earth to do the best we possibly can with what we have. Again, there are so many things we don't know about—but if I left everything to fate, I wouldn't have anything! I wouldn't be getting to people. I've got to make it happen! And I believe this with my mind and my heart and my soul: What can't you do? Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.

AC: When you apply yourself in the way that you're describing and you discover this tremendous energy, do you ever have moments or experiences when you feel that there's also a power at work that is greater than yourself?

JL: Yes, but this power is in me. I'm using it. It's in you, too. And it's for you and me to bring it out.

AC: But in your book Revitalize Your Life After Fifty, you say, as you also did just a minute ago: 'You cannot be in my profession of physical fitness (connected with the mind and the body) and not believe that there is a Supreme Being that keeps this universe together.' What does that mean in practical terms?

JL: Well, when we look at the sun and the stars all around us here, our minds can't comprehend it—we just can't comprehend this. But I'm a great believer that if there is an earth made over, if there's a life again, then if I do everything negative in this life—if I break all of nature's laws and lie and hurt people—I'll never get another chance. But if I do a good job—if I do everything good in this life and I help myself and I help my family and I believe in everything I'm doing—then if there is another world made over, I'll be there, because I've earned it. Everything you do in life, you earn it, earn it, earn it—good or bad. How do you think you get arthritis, or rheumatism, or mental illness or all these different heart diseases? People earn them by breaking nature's laws. Would you put water in the gas tank of your automobile? Well, your body is a combustion engine, and thoughts are things!—they affect it, too.

...AC: So what you're saying is that to become truly spiritual, to experience genuine spirituality, you have to really act—you have to do something—and you have to be willing to give everything.

JL: Everything! Absolutely, no doubt about it; there are no free lunches. The whole plan about this is that you have the power to do it, but you have to take responsibility. I'm a normal human being, but the reason I'm normal is because I've worked at it! Like I said, there's a mental side to all this and you can't separate it from the physical. Too many people dwell on all kinds of things, but I work out seven days a week and that's my penance, that's my price to pay, that's to keep my mind down to where it should be instead of it running away. See, it's a psychological thing. You're actually punishing yourself, disciplining yourself—it all comes down to discipline. With my personality, I could be a runaway, out with a different woman every night, drunk every night, eating and doing things that—well, you know, you've got it in you, we've all got it in us. But that's why you've got to take control! So after I've done my workout in the morning, I've fulfilled my obligation, my price to pay for what I have. Nothing happens accidentally; there's always a reason, somewhere along the line.

AC: What about grace?

JL: What about what?

AC: Grace—the descent of the spirit. It's called "grace" when it seems that for no apparent reason the spirit visits someone—then they say it was an "act of grace."

JL: You see, that I can't get into, because that's never happened to me. Everything that's happened to me in my life is because of something that I've done to make it happen. Nobody's come out of the clouds. But your mind can play so many tricks on you. If you think something is going to happen—you know, don't dismiss the mind; it controls everything, right?—you can make yourself well or sick. There is so much that we don't know, and I don't think this Supreme Being that we've been talking about really wanted us to know everything. If we knew everything we wouldn't be inquisitive any more. That's why people who think they know everything lose their imagination. You need to get new thoughts, new challenges. It's like He's keeping that carrot—pardon the old saying—in front of the horse to keep it going.

...I'm not doing all this stuff so you'll say, "Gee, Jack, you're a wonderful guy"; it's because I've got to do the best I possibly can and set my standards high so that the people who come to my lectures will follow them. That's my responsibility, because I know that in all these billions of years of existence, there's just one of you and one of me. Doesn't that mean anything? So if you can't afford half an hour three or four times a week to take care of the most priceless possession on this earth, which is your body, then you've got to be a bit psycho.

Now a lot of people say, "Oh, I don't have the time." Or, "Oh, but I don't like it, Jack." But you know, I try to get to the gym by five in the morning, and I work out for two hours. To leave a hot bed and a hot woman to go to a cold gym—now that's dedication! And I've never heard this once—knock, knock, knock on the window in my gym: "Jack, this is Jesus, I'll work out for you today!" So that's the message we have to give all these people—that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made"—and we goof it up. If you're tired and pooped out all the time, do you have love and compassion in your heart for your fellow man? You don't even like yourself!

You know, that's the only thing that I get really sad about. I see a sea of millions of people going down with their own negative thoughts, going down for the third time in this big sea of iniquity and negativity, and I feel like I've got the life preserver, but all I can do is say, "Grab it!"

'Clean thoughts and dirty girls'

At 91, Jack LaLanne is Still Going Strong - Health For Life -
"LaLanne, now 91, says his goal was always the same: to help people get strong and stay active. Compact and energetic, LaLanne still displays his showman's sense of humor. (The secret of his longevity? He responds without missing a beat: 'Clean thoughts and dirty girls.') But when it comes to good living, the godfather of fitness gets serious. 'There are no shortcuts. No magic,' he says. 'The truth is, you've got to make smart food choices and exercise, not once in a while, but every day.'"

"If man makes it, I don't eat it"

Kimberly Garrison | At 91, Jack LaLanne is still in the fast lane:
"The only way you hurt the body is when you don't use it. Sitting around on your big fat gluteus maximus talking about the good old days. The good old days are right this second. You've got to exercise VIG-OR-OUSLY! Life is tough. Life is a challenge. Life is a battlefield... . Life is an athletic event, and you must train for it.

Q: Jack, what led you to pursue a career in fitness?

A: Well, I was a weak, sick kid. I was suicidal, psychotic, failing in school. I was a sugarholic... . Alcohol and sugar are synonymous. Both destroy the B vitamins. People are addicted to sugar just like they're addicted to booze.

Q: Many people pray for good health. What are your thoughts on that?

A: That's a big bunch of BS. God helps them who helps themselves. He gives you the power to do it. You've got to do it! People overeat, get fat, get sick and then pray to God. In life, there are certain rules you must follow. Life is like an athletic event. You've got to have goals and challenges. Exercise is king; nutrition is queen!

Q: What about genetics?

A: You can't change your genetics. If you're tall, you're tall, and if you're short, you're short. Work with what you have and strive to be your best. Don't give excuses.

Q: When did you discover juicing?

A: I've been juicing since I was 15. I attended a health lecture that literally changed my life. I began juicing and became a strict vegetarian, and I joined the Berkeley [Calif.] YMCA. I began exercising, changed my diet, and the rest is history. I changed my life. My strength doubled. My energy doubled. No more headaches.

...If man makes it, I don't eat it. I practice what I preach. I eat 10 raw vegetables, 5 pieces of fruit, egg whites and fish for protein, and whole grains. Finally, if you can't have a sense of humor, you're dead."

Jack LaLanne - "I am one runaway son of a bitch!"

Jack LaLanne Is Still an Animal | Outside Online:
"For all of my fond memories of the sheer élan that the man exuded, Jack LaLanne eventually faded from my own cultural vista amid the swirl of the sixties and seventies. But during the early eighties, a few years after the great turning of a generation to the secular religion of exercise, I rediscovered him in a remarkable interview published in Playboy. Jack was 69 then, but he reported that he still did his killer workouts every single day. He said that his chest still measured 47 inches, while his belt traveled but 27 inches around his midsection.

Jack suggested in the interview that regular cocaine snorters should take bonemeal supplements to replace the calcium loss in their nasal septums. He promoted dieting and weight loss to Playboy readers by noting that 'if you have a six-inch tool and a 50-inch waistline, the thing doesn't look very big, does it?' Jack said, 'When you married a beautiful girl and all of a sudden you start seeing her tits down to here and her breath stinks and she's not clean anymore and has no pride in herself, you can't love her. You may bullshit yourself, but you can't. Energy makes people beautiful. That's what charisma is. You don't want to be close to someone who's dead and crapped out all the time, who's bitching that it's a lousy fucking world and 'Christ, my ulcers are killing me.' Maybe 50 or 60 percent of all divorces are predicated on someone's being physically unfit.'

It was the knee-jerk demographic assertion at the end that made me ponder once again what a great American Jack really was.

...In 1954, when Jack was half his current age--not long after he won that year's Professional Mr. America contest and something called the Best Chest award--he began to attempt a series of midlife feats of Herculean strength and uncanny endurance that were designed to call attention to his cause. He did 100 handstand push-ups in under six minutes. He swam through the powerful currents between Alcatraz Island and Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. He towed a 2,000-pound boat the length of the Golden Gate Bridge while swimming underwater with air tanks but no fins, and he somehow did 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes during an appearance on TV.

In his sixties, Jack began to wear shackles on his legs as well as handcuffs for the swimming feats. He used the "flopping butterfly" stroke he developed to tow 13 boats symbolizing the original colonies across a southern California bay as a 1976 bicentennial feat, and he towed 6,500 pounds of wood pulp across a lake in Japan the year he qualified for Social Security. At the age of 70, he towed 70 friends sitting in 70 different boats across Long Beach Harbor near Los Angeles, despite heavy winds.

Jack, it should be noted, might be five-foot-six if he stretched.

He explained that he trained for the push-up feat with endless reps using 140-pound dumbbells and by climbing a 25-foot rope three times in a row with 140 pounds of extra weight strapped to his belt. When I asked why lactic acid didn't freeze him up after a while, he noted that I clearly didn't understand the value of vitamin supplements and good nutrition.

"Ask the guys who are doing serious triathlons if there are any limits to what can be done. The limit is right here," he said, pointing at the reddish curls still clinging to the side of his head. "You've got to get physically fit between the ears. Muscles don't know anything. They have to be taught."

...I train like I'm training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I've always trained my whole life. You see, life is a battlefield. Life is survival of the fittest.' Then he segued into a mantra I'm sure I heard dozens of times as a very young boy: 'How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know? Think about it. People work at dying, they don't work at living. My workout is my obligation to life. It's my tranquilizer. It's part of the way I tell the truth--and telling the truth is what's kept me going all these years.'

Then--thoughtlessly, perhaps, and only because I do it myself--I asked Jack LaLanne if he ever snacks before bedtime.

"Never!" he snarled. "You don't get it. I am one runaway son of a bitch! I am an animal! I want to eat everything! I want to get drunk every single night! I want to screw every woman there is! We are all wild animals. But we must learn to use our minds. We must learn to control the bestial and sensual sides of ourselves!

I wouldn't mind some of the good ol' days.

Hey Mr. Green - Sierra Club:
"It's clear that the 'need' for air-conditioning is largely a culturally conditioned phenomenon. (Call it the Big Mindless Chill.) I'm old enough to have grown up in the Midwest when there were {I}no{/I} air conditioners. We had a dozen or so days each summer when people would bitch about the weather, itself a nearly lost art form. Then we would proceed to find various pleasurable ways of beating the heat, like taking siestas, making Kool-Aid, and lounging under shade trees.

At night, we relished the excuse to lie out on the lawn while peering into the depths of the galaxy or discussing the meaning of the universe--or at least the location of constellations and the distance to an airplane blinking on the horizon. Watching meteors was a welcome part of the ritual too. Folks who had flat roofs could sleep on them; the really lucky ones had those old-fashioned sleeping porches. (There's little room for such amenities now that space is squandered on multi-car garages and other follies of modern domestic architecture.)

Then, thanks to the blessings of postwar consumerism, a few of the wealthier folks acquired air conditioners, around the same time they started snapping up TVs. More and more time was spent sitting inside, listening to a mechanical hum instead of meadowlarks by day and whip-poor-wills by night. (In the beginning was the Word. In the end was Television.) As the technology became more affordable, just about everybody acquired air-conditioning.

Then the only thing left to prove was that yours was better than the other guy's. Thus began the era of hyper-cooling, wherein a superfluous creature comfort morphed into something downright uncomfortable. Across the United States, there are millions of living rooms where you have to wear a sweater in the middle of a heat wave.

But there might be more to this than mere status-seeking. Many a dwelling that is overcooled in the summer becomes suffocatingly overheated in the winter. The warmer it gets outside, the colder we make it inside, and vice versa. Instead of getting used to the seasonal changes (an idea as quaint these days as the folk wisdom of letting the blood thin out in summer and thicken in winter), it's as if we're one-upping nature itself, cranking up the air conditioner or furnace just to show the weather that, by God, we're the ones in control."

Selected Wisdom of Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis:
"* You want to know about voting. I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight. You like to put your feet up and watch 'Republican Party Reservation'. They like to have sex with normal people using knives, guns and brand-new sexual organs that you did not know existed. So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as the eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.

* 'Hi. I’m Spider Jerusalem. I smoke. I take drugs. I drink. I wash every six weeks. I masturbate constantly and fling my steaming poison semen down from my window into your hair and food. I’m a rich and respected columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper. I live with two beautiful women in the city’s most expensive and select community. Being a bastard works.'

* Did you ever want to set someone's head on fire, just to see what it looked like? Did you ever stand in the street and think to yourself, I could make that nun go blind just by giving her a kiss? Did you ever lay out plans for stitching babies and stray cats into a Perfect New Human? Did you ever stand naked surrounded by people who want your gleaming sperm, squirting frankincense, soma and testosterone from every pore? If so, then you're the bastard who stole my drugs Friday night. And I'll find you. Oh, yes.

* I have attempted to reflect this in TRANSMET: the understanding that the world can be neither perfect nor doomed. But that it can be better. And the people who get to decide if it's going to be better or not are the people who show up and raise their voices."

See, God leads them. That's why they're so holy and perfect and infallible.

Ask me again why I don't go to church anymore.

102 Dublin Priests Eyed for Child Abuse - Yahoo! News:
"The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, rocked for a decade by sex scandals, on Wednesday made its biggest admission yet: 102 of its Dublin priests past and present, or 3.6 percent of the total, are suspected of abusing children."

Not one politician will have the stones to be that kind of candidate.

Molly Ivins: Enough of the D.C. Dems | The Progressive:
"Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.

This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass."

Nah, this can't be it. I have it on good authority they hate us because of our "freedom".

Satya Nov 01: Doves and War Drums: Interview with Colman McCarthy:
"What first came to mind when you realized that the Twin Towers had been deliberately crashed into?
Shock but not surprise. The depth of the horror was initially beyond imagination. But the attack itself was not a surprise. On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., said that “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” He was right then and is right now. In only the past 20 years, the U.S. government has sent troops to kill or threaten to kill people in Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and now Afghanistan again. All are poor nations and mostly people of color.

The U.S. has military bases in more than 100 countries to “protect our vital interests,” which really means to protect our vital privileges. The U.S. is the world’s largest maker and seller of weapons, often to dictators or governments that abuse human rights. Its military budget this year is $343 billion, a sum 23 times larger than the combined military budgets of our seven alleged enemies. Unless you’re an astronomer, $343 billion is too large a number to grasp. It comes down to about $900 million a day—four times more than what the Peace Corps gets in a year—or about $11,000 a second. It means also that an American family of four pays about $8,000 a year in taxes to the military. Half of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon. On any given day that we are spending $900 million for the illusion of security, about 40,000 people are dying around the world from hunger or preventable diseases. That’s a daily death toll. On top of that, while much of the world starves, a major preoccupation in America is how to lose weight.

And after all that, we wonder how come the world doesn’t love us?

... Of late, pacifism has been denounced, even called evil, as on the op-ed page of The Washington Post, or mocked as nonsense in The Wall Street Journal. It brings to mind what Hermann Goering, the Nazi leader, said: “The people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism.” "


Spiritual Bungee Jumping - Pop Occulture:
"I am a spiritual bungee-jumper. What I mean by that is that I’m a liar. I like to go on metaphysical thrill-rides where there is little to no threat of actual danger to my sense of self. I like feeling all spooked out and having cool things to ponder, but that’s about it. I like to say I’m looking for the Truth, but what I really mean is that I’m looking for truths which I can use to enhance my life and make me more interesting as a person. It’s not Unconditional Truth At Any Cost that I’m after, because that shit’s just too plain scary.

I’m at least honest enough to face my own cowardice.

I realize that I’m in a nice padded vehicle with lots of straps, safety mechanisms and emergency shut-off switches if things go too far out of control. I’ve done a very good job of constructing it. I can even sell you the design, if you want. It’s weird because I’m proud of it on one level and ashamed at what a faker I am on another. I say I want the truth, but the truth is: I can’t handle the truth. Or at least not all of it. Not all at once anyway… but, see, there go my supporting rationalizations, triggering lines of thought to protect me and my fakery. It’s strong stuff. I rely on it nowadays."

That would make for quite a day.

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 1PM Lunch:
"1PM Lunch

Finance: The pills the pharmacy gave me for my back looked funny. They were supposed to be oval and yellow but they are more long and white.
VP: So did you find out what the problem was?
Finance: Well, I called the pharmacy and they said that they had mistakenly given me anti-psychotics instead of my back medicine."

This actually does explain why it always seems as if Bush is giving a speech to a learning disabled 3 year old.

Suburban Guerrilla » Quote of the Week:
"Bush speaks to the audience as if they’re idiots. I think the reason he does that is because that’s the way these issues were explained to him.

- Graydon Carter"

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Joe Rogan is a wise man. [Or... Perspectives on online BS]
"I know a lot of people have some sort of ideas about how people in the public eye are supposed to respond to people that are not, but the way I look at it is this: I'm just a person, and when another person acts like an asshole to me, I reserve the right to be an asshole right back. I'm not defending my actions, but I am explaining how I think about it, or at least thought about it at the time. People say, 'You're the asshole picking on some 20 year old college student.' To which I say, absolutely. That was what I was going for. He was insulting me, so I decided to insult him right back. I was most certainly being an asshole, but I was being one to someone that was insulting me. If someone is nice to me I go out of my way to be nice to him or her, but if you're going to be a dick, I reserve the right to be a dick right back.

The bottom line is that anyone that would email someone that they don't know, and tell them something to try to piss them off or hurt their feelings is being a fuck head.
If you don't like me, like I've said, that's fine and dandy with me, but only an asshole goes around insulting people for no reason.

The internet has created a way for people to be screened and protected from the consequences of being shitty to other people.
Before the internet, this gateway was only available to writers and critics, but now, everyone can say whatever they want to say to someone with no consequences, especially if that person makes themselves as accessible as I am.
If there were no written word and no method of long distance communication, we would be forced to say the things we think about people to their face, which is the way humans are designed to communicate.

Now, when you remove the social cues you get from two people standing in front of each other talking face to face, it's a whole lot easier to be an asshole.
Could you imagine if you were just going about your day, and someone you don't know walked up to you and said "I hate you, you're not funny?" Because that's exactly the same thing someone is doing by sending that in an email.
How can you defend that behavior?

"Well, as a person in the public eye, you've got to expect that."

As a person that thinks that a good percentage of the people on this planet suck, I do expect it. It doesn't mean that I have to be nice to them.

..."You're such a fucking loser, you think that making money and being on some dumb show is any real accomplishment?"

Well, when you're bickering back and forth like this, basically you're playing a very low level social game. You're trying to "win."
When someone insinuates that you've never accomplished anything, and you just happen to be a guy that's made some money and been on some tv shows, wouldn't you bring that up?
You're not supposed to say that? Why not? It's just a fact. Why can't you state a fact? What kind of a weird taboo is that? It's bragging?
Why? Just because that fact doesn't apply to your life and it makes you uncomfortable?
Because it sounds gross when people talk about how much money that they make?
I think in the context that it was said, it was reasonable to bring that up.
I'm not saying I'm a better person than anyone that hasn't done what I've done, but when someone is saying that I'm going to work for the family hardware store because my career is over, I think I'm allowed to say "let's compare lives."

It's not like I'm having a serious conversation with someone whose opinion I respect, and when the subject of "have you accomplished anything in your life" comes up.
No, it's a shit-talking contest between two jackasses that have never even fucking met each other.
If I were seriously going to be honest about what I think my accomplishments are, it would be a far different answer."

We have met the Enemy and he is us - Pogo

Key 23 | Occulture Evolved:
"'To influence us, they disable our capacity to make reasoned judgements and appeal to deeper, perhaps unresolved, and certainly unrelated issues. By understanding the unconscious processes we use to make our choices of what to buy, where to eat, whom to respect, and how to feel, clever influence professionals can sidestep our critical faculties and compel us to act however they please. We are disconnected from our own further disempowerment. The less we are satisfied by our decisions, the more easily manipulated we become.
'To restore our own ability to act willfully, we must accept that we are the ones actively submitting to the influence of others. We are influenced because, on some level, we want to be.'
(Coercion: Why We Listen to What They Say - 1999, Douglas Rushkoff, p. 19)"

Contextual Bible Study

Rushkoff's "Nothing Sacred" is a great book.

Follow the link for more...

Contextual Criticism: Dream On:
"Douglas Rushkoff, in his book, Nothing Sacred, states that Biblical scholars have known for 200 years that the stories in the Hebrew Bible are not to be understood literally; that these are not historical events as we understand history today. The trouble is that this knowledge has not filtered down to the people. He complains that “Today’s Jews are not taught in Hebrew school that many of our holidays are based on those of previous civilizations. Or that the Torah was written and rewritten over a period of centuries by rabbis and even politicians. Or that many events in the Bible are allegorical and not historically accurate.”

Rushkoff’s book contains an insightful section where he describes how the eighteenth century “brought an altogether new set of discoveries that forced [the Jews] to question the divine authority of their most sacred texts and theistic doctrines.” He points out how various forces arose at that time to impact people’s understanding of creation and cosmos, and themselves.

In other words, Biblical scholarship, along with other discoveries, turned traditional understandings of the Bible upside down. Critical analysis showed that the Bible was not a single chronological tale of God and his people but a series of strands or threads and each Biblical thread “was meant to push a different theological, cultural, or political agenda.”

Yet, in Rushkoff’s view, this shouldn’t have been all that disturbing. He points out that “Spinoza and other scholars had already concluded centuries earlier that the final draft of the Torah was spliced together by Ezra, a head scribe, after the return from exile, around 500 B.C.E.”

People living at that time would have known clearly that “many of the Torah’s stories were culled from other Near Eastern traditions and sometimes quoted verbatim. Some passages, taken from Egyptian documents, were never fully translated into Hebrew. The covenant itself borrows its language from well-known war treaties.”

Then Rushkoff makes this very important point which relates directly to fundamentalist “inerrancy”: “Very few in the educated elite should have believed that the Torah represented the unadulterated word of God, since the Talmudists had already clearly identified many of the errors still remaining in the written text due to inaccuracies in its own transmission.”

Some of us have struggled for years with the question as to how to deal with the Bible. How do we understand it? How do we interpret its less than majestic passages? What do we do with the sections that portray a violent and cruel God? Can we pick and choose what to believe and what commandments to follow?

...Rabbi Geller “put the Bible in a context of dreams,” Marilyn said. “When you have a dream, you don’t demand of it that it be linear, logical, literal, sequential—you don’t demand that of it. That is the way the Bible should be read: It is a dream of a people.”"

Sports Hybrid, Built by Kids, Runs on Soybeans, Zero-to-60 in 4 Seconds - Gizmodo

See, it's this kinda thing that makes one believe in conspiracy price-fixing oil-sucking evil capitalists.

The American Auto Industry couldn't do something like this because why?

Smoke and Mirrors.

Sports Hybrid, Built by Kids, Runs on Soybeans, Zero-to-60 in 4 Seconds - Gizmodo:
"The top auto designers in Detroit have been slam-dunked by a group of high school kids from Philadelphia who built the K-1 Attack Hybrid, a sports car that gets 50 miles per gallon and can go from zero to 60 in four seconds. During auto shop class, the group took a Honda Accord chassis, a Volkswagen turbo diesel engine and a 200hp electric motor, and put together a hybrid electric/biomass car that runs on soybeans. Now the car has won a race and is getting big-time press coverage all over the U.S.

The kicker? It beats the gas mileage/performance ratio of any production vehicle on the market today. "

Stupid, if it wasn't so infuriating.

Paying off debt makes you a terrorist suspect.

Morons, I swear to fucking god.

Scripps Howard News Service:
"'...the recent decision by him and his wife to be responsible, to do the kind of thing that just about anyone would say makes good, solid financial sense.

They paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.

And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.

And all they did was pay down their debt. They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast.

After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed.

So Deana Soehnge called the credit-card company. Then Walter called.

'When you mess with my money, I want to know why,' he said.

They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking.

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Take the money

The Dilbert Blog: Children are Our Future:
" of the girls renewed my faith by explaining it this way. “You can always get happier. I’d take the money first.”

This answer displayed an understanding of the power of delayed gratification plus a complete disregard for the constraints of my hypothetical question. That is all I ask from our young people."

Yanni will fuck you up and play the pan flute at the same time.

1980's TBS music collection commercials remain with me to this day.

Yanni Arrested in Alleged Domestic Dispute - Yahoo! News:
"The musician Yanni was arrested at his home after an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend, authorities said."

Monday, March 06, 2006


1920's meets 2020's.

Photo: Cruise ship of the sky? | CNET
"It might look like something from a science fiction movie, but its inventors hope the Aeroscraft concept aircraft represents the future of travel.

Dubbed the cruise ship in the sky, the 174mph, 400-ton craft is more than an acre in size. Created by California-based Worldwide Aeros, the Aeroscraft is in a category of its own, said inventor Igor Pasternak, who expects the prototype to be completed by 2010. 'You can land it on water or snow,' he said. 'It's a new vision of what can be done in the air.'

When it's completed, the cross between an airship and a plane will ferry passengers across continents and oceans. The company hopes to create both commercial and military versions."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The 7 Vital Principles of Government

The 7 Vital Principles of Government:
"1. Government is force. Every government program, law, or regulation is a demand that someone do what he doesn't want to do, refrain from doing what he does want to do, or pay for something he doesn't want to pay for. And those demands are backed up by police with guns.

2. Government is politics. Whenever you turn over to the government a financial, social, medical, military, or commercial matter, it's automatically transformed into a political issue — to be decided by those with the most political influence. And that will never be you or I.

3. You don't control government. It's easy to think of the perfect law that will stop the bad guys while leaving the good guys unhindered. But no law will be written the way you have in mind, it won't be administered the way you have in mind, and it won't be adjudicated the way you have in mind.

Your ideal law will be written by politicians for political purposes, administered by bureaucrats for political purposes, and adjudicated by judges appointed for political purposes. So don't be surprised if the new law turns out to do exactly the opposite of what you thought you were supporting.

4. Every government program will be more expensive and more expansive than anything you had in mind when you proposed it. It will be applied in all sorts of ways you never dreamed of.

5. Power will always be misused. Give good people the power to do good and that power eventually will be in the hands of bad people to do bad.

6. Government doesn't work. Because government is force, because government programs are designed to enrich the politically powerful, because you can't control government and make it do what's right, because every new government program soon wanders from its original purpose, and because politicians eventually misuse the power you give them, it is inevitable that no government program will deliver on the promises the politicians make for it.

7. Government must be subject to absolute limits. Because politicians have every incentive to expand government, and with it their power, there must be absolute limits on government.

The Constitution provides the obvious limits we must reimpose upon the federal government. Until the Constitution is enforced, we have no hope of containing the federal government.

...If you really want to cure a pressing social problem, take steps outside the realm of government. If you don't see how you can convince people to help you succeed in a non-governmental endeavor, how can you expect to control politicians who care nothing for your desires?

And if you really want to make a noticeable difference, if you really want to improve life, do something for yourself or your family today. That's where you have real control, that's where you don't need to rely on politicians — or anyone else — and you can make sure the results are as you intend.