Log

Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. A Seagull and a Police RV.

Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. A Seagull and a Police RV.

This page has been archived. The current log and the log archives are available.

10.10.2001 @

War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.

- Jefferson

If truth was difficult to spot before, it'll take Hubble telescope-like scrutiny to figure out what the big picture is these days. I find myself somewhere in between the clash of opinions of how to skew things. I want to understand how to stop terrorism and that means taking an honest look at what our government has done to fight it in the past.

Why did they come down to covert action?

Because diplomacy and military action didn't work. We took the Marines out of Lebanon after the bombing. Diplomacy was not functioning. And Reagan wanted action. And Casey went off the books on his own, and worked it out with the Saudis to pay two million dollars to get...people to build this car bomb that killed eighty innocent people in Beirut [in 1985] and not Sheik Fadlallah.

What was the final outcome of all of that?

... Well here's the frustration of dealing with terrorists. [It] reaches the point where Casey had lunch with Prince Bandar. the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, one of the most powerful figures even today in Washington. And they went for a stroll in the garden and they said, "We have to go off the books." And they agreed that the Saudis would put up the money to hire some professionals to try to car bomb Sheik Fadlallah. And it was so off the books, there's no evidence that Reagan knew about it or Weinberger or Schultz. It was Casey on his own, saying, "I'm going to solve the big problem by essentially getting tougher or as tough as the terrorists in using their weapon"--the car bomb.

-Frontline Interview with Bob Woodward

The Frontline website has plenty of interviews and history to read. Go read…

Terrorism doesn't need much money to be effective. So all you have to do is appeal to a small portion of the population. What really helps is having a lot of corruption in your government to draw those suffering masses into your fold. Even better is when there is already some sort of conflict going on in your neighborhood. There's nothing like, pain, suffering, and death to get a body to turn towards religion. What the Fatwa? "My name is Osama and I got a deal for you! I know who is causing all your problems and I can guarantee you a place in heaven with 72 virgins!" In a world of uncertainty, there is nothing like a sure thing.

It is the business of the church to make my business impossible.

-Earl Haig

Speaking of religion, there is something about running a weblog that breeds a sort of catholic confessional response. Mark did one thing I've not done myself. While I have talked about various chemicals I used to take part in, I have never linked to my current employer (Gamitopia doesn't really count, since I don't get paid). If you got to write, fine. You don't need to air it out for everyone to take a sniff. If that's all it takes to lose a job, than I don't think it could have been that great working there. While I think it's plain bullshit that people have to bend over backwards to appear squeaky clean in case of client objections, I do understand that most companies can't afford to lose a single client. Of course, this all may just be fallout from drug war hysteria. Clinton didn't inhale, Bush didn't do lines, and Conduit stopped dating. After all, we have to trust our politicians to protect us from the evils of pot!

Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his en tire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded (sic) by the smoking of one or more marijuana "reefers."

- Harry L. Anslinger

If there is any evil here, it's giving recovering addicts a scarlet letter status. What a way to support those that try and make their lives better! The addictive qualities of a drug are one thing, but the thing that makes people throw their life away is the self-hatred that goes with it. When you hate something you want to strike out or strike back. There are many reasons to hate yourself. If you can't imagine some, people will help you out.

If it's not endless commercials that prey on people's naivety, it's movies that appeal to our lower nature. It may not be overtly hateful, but when you sell crap you are not showing any concern for your customers. When the bottom line controls corporate policy it drags us all down. But it's a lot better then living under the Taliban.

The waters are muddy. The slopes are slippery. The sharks are hungry. Truth was drowned for being too distressing a long time ago. We trade knowing truth for feeling safe…or at least the promise of it. Words of promise also go to those willing to die to destroy that safety. In the lie we all come to die.

It's not the fault of religion. Not all religions devalue life. In fact, eternal damnation sounds a lot worse then oblivion. People suffer when human life becomes devalued by religion, government, or corporations.

In the African village of Tireli the traditional harvest festival is called the Dama. It is also where boys become men. Though he is 29 Atimay is not considered a man until he dances in the Dama. The Dama can only be called by his grandfather, the oldest of the village. However, the shaman has told him that he will die on the day of the next Dama. There hasn't been a Dama in Tireli in twenty years.

One man fears death and his village suffers. A group of men don't fear death and many more suffer. I fear we face a Gordian Knot that reties itself when cut.

10.03.2001 @

The inflated ego of the tyrant is a curse to himself and his world-no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper. Self-terrorized, fear-haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggressions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self-achieved independence is the world's messenger of disaster, even though, in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions. Wherever he sets his hand there is a cry (if not from the housetops, then-more miserably-within every heart): a cry for the redeeming hero, the carrier of the shining blade, whose blow, whose touch, whose existence will liberate the land.

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

There has been a backlash to the backlash towards America. I have done my share of finger pointing and I realize that it's not helping at all.

How can we help ourselves out of this situation? Is it to take care and watch what we say and persecute those that dare to voice dissent?

"There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."

-Ari Fleischer

Maybe I'm still numb over what happened, but I can't seem to hate lately. It doesn't do me any good. Ari is just another stooge parroting the cry to stand united for whatever response our government deems necessary. This language bears an uncanny resemblance to our drug war rhetoric. Whatever hand we have had in creating this situation is as moot as all the evidence pointing to how ineffective drug prohibition is. The argument is that to change our stance on situations like supporting Israel would tell terrorists that their actions produce the results they want in the way that changing the laws on drugs would mean the government is wrong for imprisoning so many of its people.

This is 2001. We've all seen The Falcon and the Snowman, The Siege, and Wag the Dog. Are they Manufacturing Consent for a war? Why? It's almost too easy to label it an old family trick to win support. Maybe it goes as far as manufacturing a presidency. The responsibility of the press is to keep the public informed and not cater to the image of the resident president. We are a strong country and we can deal with just about anything. This tragedy has proven that. It has proven that we can become heroes when the call is made.

Only birth can conquer death-the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be-if we are to experience long survival-a continuous "recurrence of birth" (palingenesia) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death.

-Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Is it the role of the hero to stop violence on both sides? Will that actually change anything? Is it just a matter of stopping violence against us? Is violence inevitable and even necessary to some degree?

Fingers have been pointing at passages in the Koran. Perhaps, Jehovah should say a few words.

And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

-Exodus 32:27

That was just for worshiping a golden bull for a night. We don't worship anything as a nation, right? We are moving towards a war on terrorism and not a crusade against Islam, right? We are really fighting fundamentalists, right?

How do you stop people from become so radically religious? Keep them happy? Maybe you could keep them fed and housed. Maybe you can help them live without constant fear of death. Maybe you can give them freedom from corrupt tyrannical regimes.

These are interesting times.

While retrieving my mail today I heard a whistle that permeated throughout the elevator. A tall gentleman was closing his mailbox and turned to greet me with a "Howdy." I managed to get my mail and a young women preceded to do the same. I made it back to the elevator before it closed and rode up with the guy. He mentioned that the woman reminded him of his daughter, Nicole Simpson. Yup. He went on to say that they were going to try and pin the murders on him. Blah, Blah, Blah. I don't know if it's just a thing about the west coast, but I have seen more questionable folks here than in all my years in Chicago.

While I wouldn't say that the upcoming winter is too appealing to me, I really do miss home and my friends and family. Due to certain bad news in the family, I need to get back there and help out any way I can. When I was there for about a week to attend my brother's wedding I had lots of dreams each night. For some reason, they all had this theme of healing. I think we all need a good dose of that.

Laughter could help too. I saw the Enterprise pilot and I have to agree with Will about the healing power of detox gel. I wasn't too keen about the theme song. If we are already going down that route, how about Johnny Cash's My Ship Will Sail? I don't think Vulcans were vegens. I don't remember Spock not eating meat.

A serendipitous spotting on metafilter had me do a ego-surf on wisenut.

...and Kirsti Hanna fanfic? What about a John Namest doing it with the girls from Technomancy? Or... http://www.asianbastard.com/comments.php?comment=4544575

Umm…I don't know where this came from or where it went.

Anyway, I feel a little strange using "serendipity". There is a context with the failed dotcom that brings back some bad memories. It's unfortunate since it's a great word. As you might tell from some of the quotes today, I've been doing some reading on myths. The word comes from "Serendip," (Sanskrit for Isle of Silk) which is the older version of Sri Lanka. The context of the meaning comes from the The Three Princes of Serendip that details the story of a family that has many accidental adventures on the way to Sri Lanka. Not the plot here.

On the serendipitous theme, I was rolling a few thoughts inside my head when I heard Pearl Django on NPR. I was taking certain musings I had before and putting them in new configurations.

In the Italian western, Django, Django's hands get messed up badly. In Desperado and El Mariachi, the main character has his hand shot and is skill guitar player. Django Reinhardt lost the use of two of his fingers (and a badly burned leg) to fire.

Instead of letting this injury end his career, he taught himself how to play again, inventing a new style in the process. There is heroism in this. When you come through the flames you invoke a rebirth. You can't just go on the way things were before. There is a choice to be made.

Finally, Dave has been covering the transoceanic rower, Dr. Nenad Belic from Chicago and has sent out a message about Nenad's disappearance. Dave has been covering Dr. Belic's journey. You can follow the account on his 5-14, 5-16, 6-4, 7-24, and 8-31 entries.

09.27.2001 @

How do you hate when you understand?

-J.M. DeMatteis

It's been almost a year since I left to seek my dotcom fortune in the great northwest. It's been a little less then that that I've tried to find new employment. With about 100,000 from the airline industry to join the ranks of the unemployed the job market is going to become even more bleak.

The first Siggraph I attended was in 1997. Though I didn't give it much concern at the time, a comment made by someone has become a bit too prophetic. Upon hearing that I did Virtual Reality development, he said something like, "There's no future in that. Straight 3D will eclipse it." VR has been really good to me for years. But the best part was the people I got to work with. Without a doubt, I was lucky to work with them and I consider many of them my closest friends.

The tool that I had to use for many of those years was Superscape's VRT. It's was a great tool for creating VR worlds on a 200mhz or better PC, but it's days were numbered and now "VRT" doesn't even produce a single search result on their website.

Times change and you have to change with them. While programming wasn't completely alien to me, the difference between scripting in VRT and fully blown coding in a language like Java is pretty significant. Teaching yourself to program is no easy task. The whole time I had my head in programming books other feelings began to emerge. The wonderful thing about working in VR was the freedom to design almost anything. The only thing that I have ever done to come close to that freedom is writing.

I've had an on and off love affair with writing. Many stories have started and few have been finished, but I never gave writing my full focus.

Nothing so focuses a man as the prospect of being hanged at sunrise.

- Mark Twain

I wouldn't say my current prospects are quite so morbid, but I am contemplating a death of sorts. By the end of next week I will know if the last vestiges of hope for my VR career have been put to rest. If it comes to pass that certain funding can't be acquired, I plan to take some money out of my IRA (since I am currently flat broke) and return to Illinois. There I will try and piece my financial situation together any way I can. I hope to keep this site going no matter what. My hosting costs are coming in at a steady $9 a month and I shudder to think what would have to occur for that amount to be too much.

All members in good standing of the 1950s Hopalong Cassidy fan club received a certificate from Hopalong listing the directives of the cowboy creed. And they are:

The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times.

Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and obey their instructions.

If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every way.

Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Don't be lazy.

Your good deeds always come to light. So don't boast or be a show-off.

If you waste time or money today, you will regret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in all ways.

Many animals are good and loyal companions. Be friendly and kind to them.

A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean.

Our country's laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully.

Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud you are an American.

And so I offer the Hopalong Cassidy creed, from which one may derive some measure of purpose in the days ahead, to godless-Americans, such as Penn Jillette, who was kind enough to write me, when I recently left employment, with the following message; “If you can't find work with all your talent and experience, then there is no god,” then added: “Wait a minute---there is no god.”

- Dave McBride

I've done more then my fair share of critical self-analysis in the past year. The events of this month have honed some of that self-knowledge to a fine point. The most important thing is my understanding of love and hate. It's not that I can claim any great knowledge of these forces, but I certainly see their power like never before.

I can't claim to have had much of a love life, but I'm no stranger to hate. Hate is in ample supply everywhere. I know what it's like to have it cloud every other thought and shape each action. I can understand how people can slide into a pit of hate where anything seems justified. It's this understanding that frees you from hating them yourself and gives you the ability to see what needs to be done. It's this calm resolve that seems to be the tone in Washington.

This same rational calm could be applied to safety concerns. I'd think that any terrorists trying to hijack a plane with toe clippers are going to be ripped apart. Even a small knife wouldn't stop me from charging. I think we all have to understand that privacy is still important. Our liberty is what makes us strong.

Understanding is the new national imperative.

Sigh…it seeps into everything doesn't it? I saw this on metafilter. I suppose this is as good a way as any to start a writing career. They suggest getting a writing partner. If I had my druthers, I'd pick Matt. But I think we could each produce a novel. That's what caffeine, ephedrine, crystal meth-ampethamine, crack, and cocaine is for. Or so I've heard.

On Oct. 2 (and maybe for a few days after) we will see the Harvest moon. It's the full moon closest to the autumnal Equinox. This brings to mind the coming Halloween and all that it entails. I just want to say that I don't believe in ghosts.

09.22.2001 @

"For every 50 people making bomb threats now to mosques, there are 500,000 people around the world behaving just the way we hoped they would, with empathy and expressions of grief. We are amazingly civilized."

-Dr. James J. Moore, a professor of anthropology at the University of California at San Diego

(I'm trying to get back on feet financially and get my mood moderated up. It's good to have friends and family in times like this. Thanks.)

After a whole week, Politically Correct was on Friday night. Michelle points out that the show has been having problems. We need an open forum for discussion on TV. We need to have it ask hard questions and even offend. We need to talk and to keep on talking. The time to fear is when the talking stops.

These are the times when truth becomes important. These are the times when honesty becomes important. There is truth in the breath I'm taking right now and there is truth in the beating of my heart. There is truth in the stillness of the victims of war. After that, it gets hard to detect. So they lied about targeting the White House and Air Force One. I'm sure the President won't have any trouble getting people to condemn terrorism, but I can't just blindly accept whatever he wants to do about it. The past is littered with politicians making horrible mistakes and we need a check to balance this.

What choice do we have though? I would like to have a peaceful solution. I would like the world to grow up a bit. I would like our county's politicians to stop lying to us. I would like to not have to worry about them making stupid laws that we don't need, spending our money stupidly, and stupidly throwing our weight around the world. But like it or not there is evil in the world. If that wasn't bad enough, there are selfish, corrupt, apathetic, cruel, and completely callous people crawling around everywhere. At the same time there are truly altruistic individuals out there fighting for us all.

Just as bees sacrifice themselves for the greater good, we have people willing to sacrifice themselves for good or evil. Love and hate is born from the same heart and the universe has a natural duality. Our nation's foreign policy has good and bad. There are plenty of folks fully versed in why the US is hated. If our foreign policy can improve, then it should. If the US can be a better global citizen, then it should. If those in other countries can be more tolerant, then they should. The trail of blame circles the earth and comes back again. At some point we have to stop pointing at the past and live and act better for now and the future. Acts of astonishing cruelty must be met with acts of no less astonishing compassion. Those monsters were once men.

We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying, he couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile, a pile of little arms, and I, I remember I...I...I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized like I was shot, like I was shot with a diamond, a diamond bullet right through my forehead, and I thought, my God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that - perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline pure! Then I realized they were stronger than we...They have the strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordal instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment - without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.

- Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

Peace rallies don't mean anything to the committed killer. Why should those cries of peace be heard over the cries of anguish that have been coming from all over the world? There can't always be a peaceful solution. The scars are too numerous. The wounds are too raw and painful. Yet the healing has to begin somehow. We have to start the process or it's never going to stop. The best way is to really listen to what our politicians are saying and to really understand what actions are being taken in our name. Americans cannot afford take a passive role in politics.

Q: After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going to be. Are you afraid, too?

Every sane person should be afraid of the likely reaction -- the one that has already been announced, the one that probably answers Bin Laden's prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the cycle of violence, in the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater scale.

The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than that. The significance is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned in passing, with no comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can learn a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of the West by observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It would be instructive to seek historical precedents.

If Pakistan does not agree to this and other U.S. demands, it may come under direct attack as well -- with unknown consequences. If Pakistan does submit to U.S. demands, it is not impossible that the government will be overthrown by forces much like the Taliban -- who in this case will have nuclear weapons. That could have an effect throughout the region, including the oil producing states. At this point we are considering the possibility of a war that may destroy much of human society.

Even without pursuing such possibilities, the likelihood is that an attack on Afghans will have pretty much the effect that most analysts expect: it will enlist great numbers of others to support of Bin Laden, as he hopes. Even if he is killed, it will make little difference. His voice will be heard on cassettes that are distributed throughout the Islamic world, and he is likely to be revered as a martyr, inspiring others. It is worth bearing in mind that one suicide bombing -- a truck driven into a U.S. military base -- drove the world's major military force out of Lebanon 20 years ago. The opportunities for such attacks are endless. And suicide attacks are very hard to prevent.

- Chomsky interview

If we have learned anything from all this, it is that your average Amercian is compassionate and is committed to others. And that if our politicans lie to us, it is because we will not tolerate them doing evil in our name. If we have learned anything, it is that there are things to be proud about and there are things to be made better in all of us.

09.12.2001 @

An unjust peace is better than a just war.

- Cicero

Downtown Seattle stands with quiet skies on 9/11.
Emotions pile up like so much rubble. After sitting in front of my TV and reading hundreds of posts on Metafilter I had to leave my apartment. I made my way to the Seattle Center where a large group of people had gathered to listen to a number of speakers and to just be together. In that group of people I saw the old and the very young, the conservatively dressed and those with studded leather and tattoos, those carrying Nordstrom's bags and those homeless faces I've come to recognize, and those chanting for peace and those calling for vengeance. The diversity represented in the downtown square of Seattle mirrors the population of the nation. For all our individual differences we are hated as one people.

If we are to be hated as a nation, perhaps we should all take a keener interest in the activities of our nation abroad. We can't afford to not be involved in politics. We can't afford to let such hatred ignite against us again. It comes at too high a price.

May 1996

LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES: We have heard that a half million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima and - and you know, is the price worth it?"

U.N. AMBASSADOR MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

We have continued to justify a violent response that only invokes more violent responses. If we were to bomb, kill, and destroy all known terrorist camps and factions, we would only be planting more seeds of hatred in the friends and the families of those killed. To kill all, to even think of genocide is the surest way to wash the colors from our flag to the same lifeless gray ash that covers New York. Like the nuclear arms race there can be no winners. Tit for Tat might be viable for the Prisoner's Dilemma Game, but we are not on even ground with terrorism.
Our war against "terrorism" has been in many ways a domestic version of our Vietnam strategy. We keep making the same mistakes over and over because, until now, we could afford to. One of these has been to define the problem by its manifestations rather than its causes. This turns a resolvable political problem into a irresolvable technical problem, because while, for example, there are clearly solutions to the Middle East crisis, there are no solutions to the guerilla violence that grows from the failure to end it.

In other words, if you define the problem as "a struggle against terrorism" you have already admitted defeat because the guerilla will always have the upper hand against a centralized, technology-dependent society such as ours. We will always be blindsided, just Bernard Fall said the French were under much simpler circumstances: "What surprised the French completely was the Viet-Minh's ability to transport a considerable mass of heavy artillery pieces across road less mountains to Dien Bien Phu and to keep it supplied with a sufficient amount of ammunition to make the huge effort worthwhile."

There is one way to deal with guerilla warfare and that is to resolve the problems that allow it to thrive. As we have shown in the Middle East, one need not even reach a final solution as long as incremental progress is being made. But once that ceases, as happened in the past year, the case for freelance violence is quickly strengthened and people simply forget that peace is possible.

In the present instance, if the alleged provenance of the attacks proves correct, we may have met our own Dien Bien Phu in our long, senseless, and self-defeating effort to subdue and control those of the Muslim states. The answer - humiliating as it may seem over the short run but courageous as it really would be - is not to commence yet another war of empire against the Arab world, but to end the one we have conducted for far too long.

-Sam Smith, TPR

As Ethel the Blog points out, Osama Bin Laden was trained by the CIA, Ariel Sharon knows about terrorism first hand, and how our fight against drugs lead to us giving $43 million last Thursday to the Taliban.

WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!

- Michael Moore

Nothing can change what has already come to pass, but we can change and we can learn. It is not going to be an easy road. The road to peace is the hardest. To have the strength to not make this event turn us into a horrible force of vengeance is the greatest challenge we will face. We must not allow this event to make us more afraid and more apathetic of other nations, but rally a cry to understand them. We must condemn all crimes of violence from any nation, including our own. We need to address those factions within our own government that train and support killers like Osama. A more open government and a more honest relationship with other nations that respects their beliefs is what we need.

The faces in the crowds of your typical American city hail from all nations. We are the sons and daughters of all nations. If we are to lead, then we should be the first to stop the cycle of violence, deception, and hatred. Punish the guilty according to the laws we as Americans live by. These same Laws should apply to the actions of government.

I have struggled with feelings of vengeance in the past. It is a cancer of the heart that feeds on anger and can live for a long time with enough of it. Though my heart is seiged by saddness and my being shakes with rage, I will not become my enemy.

Downtown Seattle sunset ends a long day on 9/11.

Weblogs : Metafilter links [1], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], A personal account from The Fine Line, News links fromscripting news, A great Canadian article from ctrl-alt-ego, One of many Technomancy posts, Personal musings from Anil Dash, personal musings from Jerry Kindall personal musings from I Shoot with my Mind, Personal musings from Will Wheaton, various bits from Caterina, various bits from Kottke, thoughts from Steven, thoughts from Matthew, conversations at Jon's.

Pictures: desolation, series of pictures, and more

09.06.2001 @

He raves; his words are loose as heaps of sand, and scattered wide from sense.
—So high he's mounted on his airy throne, that now the wind has got into his head, and turns his brains to frenzy.

-John Dryden (1621-1700)

It seems like there are two types of insanity. There is your garden-variety nut job that usually ends up in a hospital until he can't pay anymore and then ends up another homeless wanderer. Then there are your eccentric rich and crazy celebrity types that experience 'exhaustion' or temporary setbacks that are resolved after a quick trip to the clinic and finished off with a Barbara Walters interview. Legitimately insane people don't always get work in Hollywood, but if you can be just insane enough to garner a bit of publicity and public sympathy then you are golden.

Mariah Carey is not crazy, her life is.

"It's an insane time in my life. It's crazy," she said. "Everything is going on like really fast. Everyone from my manager to everybody that's with me, we're all a bunch of freaks right now because we're trying really hard to make this deadline and just really get everything together."
Now that she's rested she can get back to cranking out moronic tunes like Loverboy and suggestive videos they require. Britney Spears knows suggestive, but hasn't owned up to PETA's suggestion about leaving the cheetahs out of her new orgasmic simulation video. Following in the counterfeit climaxing footsteps of Madonna and Meg Ryan is a form of faking for money not too unlike Anne Heche's supposed insanity induced lesbian affair with Ellen Degeneres. She claims it wasn't drugs, but another personality called Celestia that had her abandon her car on the freeway and go around Fresno to appear at people's doors speaking in tongues. Celestia was from another planet, and who was always in direct communication with the big G. Anne also claims that her father sexually abused her. This is a favorite thing to reveal in Walters interviews like Roseanne Barr. So Mariah might need to dig into those repressed memories and find something juicy for Barbara. Whether Anne is crazy, was crazy, or is faking you can at least Call Me Crazy. It is people calling attention themselves and profitting. A lot of people don't profit from insanity, they just continue to suffer.

Abandoning your car is not as bad as reckless driving that results in the death of a 9 year old. Rebecca Gayheart shouldn't be too concerned about facing major charges. The rich and famous tend to get off pretty easy. Just ask Matthew Broderick who was fined $175 when he crashed into another vehicle while driving on the wrong side of the road, killing two people. It's the unkindest way to be star struck, but sometimes the stars are the ones that don't survive. This usually is a great boost to their careers. Aaliyah might not be in the Matrix 2 anymore, but her album is number one. And that's what it's all about, getting to the top, to the pinnacle, and getting to the point. The point where you can launch a massive lawsuit! O My! 'O' is up for grabs these days. It seems all the extra attention 'X' has gotten has made it possible for another letter to gain in popularity and if anyone can do it Oprah can. Unfortunately 'O' is also the title of a German erotic magazine. What surely has lawyers laughing all the way to the bank and others going "O no!" a movie called O was recently released.

I have faith in the staying power of 'X' and as long as the folks at X-Entertainment keep it up, I don't see why it won't maintain its special status. With great celebrity interviews of stars like Bruce Campbell and Weird Al and in-depth articles on the mysteries of the Flintstones how can they not succeed? Though we may never know what "Yabba Dabba Doo" means, you can always shout "P Diddy Do!" at Sean "puffy" Combs and have a gay old time.

When it comes to crazy, regular guys have their work cut out for them or a cut may work for them. While this guy seems to have a legitimate reason, the method seems a bit theatrical. This is what the Internet is all about. Doctor's are willing to do some pretty bizarre things if you can afford it.

Locke says the distinction between a madman and a fool is that a fool is he that from right principles makes a wrong conclusion; but a madman is one who draws a just inference from false principles. Thus the fool who cut off the fellow's head that lay asleep, and hid it, and then waited to see what he would say when he awaked and missed his head-piece, was in the right in the first thought, that a man would be surprised to find such an alteration in things since he fell asleep; but he was a little mistaken to imagine he could awake at all after his head was cut off.

-Tatler

People are cutting things off to get attention, but there are critics. Just ask Chyna Joanie Laurer. As disgusting as shameless self-promoters can get, when there is a homosexual angle people can get pretty nasty towards you. This is more a factor for the males. A woman can explore her sexuality like Anne Heche, but a guy doesn't get cut the same slack. So how is a guy supposed to experiment without getting labeled? It's technology to the rescue!

On the personal side…

I don't participate in many message boards on the Internet. I try and keep things light and civil on the ones that I am a part of. Metafilter is getting to a point where I just don't know anymore. Even the Buglord has trouble with this one. So I've been looking around and there are a couple of places that I have come to visit more often.

Jon's site is a cozy place with new bits daily. There are stories, photos, recipes, and videos that may or may not include animal anal wind. Best of all, his parent's read and comment on the site. It makes me wonder if I should try and get commenting on this site.

Matthew's site has been mentioned here before and his writing has this strange affect on me. It's a sort of resonance of ideas and it sparks all sorts of fantastic contemplations.

So what does this mean for me? Could these influences have some combined effect?

Today I decided to make dinner using various bits I got from Uwajimaya. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

John is cooking now. Run!

Preparation:

Edible?
  1. Cook the Pasta in the usual way.
  2. Blanch the spinach to get it down to a reasonable size for the pan. Chop it up, woohoo!
  3. Put the spinach in a pan and then add the soy, garlic, milk, and cheese. Stir it up real good and get that sucker to boil. Add your seasoning.
  4. Once it seems done, add the pasta to the sauce or add the sauce to the pasta. I really don't think it matters.

This yummy blend of traditional Italian and (possibly) Japanese elements reflects how I've been thinking about the strange similar trends of these cultures. After watching the newly remastered and redubbed Akira DVD, I am convinced that the movie is almost as much about bike fetishes as it is about the strange psychic power of wrinkled kids. It's hard to miss the love affair these cultures have with bikes. While my last bike was Japanese-American, my new one is pure Italian. It's an Allegro with Campagnolo parts and it's already responsible for a significant pain in my posterior. It's been a while. Walking up hills is nothing compared to trying to bike up them.

Fear the gun-bike
Anyway, I just thought I'd point that out. Here's a picture of my bike and me holding it like a gun-bike and hopefully that will amuse the kind folks at Technomancy who helped me out recently with some future anime viewing picks. Unfortunately, I can't help them out with their current request. I mean, I have enough problems with English and Japanese is hard. But "I am a complete idiot and should not be trusted to play with the grownup toys." would be some great Japanese to know. Incidentally, I would like to know how to say "What kind of wine goes with Godzilla meat?" in Japanese.

I still have no clue why this possible Turkish website is linking to me or what it says other than Tomb Raider.

Finally, if you are not convinced I'm a little crazy, then the next update should clinch it. Until then, you can call me Mad John Bonney.

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

08.29.2001 @

Men should keep their eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterward.

-Madeleine Scuderi , French Novelist (1607-1701)

John Hancock in Chicago 95 floors up

This advice sounds better than keeping the Eyes wide shut. I have a better view about the institution after attending the wedding of my brother Jim and Jurgita on the 95th floor of the John Handcock building in downtown Chicago. I have rarely seen two people so right for each other. Unfortunately, my camera work was pretty bad and the cheapness of my HP 315 digital camera was verified. I hope to have better pictures from the photographer that was there.

The wedding

It was a lot of fun, but anytime you have three generations of Namest men busting a move on the dance floor you got yourself a guaranteed good time. It was reassuring to see my Grandfather out there when he's nearly ninety.

It was really great to go back home and reconnect with friends and family. One thing that I realized was that it's the little things that tend annoy you more in the people you love. There is that snap where patience is lost. If you react in a hostile manner, it begets a defensive response. Trying to talk through these things without getting upset can be very frustrating when the message doesn't seem to be getting through. Sometimes it may just be a matter of not setting goals for others that they are not likely to achieve and then berating them for the inevitable failure. It still comes back to the fact that both parties have to give in a little. But how much?

She says that women should submit to sex whenever their husbands wish, and should not demand satisfaction for themselves. They should also forgive indiscretions away from home.

Laura Doyle's The Surrendered Wife subverts the honesty and communication in a relationship. The wife manipulates her husband by 'surrendering' to him. Laura reinforces the psuedo-psychology of John Grey quite deliberately.

Joanne, Canada:
Women are not equal to men. We have our strengths and weaknesses, as do they. Instead of trying to turn women into men, why don't we just celebrate our differences and learn to live harmoniously!

Laura Doyle:
Absolutely, I couldn't agree with her more. I think it is a big relief to admit that men and women are different and not try to pretend that they are the same. That is why I love John Gray's book "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" so much. It gave us all permission to acknowledge that we have different strengths and that we can celebrate and enjoy that.

Amazingly enough this brings me to a recent metafilter post about Dave Winer's recent post about women's technological prowess. It's one thing correct bad grammar or edit a point for clarity, but to delete postings shows a lack of confidence in his own views. I'll contradict myself or correct myself eventually, but I'm not about to start yanking posts.

Anyway, I was saying that both parties have to give a little. The male reaction to Women's Liberation has been to become rude or lewd. This reaction stems from…well, probably a lot of alcohol, but it is largely based on the dynamics of the male group mind. The female equivalent can be just as bad. It's due to the fact that its actions flow from certain expectations of society and then get magnified to ugly proportions. There is much head nodding that goes on when folks like John Grey and Laura Doyle spew their bunk psychology. This is really confirmation that people have been taught to act and think certain ways rather than these concepts having any concrete merit.

This modern society of ours should accept men and women as fully sexual beings. You don't ignore the sex, you don't try and hide it, but you don't hold it against the person either. It's there and you just deal with it like a mature adult.

Women's Liberation means the sexualization of women. It means becoming a consciously and proudly sexual human being and not regarding your sex life as something to be manipulated by other people. As long as women say that men are regarding them solely as sexual objects, then they are passively admitting the function. Women make a great mistake when they say: "Regard me not sexually, but treat me as a chap or fellow." When women say, "regard not my sex," they are still implying that their sexuality has been objectified—that it is passive. I believe that to be a basic lie which has enslaved us. Our sexuality is our curiosity, which every human creature has.

-Germaine Greer

A Praying Mantid or Mantis?

Out in Oswego Illinois I took this picture of a Praying Mantid. If I were ever to try and point out a species of male with the worst sex life, these guys are contenders. The Mantids have a head that can turn 180 degrees. It's great for doing cool impressions of scenes from The Exorcist and hunting other bugs. It's less cool for the male. Female Mantids are not into cuddling after the act. Once a male Mantid begins mating he needs to fully relish the limited time he has left. The female will turn her head to face the male, but the face-to-face copulation enjoyed by millipedes, Matids, and Man is cut short for the male Mantid. The Female makes a tasty treat of the male's head. The rest of the male's body continues its duty to the headless climax and then is eaten. So guys, the next time you fail to get it up you can imagine that if you were a Mantid, you may have postponed your own death.

08.17.2001 @

An organism is regarded as adapted to a particular situation, or to the totality of situations with constitute its environment, only in so far as we can imagine an assemblage of slightly different situations, or environments, to which the animal would on the whole be less well adapted; and equally only in so far as we can imagine an assemblage of slightly different organic forms, which would be less well adapted to that environment.

- R. A. Fisher

Just a tree.
The environment is pushing me to change as I attempt to change the environment. The surroundings are getting more familiar and some of the people seem friendlier, but there is this wall. I am still here and they are still wherever they are. I don't even remember half the time.

I used to get worked up about the new freedom of personal expression, of weblogs, and wanderlinking. Some things just leave a poor taste in your mouth and tell you that once the mainstream gets wind of it, it's over. At least it is over for the fly by night crews that consume cool and know nothing about value. As ecommerce collapses and the last few carriers of dubious business models dwindle to their Darwinian deaths the dreaded a-list touting continues. I have nothing against said people, but gushing for web 'celebrities' is not something people should aspire to. After all, for all the popularity of the web designer crews they pale to the webcam girls.

As Stile puts it:

Katharine Mieszkowski, the so-called journalist from Salon who wrote the slanted, ignorant and horribly uneducated article on girls and their webcams entitled: Candy from strangers "Teen girls flash some skin on their "cam sites," and fans shower them with gifts. Who's exploiting whom?" Guess what, media bitch -- YOU'RE THE EXPLOITER.

This whole thing has turned into a big exploitation chain. I personally don't care that idiots buy stuff for girls for nothing to something as petty as some provocative pictures. This is just the evolution of the process to divest horny men from their money. No one is forcing these guys to send things and no one is forcing these girls to do anything. If underage girls are exposing themselves, it is the fault of the parents for giving their kid a computer that they don't understand themselves. But if anything is more indicative of the vast chasm in the equality of the sexes, it is the ability of these girls to get money and gifts over their male counterparts. I have scarcely heard of an instance of such gifts to occur for the male website owner. Only in cases where his output and popularity far exceed his peers do such gifts appear and they are of an order of magnitude less impressive. I remember Paul Ford mentioning free coffee at some point. Writers often have to work extra hard to get recognition and still seem to be marginalized at every turn. Maybe it's just me, but I cringe when I hear people being referred to as 'creatives.'

Society has placed a high value on young beautiful women. They have a natural power that has been expressed as 'grrl power' recently, but it's been around for a long time. It's been suppressed in eastern and western societies and it's similarly 'kept under wraps' in middle-eastern ones. A war for dominance has been waged for so long and for what purpose? The general tendency is to envy or admire the traits of others that one lacks. Evangelists of sexual roles fight for stability in a unstable world. The options left are either to adapt or cut off contact like the Taliban or the Amish.

One thing that has to stop is the bullshit about how porn, stripclubs, and the like objectify women. These statements are completely ignorant of male sexual fantasy. In fact, they objectify males as walking penises! A man's fantasy can be every bit as deep and romantic as a women's and they both can be just as raunchy as the last buttman porno. And you can forget about all those studies that say exposure to porn leads to this, seeing prostitutes leads to that, and masturbating causes growth there. The majority of guys were not in those studies and the questions and evaluations conducted are not ironclad due to the configuration of consonants in front of the names of those that developed the research. Whatever portion of the population messed up enough to fall into mental traps should be properly exploited by the psychologist of their choice. The bleeding hearts can gather them up while the mock breeding can continue feeding what the voyeurs be needing.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Humanity needs to get off its erotic high horse about being pioneers of perversion. The animal kingdom been there and stroked that. Often it has been claimed that human face-to-face intercourse is a sign of our higher dignity. We ignore that it's just a matter of ability as in the case of millipedes. In his book, Self-Made- Man, Jonathan Kingdon speculates that spider silk inspired the creation of string. This could have led to nets and kites. It could have inspired engineers to develop scaffolding, minstrels to play, and South Americans to create the bola. But even in the world of spiders the males have to work hard to get laid. In many cases it may even be considered a kind of rape. Male spiders have a hard time convincing the females that they are not their next meal. The methods vary, but one of the more interesting variations sheds some new light on the origins of bondage sex.

There are species of spider in which the male ties the female down, Gulliver-like, with silk before mating with her. One is tempted to guess that he is taking advantage of the temporary eclipsing of the female's prey-catching instinct by her sexual drive, roping her down so that he can make good his escape when her feeding urge returns. I tell the tale that I heard told: the fact is that, after mating, the female has no difficulty in shaking off her fetters and striding off alone. Perhaps the ritual bondage is a symbolic vestige of ancestral roping in earnest. Or maybe the female is hampered for just long enough to give the fleeing male a head start. He cannot, after all, want her tied down forever: she has to be free to lay her eggs, Otherwise the whole dangerous enterprise was genetically in vain.

- Richard Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable

As ingenious as spiders are they take a back seat to the sexual escapades of birds. Gender roles are sometimes reversed as in the case of the spotted sandpipers. The females establish and defend a territory and compete for the attention of males and the males take care of the eggs and young with little to no female assistance. Many species of male birds build up to 12 nests to attract females to their 'harem.' So when people try and use nature as an argument against things they deem as perverse we can safely ignore them.

Spiders are still a source of new knowledge for us. In many ways they are vastly ahead of us. "Nephilia silk has a tensile strength almost as great as steel's per unit volume and far greater than steel's per unit weight." This article answers Richard's musing about why spider silk is not more used by humanity than that of silkworms. A spider farm would not work because they would eat each other. This is an interesting update of the creation of Biosteel from goats with spider genes.

strange Seatle park art

08.09.2001 @

Complete adaptation to environment means death. The essential point in all response is the desire to control environment.

- John Dewey (1859-1952)

I've caught wind of the clamor about my review of Max Payne. Short of a couple Ad Hominem attacks on my integrity and grammar I think I emerged all right. The fact that I ended up giving the game a 4.7 out of 10 is not that big of a deal unless put up against what other sites gave the game: 9.2, 9.3, 96%, 92%, 91%, 90%, 9/10, 93%, 98%, and a 9/10. Maybe the difference is that I paid the $50 for the game so that when I finished it in 2 nights and then realized after finishing it again in one that it was not worth the expense. Game reviewers have forgotten what it's like to buy games and yearn for something more then flash. Not all game writers are deranged in this respect. Paul Sullivan wrote a great article pointing out that gamers want value. This is why Deer Hunter sold so many copies. Max Payne is a game perfectly cast to garner a good review and then be forgotten.

Another thing is that an "unwritten quid pro quo" may exist and the outcry against Jessica Mulligan's Potlatching article may be of case where "methinks they protest too much." Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there isn't an intentional movement to give games like Max Payne a higher rating then they might deserve. I can see it as the result of the race to get reviews out for this new and highly anticipated game. My initial opinion of Max Payne was pretty favorable. I was under the warm glow that games and actions movies give me. When the adrenaline rush fades and the mental wheels turn over the corpse they find it difficult to justify a repeat experience. How much excitement can you muster at the thought of watching Independence Day or Jurassic Park 3 again? I can't drive up sufficient interest. I'm not going to write about something favorably because other people are. Neither will I rip on something because everyone else raves about it. I used to fall into such traps, but no more. I finished the game a second time and the clichés felt more tired and the fights felt less impressive. Competition is driving for less review time and that gives certain games the edge.

The popularity of abandonware sites and classic games related sites show that gamers long for the past. They remember a time when games seemed to be a lot more original. As games become more expensive to produce they suffer the same problems of the big movie and music industries. The music biz is having trouble with selling the same pop crap. Perhaps the teenyboppers finally noticed that there were little to no changes between their popular band's latest output and their previous. For that matter there was little difference between the bands themselves. Movies are going for LCD action and laughs and the rare good movies are literally hard to find.

Blistered feet are part of the price to seeing good movies. Sorry, no pictures of the feet. This is from the University Bridge on the way there.
It's about 5 miles to the Landmark Theatre in the University District, but that's the only place in Seattle playing Ghost World. It's as if the apes, velociraptors, and fantastically rendered phantoms are trying to stop me from experiencing this very real and humanistic movie. That by seeing this movie I will undoubtedly enjoy it. That it will wake me up to the fact that all the specially rendered Bullet-time™ enabled high-explosive action fades from memory faster than a "New York Minute" and a good story with complex characters can stay with me. Perhaps, it can even change me.

I don't want to review Ghost World right now. I want to see it again before I do that. But I identify with Enid and Seymour and I want to talk about that. Enid was a lot like I was in High School, with some obvious differences. Before I moved to the hell that was Wheaton Central I was quite happy and enjoyed a very diverse group of friends. I was athletic enough to enjoy sports and geeky enough to hang out in arcades to master Pinbot pinball and a beat a countless stream of video arcade games. Once my family moved to Wheaton I began to go a bit inward. I absolutely hated the snobbish students there and found few folks that were respites that I try to stay in touch with. My ten-year reunion is coming up on Thanksgiving weekend and I have no desire to go.

Enid has the ability to mess with people's heads that seems natural. A scene where she leaves a note for Josh on his door is a perfect example. I've suppressed my urge to do the same ever since the Wheaton move. In public I blend in and disappear in the way of Seymour. But when I'm with groups of people I feel compelled to swing to the opposite way. With conservative friends I play the silly prankster and with the wild bunch I try and make sure we don't get locked up or worse.

Seymour has retreated into a collector's world that relishes discarded bits of the past. Especially valued are those artifacts of rare beauty and voice that are under appreciated, much like him. As I look around my apartment I realize that I do have a collector's bug. Comics, books, CDs, DVDs, Magic cards, pewter gaming figurines, console games, and computer games lie in evidence around me. I just can't seem to settle on any one thing. I fear allowing any single hobby to take control.

Control is key. It is my value of independence that drives it. Lately I have come to suspect that my value placed in it exceeds the necessary bounds.

The word of Independence is united to the ideas of dignity and virtue; the word dependence, to the ideas of inferiority and corruption.

-Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

There are benefits. The reason I was able to quit smoking some time ago and quit drinking recently is because I was not going to let those substances control me. As soon as I realized they had some grip, I cut them off cold turkey. Unfortunately this manifests itself in relationships. It's not very conducive to intimacy when the moment a women confesses some attachment I shy away. Even worse is that I shut out my feelings when they become suspected as dependent.

I'm at one of those introspection intersections of life and I'm thinking about making a turn before the light changes. Hmm, that one almost sounds like something I would normally dump. Anyway, knowing the problem is the first step to worrying about it. Maybe I'll do something about it someday. It will be for one of those rainy Seattle days when there is nothing better to do than self-improvement.

One of these signs is photoshop and the other reality, but which?

Usually my problem isn't a lack of things to say, but a sincere lack of energy or desire to write about it here. My format doesn't make me feel trapped. It's a deliberate filter to prevent me from babbling on about the less interesting details or thoughts that occur to me. I really don't have too much interest in doing the traditional linking log. That would bore the shit out of me. Besides, there are plenty of folks that rule in the daily short commentary format and I try to give them the linkage. Though it is hard to give a link-back within my quickies format, I do try and link the original source rather than the article when I can. That's why permalinks rule and now Technomancy rules on a whole new level.

I am really trying to dig into the ever-loving goodness that is XML so I can feel a little more useful to have around, but I am feeling the tug to open up a bit more on my take on the latest comics. Here's yet another interest that seems to want more of my attention these days. I will probably just make an expanded section for comics in my egotrip. That place looks like it needs revamping anyway.

Why should I stop there? I also want to address a serious lack of music coverage. A person of such questionable music taste such as myself needs to be a bit bolder about it. With all these plans and previous commitments I am sure to fail, go mad, or both. This is the perfect working environment for me.

I will be traveling the 18th to the 27th to my sweet home Chicago and watch my brother get married. If my younger brother can commit, I should be able to. But this fear still seems strange to me. Perhaps a certain teacher had something to do with it. He was an odd sort. He taught an Intro. to Philosophy course I took. One day he handed out Cunningham's (his name) Thirteen Laws of Relationships. It should have stood as a warning about thinking too fucking much. Maybe second-guessing everyone and everything is a self-fulfilling prophesy of celibacy. Here's the slightly edited version of:

Cunningham's Thirteen Laws of Relationships
  1. You probably will not be able to tolerate the loneliness of a long search for your ideal mate. You will instead end up settling for the most interesting person whom you happen to meet, who also happens to be available when you're free to start a relationship.

    Corollary

    1. Two people who are right for each other are never free at the same time.
  2. The more you have succeeded in becoming educated, accomplished, and unique so that other people will like and respect you, the more uncomfortable average people become around you and the harder it will be to find someone with compatible interests.

    Corollaries

    1. The more the situation demands that you relax and just be yourself, the less able you are to do it.
    2. The more you need understanding and support, the less attractive you become to people.
  3. The willingness to accept a person for whom she is, and allow her to grow and function independently is contradicted by the wish for her to be what you want, and give you what you need. Thus the less you need someone emotionally the better you are for her. But the less you need the relationship.
  4. You tend to be attracted to people who possess the qualities that were lacking in your last relationship, irrespective of the rest of their personalities.
  5. It is hard to know what people are really like because when you are with them, they are responding to you. You never see them when you're not there until they begin to ignore you.
  6. The longer its been since the start of a relationship, the less you notice how much better your partner is than the other people you have known, and the more you notice how far away she is from perfection.
  7. You always give your partner in a relationship what you hope most to get back. If you want excellent communication, affection, and support, you will strive to provide that to your partner. You will probably find yourself with a person who wants independence, privacy and an uncomplicated good time, who is thus careful never to intrude on your thoughts or ask about your emotions.
  8. By the time you understand both yourself and your partner in a relationship, and really have a grasp of the changes that it would take to make it work perfectly, one of you wants to get out.
  9. Due to habit, expectations and stubbornness, the personality your partner has at the beginning of a relationship is the same personality you must put up with at the end of the relationship. All the insights and suggestions you tried to pass on to your partner during the relationship are only used during the person's next relationship.
  10. When one partner has psychologically withdrawn from the relationship but refuses to admit it, all things done to open communication and improve understanding only increase the frustration.
  11. Only failures in relationships or business make you take a good, hard, honest look at yourself. But then it is too late, and you don't feel like thinking about it anyway.
  12. When you're in a relationship and it's going poorly, you can only see your partner's incompatibilities. After you've ended the relationship and nothing better has come along, you can only remember the fun you had together.
  13. When you have social commitments because of your involvement in a relationship, there are a million things you would rather be doing on your own. When you are out of the relationship and free, you can't think of anything interesting to do.

    Corollary

    1. Whenever you have money to spend, there is nothing exciting to buy. Whenever you have no money, you find lots of interesting things to buy.

Nothing like the bitterly dry humor and angst of a philosophy teacher's screed, eh? But if you are desperate enough to look to for relationship wisdom here then perhaps you should take some from George Carlin. These are "George's Rules to Live By" and amazingly George's rule #4 ("Don't fall for that superstitious nonsense about treating people the way you would like to be treated. It is a transparently narcissistic approach, and may be the sign of a weak mind.") sounds a lot like Cunningham's #7.

If I can be semi-serious for a moment, all this relationship talk makes me realize something. I miss suck.com and I really miss the Wednesday Filler. This truely

Sucks!

07.25.2001 @

Do not despise the opinion of the world; you might as well say you do not care for the light of the sun, because you can use a candle.

Change of opinion is often only the progress of sound thought and growing knowledge; and though sometimes regarded as an inconsistency, it is but the noble inconsistency natural to a mind ever ready for growth and expansion of thought, and that never fears to follow where truth and duty may lead the way.

- Tryon Edwards (1809-94)

It seems a safe stake to claim that opinions are being aired publicly like never before. Instantaneous transfers of personal opinions are being hosted on a growing number of websites. Hardly an article gets published without an outlet for reader commentary. If that wasn't enough, sites like Live journal let each and every member allow people to comment on every single entry. The Internet is home and host to legions of 'netversations' of questionable taste, merit, or relevance. It has caused me to wonder if the tools were too enabling. That maybe some degree of knowledge is warranted for web existence. No HTML, no service. The Internet bouncers are currently only booting the patrons of freely hosted web-gigs that put up porn or mp3s.

"Actually, I know a guy who works for the Tripod division of Lycos, and it's his job to enforce these terms of service, usually by wiping people's accounts for hosting mp3s or pr0n.
He has the best mp3 and pr0n collection of anyone I've ever met."

-Darukaru, Metafilter user

I realize the power that personal online publishing and content managing tools offer to those with something interesting to say. I am truly happy they allow me to hear their message. The price is thousands of sites not worth the paper they are not printed on. Thankfully, most sites of little literary value are obvious from a glance, but many worthy of linkage are an inconsistent lot and hard to separate from the chaff. The incestuous linking of those once known as the A-list of webloggers have notoriously bad taste. The fact that many of them claim web designer roots, a profession whose need is more transitory than suitors to a queen bee, show that their permalinks have more staying power than the impact of their ideas. Of course, it's not fair to hold high expectations for a weblog based on its popularity. After all, web cams show that midriffs and tits create more hits than wits. It's not anyone's fault that they are popular without being interesting. One can bare the contents of their soul, turn their ear for a response, and hear nothing but digital crickets. But what do I mean by "once known as the A-list?"

From now on, I am the sole and absolute arbiter of who is on the A-List.

-Matthew Rossi of Once I noticed I was on fire I decided to relax and enjoy the fall

Of course, the first rule of being on an A-list is to deny being on said A-list. What A-list? Don't ask me, I'm busy pissing on egos to inflate my own. Woo hoo!

There is growing confusion (I'm always in a state of confusion over something so I rely I rumor) about book reviews. Perhaps there is confusion about movie reviews too. David Manning certainly hasn't helped clear things up. But the fact remains; authors are knee deep in reviews. Opinions change as often as the weather in Chicago as the old joke (If you don't like the weather in Chicago, wait five minutes) goes. Maybe they don't change so much as they differ. A book can be the best thing in a century in one review to the worst thing published by those outside of a fanatical religious press in another. Such saturation serves no one and it seems to have set certain publishers to cut back recently in their reviewing. I'm not sure the claims that people are reading less books hold as much water as the fact that periodicals are placing a higher importance on the traditionally non-book reading mass market. Oh, please don't let us fall so low as to seek opinions from Amazon's membership in the way that authors seek validation there.

Tens of thousands of hollow-eyed authors click onto Amazon.com hourly to see how their book is doing. They're pathetic: infantile neurotics with eggshell egos desperately seeking validation, as though anyone cares if their book happens to leap from No. 7,998 all the way up to No. 2,503, as mine did at 4:12 p.m. on October 23, 1998.

- Washington Post scribe Gene Weingarten

Book reviewers are preaching to the choir. Where is the rest of the flock congregating? The movie theater? It seems America trusts Ebert as much as I do. I have yet to find the serious source of scholarly movies reviews. The skillfully crafted critique has its place. But Ebert reviews are fun and make him like everyone's best buddy that they can't help but share their twisted humor with.

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Ebert and I went for the big time. That was it. An agent was helpful in that instance, so I can recall the first time Ebert came to work as a writer. I had another friend who was doing some stuff for Elvis Presley, and knew women and so forth. I remember one of the first women sent to me by this man. Ebert was in the next room, typing away. Every production person at the time had a couch, the kind with a big hump at each end, so the woman could lay back and accept the dick comfortably. I remember, there was this girl--Elvis Presley had been whacking away at her--and he sent this girl over and put her in there. I told her, "Look, what I want you to do is to lie on the couch and put your pussy right up in the air." So I called Ebert, and I said, "Ebert, I want you to come in here and look at something." And he says, "I'm working on a script; I have no time for that." And I say, "Will you just get in there?! There's something in there that I think you will find very, very interesting." And he went in, and all he did was turn back to me and say, "Hollywood!"

-Russ Meyer on his favorite movie in an Onion interview.

I am immensely indebted to those of perverted senses of humor. You have shown me the sex in the subtext and given me showers of laughter in textbook wastelands. As a friend of mine once admitted, a sense of humor even made Sunday school bearable to those attuned to the wonder of hearing how the Holy Spirit came upon one person or another. Humor draws fire from the cultural battlefields of religious busybodies and prudish old farts. Sour opinion on humor likes to pin the unwholesomeness of certain humor as evidence of like characteristics in those that laugh at it. Perhaps we just laugh at the great fuss put on over things?

I realize I have made a great fuss on one thing or another in the past, but I am prepared to admit my limitations on value judgments of the moment. Here's to discovering reasons to enjoy life rather than harping on those things that make us cringe.

Well, let's think about it here. How much is a record these days, 15 bucks? So, 15 bucks is 15 less dollars that would more than likely go to Starbucks, so that's five less times you have to say "vente" or "grande," or whatever the hell the Starbucks speak is that they force upon you as opposed to small, medium, and large. I think that, in itself, is a good reason to purchase my record.

-Les Claypool on why you should buy his latest CD. Once again from the Onion AV section.


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