Friday, June 27, 2008

Utahraptor, people living for revenge get to walk slow-motion in front of more explosions than heartless plutocrats do. I can't just ignore that.

(June 27 2008: if you think "USA" is a slam on billy mitchell then you are correct! also i guess we both saw "king of kong" and enjoyed it? )

Ryan North lives in my closet. I know this, and as soon as my rib hurts little enough that I can reach up and rearrange sweaters, I just know I will find him in there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008



You ever just get shinky, get all out of whack for no apparent reason, and know you are running around like a jerk not making sense, to yourself at least- well, maybe partial sense- and then you try to turn it off, the shink, because you know it's unreasonable, and it's like trying to close a garden hose valve that's stuck open, just turning aimlessly, because someone (like you) turned it too far lefty loosey?

What do you do?

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, 1937-2008

More people have already posted tributes than you can shake a stick at (a cliche undoubtedly he would snub) to George Carlin, a man who combined language, laughter and a refined distaste for authoritarianism like no other.
I pick this one, from Tsukento, whose animated blog you can find in the Links sidebar.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm About to Do Myself In

Barack Obama made an important announcement today. You probably already heard it: that he will not accept public campaign funds after all (, but I am posting the news, and will upload the video here, anyway, despite the fact this is in direct opposition to my own campaign for Aubergine House- at least for 2008. There is always 2012, the Year of Qetzlcoatl; or perhaps Mr. Obama will see fit to choose me as his VP candidate. I certainly hope not. He needs someone who is a much more seasoned political veteran than I am.

John McCain, a man I once admired because of the way he stood (notice the past tense there) on principle, immediately challenged Obama's trustworthiness. This is a man who ought not to be casting stones as such. Simply read two NYT articles that appeared in a row as headliners yesterday, to get my point:

G.A.O. Backs Boeing on Aerial Tanker Deal:

Bush Calls for End to Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling :

Here's a link to the video:

That's all for now. I have to bake some cookies. I wish that cookie economy I dream of would become a reality.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Karmic Pirates

The other night I had a dream about pirates. It was like one of the Future First Man's dreams, just continued, like a movie, for what seemed like hours. A lot happened in the dream. I told him when I woke up, that I was a pirate in the dream, and we the pirates were doing things to get through the waters at the head of my hometown of Norway, Maine, and in and around Norway Lake. What were we doing?

Well, one of our actions was to pick through some roasted chickens that appeared from somewhere and to decide whether or not they had enough meat on the bones to be given to foreign students who needed stuff to get by here in the States: food, clothing, furniture... So, a bunch of pirates, complete with pirate do-rags and eye patches and knives held between their teeth, were picking through these chickens, opening them up, looking inside to be sure they had meat on them and weren't just shells that had been picked over and consumed, so we could give some food to these foreign students. (When I was growing up in Norway, there weren't many foreign students kicking around, and I suspect that hasn't changed much to this day.)

Orlando told me that didn't sound much like piracy. What were we stealing? Had we stolen the chickens? (I don't know.) Why were pirates giving good meaty chickens away? I explained I must be living out, in the dream world, an instance of karmic piracy, something like Robin Hood would have done back in Sherwood Forest, only right there on the Little Androscoggin River and Lake Pennesseewassee.

I've done my share of taking things, and I've done some giving. I suspect I haven't given as much as I have received, or blatantly stolen, so maybe this dream was a reminder. Aside from the humorous images that stick with me now, the whole concept reminds me of my political-philosophical convictions, which I recognize are not feasibly realistic at this point in human existence.

Saturday evening we were sitting on the back deck at Joy's house enjoying a beer and the late spring weather, and she mentioned a discussion that had cropped up at work about tragedy of commons. Her overwhelming impression of the concept is that it applies outside of land use management, and I agreed with her in an exchange this morning, that this is true. Tragedy of commons, for those of you who don't know, can be found with a simple "google" search; try it out. Before you do that, think about what the words together imply; common sense will get you through the rest of this blog entry.

"I know, the tragedy of commons thing is really interesting, not just from a land use perspective but from a philosophical one as well. It's a crucial piece of anarchist thought, in my book, and it bugs me that so many people think of anarchy as a chaotic bunch of people running around in black berets with bombs, wanting to annihilate everyone around them, and forget, or don't even know about or consider, the symbol and therefore the entire course of the philosophy, which is 'out of chaos, order.' Anarchy is the ultimate people taking responsibility for themselves and their community, and for some reason people, really smart people, seem afraid of that concept. My own personal theory is that we are so reliant on our ability to pass things off as someone else's responsibility, pass blame, even to the government, that taking responsibility for our own actions is a distasteful thought- too much work, not just physically and mentally, but morally as well. There. You just heard my political rant for the day."

Karmic pirates would not overfish the waters. And they would share any roast chicken they "found."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things We Don't Know

Here are some stats from the Chronicle of Higher Education, from an article called "Introductory Science Moves Beyond 'Rocks for Jocks'" in the May 30, 2008 issue:

True or False? (From a survey of American adults, conducted by Michigan State)

1. Early humans were hanging out with the dinosaurs. 50% know this is false.
2. The continents have been moving for millions of years and will continue to do so. 71% know this is true.
3. Regular old tomatoes (like the ones causing salmonella in at least 17 states and therefore disappearing from produce shelves in grocery stores) do not have genes, whereas genetically modified ones do. Only 49% know this is a false statement.
4. Antibiotics kill viruses in addition to bacteria. A mere 55% know this is false, giving doctors all over the place an excellent market for pushing these drugs onto people suffering from things like the common cold, thus contributing to the coffers of the pharmaceutical companies. (Sorry, Steiner, but you know there's some truth to that statement.)
5. Electrons are smaller than atoms. Less than half, 48%, know this is true. What happened to elementary school science class?
6. Lasers work by focusing sound waves. Fifty-four percent are not only suffering from lack of science knowledge, but apparently also are unable to spell, since the "l" at the beginning of "laser" stands for "lightwave" in the acronym; 46% know the answer is "false."
7. The universe began with a huge explosion. Less than one-third, 30%, know this to be true, at least in theory.

I think you have to be a subscriber to the Chronicle to get access online; otherwise, I'd give you the link to the article, which also notes that more than one-third of adults surveyed do not know the earth orbits the sun once a year and four out of five cannot define "molecule." Yet scientific literacy, as defined by a passing score of 70 of 100 points, or the equivalent of being able to comprehend the science section of the NYT or a TV program like Nova, has increased from 10% of the adult American public in 1988 to 25% last year. At the same time, we rank second in the world, behind Sweden, in overall science literacy. Yikes. No wonder the Old Mother seems to be tossing us off with delighted abandon in the form of all sorts of biblical prophecy-like afflictions and disasters.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Knives, Computers, Mens New Sexual Needs

I've been away for a while. Sorry. I'd say I've been looking for a job, which I have (just in case I don't make it to Aubergine House this time around), along with thousands of other Americans, but I've also been sitting around thinking that a lot of my time is spent wondering why people do the things they do, and why ask the rest of you? Well, then again, why not?

Tokyo Knife Rampage

I'm not really asking "why," in this case. I think the reasons people are committing these acts of violence against people they don't even know, en masse, with increasing frequency in places like the US and Japan, are pretty transparent. The question is why we don't do anything? "We..."

Plus, there is the propensity I have to slip inside what I call my 16-track mind and wander. Some really interesting things happen in there, and disconnect me from people sometimes. (Good thing Presidents have___ House Spokespeople.) And there are the tangibles of the immediate environment to distract me from things like job seeking and blogging, like books and kites and baking cookies. (If we lived in the cookie economy I dream of, I'd have it made economically.) At least I am not consumed by the virtual world in front of me on the laptop that sits on my kitchen table.

While in Denver with Netiquette back in late March seeking, and finding(!) fabric for her wedding outfit, I wandered down to the coffee-and-magazine shop in the lobby of our Fancy Hotel on Sunday morning and bought a tall cup of strong hot coffee and the April issue of Glamour magazine and sat on a couch, the upper end kind the looks of which belie its lack of seating comfort, to read and watch people traffic. An interview with several guys about "Men's New Sexual Needs" (yes, that's right) revealed that one of them is that men need "at least as much attention as your laptop." (Have they all figured out it works the other way around, too?)

People of this Fine Country, if I were your President, you would not have to worry about me spending more time playing computer games (and subsequently running around knifing people; that's what some would suggest is the next step, right?) than attending to you in person. (Though I do love my Facebook and Scrabulous and currently would welcome at least a couple new challenges at that table.)

Enough for now; it's late enough in the morning to start pestering people about jobs. (Apparently there are more jobs, proportional to people needing them, than a person can shake a stick at here in Wyoming, as opposed to other states, just not in Albany county)

Congratulations, Ken Griffey, Jr:

Oh, and check out the new Beastie Boys: The Mix-Up. The Guardian claims it's "for fans only" and gives The Mix-Up just 2 stars, claiming the music, all "jazz-tinged instrumentals," doesn't stand alone. However, I'm with Roberto on this one, that you have to respect guys who have been around a long time, are considered solidly as a particular genre, and then bust out with something new and different. Plus, the tracks stand up just fine as interesting and worthy dinner party music. Maybe it'll be on the menu for my first Aubergine House get-together.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Downsize Me

Today Wachovia, fourth largest bank in This Fine Nation, let its CEO go, "sending the bank's shares lower on speculation that loan losses tied to the purchase of a big mortgage lender could widen" (Jonathan Stempel of Reuters). "Thompson will get severance equal to 16 months of his base salary, or $1.45 million, and get stock awards worth $7.25 million, the bank said in a regulatory filing."

According to my Most Trusted Source, for at least the past couple weeks people have been bringing their pets into the animal shelter in Laramie because they have heard the word "recession" on TV (most likely) and feel the need to "downsize." The animals may receive new homes, with responsible people who treat them like family, not commodities up for disposal at a moment's notice. Or not.

Jonathan Alter recently wrote in Newsweek (April 28, 2008): "But the ecosystem of political media has changed, with sound bites losing their authority. Consumers of news are less easily manipulated by the 24/7 barrage of bites and images (Hillary Clinton doing whisky shots, Obama bowling), which are dissected endlessly on cable. Voters are searching for their own context. The bad news is that they are often simply looking for their opinions to be validated..." I cringed when I read that comment, at the obvious and disgusting pretention that does not belong in a representative democracy. On the other hand, if you are willing to drop your dog or cat or ferret or guinea pig or rat or rabbit or gerbil or bird off at the shelter because you don't want to maintain the responsibility you took for caring for another's life, don't bother to vote for me. I don't represent you.