My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Anyone else see Fahrenheit 451 resemblances?

With all of the violent crime in the form of kids shooting up their schools over the last couple of days, I’m beginning to notice that we seem to be slipping into a require reading book from my High School days. The mindless crime, the movement towards an authoritarian government, the media driven society, a leader who frowns on reading....

...it all seems to be getting worse, and it's all just a bit creepy. Someone tell me I’m wrong.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Entry for September 28, 2006

I'm in the process of finishing a PhD and am constantly dumbfounded as to how certain individuals at my school can get as far as I have while remaining so ignorant. Moreover, they seem to wallow in their absence of their intellectualism while being immersed in their righteous idiocy that is somehow bestowed upon them by their advanced degrees.

Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology; it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual; and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding. Education does not give you the right to believe in yourself absolutely – if anything, it should give you the understanding of the small amount you actually know.

Blah, now back to listening to the Pogues...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Aunt Nancy died last night...

She had been fighting cancer for many years now and died after being surrounded by her family. She was ready to go and we are happy for her. In memorial, I'm reposting my favorite blog called "Death, but a Good Thing". Enjoy.

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics: that no energy is created in the universe and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all of your energy, every vibration, every BTU of heat, every weave of every particle that was her beloved child, remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid the energy of the cosmos you gave as good as you got. And at some point you would hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your broken hearted spouse in their pew and tell them that all the photons that have ever bounced off your face; all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile; by the touch of your hair; hundred of trillions of particles that have raced off you like children have had their waves forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that other photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes. That those photons collected within her created constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever. And the physicist will remind the congregation how much of all of our energy is given off as heat (there may be a few people fanning themselves with their program as he says it). And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here as part of all that we are even as we who morn continue the heat of our own lives. And you will want the physicist to explain to those who loved you they need not have faith, indeed should not have faith – let them know that they can measure, that scientists can measure, precisely, the conservation of energy and have found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You will hope that your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound, and be comforted to know that your energy is still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy not a bit of you is gone – you’re just less orderly. Amen.

The Best Blog Post Ever

This is the best blog post ever. I know, because I do the best job to acquire and live life the best possible way and it shows. I must have the best stuff, because I deserve the best. The best is what America is all about. We are the best and need the best cars, the best TVs… the best of everything. I’m currently writing this on the best laptop available – but I will have to discard it this weekend because the new best one comes out. I can, of course, afford that because I went to the best schools and have lead the best life possible. I only stay at Best Westerns, shop at Best Buy, and hang out with my best friends. I do all of this because I know that being obsessed with the best will ultimately lead me to contentment and fulfillment. Surely all the best minds know that the endless search for something better will eventually lead to the best emotional balance and happiness. Right?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I miss Bill

This week Bill Clinton is making headlines for showing both fire and intelligence and I realize that I absolutely miss that in our politicians. We seem to be at a point in time where our politicians are either spiritless or intellectually deficient, and that sucks. But with any luck, his performance this week will inspire debate, reignite passion, and get people thinking again. The one thing that really made me smile was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart when Bill said, “If you are a Democrat, you win when people think”. It was at that moment when I realized WHY I really missed Bill.

I miss the arguments based on intellectual deliberation instead of knee-jerk reactions and school-yard insults.

I miss discussions on details about details of important matters.

I miss contests over who has more brain power in any given situation.

The one successful thing that George W. has done over his presidency is lower our expectations of what we expect from our elected officials. And that, that is what I miss the most.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Entry for September 22, 2006

According to his own theory, Occam was probably a lazy man who never bothered to think stuff out.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who the hell are you to tell me how time moves?

I’m getting pretty sick and tired of people applying their assumptions of existence on me. Time is a perception of your mind so that you can exist within an understandable scope compliant with your ability to comprehend being. You know damn well that time and motion are just illusions created by your inability to perceive everything at once and that everything that is possible exists as a path and that you just chose this path to perceive as "correct". So stop trying to drag me down into your general singularity-defined existence perceived by your tiny brain and your misguided belief in "time".

PS Sorry I was late picking you up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Entry for September 20, 2006

Is it wrong that I want to live life in one of Sean Astin’s underdog monologues?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Word of the day - Arachibutyrophobia

Arachibutyrophobia – the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Entry for September 15, 2006

As the wholly controlled Republican government ends this fall, so will the support of the Extreme Christian Right. In which, I would like to offer a word or two to those who are Christian and have been unfairly lumped into this intense ideological mold. What the Extreme Christian Right and the Republican Party have been trying to do is dictate explicit beliefs in Christianity, imposed into our society, without choice of compliance. And as we all know, there is no goodness without freewill. Without the ability to freely choose – or reject – the good, an individual possesses no control over his attaining grace. In the language of Christianity, a believer cannot be saved unless the choice to follow Christ is freely made, unless the option not to follow him genuinely exists. Compelled belief is no belief at all. I am not a Christian, nor do I believe that there should be a mixing of Church and State other then an awareness that the one exists to balance the first. That being said, I am glad that the Republican Party will no longer be controlled by an extremist faction forcing compulsory compliance to a standard set of supposed Christian norms. Instead, we should all be happy that you we can once again choose our own paths freely and to dictate our own lives and souls as we choose without judgment of those who have deemed themselves worthy to judge all.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The politically primitive man's brain remains

Man is not a willing political animal. The human male associates with is fellows less by desire than by habit, imitation, and the compulsion of circumstance; he does not love society so much as he fears solitude. He combines with other men because isolation endangers him, and because there are many things that can be done better together than alone; in his heart he is a solitude individual, pitted heroically against the world. If the average man had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government that governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Entry for September 12, 2006

Keith Olbermann is without a doubt the best news anchor on television today. Two weeks ago, echoing the spirit of the legendary Edward R. Murrow, Olbermann took Donald Rumsfeld to task for comparing critics of the Iraq war to Nazi appeasers. Tonight, broadcasting live from above a desolate and still demolished Ground Zero, Olbermann delivered a stirring eight minute commentary indicting the Bush Administration's shameful and tragic response to 9/11. The entire speech is worth watching and reading, so I'm posting the full text below:

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

There is only one story

Whether you are reading Oedipus Rex, The Purpose Driven Life, 1984, or The Zen of Farting, there is only one story: What it means to be human. But you can’t just come out and write What it Means to be Human because you would be wrong, because it constantly changes, and because what you believe constitutes “being human” will vary from, well, everyone else. Instead, we write stories, biographies, autobiographies, history, fart jokes… you name it, about our experiences, pretend or real, that tells a bit about our view of humanity. It is this accumulated collection of accounts that tell the story of What it Means to be Human. So when you write, and you have to write, remember that your additions to the collected works will be judged not on your telling of the one story, but how well it reflects what it means to be human to you. Because everything you write, no matter how dumb, reflects what it means to be human.

Laugh and the world laughs with you; fart and they'll stop laughing.

Friday, September 01, 2006