Archive for October, 2009

The Three Swordsmen Parable

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Three boys are told at an early age they need to quest for the Sword of Indisputable Victory to rid the world of suffering at the hands of things other than the civilization’s own making.  There were arguments over whether this would end natural disasters, death, and heart break.  There was hope it would end rape, gender oppression and sexual orientation based hate crimes.  It was nearly unanimously consented that the Monsters Who Ruled would be overthrown and humanity would at least have more options opened to it.

When asked how the Sword of Indisputable Victory worked, the boys were told vague answers.  The sword would make its way known to each boy at the appropriate time, thought the priests.  It’s a tough question admitted the optimistic existentialists.  Are you the kind of boy who would investigate this opportunity or not, they would say.  The cynics warned the boys they might want to learn how ordinary swords work and bring one of their own in case the Sword of Indisputable Victory was of questionable and unreliable quality.

The first boy went with faith to find the Sword.  He swam for miles with a reed in his mouth.  He distracted large beasts with raw flesh of antelope.  He studied his holy book and dashed past the Monsters that guarded the Sword of Indisputable Victory.  As they chased him, he ran up stone steps where the Sword sat blade down in a marble monumental scabbard.  He wrenched the Sword from its bed and held it aloft for the power to work. Moments later he was cut down by arrows and axes and hammers.  The Monsters cleaned the Sword and the Sword room and carefully put the Sword back in the pedestal.

The second boy went with curiosity to find the Sword.  He questioned all manner of people on his journey.  He documented his days and sent frequent letters by pigeon back so that his memory might be of value even if his life wasn’t.  He made a submarine out of barrels and camouflaged it with leaves to get across the water.  He snuck past the large beasts after hours of observing their characteristics.  He stole into the Swordroom when the Monsters where on break and lifted the Sword from its pedestal.   He held the Sword aloft to see what happened and nothing did.  He swung it several ways to see if the powers were motion based.  He chanted phrases in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish in case there was an incantation he had heard.  When he slammed the sword against its stone, the Monsters became aware of his presence and cut him down before he could finish his experimentation.  The Monsters cleaned the Sword and the Sword room and carefully put the Sword back in the pedestal.

The third boy went with a sense of futility prepared for the worst.  He brought his own sword, bow and arrows.  He had a master swordsman walk with him a ways as he learned the way of the sword and additionally the ways of the axe and the hammer.   He did cardio for at least thirty minutes every day, ate minimal portions of food, and did plank position exercises as well to keep his body in alignment.  Then he swung his sword for hours while walking, imagining he was cutting a Monster each time.  He straight up swam the miles across the water.  He flanked the beasts so that they were only in front of him and he cut them down.  He threw urns and rocks in the halls of the Monsters and when they came to the sound he cut quickly and silently before the alarm could be sounded.  He came to the Sword room and drew the sword as a team of Monsters followed quickly in after him.  He hefted the Sword of Indisputable Victory once and then threw it at the first Monster.  He drew his bow quickly on the next.  The last of the Monsters he dispatched with his old reliable sword before retrieving the Sword of Indisputable Victory.  Greatly outnumbered in the fortress of the Monsters he outran them all, jumped into the water and swam away.

The elders welcomed him with a hero’s welcome that day and spent years trying to figure out the sword.  The Monsters slaughtered many villages in retaliation.  In the chaos, evil men took evil liberties on good men and women and children.  The boy grew to be a man and learned time after time that a sword without magic power solved very few problems and the Sword of Indisputable Victory was unusable.  So he left on his own to find a new philosophy that might serve him better.

The end.

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Seths You Should Know About [Part 1]

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Popular Seths

I’m sure everyone has heard of Seth Green, Seth MacFarlane and Seth Rogen.  But they haven’t heard of me, and there are probably several other very important Seths that they and you should know about.

Legendary Seths

There is an old testament Seth you may have heard about.  His older brothers were Cain and Abel.  Later his older brother was just Cain.  There exists an Egyptian devil named Seth if myths can be said to exist. Seth was also that spirit found by Jane Roberts.  I’m probably him in the flesh after all.  Please feel free to worship me. I’m nice and I am fun to be around.

Film and TV Seths

I mentioned Green, Macfarlane, and Rogen.  Seth Meyers is one of the comics on Saturday Night Live these days.

Creative Seths

Gregory Gallant and Seth Scriver are two artists whose work can be found on Drawn & Quarterly’s site.   Once we learn of him, those of use who admire all connections to the comic book world will miss Seth Fisher.  He sounds like a very colorful personality and he made it into the industry.  I am also a Japan-o-phile, I’m sure we would have gotten along had we crossed paths.

One Seth Morgan wrote Homeboy and then managed to die as well compounding the loss of life and Seth (both of which are bad independently). Seth Harwood looks like he just put out a new book I should read (because it both looks good and is written by a Seth).

I’m not at all sure what Seth Golub is trying to communicate but he is clearly creative and I like the one handed cartwheel turned upside down photo in his Australian pictures.  You can check out the fanciness that is the photographer Seth Resnick.

In music you can enjoy the music of Uncle Seth (a whole band named Seth!!!!).  There’s the classic sound of Seth Walker.

Business Type Seths

Seth Godin is a bestselling author with a blogSeth Bindernagel seems to have a charitable streak in addition to a good set of business skills and works at Mozilla (or at least did).

Political Seths

Seth Morgan is running for office in the Ohio legislative body.  It’s a shame he looks right wing but I’m sure there are other very competent Seths on that side of the political divide.

Techie Seths

Stephenie Meyers brother Seth is her webmaster.  Seth Gunderson is like a Seth of a few trades so I’m just gonna drop his name here.  He’s a critic and an artist and he’s not afraid to get his name on the internet, so here is my help buddy. Seth Nickell is into technical design of software it looks like.  Seth Fitzsimmons looks like he’s sharing web tech related knowledge I could absorb and put to use (I am a techie Seth).  Seth Finkelstein has been ranting about web based technology and links to another techie Seth (Seth Schoen) in his blog, maybe he’s a Seth-o-phile too.

Seth Teller looks like every other MIT genius to me (how do you like them apples?). He says his research is about “Situationally-Aware Computing for Autonomous Robotics and Human Assistance.” I’m guessing he’s working on artificial seeing eye dogs.  I work with two other Seths in a software company that makes casino games.

The first Professor Seth I found was Seth Copen Goldstein who works at Carnagie Mellon University.

Other Category Seths

Seth Swirky collects sports memorabilia and stole the greatest Seth related url ever http://www.seth.com.  There’s daredevel motorbiker Seth EnslowSeth Stohs is a Minnesota Twins fan.

And that, my readers is a good start.  I’m going to stop there because I’m actually going to delve deeper into the details of these Seths as part of my continuing series on Seths you should know.  Congratulations to all who made my list and feel free to comment on this post to let us know more about you.

Thanks for reading.

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Note To Self

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I’ve gotta be more careful to write only cool, entertaining, and relevant stuff.  This includes being aware of my location and my audience as well as my message.   Otherwise this whole internet takeover business could turn out to be way harder than it needs to be.

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My Atheist Objective aka When I’m Not Rebelling

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

What does this atheist want?  It’s really simple.  I want to be able to say I don’t believe in god or prayer or anything like that without people looking like I shat in their Cocoa Puffs.  If someone offers to pray for me, I want to be able to say “no thanks”.  I want it in the same way vegetarians can refuse meat and it’s not about the host.  I want it in the same way citizens SHOULD be able to debate issues and know that we are still in it together no matter how the real politics work out.  Wherever crosses are acceptable, I want to be able to wield an irreligious sign of my choice.

My atheism is a reaction to the system of beliefs that don’t make sense to me.  And I will defend my lack of belief with every moral ounce of my being when challenged.  But it doesn’t have to be a challenge and my fellow citizens are free to see their beliefs as they see fit.  Where it is right for you to express your beliefs it is right for me to disagree.  That’s what I want.  Now all the confusion over new atheism can go away, right?

Oh and it’s a cheap shot to penalize me for my beliefs and talk about a nation that’s religiously inclusive.  If I can opt into a belief of choice and out of a belief voluntarily, I obviously can opt out of all of them.   Booyah! (the onomatopoeia of my rebellion)

Thanks for reading.

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A Quick Restatement of My Core Philosophy on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I put an opinion out about everything, don’t I?  What’s going on with that? I’m going to try to answer with my core philosophy and trust me, I need the practice verbalizing it.

We’ve got a wonderful world full of questions and answers.  Science is one wonderful tool for answering questions but most of us on the ground are not scientists.  History is a wonderful tool for reminding us of the lessons that our ancestors experienced but most of us are not historians.  We specialize.  People know what they know and then some of the stuff they know is wrong.

My core philosophy is that most answers will be wrong or incomplete.  We do the best we can with information that can kill when misunderstood especially regarding air quality, self medication, chocolate for dogs, etc…  And the thing is, everybody is in this wrongness together.  The political system is as junky as it is effective from my point of view.  And what stupid country are we in that we have to have military presences all over the world and we can’t just war with our enemies and have it out?  I’m not pro-war, I’m just confused on this point.

I’ve already been wrong in my teenage values.  I already picked the wrong woman to be married to.  I either made that mistake twice or else I made that mistake once and made a different mistake with my first fiance.  I might be making it again one day, because I know a woman that makes me think it’s got better odds than ever.  As a crushing penalty, I missed my only biological child’s fifth birthday.  Not that that’s any better than missing her older sister’s thirteenth birthday, but this was the only kid I’d had the whole time.  And now I haven’t because my reality didn’t follow my plan.

George Bush has been wrong too.  Do I need to justify that comment?  I like Obama, but I expect him to make mistakes because he can’t possibly know everything.  So an advisor’s weakness, oversight, or misunderstanding can taint immaculate vision, assuming Obama has that.  Mistakes can come from inaccurate information, inaccurate calculations, and from glitches in the output process that result.

Get with the mistakes people.  That’s my philosophy.  People are gonna fuck things up.  And there’s no room for high-horsedness with it either.  I do it too.  It’s not an excuse at all.  People still need progress and no one else is going to bring that progress but us, but our response to our failures should take into account that failure is actually more likely than perfection.

Take any complex system and you’ll see how your understanding changes in a few years and any efforts in the beginning were largely naive.

Human systems are especially important to me because they raise and crush people.  How should I treat women?  How should I treat people from different ethnicity and background than me?  My answer is you tell me.  You tell me how you want to be treated and I’ll believe you.  I won’t make the assumption that I can think for people who live an experience unlike mine.  And I know I have privilege I can see, so I can assume there is privilege I can’t.  But I can’t tell you how far down the rabbit hole it goes and where fairness is balanced on any single subject.

So I’m going to say stupid things because I say a lot of things and some of them are stupid.  Hopefully, the gems let you know where my heart is really at.  I’m not afraid to change.  I’ve been doing it all my life.   I’m deathly afraid of being right.  I don’t need that kind of delusion in my life.

Thanks for reading.

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I Met Richard Dawkins!

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

And for once, I had nothing to say for like 20 seconds while getting my book signed.

Richard Dawkins and me.

Richard Dawkins and me.

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Something I Felt When I Read the Comments of Shapely Prose

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Mostly I like the blog.  And also, having a comment in the comments section does not mean Shapely Prose endorses a view per se.  I have an opinion about many things and it wasn’t the place to address in the comments.  It was something I thought I wanted to take a stab at here.

There is masculine privilege without a doubt.  Not only is it morally wrong because dude, sir you could have been born female and then look what you would have done unto yourself.  But women apparently feel the sting of it making the offense tangible.  This isn’t an argument about that.  This is a comment about acknowledgement.  When you do something right it’s nice to have acknowledgement, that kind.

Speaking for my own self and from the experience of my own sins, privilege, and chemistry, I dig acknowledgement.  Awards and superlatives go a long way with me.  But I’m going to clear things up right quick about the man does women chores acknowledgement thing.  (I acknowledge that the sentence I used is all shades of wrong.  I’m talking about when men do traditionally female support roles, which men should)

When the relationship starts off compliments were flying.  So many that some missed and squirrels, mosquitos, and bacteria around us felt bolstered and proud.  I’m an awesome ass squirrel, Mervin.  Did you hear that?  That human said so.  But then things die down and hit the grind as the cocaine brain wears off and the puzzle of keeping life going kicks in full gear.

Don’t get it twisted.  Men don’t need extra acknowledgement for doing laundry, dishes, cooking or changing diapers and I’m a good cook.  People need acknowledgement.  Relationships don’t automatically last forever.  If you want to stand the test of time, invest the rest of time.  If a woman is going to be as unhappy as overworked as unrelieved whether I help or not and she’s going to default to doing the job anyway, where is the win?  Honestly, I’ll step in and do the right thing anyway but eventually she should come around and feel like we’re in this shit together!  We started together.  We’re here struggling together.  It’s kind of awesome.

So what I’m saying not so clearly before my first cup of coffee today is that some people and not even just women get into a rut where nothing you do can help their mood.  Nothing you do will get through and support them.  As a man who has been on the outside of that I will tell you that it is endlessly frustrating.  That person isn’t just any person either.  They are someone whose pain matters.  And like normal reality, the longer you hit a wall, the more you acknowledge its immutability.  And I focused on things I could change.  She could have the kids when we were together and rant about how the little ones act up, and when she’d frustrate off, the kids and I would have great and wonderful times simply because we all loved each other and nobody left in the building was harboring some unfathomable angst.

There is doing the job that needs to be done and not leaving it all for your wife.  I totally agree.  But step carefully around the contempt to acknowledge when someone you love breaks tradition to even the playing field.  Maybe they should have done it anyway, but they did it for you and a lot of other people didn’t do it for their partners.  Keep it real, and when someone does right by you, say so.  And if you don’t, I kind of feel like you shouldn’t have the right to criticize either.

Men might have the upper hand by virtue of the inherited patriarchal system, but it’s not like that means women automatically understand what a fair deal is.  We’re going to need to work together on this.  And we can do it.  As a male with a lot of various relationships (including platonic, paternal and such) with females, we will do this.  Life is absurd, death is the final word.  And in between I suggest we keep our chins up and find the progress where we can.

Thanks for reading.

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Sometimes I Rap For My Girl Half Dirty

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I slip into your consciousness
like I slip into your fall dress
I don’t mean to but I digress
when I see the way you look I’m like awe yes.

I know that I can’t keep the love fat
on fingertyped chicken scratch
but it’s the only thing I can do
with that feeling I get when I think to tap
and I think to tap all the time what’s happening
I think I slipped in love while I was just thank you ma’aming

I know you can’t tell what I look up or shook up
but who needs words when I just want to hook up
nothing makes me Uh! like you when you look up
Hit me back if in fact this is what you want.

It’s like I don’t need to know what’s inside your brain
I just need your address so I know where to lay
and I don’t even need you picking up my last name
I love the way we’re different but mostly we’re the same

so when you back it up I’m loving it
and when you fall off track I’m above it
and when I’m going whack I’m not fun a bit
It’s not even true it’s just I sometimes fumbleit

and I don’t even know how we met up
or how we were ever apart when we see how well we’re set up
I like you when you get in that get up
making me want to say gitty up Oh yes let us bed up.

I didn’t mean to give a shit the way I’m giving it
but I’m not regretting the shoes I’m living in
I guess I’m forgiving my player for giving in
when you hear the way I’m mentioning
we got each other from the benches and in the field
Holding from the trenches when the shits real
Sharing in revenges when people fly of the hinges
You can’t do shit to us even if you’re interested.


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Smile, I Mentioned William Wallace

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
From http://www.queerty.com/5-things-to-make-you-smile-right-now-20090126/

From http://www.queerty.com/5-things-to-make-you-smile-right-now-20090126/

So you’ve got it all figured out do you?  Somebody needs to and we all need the answer.  What is the right balance between gender biased behavior so that genders get what they want in general and the individuals get what they need?  What is the right balance between people who follow rules and people who continue to analyze every decision to make sure it was the right one?  At some point decisions have to be made and time goes forward at the same time we observe that there should be some way for governments to work more efficiently, for banks to make money and lend that money to small folks, and for people to balance their budgets correctly so that they are not contributing so much to their own downfall.

I look at things like circuitry even though I don’t know much about circuitry accounting for most of my odd remarks actually.   People are honest, admirable, selfish, and deceitful.  But at some point there is a process that goes “Is this move I’m contemplating going to happen?”  I don’t think that point is where we think it is in our talk-to-ourselves conscious.    Using good to denote a move we choose to take, even immoral decisions at some point get identified as good moves to an individual.  This is important.  It’s important to realize that we have mechanisms which will choose immoral options.  By morality, I think you know what I mean and I acknowledge it is a work in progress but certain actions fall clearly in the immoral category and those are good enough to serve my purposes here.

People talk about morals and self-sacrifice and heroes like William Wallace who pay the ultimate price for their convictions without looking at how heroes are often the people with their backs against the wall as are a whole cross section of certain types of criminals.   Terrorists are either insane, misinformed, or alienated from their social coil.  If I’m missing an option put it in the comments.  Terrorists also represent people who choose actions that are not only immoral but detrimental to other people.  It should be obvious not to suicide bomb just like it’s obvious not to shoot students in school.  It’s not even a choice for some of us to make and even on our most miserable days, that idea would never get through the question “Is this move I’m contemplating going to happen?”

You’ll never have enough bullets or manpower to shoot every terrorist.   To avoid having systems of rebels willing to contemplate those miserable choices, we’re going to need to reinvent how we view choices.  Instead of leaving the burden on the individual to make the right choice, let’s bolster the odds by making a system that makes more right choices easily available in such a way that the disenfranchised can still benefit by choosing a universally good option.  You have to have to have to have to.  And you have to know who’s not sane.  Not for witch hunt reasons, but we need to know who our handicapped and who our strong are so we can provide for our people correctly.  I’ve heard serial killers make telemarketers.

Systems and anti-systems will persist.  Machines will glitch and sometimes that’s us people and our decisions.  And limited information will have unpredictable consequences because reason is informed by an awareness of facts.   The reality becomes abstract to our personal processes creating the subjective irony of the century.  Facts should be facts and good moves should be good moves.  And there’s progress we can make as long as folks remember there’s work left to be done and it will probably always be so.

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Obscure Authority, Misplaced Representation, What Now?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Some bloggers who blog great things provide links and facts and news.  You may have noticed I’m not one of them.  Formal research is not a strong point of mine even though I admire the idea of it.  I hope my blog is seen as a work in progress in terms of thoughts and philosophies because I will switch tracks from time to time and putting my ideas into digital print is helpful to me.

So the government is designed to even the playing field between people by providing a predictable and consistent application of law across the land of people that the government represents.  The government works for the people.  A government that does not is a government waiting to be overthrown or subverted.

Rights are either inalienable or they aren’t.  It seems like plenty rights are alienable at the right moment for the right reasons and far be it for me to know what the right answer is in scenarios where killing one potentially innocent could save the lives of many others.  It’s a great idea for all but one.  And it’s clearly unjust to pick the innocent because of ethnicity.  We know that much.

You’ve got to trust a bunch of people you don’t even know with power you don’t understand until you’re on the defense.  Then who do you trust.   Mostly the trust works.  I trust people driving everyday that they won’t intentionally drive in a way to harm me.  But everyday somebody is having a negligent moment and it works out just as bad leaving a sour comparison between the damage of accidents compared to the damage of on-purposes.

Cops protect us from criminals except they don’t.  Not really.  Where’s the double blind evidence that they protect us?  All I know is they give me speeding tickets and non-moving violations for my late registration of my vehicle.  It seems like they protect us and then we see Youtube cases where they don’t.  Get me wrong and misunderstand me if you must.  I’m not brushing all cops with the asshole brush, I’m saying some come in that color already and then what do the victims of authority do to get out?  Is that an acceptable sacrifice?  They’ll probably never come for me, I should be okay badmouthing them.

We all want certain services to be universal but we want different services.  Some people agree that education is universal and others that it is universal and to be funded by the government to ensure that all people are taxed so that all people are educated.  That’s a great idea until you consider who gets to pick the curriculum and what that might mean.  What is the goal of education?  Is it to get people in jobs in the future?  Is it to make good citizens?  What is a good citizen?  Is it a yes man or a conscientious objector?

Wherever there is a monopoly provider of a service, there is the potential for that service to turn upon its customers.  This is my truism.  The government is the only game in town throwing us in jail.  It’s the only game in town with the team of judges and the team of enforcers on the same payroll.  We elect legislatures into executive positions and then we’ve essentially brought all the baggage of one branch into the other creating opportunities for ultimate insider lockouts of the public.

There’s no silver bullet to this guys.  Pay attention.  Know your neighbor.  Contribute in your way to your community so that your reputation has defenders.  Think for yourself and encourage that in others.  And be very very careful with witch hunts.  Even if there are real witches out there, we can’t go burning our friends along the way.

Comment if you like this.  Thanks for reading.

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