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Saturday, November 19, 2005

One fewer interesting blog

Ruth, gone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

As Our Droog Alex Said

What's it going to be then, eh?

Libertarianism or Freedom?

From Strike The Root:

Sure, it would be nice to live in a “society” that is dedicated to libertarian ideals. But there is no such thing, and in a world of unfriendly States, it wouldn’t survive long. Or is your aim world salvation? Then you are way out of your depth, my friend. Do you really think you can take on six billion people and hundreds of States? (If you can, then what are you waiting for? Go for it!)

I for one am not able to do it. And seriously, I’m not the least interested. I live for myself first and foremost, and then come my family and friends. I do not care to save the world if I can find freedom for myself and the ones I love without doing it. Why should I? I’m nobody’s slave; I do as I please simply because I want to. It would be nice to live in a free world, but I don’t think it is worth the trouble. I’d rather be free now, on my own, than break free along with millions of strangers 40 or 50 years from now.

Isn’t this what individualism is all about? One has to make one’s own choices, for oneself and the ones willing to follow. If they do not want the freedom I want, then why the hell should I spend my time and money on making them share my ideals and go with me? I’m no selfless Samaritan or a slave of the peoples; I’m my own.

Thanks No Treason.

Then you need to meet some more people

Said to me today by someone I respect:

You are one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in my whole life.

Now what do I do what *that*?

Mentioned without (much) further comment

Listening briefly to NPR this morning, a reporter described a Congress-critter as a "moderate Republican". It occurred to me that I seldom heard the qualifier "moderate" applied to Democrats. Now, I don't really give a damn about all the claims of media bias, but it seems obvious that if Democrats are seldom considered "moderate" while Republicans are, then Republicans are (by definition?) considered more extreme on the whole by the media.

But was this true? Even though I hadn't remembered hearing the term "moderate Democrat", perhaps I wasn't listening for it. So a quick visit to news.google.com came to the rescue. And the results are:

So we have about a nine to one ratio of "Moderate Republican" to "Moderate Democrat".

Draw your own conclusions.

UPDATE: Doing the same search on news.yahoo.com resulted in 541 Moderate Republican articles versus 50 Moderate Democrat articles (almost 11 to 1). And doing the search on nytimes.com resulted in 1193 Moderate Republican articles versus 293 Moderate Democrat articles ("only" 4 to 1).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Am I a Spoil Sport?

Whenever I get e-mails from people which are funny or ironic but unlikely to have actually happened, the first place I go is Snopes. My instincts are usually right, and these things are usually not true. Is it bad sport of me to tell people that they've been had, and is it better to let them continue to be deluded while I can secretly snicker at them? Someone at work got annoyed with me for debunking their funny photos. As I told them, they're still funny, they're just not real.

3 1/2 days

and counting. Then eleven days of noooo work. Yay me, go me. Now to find something to do with all that time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Our new game

My daughter has a bunch of board games. Board games I'm really none to fond of playing, but she likes to play with me, so I suffer through Shrek or Bratz or Sorry. But I wanted to play a game we'd both enjoy and that would carry her beyond her childhood. And I remembered that whenever I see "classic" games in the stores where games such as chess and backgammon are sold, they also sell a game called Mancala. And all it looked like was a board with pits in it and stones in the pits.

But I was curious, so I looked it up in a couple of places. I found the history and rules of Mancala, and I discovered that it was pretty simple to play. I picked up an inexpensive wooden set, brought it home, and spent much of the following day (a day off) playing it with my daughter. It's actually really easy to play, but seems to vary enough each game to keep it interesting. I'm glad I researched it, and I can heartily recommend it.

Be careful what you wish for

Good snappy quote from Suze:
If you say/think "bring it on" do not be surprised when things are in fact brought on.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'm not really feeling hostile

I'm just, um, getting into character for a part I'm playing in my local community theater.

Actually, I guess I mostly just blog when something pisses me off, so writing here serves as a relief valve of sorts.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's English...

...and it's your native language. Learn how to use it without sounding like a frigging idiot. Is that too much to ask?

Overheard on more than one occasion: I was like... and she was like... and I was like... and she was like...

and I was like, "Shut up! Just shut the fuck up already! How can you not see how abso-frigging-lutely stupid you sound? Or don't you care? How can you not care that you sound like a moron?!? Maybe because ninety percent of the people surrounding you are morons as well..."

...on the inside. Because I'm far too polite to actually *say* anything like that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't you have anything better to do

...than dedicating your whole blog, multiple entries per day, every day, to how horrible Islam is?

I live and work in NY. I worked in Manhattan on 9/11. From my windows on the 12th floor of my office building, I watched the towers burn, I watched the towers fall. Not on the television: in front of my own eyes. An indirect effect of 9/11 was being laid off and out of work for many months (the popping of the late-90's tech bubble was a much more direct cause of my layoff). I have seen what blind adherence to a twisted and evil set of beliefs can produce.

Yet I fail to see what maintaining such an all-encompassing hatred against anything can produce. From my perspective, I am far more likely to be negatively affected by...

  • Taxes
  • Oil prices
  • The public school system
  • The effect on the economy of never-ending wars
  • Any number of government regulations
...than I am likely to be affected in any sense at all by Islamofascism.

If you're living and/or working in a major city (one of the top, say, ten cities in the US by population), the likelihood that you'll be hit and killed by a falling cinderblock is greater than your being affected in any way at all by something terrorist-related (except of course, random bag checks or perhaps being detained without being charged). If you *don't* live in a major city, the likelihood that you'll be affected in any way at all by something terrorist-related is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

Get over it already. Do they hate you? Do they want to kill you? Yes to both. But then, so do I.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Not that there's anything wrong with that

But Florida must have the gayest non-gay bars in the country
Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were charged after their arrest at a bar where witnesses told police the women had sex in a restroom.

Be responsible! Don't vote!

There are those who say that if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about the government. As I see it, the exact opposite is true: if you do vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome. If you vote, you are agreeing that the majority of those who vote have the right to decide who rules all of us. You agree to the outcome. You agree to be ruled by whoever wins.

However, if you believe that no one has the right to "elevate" someone to a position of power over someone else, then not voting is really the only moral choice. Otherwise, you are asserting that fifty one percent of those eligible to vote have a right to:

  • Confiscate property from anyone they choose and give to whomever they choose
  • Limit, curtail, forbid, or monitor any behavior of anyone they choose
No one has the moral right or authority to take anything of anyone else's, nor do they have the moral authority to require anyone to do (or not do) anything. (And no, I'm not saying that murder and rape can't be forbidden. Don't be retarded.)

The only things I vote for any more are spending and/or borrowing referenda. And I always vote against them. I was very pleased when my local school district's budget was defeated, and they were forced to go on an "austerity" budget (i.e., a mere four percent increase over last year's budget, rather than the requested eight percent). And I have school age children who both go to public school. I was thrilled to see the gnashing of teeth over what an unmitigated tragedy this would be. High school sports were cancelled!! Guess what happened? Fund raisers were held so that those who wanted sports could actually pay for them themselves and not require those who weren't interested to pay for them! What a novel concept. You do not own me or the fruits of my labors; you do not have the right to force me to pay for what you want!

"But what system would you live in then? Isn't democracy the best there is to offer?" Hell no. Democracy can easily elect:

  • Communism
  • Fascism
  • Theocracy
In fact, despite the "democratic" revolution imposed on Iraq, they appear to have just democratically approved a completely socialist, theocratic constitution. That was democratic, wasn't it? And that makes it good, right?

Under what system would I live? It really doesn't matter. Under whatever system you live, the powerful rule and try to give the ruled the illusion that they have a say in what goes on. Under whatever system you live, you are owned. So, the only way to live is to do one's best to stay under the radar, and don't disturb the hornet's nest too much. I will continue to do so until such time as the war machine decides that not enough young people are enlisting and imposes the draft. At that time, rather than allow my children to be enslaved to the all-powerful State, I will up and leave.

Till then, you and I can get along, just don't try and take my stuff, and I won't try and take yours.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I have no buddies

...and this depresses me when I think about it, so I try not to.

I have my family, and they're great, but that's different.

I have a couple of "friends" at work, including one or two whom I'm "close" with. My cubicle neighbor, about whom I've written before, and I are close, and we talk a lot about life and personal stuff (she has issues), but I know that if we didn't sit next to each other, we certainly wouldn't talk as much as we currently do, so it's just really happenstance that we're as close as we are. She says that there are lots of times when she's not at work that she wishes she could talk to me, but that's generally about the "issues" that she has shared with me. She says that if one of us were to leave this job, we'd still be in touch a lot, but I've heard that before from other former coworkers whom I haven't heard from in years.

I have my bandmates, but I barely know them and don't talk to them outside of practice or exchanging emails about practice.

I don't have anyone who calls me to shoot the shit.

I don't have anyone who calls me wanting to hang out.

I've asked myself for most of my life why I wasn't popular, why I couldn't attract people who wanted to seek me out, rather than me always having to be the one to seek others out. Am I a loser? Am I boring? Am I a weirdo? Is my blinding brilliance too intimidating? I'm not a loner or anti-social -- I don't shun people if they talk to me, and I know how to hold a reasonably interesting conversation (although it has to be two-sided: I can't be the only one talking). But I've always been -- and apparently will always be -- invisible. And telling myself that I shouldn't care has only ever been partially effective.

Am I having a pity party? Yes. Too fucking bad.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Words of Wisdom

Fred Reed always has something interesting to say
The virtue of vice is everywhere underestimated. Something is wrong with those who are always proper, careful, and as they should be. I would rather talk to a bourbon-swilling correspondent in a bar in Manila, with a cigarette in his hand and a barmaid on his knee, than to the cleverest chemist at Yale, tamer of ketones.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Things I don't like

  • Being responsible for the work of others
  • Having to relate to someone as their "boss"
  • Having to tell people who report to me that their work is wrong, deficient, or needs to be corrected
  • Having to listen to others criticize and/or make fun of people on my team
  • ...when the criticisms are wrong
  • ...when the criticisms are right

My bold prediction

Responses to this shocking finding
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. terrorism experts Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon have reached a stark conclusion about the war on terrorism: the United States is losing.

Liberals / Democrats: See! We told you so!

Conservatives / Republicans: What else would you expect the liberal mainstream media to say?

How tiring.