Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two Websites Everyone Should Know About

Ugh, I can't find a wedding invitation and it has the wedding gift registry info on it.

And, the wedding is in two weeks, so it's hard to call the "lucky" couple and ask them what weird hippie place they registered at (and, yes, they DID have solar-power generators and special "compost" mulchers on their registry list). But, here are some google searches that will NOT help you locate the website:

"Wedding registry economically friendly"

"Wedding registration sustainable living"

"dirty hippie registration place power marriage solar"

As long as we're [not] on the subject, here are TWO websites everyone should have bookmarked:

Link #1
(I like #15).

Link #2
(Yes, that's George Washington in the foreground).

Just felt like sharing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's All Downhill from Here, People

Just now, it occurred to me that humankind reached its musical highpoint in 1986.

Why 1986? You ask, oh faithful readers...

Well, that's when Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda. The opening theme is the obvious culmination of everything musical in the history of humanity: the first throaty grunt, the first clapping hand, the first hammer smacked against an enemy's skull, the musical scales, the High Baroque period, the mathematical certainty of the computing age, the gutsy artisanship of the major Euro/American studios in the late 1970's, Styx... it all lead to this single, monumental achievement in composition.

You know what this means, right? Civilization peaked 20 years ago. It's all downhill from here--or, more properly, it's all downhill from 20 years ago.

But, you retort, oh gentle companions, what about other forms of art? Sure, you continue, it's indisputable that no other work of music surpasses the sublimity of Zelda's overworld theme, but there is still film, other forms of fine art, and literature, right?

HA! I say. Fine art has been in the toilet since the Pre-Postmodern Dadaism began wreaking havoc in museums and galleries throughout the world, spitting out its surprisingly pretentious monosyllabic declarations.

And literature? Name ONE book or poem that has come out since How to Win Friends and Influence People that has come even CLOSE to that earth-shattering work. (Okay, okay,
Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men - One Message, isn't bad, but still.).

And film? Are you serious? Pfft. I'm not gonna even deal with that.

Science is no better. Democracy? Not real--never was. Philosophy? Hey, look, have you ever been to a philosophy class at a university? It's more of a study in being obnoxious, and, look, no one's gonna do that better than Urkel, so no help there. Economics? Oh, fuck you, the study of rich people getting richer? Yeah, sounds REAL worthwhile.

It's chutes and ladders folks, and we've run out of ladders.
And now I gotta go make dinner.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Republicans are Still Better at It (and That's What Matters)

Vice President Dick Cheney is out rounding up the faithful and raising money for the imminent mid-term elections.

He's good at it. His general approval rating is something like 34%. So? He's way better at revving up the base than Democrats generally. Check out this quote from a random fundraiser for a random Congressional Republican:

"If we follow Congressman Murtha's (Democrat/Enemy) advice and withdraw from Iraq the same way we withdrew from Beirut in 1983 and Somalia in 1993, all we will do is validate the al-Qaeda strategy and invite even more terrorist attacks."

This is good politicking. It's not dumbed down (in a noticeable way) yet it's easy to understand. It's got a clear messsage: Vote for Demoracts--or even support democratic ideals--and the terrorists win. It's specific: Opponent offering advice is named, two specific instances are drawn from recent and comparable history, and the mechanism of the terrorists winning is defined. Analytically put, Cheney claims: 1) The Democrat position of withdrawal is analagous to these two previous instances; 2) (implicit) in these two previous instances, the withdrawal spurred on additional attackes; 3) The Democrat position will therefore probably lead to additional attacks by terrorists; therefore 4) A vote for the Democrats is a pro-terrorist vote.

God that's good. He even uses "we" instead of "them." Sure, a lot of people might not trust Dick, but enough trust him for a good get-out-the-vote scheme. And, when we are all making our hueristic decisions come election day, you can be sure that his straightforward, analytical, not resorting (obviously) to lowest common denominator approach will swing some swing voters. So what if he might be wrong? 1) No one is gonna check, and 2) If they do, well, whether or not the withdrawal's spurred additional attacks is a matter of educated opinion, isn't it?

And, he's tapping into fear--a powerful emotion. And he's doing it, not so much like a dumbass politico or a tabloid or a commercial for Hershey's Chocolate asmuchas an assistant professor, or one of those old white guys on the History Channel.

Now check out the witty rejoinder from a whole cadre of Democratic Senators:

"Instead of ranting and raving on the campaign trail, Bush and Cheney should spend their time on the trail of Osama bin Laden."

Dumbasses. Does anyone really believe they aren't hunting Osama Bin Laden? More to the point, does anyone have proof that they aren't? People are gonna read this and say "Of course they are hunting Osama, why wouldn't they?" Jackasses. It's so general, it so hackney. It smacks of tabloidism--maybe that's unfair, at least the tabloids are creative (Hello! BatBoy?). If you are going to manipulate someone because you don't have respect for their intelligence, don't make it so obvious that you don't have respect for their intelligence. That's a key difference between the wannabe Plutocratic Democrats and the Republicans. Try walking up to some shmoe on the street and telling him you know better than he does. Here's the reaction to expect, Senator: "So you went to Harvard Law, so fucking what? I'm an adult and I'll do what I want; I'm capable of making decisions."

The Republicans have a good mix of people who believe that the common man is capable of making decisions and people who can fake that they believe that the common man is capable of making decisions. Maybe if the Democrats learn about this they won't keep failing to capitalize on elections that are handed to them. (And I'm watching this one, so don't fuck it up).

quotes from: the post.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Loosey Who?

You know how there's that loosey guy? That guy that will sell you one cigarette instead of like, a whole pack of cigarettes? No?

Okay, well in a lot of the more...urban or pre-gentrified neighborhoods in NYC, there's always some guy, either on a street corner or in a bodega, who will sell you a single cigarette for like 25 cents. Sure, it's more than the proportionate price per cigarette if you buy a whole pack--and you don't know where that cigarette has been--but it's just so useful (not that I smoke). It's the ultimate convenience.

So, I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice if there were other loosey guys as well?

Like a guy who will sell you one hot dog bun for 35 cents. Wouldn't that be great? How many times do you need like one or two hot dog buns and have to buy a whole pack? It's crazy! It happens like, all the time, like, to everyone.

Or a guy who will sell you a single bullet. You don't need a whole box of bullets when you are gonna kill someone--just one, unless you're a really bad shot. And bullets are expensive! Just think about it: Big E. is all up in your grill, macking on your ho, and you go to pull out your piece and BAM: no bullets. Isn't that the worst? Imagine the convenience of being able to get one hollow point bullet for $1.65 on the street right out in front of the club on a Saturday night!

What about a guy that would sell you like one tire? Doesn't it suck to have to buy 4 new tires each time you get a flat? I always thought that was lame. We could really use a loosey tire guy on the side of the interstate! "Buy a tire!" he'd say, "Only $65!" Wow. That would be the best.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blogging for Blogging's Sake

I don't think I have really bought in to the whole blogging thing. Some people can blog everyday--half the people who live in my house do--but I can't. Is it self-censorship? Maybe. If it is, it's a knowing kind that isn't necessarily bad.

Here's an important point lost on most of the blogger/myspace generation:

Not everyone cares what you have to say. In fact, you can be sure that most people don't.

Not that most individuals don't already know that, but in some part of their psyche they might not believe it.

Not that the whole internet connectivity thing is socially bad--it's not. The ability to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends without regard to geographic boundaries is an important and valuable thing. However, considering that our society is already so self-obsessed, the last thing it seems like each of us needs is a little internet shrine to ourselves. We engage in constant celebrity worship: Authors, movie stars, athletes, politicians, muppets, etc. The act of voyeurism is essentially enjoying vicarious experience. People worship art-rock trash indie rock bands in part because we want to be the singer, or the guitarist, or something (but usually not the guy who plays bass/keyboards--he wants to be the guitarist, too). We crave a human connection with those individuals not because we want to know them (because we think we do know them from their "art" or whatever else), but because we want them to know us.

There's nothing wrong with self-expression per se--and human connection requires self-expression, in part. But I feel that the blog thing allows an individual to engage in unmitigated self-promotion, like it's your own private billboard, and as if the line between self-expression and advertising is completely blurred. While there may be something cathartic about it, I think that one of the main problems with human beings is their self-centeredness, and this trend really only seems to magnify it.

But maybe I'm missing the point?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Ohio Supreme Court: Justices for Sale?
Posted by Peter Lattman

ohioA few weeks back the New York Times penned an editorial lamenting judicial elections and the skyrocketing amounts of money being spent on these races. Little did we know it foreshadowed Sunday’s 4,700-word stunner on the Ohio Supreme Court. An NYT investigation found that the Buckeye State’s justices routinely heard cases after receiving campaign contributions from the parties involved or from groups that filed supporting briefs. On average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time.

Even sitting justices in Ohio question the current system. “I never felt so much like a hooker down by the bus station in any race I’ve ever been in as I did in a judicial race,” said Justice Paul Pfeifer. “Everyone interested in contributing has very specific interests.” Of the special interests, Justice Pfeifer says: “They mean to be buying a vote . . . Whether they succeed or not, it’s hard to say.”

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer also admits to flaws in the election process. “In a perfect world,” he said, “you would have justices being selected not based on the amount of money their campaign committees can raise from various interests, but on their character and record — and somewhat on judicial philosophy, certainly, but in a more abstract way.”
Read more: Judges
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