Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fighting Words

I'll try not to repeat anything others have already said regarding the recent tragedy in Tucson.

We all agree, 'murder' is wrong, always. Always. Except well, maybe...

... as a punishment for those unrepentant of heinous crimes.
.... in self-defense.
..... in times of war.
....... if it will save a child.

Murder *IS* okay when enough people come together in agreement. We, as a society, glorify the shaping of boyish minds into brave soldiers, who go to other countries ready to kill. We, as a society, knowingly send many of them to their deaths, hoping they will beat the odds and return alive.

The point is this: We humans allow the unallowable, forgive the unforgivable when it comes to murder when we decide it is in our best interests. We make it 'okay' by vilifying and objectifying a 'common foe', who will stop at nothing to destroy us.

We make it clear that it is kill or be killed. If we do not act, they will vanquish us, they will harm our children, they will dance on our graves, etc, etc.

The violent rhetoric is merely the tip of the iceberg. The hate-talk industry has long been vilifying, objectifying, marginalizing "the liberals" for years. The same way they do Arabs, Gays... not because of what we do, but because of who we are.

We verbally attack the right because we see them abdicating power to big money interests. They favor big corporations who are sending our jobs over seas... and companies who are replacing full time jobs with benefits with part time jobs without, because it's cheaper. Companies that are taking out life insurance policies on their employees for their own benefit. Companies expertly wringing every cent we've made or ever will make out of us through predatory lending tactics. And all the while they're cutting funding for education, and programs that would help us be a smarter more capable country.

And... what evils are the Left guilty of? A little too much compassion? A few too many social help programs? Unions? Being educated? Being pro-choice, anti-gun, anti-war? Being for affordable healthcare that's NOT run by former pirates and mobsters?

The rhetoric they use is that the Left is attacking them, that we are threatening the safety of their children, that we are unrepentantly guilty of heinous crimes [like not showing unconditional love for our country always, or because we overspend due to bleeding-heartedness, communism/socialism, etc, etc].

Right-wing hate-talk is *daily* laying accusations against the Left that is synonymous with the justifications used to allow state-sanctioned murder.

It's not just the 'violent' rhetoric that needs to stop... what needs to stop is the right-wing propaganda machine that is successfully peddling a compelling justification for civil war.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts

Well... the "Bush tax cuts" are due to expire and there's a lot of whiney rich people complaining that if they don't get extended it'll be 'bad for the economy'.

Even Greenspan recently admitted that tax cuts don't "pay for themselves" as the GOP loves to tout.

Economically, to me, it makes more sense to let them expire.

Big tax cuts encourage businesses to gouge their customers and screw their employees so they can squeeze more profits out to their stock holders.

Higher taxes encourage companies to build their equity, re-invest their profits in better tax-sheltered ways, R&D, business expansion, hiring people, pensions. Stockholders don't do so well, but it's better for the company, better for the employees, better for the customers.

Oh, but why would stock holders bother investing if they're not going to get richer off owning stock? They will anyway, but unlike the 1990's .com boom, they'll have to be a little more patient, you know, like they did before the dot com bubble.

So I say, hell yes. Let the tax cuts lapse. Tell the whiners to actually do some work rather than letting their money do all the work for them. ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


My dreams are filled with architectural metaphors which usually echo my state of mind, from crumbling cliff top towers to solid sprawling industrial facilities.

This morning I dreamt I was visiting Venhattanice, a city that was half Manhattan and half Venice Italy. Ornate towers of bizarre design, their lowest floors half filled with water. Bars and stores with people floating about in delicate single occupant teacup shaped boats.

I rented a brass and canvas contraption that was mostly bicycle, equipped with small sails that could both float and fly, and took off exploring the city with my ?compaion?pet? a small feathery creature that could fit in the palm of my hand... wingless, it had characteristics of both penguin and seagull without being either... and it literally bounced with curiosity and awe.

It would dash back and forth in the wire basket of my flying sail bike pointing which way to go with its funny little beak, and I would pedal our way from one strange neighborhood through even more bizarre and curious places buzzing with people all going about their business on a warm/cool early summer day.

Night fell, I returned the flying-sail-bike, said goodbye to my companion and woke... and I've felt the same sense of giddy, warm, happy, goofy, wonder for hours since, and on my daily walk through the neighborhood, I watched it infecting the people around me.

Hard to imagine a more perfect day. =)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


On a lark I went googling to see if there's a 'diet' (either ethnic, religious, or what-not) that describes my own particular dietary intolerances, restrictions an preferences.

I didn't find an answer but compiled a fun list of different selective diets I stumbled across (and some made up):
  • omnivores - creatures (including humans) able to eat both plants and meat.
  • carnivores - animals that eat nothing but meat.
  • herbivore - animals that can not eat meat.
  • Kosher - excludes pork, predators, scavengers, and a complex variety of other things.
  • Hindus - exclude beef.
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarians - (or just 'vegetarians') exclude all kinds of meat, but will eat eat milk, eggs, honey, and other foods created by animals.
  • Vegans - exclude all kinds meat and all foods produced by animals, (like milk/cheese, eggs, honey). Unsure where they stand on (human) mother's milk.
  • Raw Vegan - insist on no-meat, no dairy, no eggs AND no cooking.
  • Flexitarians - "almost"-vegetarians who infrequently include a small amount of meat in their diet.
  • Gluten-free - a diet that excludes most grains.
  • Pescetarians - exclude all kinds meat except fish.
  • Pollotarians - exclude all kinds of meat except birds/chicken.
  • Veganarchist - radicals that want all humans to act like herbivores.
  • "Picky Eater" - a flippant term used by veganarchists to refer to anyone with dietary restrictions without being completely meat-free.
  • hors d'oeuvre-ovore - someone that only eats appetizers, finger foods and other bite-sized treats. May include sushi. (my term)
  • meat-and-potatoes - simply that. Often 'greens-o-phobic', some are rather prejudiced against to vegan/vegetarians.
  • blancotarian - someone that only eats white or pale foods, bread, dairy, mushrooms, chicken, pasta, potatoes. (Typically excludes cauliflower.) (my term)
  • nicocaffetarian - a diet dominated by coffee and cigarettes (my term)
  • Theophage - a God-eater, (see: "transubstantiation" ;)
  • hematophage - a blood eater (for example: vampires and Catholics ;)
  • cannibal - one who eats members of their own species
Apparently, there is no word for someone that (for ethical or dietary reasons) refuses to eat mammals or creatures that nurture their young... but are okay with eating other animals like seafood, birds, perhaps even reptiles, or bugs...

Sure... I'm a "Picky Eater". But with good reason. Dairy (milk/cheese/butter/cream/whey) and pork in any form are so toxic to me I'd rather to starve. I can eat (but prefer to exclude) eggs, honey, and other mammals. This limits my diet to: plants, seafood and fowl.

When I dine out, I refer to myself as "Vegan PLUS fish/fowl".

I tried saying "NO DAIRY, NO PORK"? But far too often the wait staff interprets that as "no cheese, no ham/porkchops". Food shows up slathered in butter, topped with bacon bits anyway and it forces me to be the annoying "Take this back and do it right!" customer that everyone hates.

If you don't like my term, or have a better suggestion... you're welcome to pipe up in the comments.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Ultimate Vegas Live Stage Show...

It's Cirque du Soliel, Sigfried & Roy, and Blue Man Group... combined!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Case Against Prop 8

Today is the first day of the Trial against Prop 8 (more).

I can't help myself... rant time. A number of small unrelated rantlettes follows:


One of the statements made today was that same-sex marriage "De-institutionalizes" the institution of marriage, [thus, I presume, harming the marriages of heterosexuals]. What absolute utter bonking absurdity.


In blog comments, I saw a slippery-sloper argue "If gays are allowed to marry, what next? We'll have to let siblings marry each other!"

For the sake of argument... let's ignore the 'inbreeding' angle for a moment. Siblings are already 'family', automatically imbued with state and federal recognition of their of their relationship. As "Next of Kin" they have legal rights that have, in many cases, TRUMPED the rights of a sibling's domestic partner. For siblings to marry each other would be, honestly, somewhat redundant. All they need do is NOT marry someone else.


I swear, if I hear one more person complain about the "liberals attempting to re-define the institution of marriage", I'll scream.

Think back for a moment... who were the two biggest advocates for Prop 8, trying to entrench their "one man, one woman" definition of marriage? The Catholic Church, and ancient order of unmarried men who have a shameful history of harboring pedophiles... and The Mormons who got their start believing that women were so utterly inferior to men that guys should be entitled to multiple wives.

If you ask me, both groups have 'issues' that render them unqualified to be 'defining' marriage for anyone.

They're welcome to believe whatever they want. It's a free country.
... or it was until they joined forces to impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The next shift...

Been thinking about the next Geek Culture shift.. (Tech Geeque?) and what flavor it is likely to have.

Certainly it will have something to do with AR (augmented reality).

If you look at the evolution of music 'technology' and 'usage' you have:
* LIVE - nothing but live performance for centuries, limited to what local culture preferred and what talent could offer
* RECORDED - musical recordings made a wide variety of music available to anyone at almost anytime
* BROADCAST - broadcast music made music easier to access and built an economy of scale for popular performers
* PORTABLE - listening to music became portable thanks to smaller devices and car stereos
* PERSONAL - music became more diverse and more intensely 'personal' thing thanks headphones/earbuds
* PERVASIVE - internet radio stations at work, car stereos, music in stores, it's inescapable

To a limited degree much the same has happened with movies, which use to be more of a social phenomenom, now with home theaters, netflix, iPhones, tivo, LCD screens running commercials at gas pumps... watching visual media has also becomes portable, personal and pervasive.

Person to Person communication, from written correspondence, books and newspapers to email, twitter, facebook, and (video) blogs on the 'text' side and on the voice side you go from hit-or-miss shared party-line bake-a-lite house phones to blue-tooth earpieces. Both being more portable, personal and pervasive than ever.

Even computing resources, which started off as large timeshared systems are now laptops, tablets, PDAs, and of course, more portable, personal and pervasive, etc.

Same will be true with "Augmented Reality". At the moment it's little niche-y instances like "hold this postcard up to your laptop camera and on the screen you'll see some 3d model spring out of the page. Or the iPhone app that uses GPS to provide you a clairevoyant view of transportation/services around you. (

As rendering/display technology gets cheaper, lighter, smaller, faster it won't be long before semi-transparent glasses with built in displays become available, tied via bluetooth or something like it to a key-fob sized processor allow us to view the world through filters that we select. You like noire? Stroll through downtown and through your lenses all the buildings will be dark with red velvet drapes in every window. Jog through the neighborhood and use the sky as your big screen to watch the music video that goes with the music you're listening too. Easily see the names of friends at crowded events.

* driving, you could have lanes of traffic or off-ramps haloed in red, yellow or green depending on reported traffic conditions, and have 'personal signs' added to the side of the road guiding you on your way

With simple eye-tracking controls you could, for example:
* activate a digital zoom, night vision, or digital 'x-ray' view, snapshot or record video of what you're looking at
* go shopping and look at UPC codes as you pick up items and price compare, or count calories, or manage your shopping list.
* scan and mark your personal calendar nearly instantly
* be reminded of names and notes of people you encounter with face recognition

As phones are rapidly becoming 'hands free' devices. It's only natural that PDA's will too, eventually.