Archive for September, 2008

2008.09.30

Market Crash and Social Security

Does anyone remember that Bush and the Republicans were the ones that wanted to scrap Social Security and invest all that money in the stock market? After it had one of the worst drops in history, am I the only one immensely relieved they never succeeded with their plan?

Does anyone recall if McCain was for or against privatizing Social Security? That would be interesting to know…

5 Comments | Catergorized: grrr

2008.09.27

Join the Evil League of Evil!!!

Fans of Dr. Horrible rejoice! The Evil League of Evil is taking new applications. Make the Bad Horse gleeful!

– It should be no more than three minutes in length.
– There should be little to no swearing.
– Dialogue, logos, and music must be original.
– Songs are not required (singing is a bonus).
– You must be evil — it’s a plus to have a name.
– Your application video should be posted to YouTube or Vimeo.
– Email us a link to the video, with your contact information.
October 11 is the last day to submit.

Of course there are some simple qualifications to those, too, like henchmen are not allowed to apply.

EVIL LEAGUE OF EVIL. Who wants to join with me?

1 Comment | Catergorized: geek  movies

2008.09.22

Liberal Versus Progressive

Reading this article by Wick Allison, while very interesting of itself, got me thinking about how Conservatives are always ranting against Liberals (though not the topic of the article itself). Mr. Allison gives an interesting definition of Liberalism.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

I’ve said it before: I’m not a Liberal. I’m a Progressive. But what does that mean to me? I think both would be considered “left of center” if you want to use the very bad, linear view of politics. So how are they different?

Both ideas deal with what ought to be. There ought to be equality of the sexes, the races, the sexual orientations, economic prosperity, healthy and educated citizens, etc. The difference between Liberal and Progressive is subtle and it deals with reality and time, with culture/society as a crucible.

Liberalism dreams up the end goal and immediately tries to implement it, regardless of real world elements that oppose it or make the goal simply unattainable. Therefore liberals often fail in attaining their goals despite their best intentions. They cannot simply wish something into reality and make it so. You can think of it as trying to force a round peg into a square hole. Maybe the peg should fit into the hole but it just won’t and wanting it to fit doesn’t change the reality of the situation. The only way to make it “work” right now is to bang it with a hammer… until something breaks.

Progressives think of an end goal and make plans, step by step, to bring that end goal into reality. Instead of going straight to the end goal they take things in stages. This takes patience which Liberalism inherently lacks. Each incremental stage of change is designed so that society understands the change and benefits. When the next step is taken the previous step is already a part of the culture. Society sees the new changes as a normal continuation… A progression. You still have the round peg and square hole, but you use some tools to make the hole a bit rounder and less squarish, and later you might lathe the peg to be a little smaller. Eventually you could have them fit easily though you no longer have a “square” hole or exactly the same peg.

My thoughts haven’t exactly gelled with this idea, but I think it’s rather valid. Liberals are, in a sense, quite extreme in that their method is to skip to the end and the end justifies the means. Progressives know that the means justify the ends, and that it has to be taken in stages. In this sense I can almost hear Mr. Allison in his article calling the current batch of “so-called conservatives” the most Liberal of them all.

7 Comments | Catergorized: political  thoughts

2008.09.22

A Little Pissed Off

I’m a little pissed off. Last Thursday I was attacked by an asshole near work. I’m fine, but for the past several nights before sleeping all I can think about is what I should have done (walked away from the situation much sooner; not turned my back on the guy) and what I wish I had done (fucking ignored my glasses, which he’d punched off my face, and fought back instead of retrieving them). Now it’s 2AM and while I was sleepy when I went to bed two hours ago I’m wide awake now.

Fucking asshole not only ruined my Thursday he’s ruining my sleep, too.

1 Comment | Catergorized: grrr  life  san francisco

2008.09.18

Clear Legal Language

Huzzah to Attorney General Jerry Brown for changing the language of California’s Proposition8 so that it’s clear what the thing is really about.

Original ballot summary: “LIMIT ON MARRIAGE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Amended ballot summary: “ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

It seems the changed language is making it clear to people that this proposition takes away the rights of certain citizens which I’ve always maintained is highly un-American.

I love this quote, too.

“There’s no doubt the views on same-sex marriage have softened a bit over the last eight years,” she [Jennifer Kerns] said. “It’s our position that a majority of Californians still support marriage as between one man and one woman.”

Umm… I support marriage as between one man and one woman, too. I also support it between one man and another man or one woman and another woman. That is one of the stupidest observations I’ve read in a long time. It’s also sad how they subtly couch their prejudices.

1 Comment | Catergorized: rights

2008.09.17

The Right to Bear Arms

Here’s a question, the answer of which I’m still pondering… Does the “right to bear arms” (the 2nd Amendment) have any relevance in a first world country?

I can sort of see it in a third world country, where the rule of law is lax if not non-existent. I can even see it in a second world country in which the government is often corrupt, tyrannical and fluctuating often between types of government. But in the first world? What’s the point?

Understand that I’m not ranting against the 2nd Amendment. This is a philosophical, social and political question that I haven’t yet seen or heard anyone discuss.

6 Comments | Catergorized: political  rights  thoughts

2008.09.14

I Love Dinosaurs

The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles has an awesome exhibit: dinosaurs walking the halls. It’s funny to see because I was actually trying to design something just like the T-Rex as a Halloween costume at one point. Here’s the first video; goto the above link to see the other two. I love dinosaurs!

2 Comments | Catergorized: geek  science

2008.09.11

Lawrence and the Helmet

I recently learned, via The New Cafe (Racer) Society, that I sort of have the tragic death of T.E. Lawrence to thank for the fact that I’m made to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. This is a good thing, though it saddens me that it took the death of one of history’s more interesting personalities to bring this about. It turns out that Sir Hugh Cairns, one of the neurosurgeons who tried to save Lawrence’s life after a motorcycle crash, became very interested in how to prevent it from happening again. His research led to safety helmets for motorcycles and much of the legislation mandating their use.

It’s interesting to me because Lawrence has always been one of those larger than life characters for me, and I’ve seen the movie Lawrence of Arabia many times. I knew he died in a motorcycle accident, but I had no idea helmet and helmet laws were the result. As they say, The More You Know

Comments Off on Lawrence and the Helmet | Catergorized: motorcycle  movies

2008.09.09

Frak in Popular Culture

There’s no denying, if you’ve bothered to watch, that Battlestar Galactica is a pretty amazing show. What is more amazing is the current incarnation, along with the original version, introduced a new word into popular culture that may enter the official annals of the English language much like Homer Simpson’s, “Doh!”

Frak.

It was [Glen A.] Larson who first used the faux curse word “frak” in the original “Battlestar Galactica.” The word was mostly overlooked back in the ’70s series but is working its way into popular vocabulary as SciFi’s modern update winds down production. … “It may have been the great George Carlin who talked about these things so cleverly,” Larson said. “He’d say, ‘Mother would say shoot, but she meant … when she reached in and burned her fingers on the crocker.’ And the child says, ‘I know what you meant, Mom.’ “

I know I use “frak” all the time (often at work…!) and it’s an excellent example of word substitution that breaks the subjective associations of the substitution source. I also love that the article mentions feldergarb (usually spelled “felgercarb”) which I used to use a lot but actually forgot came from the original series. They should bring back felgercarb!

3 Comments | Catergorized: geek  tv

2008.09.07

Skydiving in Lodi

At long last I can cross another item off my bucket list… Skydiving. On Saturday 17 of us went to The Parachute Center in Lodi, CA and 15 of us jumped. It was quite exhilarating and a lot of fun. For myself, I found free falling rather peaceful and vast once I got over the initial rush, and the chute ride down reminded me so much of why I wanted to be a pilot when I was young. Definitely something I want to do again.

Skydiving in Lodi
Part of the crew of first jumpers: Jonny, Jerome, me and JP.

Skydiving in Lodi
Jonny wants to save the world!

Skydiving in Lodi
Here I am tumbling. Love this shot!

4 Comments | Catergorized: friends  life  photos
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