Thursday, August 10, 2006

An Interesting Tidbit From The Pop Culture Archives

I recently saw this on Boing Boing and felt like it was just interesting and odd enough to pass on to the masses. What your looking at is candy. For kids. The candy itself consists of multi-colored pellets, reminiscent of "uppers" and "downers", and the delivery method is a plastic syringe. Hey kids, make sure you pick up a few packs of candy cigarettes while your at it. You know, just to keep your shit together and your mind right.

The enlightened generation that thought that this product might be a good idea for kids, and the happy hippy psychedelic sub-culture pioneers that spawned such a clever drug themed delicacy, as well as free love, "natural' odors, and granola, are now running our schools, our industry & our country.

Peace, Love & Joy comrades. Now go take a shower.

Hippy Sippy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Grab Your Ankles; Click it or Ticket, Part 2

(fade in) ".... anyway, since that day, I've been wearing my seat belt religiously. No one seems to care, but at least I'm saving lives. Right? I'll be taking this one to court. Perhaps the judge will be even more understanding than Dick, if that's even possible. I'd be more than happy to provide stool samples if necessary. You know. Whatever it takes to keep the streets safe. I mean, this couldn't be just about money. Could it?"

I've been to court on this now. I plead my case. It was a bittersweet experience. It was a learning experience. It was a watershed moment in my continuing education on the nuances of state sanctioned hustling. It began like any other day in court....

My docket was called and I quietly moved to the front of the courtroom. I had decided to approach this with high expectations and a positive outlook. I was sure that, after hearing my version of events, any right minded judge would happily dismiss my ticket. I mean, after all, we've all had a Maalox moment from time to time.

And guess what. I'm happy to report that I was right. The Honorable Whateverhisnamewas agreed that my situation was indeed an exception to the rule, and furthermore, he would happily defer my fine for 12 months time. If, within 12 months time, I did not return to his court for a similar traffic infraction, my citation would be expunged. Yay for me.

But wait. There's more.

Just as the final syllable dropped from the Honorable Whateverhisnamewas's lips, two things happened simultaneously. One; I shifted my weight imperceptibly towards the exit of the courtroom, and Two; I detected a subtle hint of regret in the judges tone as he voiced my reprieve. Translation; I'm outa' here but the Judge is clearly disappointed. The quarry has escaped. What to do?

"Mr. Backus," I heard through the angelic song of victory playing in my head, "before you leave, let's just have a quick look at your traffic record." Clicky sounds as Whateverhisnamewas brings up my record on his computer screen. "It seems you were here 2 years ago for following too close. Whatever happened there?" he asks. I'm stuck now. The weight is no longer shifting.

"I can't remember at the moment," I responded. Alarm. Danger. Trap. Here comes the shell game...

"Well," he continues, "It seems that we deferred that citation for 12 months as well." "Ok?" I respond. A couple of questions that dare not speak their name begin to bubble to the surface of my mind. For instance, A: Who gives a shit, and B: If that was deferred 24 months ago, it should have been expunged 12 months ago, and that being the case, it shouldn't even exist as a record and anyway, C: What does that have to do with this?

Well let me tell you what. But first a little background information ...

It turns out that when you receive a summons to traffic court, at least in Grant County, you are given the option of Contesting the Citation, Admitting Guilt and sending in the MONEY without further ado, or requesting a Mitigation Hearing.

My experiences and observations have led me to the following conclusions:

If you Contest, your screwed. You will stand before a rabid bulldog Judge and you are automatically guilty unless you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that you are innocent. Your fine will NOT be reduced, and you will leave the courtroom feeling like a post-spanking 6 year old. But with half his ass chewed off for good measure. Don't fuck with the system. Pay up. I have a story about this, but it will wait for another time...

If you admit guilt, and send in your money, no problems. The system has separated you from some of your MONEY and all is well in the universe. No embarrassment, no bulldogs. Nope, you have played by their rules and have not questioned anyone's authority or agenda. Excellent work Comrade! Work Shall Set You Free.

Finally, If you request a mitigation hearing, it turns out that you ARE GUILTY. No if's and's or but's. But you do get to beg for leniency before the court. You may even convince the Judge that your circumstances were exceptional and you may be awarded a deferment, but guess what. Your still GUILTY. That's right.

So with that being said, here is the rest of the story...

..."Well," he continues, "It seems that we deferred that citation for 12 months as well." "Ok?" I respond.

The Judge, peering down on me from his judgment seat above, delivers the coup de grace, "That being the case, I'm still going to defer the current citation, but I'm going to charge you..."(ALERT! MONEY MUST EXCHANGE HANDS!)"...a $75 administrative fee."

Now, I'm aware that it could have been worse, but follow me on this. I could have had to pay $101 for not wearing my seatbelt. I could have had this citation end up affecting my insurance. Could have, could have. But let's be clear. Whatever could have happened to me, it was the County that found a way to collect some of my money. No matter what they call it; a fine, an administrative fee, a down payment on a new judicial penis pump, whatever, the fact remains that when Whateverhisnamewas determined that I was right and Officer Dick should have let me be on my way, old Whateverhisnamewas still found a way to get some of my cash.

Now that's dedication, and that's what I love about our legal system. It looks out for the little guy. You know, by allowing a visibly ill individual to continue home so that he may void his bowels in the most horrific fashion, by following him home and waiting in his driveway with lights flashing, by letting the "criminals" children and neighbors watch the entire spectacle, by issuing a citation AFTER the degenerate seatbelt non-wearer limps back out of his house, by essentially admitting that the citizen was incorrectly cited, and finally, by taking some of his FUCKING CASH ANYWAY!

You assholes. Best hope you never need a favor from me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fire Tweedledum and Tweedledee - America IS ready for a new political party.

Peggy Noonan, someone I occasionally agree with politically, has hit it dead on today in this piece. Somethings happening alright and not soon enough. Here are a few great quotes from her column.

"All my adult life, people have been saying that the two-party system is ending, that the Democrats' and Republicans' control of political power in America is winding down."

"Nancy Pelosi seems to be pretty much in favor of anything that hurts Republicans, and Ken Mehlman is in favor of anything that works against Democrats. They both want their teams to win. Part of winning is making sure the other guy loses, and part of the fun of politics, of any contest, of life, can be the dance in the end zone. But the dance has gotten dark."

"There is an increasing and profound distance between the rulers of both parties and the people--between the elites and the grunts, between those in power and those who put them there."

"People see the Republicans as incapable of managing the monster they've helped create--this big Homeland Security/Intelligence apparatus that is like some huge buffed guy at the gym who looks strong but can't even put on his T-shirt without help because he's so muscle-bound. As for the Democrats, who co-created Homeland Security, no one--no one--thinks they would be more managerially competent. Nor does anyone expect the Democrats to be more visionary as to what needs to be done. The best they can hope is the Democrats competently serve their interest groups and let the benefits trickle down."

"Both parties act as if they see there differences not as important questions (gay marriage, for instance) but as wedge issues. Which is, actually, abusive of people on both sides of the question. If it's a serious issue, face it. Don't play with it."

"A new group or entity that could define the problem correctly--that sees the big divide not as something between the parties but between America's ruling elite and its people--would be making long strides in putting third party ideas in play in America again."

And now a few thoughts of my own:

1. "Vote for us because we don't suck as much as our opponents," is not a great election slogan, but it might as well be used by both Democrats and Republicans these days. Hey you politician types, just a thought; I would never hire you for ANY job if you spent your entire interview telling my why the other applicants suck. And you want to lead us?

2. In a society with so many divergent opinions on political issues and candidates, how is it possible that we, as a nation, seem to vote within a few tiny percentage points of a 50/50 split in any given election. Nearly dead even. Every time. Weird, right? Hey you conspiracy types. Work on this one.

3. During an election, why do we feel like we are choosing between absolute good and absolute evil, depending on which side of the isle one stands on? Why don't we approach our elections as an opportunity to collectively manage and guide our nation into the future with collective good will and a common hope for a brighter future? But I guess that wouldn't sell as many newspapers. (Yeah, that was a sucker-punch to you, Big Media)

4. Hey America. Take note. I don't care where you are politically, but you are probably closer to your political "opposites" than you think. Don't believe the media when they try to segregate us by ideology. Just like a family, we have differing opinions, but we are all working towards a better future. Sure, we may have disagreements on how to get there, but lets remember who we are and remember that for the most part, we all want good things for ourselves, our friends and our neighbors.

5. Hey America. Take note. The real problems of our nation are our politicians, including the non-elected bureaucratic machine in Washington, and our Big Media. Lets fire the politicians. After all, we put them there. As for Big Media, just ignore them and they will go away.

6. Big Media, you are one of the biggest fomenters of discontent and friction in this whole mess. I thought your job was to investigate and report FACT. FACT FACT FACT! I couldn't care less about your "editorial flavor". Give me the pure facts, no matter how you feel about them. Otherwise your just a poor caricature of your former noble selves, pan-handling sensationalism for money. You have a vitally important function in this society. Just do it.

7. I've said it before (2) and I'll say it again, In 2008, vote for ANYONE else.

Further Reading:

Comic Strip Politics - Allowing Partisan Politics To Define America

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Click it or Ticket?

I left the meeting in a fast hurry that afternoon, sliding into the drivers seat, turning the key and putting the car in drive all in one fluid motion. I needed to get home. Now. Was it food poisoning? A sudden stomach flu? Who knows. But it was not going to wait. I'd held on through the meeting, sweat breaking out on my forehead as wave after wave of colonic cramps shattered my focus. The contents of my nether regions were about to rebel, bursting forth from their intestinal confines in an explosive rush of liquid revolution. But I had made it to my car and I was on the move! "Bear down man," I groaned to myself, "You can make it home." The volatile plasma in my lower intestines screamed back their dissension. "Maybe not."

As my skin glistened with a sick sweaty film, I was sharply focused. My very being was dedicated to two inviolable commandments now.

1 - Thou shalt get home. Quickly.
2 - Thou shalt not relinquish control of your sphincter.

Time blurred. Somehow I managed to maintain a legal driving speed and soon, through sweat stung eyes, I found myself rounding the last corner and climbing the hill to my home. Relief was in site and I had not broken any laws getting here. Or so I thought.

Just as I was nearing the hilltop, within a stones throw of my glorious bathroom, some Pavlovian reaction caused my sphincter to spasm violently in anticipation. I had only seconds now. I was going to have to use "the maneuver."

In case your unfamiliar, the maneuver is a technique that is employed in just such a situation as my own, i.e. it's on its way and it won't be delayed. In one fluid motion, you rip your pants and underwear down to knee level as you quickly swing your ass around to a position approximately over the bowl and let go of your cares. When done properly, it can shave precious microseconds. And this was my dire situation, 100 yards from my door, visualizing the maneuver in my head to insure success, sweat literally dripping from my brow & running down my neck, intestines heaving like a cable bridge in an earthquake, when the lights and sirens came on behind me. Yes. I was being pulled over.

And thank god, too. As it became clear when the Police Officer began to speak, I had forgotten, in my rush, to wear my seatbelt. The horror.

Now. Normally, I'm an upright law abiding citizen with a healthy respect for law enforcement. My seatbelt is usually clipped nicely across my lap, like all good comrades. And sitting in my hot car waiting for the impending burst of diarrhea to change my relationship with my car forever, suddenly on the wrong side of the law, well, lets just say that my feelings for this particular sergeant in the Moses Lake, WA Police Department who drives an unmarked grey cruiser and who will remain un-named but for convenience sake will henceforth be referred to as Dick, well, lets just say my feelings for him went beyond words.

"Can you tell my why you are driving without a seatbelt sir?" he asked. Words escaped me. The gravity of the situation was apparent to both of us. I mean, there I was. Without a seatbelt. The humanity.

As I looked up at Dick though a haze of pain and sweat, I literally mumbled a dazed "I... I don't know officer." Now these guys, they are highly trained in human observation. They know how to discern if you've been drinking or are on drugs, etc., so with his heightened skills of perception and keen insight into human behavior, this wonderful intelligent law enforcement officer took the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of protecting and serving. "Its illegal to drive without a seatbelt you know," Dick said dispassionately as I writhed in pain, "Can I see your license and registration?" At this point, I'm a white hot point of agony in a universe of shit. I'm sure there is leakage and if not, the seal is going to be permanently damaged. I mumbled something incoherent as I handed him my drivers license. Or my wallet. I'm not sure which.

As I turned to my glove box to retrieve my registration, I finally lost my humanity; the ability to over-ride the ape was gone. I was now reduced to basic primal needs; I had to shit. Parts of me were already practicing the moves. Prison would have been welcome if there was a toilet there.

With paperwork and cassette tapes dribbling from my shaking hands, I weakly turned back to my protector, Dick, and said, "Sir, I'm really feeling sick. If I don't get to my bathroom NOW, I'm going to shit myself." That's a quote. That's right, I said it. Right to Dicks face.

Dick, being an understanding and intelligent law enforcement officer, merely nodded. "Mmm-hmmm. And where is home, exactly?" he asked, always the care giver. "Right around the corner sir. I'm going there. Now," I stated as I put my car in drive. I didn't care that he had my drivers license. Nothing mattered now except that cool white porcelain. I could hear it calling in an angelic voice. "Come to me Jason," a seraphim singing, "Come shit in my cool white bowl. I'll give you comfort...." Or maybe I was delirious. Not sure.

Anyway, and here is the crux of the story, Dick replied' "Go ahead. I'll follow." And he did. My car was already rolling when he took his first step back to his BIG UNMARKED GREY CRUISER but he was soon again on my tail. Not a good place to be at this point, but I digress. To make a long story short, I made it home without any leakage, performed "the maneuver" successfully, and all was right with the universe once again.

My children got the opportunity to stand in my front door and watch police lights flash in my drive while I did my business. So did my neighbors. Thanks Dick, that was awesome. In fact, Dick is such a kind and understanding human, not to mention dedicated protector of our streets, that after I managed to stumble weakly past my wide eyed children and back out to my car to finally locate my registration, Dick was there for me. "Feeling any better?" he asked as he handed me a $101.00 traffic ticket. For failure to wear a seatbelt.

Ha ha, very funny Dick. I'll feel better when everyone reads this and learns what your really made of. What an honor & blessing it must be to protect and serve your community, to grow up and fulfill your dream of one day handing out tickets to obviously sick people for not buckling up, even in emergent situations, people who are so obviously ill that you agree to follow them home, sit in their driveway with lights flashing and wait to give them that ticket while they are inside heaving their guts inside-out. Yeah, because the screaming flaming diarrhea wasn't enough, so thanks again Dick. There's one more ticket for your quota. Plus, you've taken the opportunity to make at least one law abiding citizen feel more safe and welcome on the streets of Moses Lake. As I'm sure was the goal.

Anyway, since that day, I've been wearing my seat belt religiously. No one seems to care, but at least I'm saving lives. Right? I'll be taking this one to court. Perhaps the judge will be even more understanding than Dick, if that's even possible. I'd be more than happy to provide stool samples if necessary. You know. Whatever it takes to keep the streets safe. I mean, this couldn't be just about money. Could it?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moral Clarity vs. Moral Certainty: A Foreign Policy Dialogue - Pt.1

Lately, I've wondered if our country, even our entire species, is adrift. As we fight a war of theoretical "good vs. evil" in Iraq, we find ourselves in a mire of uncertain values and questionable tradition. Although our leaders assure us of the inviolability of our fight, we as a nation relentlessly question our own priorities and motivations, as we should. In the next couple of posts, I will explore the concepts of good and evil and in doing so I will attempt to find some tools that can help us discover some meaning in a world inundated by conflicting ideas of right and wrong.

As science and technology have pushed back the veil of ignorance, our concepts of "sacred" "good" and "truth" are constantly challenged. It is easy to wonder if our daily efforts, as individuals or as a nation, are attached to any meaningful goal. Am I, are you, are "we" moving in the right direction, and what does that mean anyway? Do we live in a universe of absolute good & evil that we choose to ignore at our peril? Or are good and evil oversimplified, man-made concepts for which we waste our time & energy? Is there an adequate measure to inform our choices and decisions? This elusive yard stick has been sought ever since humanity discerned that it could discern. We call this concept Morality.

Morality can be defined as an ethical motive, or a motivation based on ideas of right and wrong. But really, this definition just confuses the issue even more. Who's idea of right or wrong? Is morality an individual choice, or is it a universal constant that we as individuals choose to adhere to in a greater or lesser extent than those around us? From what source do our ideas of right or wrong derive?

The traditional answer has been of course religion. The idea that a deity hands down cosmic edicts to his creation by which we must rule ourselves is common to nearly every culture throughout the history of mankind. Although this view is still held by many, as is their right, my discussion, which will span at least a few posts, regards the moral direction of our nation & world within the sphere of foreign policy. Therefore, as America is not a Theocracy, this religious "yard stick" is, by definition, a poor tool to employ when determining our nations moral focus. Additionally, the use of religious dogma as a moral compass was anathema to the founders of our nation. I'll touch on this more in a later post.

What about "Common Sense"? Can we trust our instincts, our conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong to lead us in the right direction? For centuries, entire cultures have killed each other in wars fought by intelligent people, and in which each side was thoroughly convinced of their moral authority. In our country today, we cannot come to a consensus regarding the comparative values of a human fetus or a spotted owl. So tell me, how common is common sense. I have to believe that there is a better guide for moral judgment.

Biological necessity is another "system" that has been employed when determining right from wrong. Consider the idea that our universe rewards "right" choices and punishes "wrong". Although this is peripherally related to the concept of evolution, evolution is not what I refer to here. Rather, I am talking about the simple idea of cause and effect on a historic scale. If culture X develops, over time, the moral concept that random murder is a noble action, they would not survive; instead, they would simply kill each other off. If culture Y declares that incest is "sinful", and culture Z does not, then Y has a better chance of producing genetically viable offspring, and therefore of survival. It is interesting to look at the many sins defined by the the various religions of the world, and to then determine the biological basis for each.

So what is the ultimate foundation for our morality? Is it a constant or is it a cultural variable? Do absolute good and evil even exist in any meaningful way? Unfortunately there is no clear demonstrable answer. However, if we analyze the many available methods of determining right from wrong, from faith to logic, or even that small voice in our heads called conscience, we may reasonably conclude that the principals good and evil are similar to if not synonymous with the eternal concepts of order and chaos. "Good" things make our lives & societies more orderly and allow us to thrive. "Evil" things breed disorder and make our lives & societies more difficult to manage. Perhaps we understand this on a primal level. Perhaps we can use this "yard stick" of order vs. chaos to find some answers.

To be continued ...

Related Posts: The Values Devide - Authoritarianism, Morality Is Subjective -Origins

Monday, April 24, 2006

Astronomers see the Big Bang in action

"Recently, NASA astronomers announced new evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, which states that the universe was once subatomic in size and, in only one trillionth of a second, expanded to astronomical proportions."

I have a few thoughts on this story.

First, if the universe was sub-atomic in scale at the moment of the Big Bang, then we must conclude that quantum effects ruled at the beginning of the universe, and not the laws of physics that we observe at our larger scale. On the quantum level, the laws of physics break down and quantum bodies are ruled by probability. For more information, ask your local nerd.

Second, if quantum effects were the rule at the moment of origin, then the universe must have existed initially as an infinite set of possibilities, rather than a simple "seed" from which our universe has grown.

Third, if the Big Bang proceeded from a "fuzzy" cloud of initial states, then the universe as we experience it, must be just one of an infinite set of possible universes that sprang from the same quantum cloud. The news story says that the universe, "in only one trillionth of a second, expanded to astronomical proportions." Another way to say this is that there is no way to pinpoint one singularity at the moment of origin. I'll try to explain this more in a later post, but briefly, look at the illustration above. The "truncated" flat portion of the cone should come to a point if there existed a specific "time and place" of origin. Instead, you see the beginning of the universe depicted as a large "circle" of possible initial states.

Fourth, if our consciousness can actively "select" individual realities from a set of possible quantum states (see previous entry), then perhaps we do not exist in one single universe, but rather we are continually traversing infinite probable universes. We simply are not equipped to understand or perceive the constant quantum shifts that we experience.

Fifth, no. I have not been smoking anything.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MIT Prof Says Universe Is 'Large Quantum Computer', and Yes. I'm a nerd.

For those of you out there who are seeking a meaning to life, read this story.

MIT Prof Says Universe Is 'Large Quantum Computer'

When your done reading, consider this;

If the universe is a huge computing system (I reject the notion of a giant computer as it is too biased by our own current level of technology, I like "Mind" better), then what is the role of consciousness? Is self awareness an intrinsic component of this system? Is the "Soul" part of the circuit?

Did you know that we humans can effect change on a quantum level, just by observing quantum processes? It's true. The very act of human observation "selects" for a specific outcome, completely devoid of any physical interaction. Just ask my good buddy Albert Einstein.

Are we fragments of the Mind working out a larger destiny? Who knows. Just a question.

read more | digg story

Friday, April 07, 2006

Congress Working Together. Not! The Sequel

Well hell. I spoke too soon. Goes to show you what happens when you give these goons the benefit of the doubt.

I know that there are a ridiculous number of factors to consider when drafting such important legislation, but just one time I would love to see these guys accomplish something for the good of the people. It seems that the only matters that our elected representatives give any weight to is electability. Let the finger pointing begin:

"Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the stalemate.

"It's not gone forward because there's a political advantage for Democrats not to have an immigration bill," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

He said Democrats perceive a benefit in having only a GOP-written House bill that criminalizes being an illegal immigrant. That bill has prompted massive protests across the country, including a march by 500,000 people in Los Angeles last month.

Democrats blamed Republicans for insisting on amendments that would weaken a compromise that Senate leaders in both parties had celebrated Thursday.

"This opportunity is slipping through our hands like grains of sand," said assistant Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois."

Lets hope that they have kissed and made up by the end of their two week recess. More likely our trusted leaders will have spent their time pointing fingers and fomenting Latino rage at political adversaries. Will the people of America end up with any meaningful immigration reform? Will illegal immigration, a subject that has been ignored for decades and has now reached a boiling point, be resolved with well thought out legislation? My bet is on NO.

I'll say it again. Break the machine. Vote for ANYONE else next time.

Jason Out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congress Working Together; What A Concept..

Finally, a little productivity & compromise from our 'leaders'... If you've been tuning in to this blog for a while, you will have seen my rants regarding our federal governments inability to get anything done. I have lamented the lack of collaboration between parties and the lazy finger pointing vote harvesters refusal to simply do their jobs.

Well, there may be hope. Granted, both parties had a lot at stake in the immigration battle. Neither party wanted to be proponents of walling up America, nor did they want to give blanket amnesty to illegals. Therefore, they were essentially forced to work together to find an appropriate solution. I think they came up with a fairly decent bit of legislation.

Here it is in a nutshell:

"In general, the compromise would require illegal immigrants who have been in the United States between two years and five years to return to their home country briefly, then re-enter as temporary workers. They could then begin a process of seeking citizenship.

Illegal immigrants here longer than five years would not be required to return home; those in the country less than two years would be required to leave without assurances of returning, and take their place in line with others seeking entry papers."

A little compromise can go a long way. I feel like I'm talking about my kids here. Well kids, you may have been forced into working together towards a goal, but you proven that you could. Good job today. Did I just actually say that?Amazing.

Jason out.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Web 2.0 is here. Get on board.

I live part time on the internet. Its part of my job. It's invaluable to my personal business. It's also something I do for fun. Like many people my age, it has become a natural part of my day, and is the first tool I reach for if I am in need of information. I know I can go and find what I need. Therefore, it serves me well to be knowledgeable about the landscape of my part time home.

Lately, the internet has been changing. Have you noticed? Us geeks call this shift Web 2.0 and it will eventually change how even you use the internet. In a nutshell, the difference between what many of you know as the internet and what is being called Web 2.0 is the method of utility; that is, how do you use this tool. The days of "surfing" random pages in search of a valuable nugget may be nearly over.

As I previously stated, most of us are used to going to the web to "find" what we are looking for, like a super high-tech yellow pages/newspaper hybrid. Just let your fingers do the walking. But all that is about to change. What if you could have the internet itself "serve up" the things you are interested in?

One new tool to become familiar with is called the RSS feed. RSS simply means Really Simple Syndication. Have you seen this icon o web pages you frequent? Or something like this? These icons represent a "feed" and if you use an "aggrigator", these links will send you any updated content from the web pages you visit most, all collected into one handy window. No longer do you need to visit every website every day. Get your news, weather, comics, stocks, even this blog, whatever, fed to you automatically, without wasting time sifting through all of the "stuff" that you couldn't care less about. Its the news you choose. Here is an excellent description for the non-technical.

But RSS is just the tip of the iceberg. Another thing that is happening in 2.0 is the "cross-pollination" of web content. Web 2.0 sites are literally sharing data/content between each other to vastly increase the utility of all such sites. This may seem a bit confusing, but Wikipedia (an excellent 2.0 site) gives a very nice definition. "Web 2.0 generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that let people collaborate, and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages."

Although I don't currently have the energy (I have a cold and don't care that much) to go any deeper into the "meaning" of Web 2.0, I want to list a few of my favorite 2.0 sites that I use. Jump in, muck around, see what works for you. I'll bet you'll be surprised.

Myspace - Find out who your friends are. If the internet were a city, this would be the club. Express yourself. But don't do anything you wouldn't want to talk about at work on Monday. - I like Pink Floyd & Rush. Who else should I listen to. Well, if I tell what I like, it will create an online radio station that is tailored to my taste. But wait, there's more. will play for me songs that other people like (if they have similar tastes as me.) Could there be more? Yes. can even monitor what I mp3's play on my computer (secure from big brothers prying eyes), and suggest new music for me.

Platial - Map your life. Share your experiences. Or just let others know where to find the best Sushi in town. This is Web 2.0. Do what you like. - What about your favorites/bookmarks? Wanna share them or see what others have found? Try For those less technically minded, try Furl.

Flickr - What about your photos? Wanna share them or see photos from other websters? Then Flickr is for you.

I could go on, and it would start to seem like just a big list of cool sites. But here is the kicker. Most of these sites can be used together in unique and useful ways. Just look around my sites and you will see how this can be done. Well, that's it for today. I'm all out of steam.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Gmail. If it's not gmail, it's not e-mail.

I'm out.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I've Got Some Serious Questions About This "Life" Stuff

First, a few lines from one of my favorite essays:

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one man must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality... The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.

This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor... This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man... I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence -- as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

Albert Einstein


Now for a few questions. I offer these up for discussion, although there are no obvious answers. I certainly have none and am truly interested in exploring these ideas with an open mind.

1) Is the struggle to survive, as an organism and as a species, our most primal and inescapable implulse, acting as the driving force behind such other base instincts as eating and procreating?

2) Is it true, as seems to be demonstrated by biology, history, psychology, etc. that all animals, including we humans, are not only capable, but biologocally programmed for violence, given proper stimulus?

3) If we understand, as an individuals or as a collective groups, i.e. a nation, that we may someday face agression, do we then not have a biological and socialogical obligation to prepare for and employ a forceful defense?

4) Is war a sociological extrapolation of individual humans primary impulses i.e. violence bred by hunger, oppression, etc.?

5) Is war inescapable? Period.

6) Can mankind, as an evolved intelligence, choose behaviors that run counter to apparent biological implulse?

7) Can humanity someday put an end to war, hunger, disease etc. by force of will and application of intelligent social engineering?

8) In Desolation Angels, Jack Kerouac speaks of the Holy Primative, a figure representing mans place midway between beasts and gods. Will we ever split the angel from the animal and achieve the utopian dream?

I don't know, but it's worth discussing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Leech or How To Make Money From your Panic Attacks

WARNING!!! This a political Rant...

If you are a Leftist Pinko, Click here

If Foul Language Offends you. Click here

OK. Is everyone ready? Here goes...

Mother. Fucking. Commie. Liberal. Pukes! What in the name of Sam Hill have we been doing while our Social Security program has been systematically redistributing the wealth of the working men and women of this great nation? Evidently we should keep a closer watch on things.

I have a story. It's a sad story about money being stolen from the working class and then handed over to those with no class... In this story, there are villains, several million suckers, and no heroes.

In this story, one of the suckers is also a villain. And by sucker, I mean she sucks. On so many levels. She sucks as a person. She sucks as a parent (not one of her three children has finished school.) She sucks money out of my pocket (and yours). She sucks copious amounts of Bolivian marching powder up her nose on a daily basis. I'm sure there are more ways that she sucks, but I refuse to visualize any further. Suffice it to say that if you hear a sudden loud sucking sound anywhere nearby, please keep a tight grip on your money. I'm trying to be nice here, since she is a relative, but her latest suck-fest has put me over the fucking edge. She is The Leech.

A little background. It is commonly known in my family that The Leech has a serious drug problem. In fact her father left her with three, count them, three glorious homes, fully paid for. Within these homes were a small fortune in antique furniture and WW2 memorabilia, one piece is even rumored to have been worth nearly a million dollars. Also left to her were at least a few automobiles. All in all, it can be calculated that she was GIVEN well over half a million dollars in assets if not more. Where are they now? Up her nose. Gone. Also gone is the willingness of any of her family to "loan" her anymore money, because she thinks that the phrase "Can you loan me?" means "Can you give me?" She is a leech. She's out of options. Or so it would seem...

Enter villain number two. Social Security. The very agency that claims that it can manage our retirement funds better than we can. Not. Over the last few decades, the amount taken out of every working persons paycheck to support SS has increased, while at the same time the number of people falling under the "qualified recipient" category has increase, due to the liberalization of the term "disabled" among other things. This math is not working. I'd much prefer to decide for myself when and with whom my retirement funds are deposited. I couldn't do worse than my government. Especially when a fucking asshole like The Leech can convince the idiots at SS that she is mentally ill and therefore entitled to SS payments.

Let me define "Mentally Ill" as it applies to The Leech. She claims to suffer from anxiety attacks (although anyone who knows her has never witnessed a single instance of said anxiety). She claims that she can't focus well enough to hold down a job (it would help if she would get off the coke and pain pills. Getting the Jones at work would shake anyones focus. No shit you can't work.) I personally know, as many of you may, several TRULY handicapped individuals who have secured employment and are fully able to function in their jobs. But The Leech "can't" work and, it seems, never could. She claims that this "disability" (read lazy and preoccupied with the next line of coke) qualifies her for Social Security payments. And here is the kicker. They. Fucking. Agree. I'm not making this up.

In fact they agree so much that the Leech will now be receiving $400 a month in disability, on top of her Welfare or TANiF or whatever they are calling government sponsored redistribution of wealth these days. Fucking commies. The next thing you know they'll outlaw religion & freedom of speech. Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say Christmas outloud?

$400 dollars a month on top of food stamps and any other money she can suck out of her comrades at the State. She's an expert in the entitlement/victim role required by Big Brother these days. Yeah. That's it bitch. Suck on that government tit. They'll give you what you need or at least the money to get it for yourself. And watch for your free razors & mirror in the next pack of federal coke money you receive. But that's not all and I digress. Oh no, that's not all there is to this story at all. If that were it, I wouldn't be so livid. Get this...

The Leech has now successfully sued Social Security for BACK PAY! You heard me right. BACK PAY. "Hi Mr. SS. I've been mentally ill my whole life, so you owe me payments from several years back. OK?" No, Not OK. Go get a job, lazy scum. And Fuck yourself, Leech. Lets make it easy. Go get a job fucking yourself. On stage. That's what a lot of crack whores are doing these days. Might work for you. I doubt it though. You are starting to look like a pale, moist larva.

Oh. Sorry. Got a little carried away there. You want to know how much she got? OK. How does the tidy sum of $51,000 strike you? $51,000 "back pay"!!!! (Insert heavy, labored, angry breathing here) That's OUR money! Yours and mine. We're supposed to retire on that! I mean, that's the promise made when the feds sold us this program, right? Well, if you want it back, look up The Leech's fucking nose. It'll be there soon. Maybe she'll O.D. I can dream. This is precisely why I think drugs should be legal. Let all the fuckers kill themselves off so they can stop being a burden.

Whew! I'm exhausted now. I get emotional. That happens when I think about how I go to work every day so that I can support two families in addition to my own. And I never even get a Christmas card from my son-of-a-bitching phantom dependants. Sorry again. Said the Ch*#$ word....

Well, I better go before I have a heart attack. My brain hurts. I'm feeling a little anxiety coming on. Hey, maybe I can get some money for that.

P.s. one last thing. The SS sent her a letter of apology for not getting "her" money to her quicker. Nice to know they care.