Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Film Focus: Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite

'Film Focus: Exploring the Films that Stick With You' is a recurring feature in which I review a film I haven't seen in at least ten years from memory, without any sort of fact- or or reference-checking to refresh the ol' knot on the topic.

In Mighty Aphrodite, Woody Allen plays a sportswriter who tries to fix up a young, hunky baseball player with a whore. Or it's possible the baseball player is a boxer, not a baseball player. Some sporty, athelete-y occupation in any event. Probably not a baseball player - baseball players don't need help with that! So, I think, a boxer. The whore has a kid, I think - which I think ends up being a problem or a plot point, like maybe the baseball player is all like, "oh, she has a kid...?" All insensitive. I think there's something that happens to where he (the baseball player) is kind of a lunkhead, or insensitive, to the point where Woody the sportswriter has doubts as to whether this baseball player really deserves to be with this whore. Because she's pretty special. At one point I think somebody tries to play chess with her, but I might be confusing the issue with other things I myself did the afternoon I saw the film.

No wait, she definitely has a kid because I remember Woody tries to steal this kid for some reason! For reasons of his own, I guess. Because the kid turns out to be incredibly smart, and then - wait, I'm getting it backwards. Here's what happens, here's what definitely happens: Woody needs to get an infant for his wife, and so they go to adopt one, and it ends up being this kid. And he ends up being incredibly smart (as he grows up into a little boy - this part of the film takes years), and so Woody gets it into his head that he wants to find out who the mom is and meet her. And it's this whore!

Now she's a real dunce-ball, delightfully played by Mia Sorvino. Who I don't mind telling you, I loved her performance in this! And I thought she was a pretty incredible actress. She really nailed it, really made you believe in the performance. Did I hear something to the effect that she did all the wardrobe and costuming for the part herself? That's taking the method to another level.

So, as I recall they also do these "Greek Chorus" interstitial bits, like an old Greek tragedy where a literal greek chorus literally comes in from the sides and galumphs around, commenting on the action. Very literary. This was one weird touch of class, I tell you. Don't see that in a lot of movies! It ties into the presence of the Greek goddess "Aphrodite" in the title, which as I recall, doesn't tie into much of anything else in the film, but it's a nice touch!

I might be missing something. I don't think I'm missing anything major. That about covers it for this film!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Doodeloo #71

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Gulf Oil Spill Update. I think.

So, not to get all political or anything, but more because I'm concerned and because I haven't heard a really substantial update recently on this whole Gulf of Mexico Oil situation, I tried to dig around for some figures. What I uncovered surprised me, and it may surprise you. I believe what we have here bears all the earmarks of a hush-up. I hasten to add - some of my figures may be wrong! So if anybody out there can correct me on the hard statistic, and provide a link to a reputable source for the real statistic, I'd sure love the assistance! We need to work together to shove aside these lies we've been told. To get to the truth.

Anyway, so in the course of trying to dig for figures, I quite by accident discovered that apparently the gulf has 3,000 barrels of oil seep into it every day naturally. Just welling up from the nooks and crevices. This disturbed me greatly. Is this okay with us? Maybe it's a good thing this whole spill happened, since it appears to have brought a few other unsavory facts to light that Big Oil maybe doesn't want you to know about.

Now, we all heard the initial estimates from people as to how much oil was gushing out in this spill. Some said 20,000 gallons a day, then others said "No way - it's only like 1,000 barrels a day." But it turns out it was almost 60,000 gallons a day, by the final days of the spill! A shocking amount of oil! That amount of oil could feed the entire starving nation of Antarctica for more than twelve years, if their digestive systems were capable of processing crude oil as a nutrient. Or even just the barrels themselves! If the barrels themselves could be eaten, if the oil could be packed and shipped in edible barrels, the barrels alone would be a bonanza of potential nutrition that was just wasted. Dumped into the waters of the gulf, for the fishes to chow down on. God damn it, humanity!!

60,000 gallons of oil a day. Now here's where my investigative background comes in. I was able to determine that 60,000 gallons, divided by 42 gallons per barrel, comes out to 1,429 barrels a day gushing out into the Gulf during this spill. That's per day. And if we again divide that 1,429 barrels by 42, we will see that we get only 35.5. Now this is a much more manageable number! But that wouldn't be barrels, anymore. It would be 42ths of a barrel. So let's stick with 1,429. As we know from our history studies, 1,492 is the year Columbus founded the Americas. Coincidence?

I was also able to find out that they were finally able to plug that dang thing by July 15th or thereabouts. Some say September 19th.

Now, if my figures are correct, from what I can tell, since July 15th more than twice as much oil has leaked into the Gulf since they capped the spill than all of the oil that was spilled during the spill!

And what's being done about it? And what's being done about it? A total hush-up!

EDIT: sorry, turns out I mixed up gallons and barrels at some point back up there during the math. Investigation is my strong suit; math - less so. So our conclusion here is that we've actually got much less of a problem than I thought. It will take about four years for as much oil to leak out naturally as came out in the spill's 3 months. Four years puts us at 2014.

This is a five-alarm reprieve, people. Four years - that gives us time. Time to throw money at the problem. Time to study it. Time to avert the catastrophe before (four years from now) it becomes a reality.

This spill was a wake-up call. So if you hit the snooze button now...that's on you, dude.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Doodeloo Special: Step-By-Step Tutorial Edition "Here There Be Dragons"

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So.

I meant to do this step-by-step tutorial with a picture at each step, to illustrate the step and show the progress I've made as I go, but I got swept up in the art of the moment and realized by the time I got to the end, I had just the one picture. I forgot to save my stages.

I thought about trying to do it step-by-step backwards, which I could easily have done, but it seemed dishonest somehow. So I thought, "fuck it." I can remember all the steps quite easily, and since the result is right there in front of you – easy enough for you to imagine along (or for you ambitious students, to follow along with the lesson yourself in MS Paint, Paintbrush, wax crayon on paper, pastels or what have you. LINK TO YOUR OWN ATTEMPT, in comments!).

Step 1. "Here there be DRAGONS." Always put your caption on first. A bold statement of purpose, to guide your muse as you go. Note what I did here: first I typed the text out, then I cut and dragged the word DRAGONS to the bottom. This creates suspense for the caption-reader, and provides a natural framing device for the drama that unfurls in the space between the words.

Step 2. The head. As you can see, I went to town on that head. But what might not be immediately apparent is, for my first pass at the head, I "roughed it in" with some lines, drawing and redrawing – eventually when I settled on a design and contours that I liked, I "traced over" those lines in a different color, and erased the rest.

Step 3. The body. Similar to how I went about the head. I first drew many, many "roughed in" contour lines describing the sinuous curves of the beast's serpentine form. Then I added rounded contour lines, to round the contours of the body and give the impression of volume. Finally I added wings and limbs. Note only one limb is visible – this is a touch of almost magical realism, it creates the illusion that the other limb is out of sight on the other side of the beast's body. Psychologically, this little trompe l'oeil touch makes the dragon seem almost enormous in the viewer's mind.

Step 4. Color. This part was easy. After I decided on that dark blue for the background, though, I ended up changing the color of the caption to red to make it really "pop."

Step 5. Fire!! I painted the pink streaky-like-lightning lines of the dragon's fire-breathe, and then – in the single most complicated step – I 'cut' the entire image leaving only the blue background, "roughed" in some yellow flame-blast to underlie the pink streaks, and 'pasted' the foreground image back on top! The 'background color transparent' option made it all possible. As you can see, the yellow blast is a bit high. It was hard to gauge without the foreground image as a guide. But I think it ends up looking better that way, arguably. It looks more explosively ferocious.

Step 6. Finishing details! I went back to the head and added horns, those stark "outlineless" white snagglefangs, nostrils, and – most ghastly of all – glaring jet black eyes with piercing red pupils and rims. I actually screwed up with a bucket fill and I couldn't turn the whites of the eyes back to white without turning the whole dragon white. So I left the whites of the eyes black, and what we're left with is this stunning effect. Those eyes turn my blood cold.

Perhaps the most important lesson can sometimes be a mistake!

There was nothing he could have done. Nothing

A man stood on a ridge.

The ridge looked out over a vista.

The vista was of many colors.

The colors were beautiful.

The man said, "ah,"

"You colors."

The colors said nothing.

It was getting on towards that time of day.

The man turned back from the vista, and made his way back down the path.

Suddenly – a sound filled the air.

It was a sound the man had heard before.

He was able to instantly identify it.

He took off at a run down the path, sliding at the turns of the switchbacks, guiding his headlong trajectory by pushing off trees on either side.

The sound had filled him with an emotion.

That emotion was fear.

He had to get back to the cabin.

Something had gone wrong.

The sound had been the sound of something going off.

The thing that had gone off was a firearm.

It sounded like a firearm.

The man was pretty sure someone had discharged a firearm.

He had heard firearms before.

This sounded like one of those.

As he barreled down the mostly-straight final stretch of the path, caroming off the odd tree and lengthening his stride, the man's eye caught that of a bird standing by a pine.

The bird was a sawbill.

A hooded merganser, if the man was not mistaken.

It was a long way from the river, the man mused as he ran on.

The grade leveled as the clearing came into view, with the cabin at its far end.

The man was sprinting now, flat-out.

There had been no further sound of gunshot, no scream – as the man closed the distance, he saw no sign of struggle.

Breathing hard, he prayed he was not too late.

Suddenly as he closed to within twenty yards of the humble backwoods cabin, it transformed in an eyeblink into a majestic, many-turreted, crenellated castle that looked as if it could have been sculpted from fondant. Banners streamed from every turret. Birds erupted into song at the sight.

"God damn it!" erupted the man.

"I forgot."

"It's Fiction Friday."

"None of this has been real."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the Day: Points for Distance

"To fail spectacularly is to succeed far beyond the dreams of mere middling successes."

Correction and Apology!

I apologize for my bad assumption! When you spoke, I thought you meant something by it - something that could be discerned from the meanings of the words you chose, and by their order and arrangement.

Thank you for clarifying how mistaken I was, on that! What was I thinking.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 300 of Poetry Year 2010

October 27th. The 300th day of the year. That's a milestone for any year to reach, let alone this year - which in all its previous history had never once achieved that mark. But for me, in this, the inaugural first full year of my poetry blog (A Pocketful of Poesy) being explicitly touted as a "Poem A Day (On Average) Blog," we have even more urgent cause to stop and assess what this milestone means - and with the day count known, we have a metric and a means to measure it against!

Three hundred days.

Do we have three hundred poems?

At the start of this year, I'd have been expecting to hold myself to a mark like that. Or more realistically, not at all - nothing like it! I'd have been expecting to keep myself within striking distance of the mark, so that in a pinch, I'd be able to play way over my head and hit it in a furious burst at the last moment (as I did during last November's "Drive for 365", over a stretch that included a single 40-poem night!). So that's what I'd have been expecting. Not to be on pace! Just to be hovering somewhere within a heroic effort's striking distance.

Oh, me of little faith.

Here I am on October 27th. 300th day of the year. Sitting high and proud on a current tally of 313 poems. And counting. I think I'm entitled to crow a bit.

Heck, I can afford to slack off.

Guess The Shakespeare Quote, As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob #9

SCORING RULES (CHECK BEFORE YOU ANSWER! - no credit for partials!)



Today's Guess The Shakespeare Quote As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob:


"I'm a rude-talking dude, with no knack for peaceful speeches. I've been kicking ass since I was seven years old; there's nothing in the world I even know to talk about, unless it's giving beatdowns. So maybe I can't help my cause with a pretty soliloquy, but if you sit the fuck down a minute I'll tell you the whole love story: how I drugged, bewitched and then scored that bitch!"


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Isn't There Some Sort of Law of Conservation of Groceries?

Okay, so I went grocery shopping and I swear I spent like sixty or seventy bucks. And I know I took the bags in. And that was just earlier this evening, right?

And there's still no food in the house.

When I went out to get groceries, there must have been negative food in the house. It's the only explanation.

Not a Hoax! Not a Dream! Not an Alternate-Universe Story!

Are you ready for this?

I got laid!

Yeah, that's right! Alriiiiight. I'm happy to report.

Actually, this all happened a while ago. Quite some time ago. Quite a long time ago in fact, actually.

Okay, it was in a previous life. But I got a certificate from my past-life regression recovery hypnospecialist! It's documented. I have a document!

It happened.

Maybe all you skeptics just need to deal with it.

Apparently, in this past life, I was a girl, though. Which feels a little funny. Given the cultural biases obtaining at the time, I'm not even sure I should be crowing about it.

I don't care, though. Point is: GOT SOME.

Jeez, though, it was a little weird. This hypnospecialist...when I woke up, my pants were unbuttoned. It was kind of weird.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Romance Novel So Far (a Fiction Friday exclusive!)

The moral of the story was regret.

Dastry St. Chain had finally gotten her vengeance on Bram and Selnique, but all of their suffering proved empty of the expected joys. True, she felt no guilt in it. There could be no question of any pangs of conscience! They had brought it all on themselves, both of them. First Bram, by rebuffing her interest so coldly - no one rebuffs Dastry St. Chain! - and then Selnique, by crossing her path. Wrong place, wrong time; wrong woman to cross.

Dastry St. Chain was not one to be crossed lightly.

But still, she felt pity, if not mercy. Pity for poor Bram - so straight, so forthright. So through-and-through. And pity too for poor Selnique; poor innocent, innocent, innocent Selnique.

Still, some are too innocent for their own good. Which is a flaw. Which is a fault in them; which makes it their own fault.

It was hardly the fault of Dastry St. Chain.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Perfect Business Venture Ideas: You're Invited to a Party, Guess Where

Somebody should open up a place shaped like a pants. A great big pants. A building, in the shape of a pants, and the name of it would be "MY PANTS", and it would be run as the classiest business in town: and you could rent it out for parties.

It would be a pretty sweet setup! You could walk in the bottom at either leg, which would be very handy if there was somebody going in the other leg you hate. The pantslegs would be sort of free-standing towers really, and they don't connect 'til they get to the top - as one would expect, that's all pretty much pants-standard.

As a partygoer, you would work your way up either leg, whichever leg you prefer, through various themed party-rooms, and then when you get to the top where the two legs join, and everybody's feelin' fine, well boy that's where the party's really going on! And there's a big wide booty-shake disco-core dance-floor (the Booty Room), and a little forward to the front of that, the V.I.P. Crotch Room, and then if after all this partying you find you're wasted, you can climb another level up to The Waistband - an enclosed rooftop terrace where you can just sprawl around on the divans looking up at the stars or (if it's a stormy night) watching the pounding rain make lightning-lit patterns through the retractable latticework storm ceiling until you either recover or crash. There's a band up there playing, but it's like "chill-out" music.

And then when you invite anybody to "a party in MY PANTS" they would be all omigod omigod yes definitely I always wanted to go there!

It would be pretty exclusive, pretty hard to get into.

Doodeloo #70: Some Archetypes

some archetypes 1

some archetypes 2

some archetypes 3

some archetypes 4

Thought of the Day:

I don't believe in karma.

Which is why it always comes back around to bite me. Out of spite.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guess The Shakespeare Quote, As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob #8

SCORING RULES (CHECK BEFORE YOU ANSWER! - no credit for partials!)



Today's Guess The Shakespeare Quote As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob:


"Lately it's like...all the fuckin' fun's gone. I can't figure out why! I even stopped working out. The world's a barren fuckin' rock; the air stinks. I mean, people are awesome, right? But lately it's like...what the fuck do I care, for all you dudes? Nope, nor even for the bitches."


New Killer iPhone/Droid App Idea!

Basically it would convert all your texts into rebus puzzles.

Now come on! Admit it! That's cooler than can be, people. REBUS PUZZLES. What is cooler than rebus puzzles?

Everyone would be like, "oh I love getting texts from her! Look: it's a rebus puzzle."

It would be like, a witty and literate spoof on the incomprehensibility of much of the inadvertent text ciphering that goes on. And if that last little sentence's cute fucking justification of the concept didn't win you over, I really don't know what else I can tell you!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Once Again May I Present: The Greatest Song Ever Written In English



red light,

yellow light,

green light

"GO"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Power of Disbelief?

Nobody doubts as hard as I do. I do it with a casual scorn that interferes with all sorts of nearby phenomena that require openness and uncritical belief to work. Just walking through a research hospital, I can screw up all their double-blind placebo trials!

Nah, I'm kidding. I'm a total sap for crap like that. Placebo effect, power of prayer, the ol' positive thunk to the head. I buy it all, hook-line.

In fact, I pretty much only take placebos. Or at least, I suspect that's what they've been prescribing me. Every time I need to get some medicine, it's like...the effect is really minimal, if it all. In fact, on behalf of what a loyal consumer I suspect I've become, I'd like to offer a suggestion to the booming multibillion dollar placebo industry. A way to boost the efficacy of their product. Or arguably, product(s).

You know what they should do, with placebos? They really want people to believe, right?

In a placebo, belief is the active ingredient.

So: to boost that belief, so that people don't just think they're taking a placebo - they should lace 'em with something to give you at least one clear, undeniable side effect. "Now, Mrs. Coppale, these may cause some intestinal distress for the first day or two, but keep taking them, it'll go away by the third day." And then right after you start taking them, you'd be like, "OH MAN! IT'S WORKING!! THIS IS POWERFUL MEDICINE!!!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Frisco! A City of Manifold Attractions: A Free-Verse Poetry Photoessay Odyssey with Your Humble Poet Pt. 1: The Golden Gate

photo credit M. Humphris
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They say they paint this thing
full-time, year round
from one
end
to the end

all up and down,
and when you get it done -
it's just one long look back
again

down that whole span
of long hard work, of days
and days, and weeks
and weeks, one long hard look to see
how far you've come
how far you'll have to go again

before you back it up, and run
take one long narrow-eyed look back
all down that length of cable swoop,
so graceful-hung, with nothing slack
a harp, for monstrous angels to perform upon;
a cruciform and bar for some gigantic puppeteer
to pose, and hold his form,
and cock his ear with far-off gaze
awaiting cue, he'll still his hands
until the signal comes to jerk the strings -
make cars and people dance

the cables droop their tautened cords
while pinioned up upon the track
of jutting tower, thrusting proud
with atlas-load upon its back
look past that awesome, squarish brute
and past his brother, all the way
way down the other end -
your starting point
is just about to start

its fade,

and flake,
and peel, and if
you're not right quick
- its rust, as well.

In aid of job security,
I accidentally took a toll,
a scrape of brick-red paint -
- I must have just kicked back my heel
and left a heart-red smear
on leather black (and maybe smudge of
black, on red?)

it must have happened when
we posed, after we'd walked
half-way across
when we walked back
- you noticed it.

I'm never going to buff it off.

That sounds like some sort of reverse-psychology interpretation!

I don't believe in the effectiveness of reverse-psychology. In its infancy, the discipline showed promise - but from a treatment standpoint, attempts to use reverse-psychology alone to treat or manage severe psychiatric illnesses have proven largely futile. The efficacy is just not there, with reverse-psychological techniques alone.

That's why I see a reverse-psychiatrist. Reverse-psychological techniques, in conjunction with the right prescription reverse-pharmaceuticals, can work wonders!

Reverse-wonders.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beware! Hypothetical Situations Carry Hidden Dangers

A: "What if you had the ability to stop time? What would you do with it?"

B: "I'd stop time."

A: "Good point."

B: "Yeah, seems like the obvious answer."

A: "But what would you do then? With time stopped."

B: "I guess I'd poke around a bit. Look into things behind the scenes. I'm kind of nosey! Maybe I'd check in on people I know, see what people are doing in that exact moment."

A: "And then what?"

B: "I guess I'd go back to where I originally was and start time up again."

A: "But you don't have the ability to start time."

Thought of the day: the omelette is merely a side-effect.

Every time I crack an egg? That's just practice, for the next time I have to crack an egg.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guess The Shakespeare Quote, As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob #7

SCORING RULES (CHECK BEFORE YOU ANSWER! - no credit for partials!)



Today's Guess The Shakespeare Quote As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob:


"He was brave, I give him props. But he just didn't know when to stop, so I had to fuckin' kill his ass."


Thought of the Day, Apocalyptically Misanthropic

I would kill everyone in the world if I thought I could get away with it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joke!

The Pope, a bear, and a rowboat are out in the desert. The rowboat says to the Pope, "Holy father, you know the secret mysteries of the cosmos. What the heck causes gravity, anyway?" The Pope says mass.

Thought of the Day: Hello!

Many people say hello, but I don't know how many of them are prepared to PROVE IT.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The National Anthem: An Appreciation

I've got to hand it to the "Star Spangled-Banner." That shit hits home, every time.

Anybody who wrote that fucking song, I say give 'em the key to the American Section in whatever passes for an afterlife up there, because they did a damn JOB on that thing and they earned it. If "earned their stripes" is a saying, well they earned their stripes and stars.

Because God damn if that anthem doesn't make grown men weep, and arouse a certain fervor and ardor in the breasts of all red-blooded patriots everywhere in earshot of that fucking thing, when it goes off. Assuming it's done properly. It's not an easy song by any means, and so it's subject to its share of cock-ups. But as John Cougar Mellencamp observed: "Ain't that America?"

I believe it was Jay-Z who put it best when he said, "That's the anthem, get your damn hands up."

Now in the interest of balance, I need to note that my opinion on this, while it may be shared by Jay-Z and John Cougar Mellencamp, still, our opinion on this anthem is not universal. Some people say "change it."

To these fools, I reply: "Change AMERICA."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What Happens to Dead People's Facebook Pages?

Do they just stick how they were?

I think it would be cool if the Facebook Corporation created a separate type of page for this. For if you die. Currently they have regular people pages, who you "Friend", and famous people (or organization) pages, who you "Fan." For dead people, it should switch over to something else. Something pithy, that gives the right sense of the relationship, for those left behind, or for those touched by one who has passed on.

How it would work is, before you die, you would designate one friend to "curate" your page, in the event of your death. Then when you die all your Friends automatically become "Mourners" for a period of time, until that person elects to switch from "Mourner" to "Fond Rememberer." Or something. Of course you would have some people who would remain listed as "Mourner" for way too long after the fact. The community of the bereaved could then come together: "Come on. You've got to move on. You can't mourn forever. You've got to live life. It's what [he or she] would want!"

The curator could review new incoming requests from people who wish to show their devotion, by becoming "Fond Rememberers" for that person. New requests should not even get the "Mourner" option. Where were they, when things were worst? Or if the person in question didn't have a Facebook page, a curator could still set one up in their memory, if they died recently. This would have to be for people who died recently. People who died before Facebook was even invented - it's kind of insulting try to shoehorn them in way after the fact.

If they're dead and famous of course, they can just get a Fan Page, like Elvis Presley or anybody else dead and famous! That's a totally different situation.

In addition to reviewing Add requests, the curator could post up pictures into the permanent memorial photo archives, maybe post remembrances on special anniversaries, or announce get-togethers if that sort of thing is appropriate. Basically, provide a place to remember the departed and foster the connection between those left bereft.

But it would be way more than just the curator involved - a Facebook Departed page would be a place for those left behind to put up a veritable garden of their own pictures of the deceased, share stories, come together first in grief and then later, in gratitude. Gratitude for having known someone, someone who touched so many lives. 533 lives, to be precise. And counting!

This is a grand idea. A lovely sort of idea. I give it to you for free, Facebook, so that together we can proceed in the making of a better world.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fiction Friday: Form Of

She had curled up into a ball in the corner and was grinning. She was a pill-bug! A roly-poly. She had senses unavailable to most humans. To her they were quite incomprehensible.

All of this was from the drugs.

Her hair stood out like so many quivering antenna. I watched her with amusement. I myself was some kind of one-winged bird. I was lounging on the sofa. It was my aerie.

I let out ululating sea-bird sort of squawk: "Hey, you want to watch a movie?" Her questioning response came in a scrabbling, whispery bug voice like many voices - a compound voice, like her compound eyes: "Like this??"

"Sure!" I replied, "why not?"

"We better not. I think it would freak me out." Her initial pleased grin had frozen into something tentative.

"Isn't that the point, to be freaked out?" I was stretching my yawning bill and flapping my wing around, looking at it from various angles.

"I don't know if it was, but it isn't now." She looked me over again. "My thinking's going funny. How come you're a bird and I'm a bug?"

"You wanted to be a bug," I said.

"No I didn't!" her changed voice was scandalized. "Why would anyone want to be a bug?"

"You said they were cute. Anyway, I've only got one wing."

"No, the other one's under you!"

Sure enough it was. I jumped up on my backwards-kneed, gawky legs and spread my feathers out. What a span I had! "Hey, thanks! Great! Two wings."

"Can you fly?" she asked, very small. She seemed much smaller now, with me looming so much higher on those stilt legs, plus the height of the couch.

"I can probably fly," I said thoughtfully, lowering and gathering myself under me onto the couch. She still looked smaller. "I can probably fly, but you know, it takes birds themselves a while to learn the trick of it. I better go easy in the beginning. I'm in no rush."

"I want to turn back," she said. "I want to be myself, or a bird!"

"But you're a bug now," I reminded her.

"I don't want to be a bug!" she protested.

"You wanted to be a bug!" I looked at her again. Hesitated. "You're cute."

She was tiny.

"I don't want to be cute," she sighed.

It was just a broken little hiss.

I leapt off the couch and crazyleg walked towards the door, long-billed head bobbing on a pendulum neck. The sky looked so cold and blue and wild.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

In Defense of...Manifest Destiny?!

So. This might be a bit of a light satire on casuistry.

I'm approaching this from the standpoint of moral relativism, from a standpoint of cultural pluralism. The principle that we must respect each other's culture's beliefs is one of the chief dogmatic moral assertions of our time. Correct? Yes: correct. We can't force our beliefs on others. Nor can they force theirs on us.

The only exception to this principle would be cultural beliefs that espouse the rightness of forcing one's beliefs on others - which on the face of it, would be benighted, morally bankrupt, self-evidently flawed. I think we can all agree with that! Right? Pretty straightforward. Pretty easy to apply.

So as I understand it, by and large: the view of the indigenous peoples of North America towards property was pretty much that: they didn't own any of the land. Right?

Of course, it would be more accurate to say that they believed no one owned any of the land. But we're talking in an atmosphere of cultural pluralism. One culture can't speak for another. What one culture believes doesn't override what another believes.

Now, also as I understand it, by and large, the view of the invasive, Western-European derived white man's culture at the time as regards property was that: they owned all of the land.

Given the two dominant cultural views here, there appears to be no conflicting claim. So from a standpoint of moral relativism and cultural pluralism, it appears there can be no moral objection to manifest destiny.

Right? Right?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

More Actual Comments from Actual You-Tube Videos! #5

"Uh... you guys are kinda pigs. :P You don't wanna know; personal experience, sure as hell ain't pretty when they decide to become a gold digger and then someone's glued to a damn chair and then you're scrubbing the hell outta desks. :P NOT pretty. Trust me. My fingers felt like they were gonna fall off when I was done with every dang desk in the 7th grade. :O"

"why is everything racist? I'm black and I saw no racism. I only saw a black actor who did a good job in his role"

"Music today doesn't have enough tambourine."

"If the films of M. Night Shyamalan prove anything, it's that Philadelphia is a shithole."

"WOW  man why do u hav 2 bring moms into this conversation tats not cool"

"the moth gets sick from eating the sport coat because it is presumabley so ugly. he gives the moth two brown socks to eat because they are very plain and should sooth his moth stomach."

"this video is misleading and bisexual."

"Batman tiene agilidad, astucia, inteligencia, fortaleza ... A eso recien sumenle sus armas ... Ironman se vale mucho de su traje y de contar con tecnologia a mano"

"i strongly dislike the killing off of kids."

Hypocrisy tip

Hypocrisy is a problem of self-consistency. It's not hypocrisy when people disbelieve you, and act accordingly.

Guess The Shakespeare Quote, As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob #6

SCORING RULES (CHECK BEFORE YOU ANSWER! - no credit for partials!)



Today's Guess The Shakespeare Quote As Reinterpreted By My Buddy Rob:


"Your dad fell underwater and drowned. Now he's all crusted over and shit."


Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

God: A Thought Experiment!

Wow, I haven't done one of these Sunday Theology posts in a while, I don't think. So yeah: God. What about God. How about God's existence? God's existence / God's nonexistence! We can't settle it here! But let's try a little thought experiment.

WHAT IF God was just some sort of conceptual koan, some weird thought - a "meme," in fact - an idea that, situated like a prism in my mind every day, that focused everything that I thought of to do, and made all sorts of things in life come out positively awesome for me? What if? What if that were all that there was to God? What if God had no actual existence to go with it?

Okay!

But now also, the other half of the thought experiment: what if on top of all that, the fucker ACTUALLY EXISTED? On top of all that?

Crazy.

Because of course: there would be no way for me to know. EITHER WAY. I'd never know which it was! Because as has already been established in previous Sunday God Blog Theology Posts: proof of God does not exist (but wait - if you DO have proof of God, post it in the comments already! No wait - sorry, 'proof' doesn't post, a proof is not mere text, not mere testimony - testimony is that drunk guy, telling me our minds are all controlled by aliens. Proof on the other hand, is something concrete, something that can be examined and tested and that produces irrefutable certainty. If you have proof of God, don't post it here, cut it in half and send half to the Vatican, half to the Smithsonian!).

I got lost on the way to that close parentheses. So anyway, there would be no way for me to tell, one way or the other. I wouldn't know whether God actually, absolutely, really did exist or didn't exist. In that case.

I'm not sure this qualifies as a thought experiment. Perhaps it's closer to a rolling out of bed in the morning and typing experiment.

I think that humility is important. My thoughts on any matter do not determine any thing's existence or nonexistence. If God exists, then God's existence is a fact; if God does not exist then God's nonexistence is a fact. The fact in a given case may not be subject to establishment, to verification, but one's mere belief or disbelief doesn't alter whatever the truth is. What kind of solipsist kids himself (or herself) with the power to create or uncreate vaster realities than he or she can describe - and using what means? Merely by the certainty of their own belief or disbelief!

Crazy.

Hopefully nobody's that egotistical. I'd like to think that most atheists, for instance, in a thought experiment, could admit that if within the thought experiment, the fact is that God DOES exist - that God exists, but for some perverse reason simply refuses to permit proof of God's existence into the universe anywhere we can see it in permanent, testable form - I think most atheists would concede that in such a setup, their mere strong, unshakeable belief in the nonexistence of God would not wipe God out of existence. Right? I mean, how could they not concede that?

I guess it's possible they might not concede that. I don't know how. It happens sometimes, though.

Some people have no business in a thought experiment.

Friday, October 01, 2010