Do You Feel Lucky?

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's Time For ALL Monks To Learn Kung Fu

Ritual can be taken too far. But even worse, sometimes ritual can be taken not far enough. Case in point: I am sick of OUR monks, monks of the Western monastic tradition, who just as cloistered in their monasteries, who just as fervent in their various little rituals and doings that they put out like clockwork as a means of consecrating everyday activity and repurposing it as prayer, praise, meditation - folks, and I specifically address "Western tradition" folks out there when I say this - folks, our monks do the monk thing just as well as the Eastern tradition monks do.

With one glaring exception. Why have Western monks totally ceded the field on KUNG FU MASTERY? Zen monks have it all over us in this regard - even Thomas Merton, so lauded for his mystical musings interpreting Eastern Zen thought via the light of doctrinally-sound Western Catholicism, never advanced beyond the rank of yellow belt. WHAT THE HECK, MY FRIAR?

The practice of martial arts should simply be part of what every monk does, just like get up at ungodly hours on the punctual dot, sing this then sing that then, observe silence, and brew Belgian ales. Practice and mastery of the martial arts is a meditation both physical and spiritual - or it certainly can be! To quote Ren McCormick, if there's a time for dancing and leaping before the Lord, then why not Kung Fu? That more quotes the spirit of it than what he actually says, but we're talking about deeply spiritual matters, here. "Point taken, Ren." To combine rigorous and ascetic physical discipline with an attentive and humble spiritual mastery, one that can only be attained by one who has leaned far enough into his or her being as to appreciate its limits, and transcend them even - by the grace of God, perhaps! Well if martial artistry can't be a form of by-God PRAYER, then what the heck can be? Legitimately?

Our monks need Kung Fu in their lives. This fact is so obvious I can't even believe it has to fall to me, yet again, to say it.

As usual, I hate to blame the Pope, but there it is. Where is his leadership on this issue? Come on, Padre. Don't put the "sin" in sinsei on this one.

Jail, Internet, Opinions: What's Important Is Free-Association of Ideas #1

Look, it's a complex issue, or at least, some of it is. I'm not trying to say anybody deserves to be put in jail - but hold on there, let's be pretty honest with ourselves! Maybe there are some people out there, who if we really looked at it, ARE in jail. Does jail have the internet? If so, there would be THIS troubling implication: pretty much every internet outlet would be overrun by prison inmates, right? Hard time = free time. If so, that might explain a few things.

Let me just lay it all right on the line. Are any of you folks reading this from prison? Tell me what your thoughts are on the matter.

My main point, the bottom line, is: don't respect MY opinions. I sure don't. I'm in dead earnest on that one: I don't give a FUCK what I so-called "think" on any given topic. An opinion's worthless except to the extent it is examined, and the holder knows why they hold it. And my opinion is no exception: WORTHLESS. I mean, except to the aforementioned extents. But that's something that my opinion has to be able to prove - to ME, not to anybody else! My opinion's got to either put up or shut up. It better either pull its weight or else BAM!!! IT'S OUT ON ITS ASS, the second I find the one that better accords with observable reality! NO loyalty to opinions. Fuck those opinions that let me down, that have shown themselves less suitable than a competing opinion - whether because externally, they conflict with observable reality, or internally - they have the ol' self-consistency problem. How often does that happen, right? You're walking around with an opinion, all of a sudden you suddenly notice holy shit - it conflicts with ITSELF.

This is a real problem for some people. It's not for me, though, because I know how to tell those kinds of opinions to "fuck off."

Fuck those opinions. They can go pound sand.

Please note: while my opinions are owed ZERO RESPECT from anyone, please do feel free to respect me as a person. I mean, frankly I could give a shit about that too, because in practice I don't tend to notice? I interpret it the wrong way "Surely this person is joking, and it is in fact quite funny!" But in this place I try to tow the line, preserve the ambience. Your efforts along these lines are welcome, if not specifically noticed or appreciated.

Cultural Perspectives #9: FOOTBALL

I think American Football deserves the term "football" because those other punks all converted to the metric system.

They can call their shit meterball or something.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rumored Projects "In The Works" #1: Pixar's Junk

Now folks, this is a "rumored project in-the-works" so take that with a grain of salt! A lot of these don't materialize no matter how awesome they sound, but that's our job as the public to spread the hype and the demand and make sure it happens.

In development now but slated for 2018 release: Pixar's Junk, a collaboration with Matt Stone and Trey Parker. It's set in a world ("In a world...") where all the characters are human genitalia, male, female, you name it - all lightly anthropomorphized with tiny lil' cartoony wiggly limbs, animated cartoony eyes and mouth, but apart from those add-ons the CGI technique is supposedly an absolute breakthrough in photoreal depiction. Even the little outfits they wear look just like real little outfits! Naturally there's a lot of subtext poking fun at stereotypes, prudery, cultural and religious biases.

The plot concerns an invasion of fist aliens with designs of their own on the populace. Rumored but not yet committed to direct: Brad Bird.

Anyway that's the way I heard it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thought of the day: the bird

I'm pretty sure you can flip people the bird on broadcast television and they can't do a THING about it if you're wearing mittens!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. Anybody Read This?

Has anybody picked up Harper Lee's new (!) novel? Relatively new anyway, it came out July 2015. Go Set a Watchman, it appears to be called. It's set in the same fictional universe as the movie Watchmen, and carries on the action about twenty years later when erstwhile team leader The Finch, long since retired to a position of prominence as an eminence gris in the superhero community, has to deal with the return of his disenchanted and equally erstwhile starry-eyed sidekick Scout Girl. I won't spoil it as to whether mysterious figure of fear Doctor Boo, from the first one, makes an appearance.

No I'm just fucking around! Apparently most of this book comes from a novel Lee wrote before To Kill A Mockingbird, out of which Mockingbird evolved. The editors liked the vividity of the flashback sequences from Scout's youth. Lee ended up expanding that part of the story into Mockingbird, and reworked Watchman for separate publication. Initially a trilogy had been planned, but when George Lucas got involved and insisted on the insertion of ideas about Jem "bringing balance to the Force," Lee became disillusioned, and abandoned plans for further release. The manuscript was believed lost until somebody found it.

Some people are pretty uptight about the release of this book. They see it as a case of a poor, confused elderly person being hoodwinked and manipulated into releasing work she wouldn't have wanted to. Other people are saying they interviewed her and that's not at all the case. Reviewers seem to think the book itself is a bit underdone to say the least.

Anyway.

Anybody here a big fan of Mockingbird? Any thoughts on this one? Have you read it? What do you think? I should shut up and let someone who has read both (or even either) of these books comment.

In any case, the emergence of this long-obscured work from its long obscurity, the storied story of its murky and convoluted origins, and - especially given the prominence of the earlier released work and its status as the author's only published novel, plus the fact Lee had declared a number of times that it would remain so - it's kind of a weird, unexpected sort of treat for Harper Lee fans isn't it? Or something?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Timely As Usual #4: Some Concerns About Snapchat

Following up on my recent expose of Chatroulette, I have some concerns about Snapchat that I'd like to be alarmist about.

#1, it disappears after 10 seconds? Could we make Twitter do that?

#2, how is this any different from just using your imagination?

#3, doesn't this just sort of make light of ADD sufferers? A lot of people with perfectly well-spanned attentions aping a deficiency! What's next, autocomplete with a stutter? Tourette's for spellcheck?

#4. expect to see some troubling issues involving copyright down the road.

#5. how is this any different from just standing right next to the person you message and then grabbing their device and deleting the message?

#6. I see potential for abuse here, such as if you get a snapchat image that says YOU WILL DIE IN SEVEN DAYS. Ten seconds later it's gone! How do you convince people of the threat? Also, how can you call off the curse if you can't show somebody else the image?

#7. The name's pretty cool. "Snapchat"! I like that. Much better than the original name, which according to the internet, was Picaboo. Too much like Picachu! Yet much inferior to Picachu - derivative but inferior is no way to go. By comparison, "Picachu" would have been perfect! "Peek At Choo"? Get it? "Peek At You?" Perfect! That's all you get is a peek! But "Picaboo," that's lame. It sounds like you're snapchat messaging to babies, which...let's just drop the subject, ok? That's just disgusting.

I want to make it clear I've never tried Snapchat, but a big part of that is because of all the alarmist concerns.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friends or Superfriends? Beyond Tights and Capes: Where The "Shared Universe" Film Model Can Take Us

They should do a major motion picture spinoff called CHANDLER.

Then if that's successful, they follow it up with RACHEL, and build momentum towards an eventual crossover blockbuster.

Comedy Clinic #2: Anatomy of a Potential Risque Joke

Sometimes I find myself autoerotic, sometimes homoerotic. As a result I occasionally fuck cars.

NO WAIT

That could have been done even better. What's a stereotypical gay-leaning car, demographic-wise? A Miata? A P.T. Cruiser? What? That could be the "sweet double" on the comic call-back to auto AND homo!

This, folks, is an edgy comedy process in progress. You can see it's not really about stereotyping in an ugly, blatant, outlandish way - because in the finished joke, the slightly gay mystique of the specified auto would be, at most, a grace note. We'd get the reference, and we'd laugh because "Ah hah hah ha! Precious! I know just what he's trying to say here, with that, but don't ask me to explicate because I will be forced to demur!" And I can make these sorts of colorful references because I don't have a car, and am therefore a victim of the oppressive privilege of others in ways cars-drivers aren't equipped to appreciate.

Man, I need to break down and get a car at some point. Preferably a gay car so I can overcompensate for something.

She's a Silver Screen Deadpan Private Eye Femme Fatale Baby

I love people who are characters effortlessly, who are kind of aware of the fact that other people find them novel, but don't seem to get why everyone isn't the way they are. There ought to be a word for that.

And the word ought to be: NORMAL.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Thought of the Day: What's Wrong

I'm extraordinarily committed to what's right. So much so in fact, that I sometimes have to beat people up who agree with me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Great Advice #5: Perspectives on Drinking Bleach

If you drink undiluted bleach, that's bad and definitely don't drink it. But if you do drink it, try to consider why you are drinking it. If the reasons seem adequate to you, re-think them. Don't make a drinking game out of undiluted bleach. Particularly if your diet is high in ammonia solids, undiluted bleach is no way to wash those down.

Apparently some people say drinking bleach is a good way to fool a drug test. That's dumb. That's fucking dumb, to take advice from somebody whose idea of crafty it is to compensate for all the drugs they take by drinking bleach. Consider the source of your bleach-related advice. Just because someone suggests some activity as something you should do if you've been taking a lot of drugs, that doesn't mean it's a great idea for you. People are different. Sometimes very different.

What happens when you find you simply must drink undiluted bleach, and nothing else you can do helps you see any other option? When that happens, call "time out." Consider calling up someone you trust, to explain to them what's going on with you. They may ask questions. If they ask "Why must you drink undiluted bleach?" - consider the question honestly and with an open mind. And if your explanation confuses or doesn't convince them, try asking them whether they think you should drink undiluted bleach at all. And if they say you shouldn't, hey, consider that maybe you don't always know all the answers? Maybe they're right! They've seen things you haven't, and are able to come at it from a perspective of hey, maybe don't drink undiluted bleach.

If you find you're drinking an awful lot of undiluted bleach and it's a habit you just can't stop, it's possible somebody has given you some other liquid, and you just thought it was bleach. Because if you drank that much bleach, you would have died. Chances are you haven't been drinking undiluted bleach at all. Still, to be on the safe side, find out what the heck it is you've been drinking, and consider whether you should continue with that.

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and allow yourself to say "Don't. Just don't drink undiluted bleach."

Friday, March 04, 2016

Tough Topics #36: My Whiteness. I'm Sorry But I Can't Seem To Feel Ashamed Of My Whiteness

Not sorry as in apology ("apology" is admission of culpability for wrongdoing), sorry as in, you know, sorrow. Regret. Actually I'm not sorry at all, thinking of it!

But you know what, I've been putting some thought into the idea that racism makes white people look bad. Or that accusations of racism against white people make white people look bad. Or that a person might feel accused by race proxy, when one of their race is accused. I'm trying to figure out why I have no sense of this myself. I THINK I HAVE IT!

I think rampant racism and rampant accusations of racism only make white people feel they look bad when they themselves aren't, for whatever reason, part of the fight. I mean, somebody wants to accuse me of racism, that's cool - first thing I KNOW is THEY are PART OF THE FIGHT!

And it's MY side bastard and WELCOME TO IT. Now maybe somehow I made myself look like a fool or an ass, or even a racist. I kind of want to know more on that. I'm kind of GLAD THEY BROUGHT IT UP. We can straighten out our accusations quite vigorously, and I'm confident at least both of us will end up on the side that believes in and advocates for human rights for all humans, and opposes strongly the ignorance and ill-effects of race-based bigotry. The part where I learn what I did wrong, if any, or what I did to give the appearance - that part is very much needed and welcomed.

How can I be insulted by a person who hates racial bigotry enough to call someone on it?

Whereas I can see that if I were apathetic or complacent or barely cared at all, or felt it was "not my problem" - well, I'm sure that if I believed humanity is not my problem, then there could possibly be some buried discomfort with that. And I could easily see how it would trigger that discomfort when the topic comes up, or when accusation's all around. It'd be sure to make me feel guilty. Not guilty of being a racist, but guilty of doing absolutely nothing meaningful - not even LIP SERVICE - to be part of the fight.

This is why racists, too, I suspect don't feel much of this "accused by proxy" thing. They are PART OF THE FIGHT. There's no reason for them to duck or deny, or feel buried guilt for doing nothing.

As the previous paragraph trenchantly points out, being "part of the fight" is not necessarily admirable in itself. It matters a deal which fight, and which part of it you take.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

My Political Position #6: Innovative? Or Revolutionary

Folks, it's hotting up again on the politics front, and so of course all of a sudden here I go.

As if to save the day.

People need ideas, because the ideas we have now are proven and they don't work. First I say we make the President the new Pope as far as America's concerned. There's precedent for this, don't worry. It worked perfectly. Also: don't worry, this will only affect American Catholics. There will still be the Protestant Fundamentalists and Assorted Others Etc. to "balance out shit" as per strict Constitutional requirement - but that's only phase one! Next, once that coup de gras is complete, you slowly water the "running things" part of the position down to a largely ceremonial role (apart from heading the CofA of course). We could even make the role hereditary at that point. Why not? It'd be mostly ceremonial for us by then, a way of celebrating our rich traditions. Ceremonial - like a rain dance! Like a love scene in a movie. Like wolf's howl - like a touchdown! It could be largely ceremonial.

To avoid confusion for the sake of consistency though, the Feds may need to "persuade" Burger King to call itself Burger President, at least in the States.

OR: how about President is a life-time position - but we keep electing more of them every 4-to-8 years? And then they can vote it out between them. This is an idea whose time is RIGHT HERE. It would be called Team President, or something. But to balance things, there'd be only one Vice President - and he or she wouldn't be allowed on a plane with ANY of them. That's because if one of the Presidents is killed (or dies of natural causes), the one and only Vice President is automatically elevated to President.

As you can imagine, this would pretty much make fascism impossible. I mean, unless the people deliberately spend twenty years electing unrepentant Fascist party candidates to the presidency! And even then it would be unworkable probably. Fascist heads of state aren't known for their "getting along" skills.

What's another one. How about we do what Portugal is doing? They had a sort of drug-lord based regime I heard, and now as I understand it, everything's much better on that score.

Another thing we could really take a clue from is the E.U. We need to see if we can woo the Dutch away from them, and then reconstitute ourselves as the United States of America and Dutchia.

Folks I'm on fire. Get me to the convention and I don't care which. When it comes to being an idea-man those people have NO IDEA.