Surreally Seducted: Damn You Salvador Dalí!

One monkey promoting the ceaseless propagation of useless crap on the internets since a long time ago.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A rhyming ape...

Our shithead President: "You don't unwind no child left behind!"

No. Of course you don't. You take it by the hair, pull it, kicking and screaming out of the classroom, down the street and back into the dark hole where it belongs.

There's gotta be a better way to do it. I could give my suggestions, but what does it matter? I'm in no position to do anything.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Monkey see, monk me do.

I want to live on a castle on a hill. I want to make wines. I want to read books all day, and write books all night. I want to learn how to paint. I want to walk around in my bathrobe all day, and learn interesting things by candle light at night. In short, I want to be a monk in the 1500's, except for all the God and no women thing.

A Rock and Roll Song

We grind and grind and grind
Our bones turn to chalk
We use them to leave our mark
This giant board of life
We get bored of this life
Lonely and depressed
With so many fears
We slowly erase our lines
Sometimes faster than we know
As memories fade and the books burn

With each writing of history
More gets lost
That which was so common
Becomes a mystery
Because the mystery
Makes us look so much better
As the whole with all its bones
Leaves the smallest mark possible
In permanent marker on the whiteboard

They say God will save us
He has a plan
So they kill for him
They maim for him
They let people starve
Because it's all his plan
They tell us they know now
Exactly how we're supposed to live
Because apparently he left a book
A book filled with his instructions
They say it hasn't been burned
With nothing lost:
A sacred text.

But what if it's been boiled down
And its shell cracked and peeled
And inside all we find is a dead bird
Of an idea that was used
So that way back in time
They could kill for him
They could maim for him
They could let people starve for him
Because it was someone else's plan
Someone who could explain everything
That couldn't be explained then
What if they're wrong?

Delinquent Posterchild

So... there have been a lot of things I wanted to post about, but I usually think about them in the car on the drive home. And when I get home, I have to cook and stuff, so I never get around to posting them.

When I drive to New Jersey, I acclimate my rage level before I get on the NJ Turnpike. I do this by listening to WABC, the now ultra-conservative talk radio station. The guy on there last friday was discussing how health care was so out of control. They were blaming it on the hospitals and the insurance companies. Because the insurance companies would pay the hospitals whatever they want. So that's fine. Blame it on the doctors. Blame it on the hospitals. Blame it on the insurance companies. But the simple fact remains that many, too many, people are uninsured.

People calling in would say that the health care systems in the UK and Canada were a lot worse. Well sure, for the affluent in America (or, as I heard on NPR last night, the insured class), this may well be true. Of course, in the UK, there are also private doctors. But for the uninsured, I'm not sure that anything can be worse than what is in place now. My friend, the old man golfer, wants to run a non-profit some day. I'm not sure if it's possible, but something like teach for america for doctors (or something like paying off their loans in return for treating patients or something). This is a problem worth fixing.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Sinister Squirrel and All Things Noir

A squirrel sitting on its back legs looks sinisterly down the hill. Arms crossed in front of his chest, the squirrel surveys his domain for moments, which in a squirrel's life must be hours. The squirrel then bounds down the hill, only to be run over by a bike at the bottom.

Not to get nostalgic about the last ten years before the last ten years have passed, but I think Green Day's American Idiot and Frank Miller's Sin City are two of the most darkly artistic pieces of artwork to come out in a long time. I was listening to American Idiot on my way back from Jersey and for some reason the darkness of that album reminded me of the darkness of Sin City.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

You know I'm not mad anymore, at least most of the time

Sorry for the light posting, but we're in the final weeks of Q4 at work, so naturally I am extremely busy. Not too busy, however, to spend some time with Tweedlegirl. Tweedlegirl breakdances, and her annual show was this weekend. It was incredible, but it takes a toll on her. The group practices 12 hours a day for a whole week, and that leaves little time for work or sleep. So she had to choose one, and she chose work. So she's been fairly exhausted the whole time, but surprisingly, not too irritable. Were I in her shoes, I'd be an unpleasant person to be around.

Going to the breakdancing shows reminded me of being a little kid and wanting to be able to spin on my back like the breakdancers I saw on TV. It's amazing seeing people who can actually do that, and even more amazing to see my girlfriend do that whackiness.

As for now, I'm going to leave the Pope alone. He hasn't done anything as Benedict that can make me say, "Holy shit! This dude is whack!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb...

According to this poll, readers think terrorism is the biggest threat to the Catholic church. Let me repeat that. Terrorism. I'm struck by the utter idiocy of that. Terrorism might be a worldwide threat. This much is true. But a threat to a religion? I think the only terrorist threat to Catholocism could have occurred over the past week, when the whole of the upper echelons of the Church were gathered in one place. Any terrorism probably strengthens the Church, as people become more aware of their own mortality. I'd struggle to say that terrorism is the greatest challenge facing America today. One of the largest challenges, sure, but the greatest? It is, perhaps, the greatest challenge that Israel has to face. But terrorism requires that a massive number of people co-exist in the same place. So yes, there are dangerous times for the Catholic Church. I think, however, that the terrorist threat to the Catholic Church is similar to the terrorist threat for the fans of, say, the Super Bowl. A lot of them congregate in one place once a year, but there are a whole many more who are not there.

Sorry. Something about the poll just struck me as, well, off.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

So tell me all your thoughts on god

From Rabbit, Run:

"I remember he used to grab us by the knee at mealtimes with his brown bony hand and croak, 'Has he made you believe in Hell?'"
Harry laughs; Eccles' imitation is good; being an old man fits him. "Did he? Did you?"
"Yes, I think so. Hell as Jesus described it. As separation from God."
"Well then we're all more or less in it."
"I don't think so. I don't think so at all. I don't think even the blackest atheist has an idea of what real separation will be. Outer darkness. What we live in you might call" -- he looks at Harry and laughs -- "inner darkness."

Hell on earth. Separation from God. I'm not an overly religious person. But something about this passage struck me. Imagine you are completely faithful. Not a person of the cloth, but a person of God. And I'm not sure we even know what that is. But imagine that you are. Now imagine that one day, you realize that your God has forsaken you. Or you have forsaken him. Immediately, you doubt the truths you held so dearly the day before. Your world shatters to a million tiny pieces. Not an "Everything you thought you knew is wrong" situation, but one where the core principles of your life are wrong. That would be the darkest hell. An atheist does not have to worry about this hell, as he doesn't believe it exists. He cannot be separated from God, because he doesn't believe in God. But he can be separated from atheism (a lack of belief that almost fulfills man's need for a God), and would this be the same hell? Outer darkness. When you can't see the world for what it was just a minute ago.

Ultimately, we are all powerless. We can stuggle against it, but ultimately, it just doesn't end up well for us. That is not hell. Hell is something completely different. I don't think any of those who are in that hell are considered sane. I don't imagine anyone separated from their beliefs could be.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

In which the author criticizes NBC Golf, again.

NBC would do a good job to look at CBS's showing of golf on TV, and reassess the whole of their announcing team. It's one thing to say "This putt breaks left to right... oh he missed it, not very bright of him..." (NBC); it's a whole nother to say:

"David, I've been sitting up here all day so I know how this putt breaks, why don't you take a guess."
"Well I think it breaks left-to-right."
"You're wrong, it's straight." Player putts it right to left, and if he had the speed, would have made it. "Well, looks like both of us were wrong. Rare thing for announcers, huh?"

Johnny Miller is no foil for David Feherty. Feherty is funny, knows his shit, and has a cool accent. Miller just knows his shit, but he's a pompous shit, and that makes him quite the annoyance to listen to. On the whole, the CBS team is more laid back and does a better job describing the golf game. Most importantly, they don't have Jimmy Roberts on their team. Hallelujah!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Cereal Killings

An oldie but goodie... from January.

They found Toucan Sam with his head in a bowl of Total. Time of death must have been hours ago, as Toucan was already soggy. Whoever had done this had been very quiet, as the Gerber Baby was still sleeping in the next room. Lt. Tony the Tiger and Detective Guy Whose Face is on Quaker Oatmeal (hereafter, Quaker Oatmeal Dude) arrived when Toucan's wife, The Trix Rabbit, had come downstairs. What made it worse was that she had been upstairs with her lover, Cap'n Crunch. He was suspect numero uno, and his only alibi was that of his mistress. Quaker Oatmeal Dude took a few liberties while interviewing the Cap'n, and at one point soaked him in milk until he was nothing more than a soggy mess that turned the milk pink and awful tasting. An informant on the street, the Leprechaum, had told Tony the Tiger that he could testify against Cap'n Crunch, in return for his Lucky Charms that Cap'n had taken from him. Perhaps Tony the Tiger had had too much fiber in his morning meal (Special K if you must ask), but something wasn't sitting right with him. The images of Toucan Sam haunted him like Kellogg's decision to get rid of Lego's as promotions for Fruit Loops. There was a noise, a subtle hum, that seemed out of place that morning. Tony the Tiger went back, and Trixi made him a nice Toaster Streudel as a snack. "They're grrrrrrrreat," he said, and then it hit him. The Cheerio's Bee. That explained the large welt on Toucan's forehead, but there wasn't any explanation for how he'd gotten in here. Nor could Tony ask him any questions, as he'd inadvertantly, and involuntarily, squished the poor bastard. Now the pieces were falling into place. It had snowed that morning, so no one paid attention to the white footprints on the ground, but by now they would have melted. Could it be the start of a war? The footprints tasted doughy, as though they hadn't heated up enough. Still good, but a little raw. Just like sex with Trixi, thought Tony. Banishing the thought, he returned to the scene. What else could he remember about the morning. Total, laughter, humming, Sam, Trixi, Quaker Oats, laughter. Laughter. Distinct. Short. It hit him like a poke in the stomach. He knew who had killed Toucan Sam. He had supported the criminal, and liked it. No, it wasn't Trixi, and it wasn't Cap'n Crunch either. This was the work of the Godfather of the Pastry Industry, and he'd be damned if he, Lt. Tony the Tiger, would let him get away with this. He'd be made Chef of Detectives for this. He'd give the bastard a yeast infection he'd never forget. Yes, he thought, the Pillsbury Doubhboy will pay. I will catch him, try him, fry him, and then serve him to the Finnish population as a delicacy that they'll find uniquely American, and yet uniquely Finnish too.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Must. Keep. Eyes. Open.

This week, I haven't gotten to the office after 8. I haven't left before 7 pm any day. More meetings tomorrow, and then the weekend. So hopefully that explains the lught posting this week. If not, just deal with it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The tortoise and the hare...

Or The Intellect and the Bible.

Bitch Phd links to this essay by Dorcasina. While it's an interesting essay on religion, philosophy, women and so on, there's something in it that interests me more; Dorcasina merely touches on the point I will discuss here before moving on to ask how it is any different from any other philosophical thought.

The big big big question is how religion got to this point. Or rather, returned to this point. It is puritanism reborn. Can we trace it back to any single event? Of course not. But that's not to say that religion isn't, hasn't been, a part of public psyche for a long time. After all, it was shocking that Kennedy won the election as a Catholic. And we cry "Separation! What about separation!?" But that's not what separation was meant for. And as much as that sucks, we can't do anything about it. Separation was put into the Bill of Rights to say that everyone is allowed to practice his or her religion without the threat of persecution so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. Now I am not exactly in my comfort zone discussing politics and religion here.

A professor once told me that religion and mythology were created to help people to cope with the unexplainable. Lightning stikes your thatched roof and kills your family in the fire? Thor and Zues had it in for you. Your sword broke shortly before you were stabbed? Blame it on Vulcan. Sex is dirty? Blame it on Adam and Eve. Eventually, people began to understand the world a bit better. Lightning was caused by electrical charge differences in the grounds and the cloud, and goes from ground to sky. Swords, when improperly made, become fragile and shatter. Sex? Well, sex was sex and sex was good. Intellectuals began to discount the bible as a literal truth. It's not impossible to reconcile the two. Intellect and religion were not too far apart. (My train of thought has been ruined. Rewinned. Impossible to have a conversation and blog seriously at the same time.) Anyhow. The intellect and religion. The intellect leaped light years ahead of the religious side of the brain. The religious side has no recompense but to fight back, because it cannot outreason the intellect. It cannot out-rationalize the intellect. And it is so firm and inflexible that such a rapid change is like a rubber band between the intellect and the basic feeling that is religion; the rubber band gets strecthed so far that it is impossible for either end to return gently to the middle. Instead, they snap back at each other providing a collision.

As a disclaimer, I am on the side of the intellect here. I am not using religion correctly, and I understand that. What I mean by religion in the way that I use it here is the fundamentalist anti-intellectualism.

And the reason why people treat religion as something more than Kant or Plato or name-your-favorite philosopher, is because religion hits on a much more personal level; indeed, children are brought up on the bible. Religion is difficult to spearate from the known and the learned. On the other hand, few people have Kant drilled into their head every Sunday. Not that it's right. Or wrong.

Serenade: Edgar Allen Poe

So sweet the hour, so calm the time,
I feel it more than half a crime,
When Nature sleeps and stars are mute,
To mar the silence ev'n with lute.
At rest on ocean's brilliant dyes
An image of Elysium lies:
Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,
Form in the deep another seven:
Endymion nodding from above
Sees in the sea a second love.
Within the valleys dim and brown,
And on the spectral mountain's crown,
The wearied light is dying down,
And earth, and stars, and sea, and sky
Are redolent of sleep, as I
Am redolent of thee and thine
Enthralling love, my Adeline.
But list, O list,- so soft and low
Thy lover's voice tonight shall flow,
That, scarce awake, thy soul shall deem
My words the music of a dream.
Thus, while no single sound too rude
Upon thy slumber shall intrude,
Our thoughts, our souls- O God above!
In every deed shall mingle, love.

I always liked E.A. Poe. I still do. I also really like Ulalume. I wrote a while back about depression and the artist. He's one of the best examples. Going through the archives, I also found a bunch of things that I wrote that I really enjoyed, so I might bump those back up to the top soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Taxing the System

I've mentioned this in passing before, but I want to know if anyone out there has a better analysis of the situation. I've briefly googled the topic, but only right-wing policy blogs have anything on it. Apparently, they feel that the American corporate tax rate is too low. See, I think there is a distinct problem. Schools, as anyone intelligent will agree, are underfunded. If we created a "school tax" on corporations, could we improve the schools? After all, corporations are among some of the largest benefitors of education in America.

We can't, however, just throw money at the problem. Other wide-ranging reforms need to happen. Instead of testing the students, we should be testing the teachers; we shouldn't announce the tests either. This testing could even take the form of observation. This won't happen, but I think it is one of the steps that needs to occur. We need to encourage more people to be better teachers for longer, and teach kids not to learn for the test, but to learn how to apply the knowledge they learn in schools. It's one thing to learn about cold fronts and clouds; it is quite another thing to understand how to apply this knowledge to hurricanes. Anyhow, running out of steam here, but I'd love to here some other people's opinions.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I Need to Tailor My Tastes

As a kid growing up, I used to play a lot of team sports. Soccer, baseball, basketball. Despite the ridiculous amounts of money that the professionals of these sports get paid, playing these sports is relatively cheap (though watching them is not). Unfortunately, my demeanor doesn't suit team sports very well; I can work as part of a team, but I don't really enjoy relying on teams of other people.

In 1998, my dad got me interested in golf again; as a child I would go to the driving range near my grandparents house, but there was never anything at home to go back to. In 1998, I was between years at high school and needed something to do during the summertime. At that point, Tweedlesister was dating a golfer, and my father belonged to a golf club less than a mile from our house. We'd go there in the evening after he was done with work and walk 9 holes. Since then, I've been hooked. I've only gone one summer without a club in my hands on a fairly consistent basis since then. Yesterday, I went to a driving range for the first time this season. But, having recently graduated from college, working to pay off a few small debts and my rent every month, I have nowhere near the funds needed to join a public course nearby (i.e. 30 miles away). It's a little disappointing, but there's a pitch and putt that might really help my game closer, and cheaper.

The other sport I'm in love with? Skiing. Skiing is golf on snow in terms of money: the equipment is expensive, skiing for a day is expensive, and I find it enjoyable as all hell. This winter was the first time in 5 years that I hadn't gone skiing. But I plan on going next year, especially if I see a financial upturn.

Woe is me, who has such expensive tastes in sports.

Friday, April 08, 2005

New Rolls

Over on the Sidebar, you'll notice Premium Cuts. These are people who have blogrolled me. The first is Tweedlesister. Give her site some lovin.

Sleep to Dream Her

The dreams started earlier this year. I'm talking to her, and realize the phone is missing. We've been talking about the important things in life, and I realize I'm a bad boyfriend. I search frantically for it in the comforter, but it isn't there. I search for it on the floor next to me, afraid it has fallen and shattered to a million billion tiny pieces bound to cut the bottom of my foot in a million billion different places. But the phone is not on the floor either. I finally look in the logical place: the window sill next to my bed. Of course, the phone is there. But I am still confused. Did I just hang up on her? Why did I hang up on her? At this point, I am always rather confused. I look at the clock on the phone: it says 1:30am. Had we been on the phone this long? Slowly, surely, it comes back to me. I hung up the phone, politely, at the end of our conversation an hour ago. For the last however long it was, I've been dreaming I was on the phone with her. Once would have been funny, twice was still a little bit funny, but this is a rather recurring dream (twice in the past two nights, and multiple times before that). So yeah, it kinda freaks me out. I hallucinate. I don't take drugs (of any kind) and I don't drink often, and I hallucinate. What the fuck is with that?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You can't make this stuff up

A truly frightening piece. I recommend the comments, including further commentary on the post from the family, and the mother.

I wonder what geological year it is.

Day 1.5 of the Masters tomorrow. So far my picks are like a collective +3061.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Tweedlesister1 recently posted elsewhere about diary blogs. She siad I have one. I don't really think so. From time to time, I post things that are deeply personal. But I don't think this post or this one are all that much like a diary.

There are blogs that are quite like a diary. Profgrrrl's and Snark Attack are two of the many. Frankly, my dear, I don't find myself doing enough interesting things to blog about. And there's no frickin way I'm going to post about work. We all know how well that doesn't turn out.

TS1 also says that I fictionalize events from my life. Indeed I do. Because I find it as an exercise that someday, maybe, might turn fruitful. So I don't find it to be so much a diary as a workbook.

I have a great idea...

...For a massive music video using computer animation, without the permission of the artist. But thats ok, because unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the resources (CPU time, modeling and rendering software, artistic talent).

Seeing as it took 9 of us 6 weeks to produce 30 seconds worth of video, one monkey producing one hour of video would take how long?

(Answer below the jump)

~124 years. But it wouldn't really take that long, because in the end it was really only 3 of us, and once the modeling was done... So in reality, it would probably take at least a year, which kind of sucks.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sex on a triple word score

Is worth 30 points.

Advice from Tweedlegirl: Talk, early and often, to your kids about sex.

Monday, April 04, 2005

In Which America Shouts "Me Me Me!"

My sister brought up the same thing I was thinking in her comment. See, the problem with all the bitching and moaning, is that it is very American-centric. The number of Catholic adults in America? 66 million (Table 66). The Catholic population in Brazil? 150 million. That's a good deal more than double. On NPR, they were saying this was 15% of the worldwide Catholic Church. According to this article, nearly 27% of the Catholic population lives in Europe. While this number may be dropping, it is still about 4 times the US population. Assuming that the European Catholic church is more conservative than the US Catholic church, should the Church appoint a more progressive pope? I think the answer should be pretty clear. As Tweedlesister has said, a schism in the Church would be devestating. Those Catholics who do do missionary work are usually more conservative (again, I'm assuming here), so they teach conservative doctrine. While those who acquire this doctrine may not fully adhere to it (or they may), they do believe in it wholeheartedly. Anyhow, the whole point is that before we call for a wholesale reversal of Catholic Church policy (despite, for example, the fact that it may exclude women from the Church), we need to realize that America is not the center of the Catholic universe. Does the Church need to change? I don't know. It has a wide spectrum of followers, the majority of whom are probably socially conservative. While, perhaps, it risks alienating its most socially progressive members, it is doubtful that it can afford to alienate the conservative members.

Now, if they can find a new pope that can bring together the liberal and conservative sides of the church, I'd be all for it. It could be the rebirth of the Catholic church. The only direction the Catholic Church cannot afford to go, and that's into a decline. So they have to be careful with the next selection. We'll see.

*PS: This is not say that I am going back at all on any previous statements. I still believe the Church should teach members how to practice safe sex. This is along the same lines as my anti-abstinence-only stance. Look it's great to say that your way is the right way, but you can't say that people won't get lost on that path.

Because Kids are More Sensitive These Days

The kids are not OK.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. At this point, I feel much too old for how old I'm not. But for shit's sake.

We're raising our kids to be wimps. "Mommy I got a red D." "Oh that's ok honey, that's as good as a green B+." The reason people use red? Because it stands out from the black text. If your kid can't take red marks on his or her paper, your kid is going to have a hard time in the real world where people don't hold your hand.

And this isn't just liberals. This is the whole of America. We're becoming the hand-holding society. Can't cut it? That's ok, neither can the kids over there with the teacher writing his comments in purple.

It's just so fucking disappointing.

Je lui ai montré mes brûlures

Et la lune s’est moquée de moi

We still flit around the boundaries, trading verbal barbs with one another. Not deep enough to hurt, just enough to make things not seem too perfect. Our laughter tells us that there is nothing we can do to prevent ourselves from trying. A sting is met with a smile and a wink, and sometimes a pout that's as fleeting as the rest of winter's cold We take patience that we didn't know we had, and give it to each other. A smile, a pose, a tongue stuck out: all signs of affection. A shy smile means much more than the fake smile in response to a command, a singular tear falling down her cheek is more valuable than all the sushi in all the world. A nap that is just a nap is more satisfying than naps with anyone else when those naps were anything but.

It's been a year since we both jumped feet first in the middle of traffic south of D.C. Today, I'm just as sure as I was then, stuck in traffic for no apparent reason, but overjoyed to be alone together.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

On the Papacy

The Pope has died. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what the next Pope should be like. Should it be someone more moderate? Someone who believes that birth control and condoms are ok? No. And not because that wouldn't allow me to make fun of the papacy. Because if the Catholic Church doesn't believe that birth control is right, they shouldn't cave to public opinion. There are certain cases where I think this is wrong (e.g. pretty much the whole of Africa), and I will continue to ridicule them for not teaching people to protect themselves if and when they have pre-marital sex. Because at that point they are already breaking a tenet of Catholocism. But a Pope who advocates birth control for everyone? That might be too radical a change.