Sunday, March 07, 2004
All Out of Proportion
Being as my ISP was OOC this morning, the lovely Melis and I went to the theater. We viewed The Passion. Interesting film. I’d watch it again. Mel did take some poetic license within the film, but what film maker does not? For all the sadistic drum beaters out there, I counted, as I best I could, the beatings administered to the central figure in the film. I counted 32 bastinado strikes, vigorously applied by Roman soldiers. I counted 48, plus or minus, whip scourgings, even more vigorously applied, flaying the skin front and back, also applied by Roman soldiers. I did not count the number of strikes adminstered on the walk to Golgotha, but I did notice that the types of whips utiliized were of a different style than the ones utilized to scourge. More of a crowd control whip I’d say. Meant to raise a welt, but not necessarily flay the skin. In other words, it appeared to this viewer, quite realistic. I then considered all I have read of punishment inflictions throughout history; The Medieval ages, the Roman empire, the British empire, the Catholic led Inquisition, the Nazi’s, the glorious states of socialism, Aztec human sacrifices, etcetera; and I was led to conclude that those who reviewed this film, and were only able to see sadism, facism, or anti-semitism didn’t go to the theater to view this film. They went to the theater to ingratiate themselves to their adoring readers by writing scathing reviews, but they only ended up abasing themselves.
Saturday, March 06, 2004
What You Don’t Learn Googling, Like I’m “Odious,” and “anti-homosexual”
I don’t often Google myself up, but having a moment this afternoon I googled up improved clinch+john venlet. Here’s what I found, or more specifically, an entry I found that piqued my interest.
“Dean’s World: Blogger Ugliness (Rosemary, the QOAE)
... I also hereby condemn the blogger John Venlet (of the blog known as “Improved
Clinch”) for his despicable anti-homosexual statements, every bit as ...
42k - Mar 4, 2004”
When I espied that all I could think was, WTF, over. So I hightailed it over to Dean’s World to see what I could learn. When I clicked over to Dean’s place, I located the entry which the Google bot dug up. What I read, was a comment in a thread dealing with some commentary about a recent Acidman post. The following comment was posted by Steve Malcom Anderson the Lesbian-worshipping gun-loving selfish aesthete in the thread associated with the post at Dean’s World.
“I also hereby condemn the blogger John Venlet (of the blog known as “Improved Clinch”) for his despicable anti-homosexual statements, every bit as reprehensible as those of the racist referenced here, and justly exposed and damned by Arthur Silber (Light of Reason).”
WTF, over, again. What did I do to piss Arthur off? Well, over to Arthur’s I click and locate a post titled “REVELATIONS OF IGNORANCE AND BIGOTRY, AND SOME OSTENTATIOUS FAGGOTRY OF MY OWN”
I read the post and found that my odiousness has been unveiled by this entry wherein I criticize a Mark Fiore cartoon titled “The Gay Agenda.”
Arthur, if I offended you, I apologize, right here, right now. I must fault you in one regard though. No where have I condemned homosexuals. Find one post, either here or at my old blog, where I have condemned homosexuals. I condemn many things; socialism, stupidity, following the party line, assholes, blind acceptance, irrationality, the government, etcetera; but I have NEVER condemned any individual following their own path.
Read the entries, start with my “odious” entry where I criticized the cartoon, then read Arthur’s post, and then condemn me if you will.
Chernobyl. Many of us are familiar with the stories of this nuclear accident from reading the papers and watching the teevee news. Via Billy Beck, you can take a photo tour of the “dead zone” with a Russian girl who, well, she says it best, I think.
“Motorcycling is a great hobby of mine, I ride all my life and I owned different bikes and I ended with big kawasaki zzr 1100 cc sport touring motorcycle, which also known as ZX-11. it fast like a bullet and comfortable for long trips. I travel a lot and one of my favorite destination lead through poisoned with radiation, so called Chernobyl “dead zone” It is 130kms from my home. Why favourite? because one can ride there for hours and not meet any single car and not to see any single soul. People left and nature is blooming, there are beautiful places, woods, lakes. There is no newly built roads, but those which left from 80th in fairly good condition.”
Quite a unique experience.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Arthur Silber is an intelligent individual. His writing is clear, at times concise, and his interests are varied. I recall when he first launched his blog, The Light of Reason, as I was one of the first individuals to link to him, and I also exhanged some interesting emails with Arthur. The only complaint I have in regards to Arthur’s blogging is overly sensitive response to his readership or non-readership, as the case may be. Arthur, your value, and the value of your contributions to the online world, are not tallied by your readers, unless you allow them to be your judges based on their responses, either in writing or contributions. I titled this “Should I Stay or Should I Go” for based on the following.
Posted by Arthur on March 3rd, 2004.
“See you sometime. Whenever the spirit moves me again.
And this time, I will do my very best to make certain that it’s not any time in the near future. The disappointment hurts too much. Far, far too much. I don’t choose to experience it any longer.”
Posted by Arthur on March 5th, 2004.
“In thinking about my great disappointment at the lack of response to my current series on “The Roots of Horror,” a reaction which I discussed briefly the other day, I remembered something I said to a few friends. On a couple of occasions, I remarked that I would feel very differently about continuing with this series, and with the blog, if I had a larger readership (say, on the order of 2,000 visitors a day), or if I were being paid for it.
I don’t see a substantial increase in readership happening too quickly—my ideas are far enough out of any “mainstream” you can think of to be a significant impediment to that goal—but it might be possible for me to make a bit of money at this. So, because I am an advocate of capitalism, I’ve decided to let the market decide.”
I admire Arthur’s decision to let the market decide. If indeed Arthur wants this to be his determining factor, the market, then I would paste ads all over the site and run a couple times of year cash raising athon ala Andrew Sullivan style. If this does not support you, monetarily, let it go and pursue something else that is more profitable.
You are adding value Arthur. Don’t rely too heavily on others praise, contributions or responses to realize this fact. Though blogging can, at times, appear to be a popularity contest, you don’t have to participate in the contest to gain personal satisfaction, and popularity isn’t necessarily a good barometer of worth.
What the Market, or Should I Say the Government, Won’t Bear
What is the value of your time, equipment, goodwill etc., if you have voluntarily provided services to a government organization, in this case a Sheriff’s department, and then find that the expense of your contribution needs to be offset by attempting to earn income? I guess it may depend on who you know in government. Even then it may not help you if you value your services too highly.
Patrick Arthur Richard has found out the hard way that his past voluntary contributions are not worth $300,000.00. In fact, Richard’s has found out that his desire to earn income, for past voluntary contributions, is extortion.
Qiwi Lisolet, at Catallarchy, has a few comments on the above and additional links on this story in a post titled Take Down a Website, Go to Jail.
UPDATE - 01.22.2010 Link to original story is dead.
Voluntarily and Individually
Spc. David McCorkle has been serving in Iraq, and I thank him for his service. But, the more laudatory aspect of McCorkle’s service in Iraq can be gleaned from the following statement.
McCorkle went to speak to Yahya’s mother. She cried after he said he would support their family if Yahya returned to school.
Qualifies as an altruistic act, does it not? It does. What makes this act noteworthy though is that Spc. David McCorkle was not coerced to assist the young boy in this story, he voluntarily decided something should be done, and he acted on the need as an individual.
The complete story is here.
Thanks to McQ at Questions and Observations who linked to this story with a post titled Heros come in all shapes and sizes.
Friday, March 05, 2004
A Public Service Announcement
If you’re not willing to pay, keep it in your pants or don’t drop your drawers. It’s up to you.
UPDATE - 01.22.1010 Link to post which led to NewsMax.com piece is dead.
Delving Into the “Unio Mystica”
Interesting article in The Economist titled A mystical union. From the article.
In the first of what he hopes will be a series of experiments, Dr Beauregard and his doctoral student Vincent Paquette are recording electrical activity in the brains of seven Carmelite nuns through electrodes attached to their scalps. Their aim is to identify the brain processes underlying the Unio Mystica—the Christian notion of mystical union with God. The nuns (the researchers hope to recruit 15 in all) will also have their brains scanned using positron-emission tomography and functional magnetic-resonance imaging, the most powerful brain-imaging tools available.
How can individuals be encouraged to respect each other and eliminate a need for the state to be their nanny? One distinct step would be to first respect yourself and your own thinking. Here’s an interesting post from Richard Nikoley titled A Unified Theory of Anarchy. Part of the catalyst for Richard’s piece was this Reason piece which I mentioned here.
What’s the Difference?
UPDATE - 01.22.2010 All links upon which this post were based are evidently defunct. Pity.
I am not a scientist, a palentologist, an archaeologist, or specialist of any type. But I can read and reason. The theory of evolution, which interests me, is one of those subjects that raises the hackles of creationists, evolutionists and intelligent design proponents. I have stated before that I accept the theory of evolution, as far as it has been developed to date, but I question it, rather than blindly accepting it.
One of the aspects of studying evolution that seems to always trouble me, are the deductions made based upon evidenced gathered to support evolution. The evidence, in many instances, is scanty, yet broad statements are made from the bits of evidence gathered. As an example, I quote new information recently released.
Key clues to its existence are six fossil teeth found in the Ethiopian desert that have forced researchers to reclassify a type of hominid previously regarded as a “subspecies,” they announced in today’s issue of Science. Ardipithecus kadabba is the new species’ name.
In 2001, they reported their find in Nature based on 11 fossil fragments. They named the find Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba on the assumption that it was a subspecies of Ardipithecus ramidus.
Is it naive of me to wonder how so much can be stated from so little evidence?
The remainder of the article from which the two above quotes are drawn from, details the “harsh” conditions under which the scientists worked to gather these six teeth and eleven fossil fragments. The sacrifices made by the scientists to gather these fragments, such as “We live in tents for two months, cooking our own food.” The horror, the horror.
Via Google News.
Update: A short piece by Carl Zimmer, published by Corante, titled Secrets of the Teeth and a piece from Scientific American titled Fossil Human Teeth Fan Diversity Debate. Note Scientific American’s misleading title. They are not human teeth, as is evidenced from the following statement in the linked article.
In a report detailing the new findings, published today in the journal Science, Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his colleagues assign the ancient teeth to a new hominid species, Ardipithecus kadabba.
The life of the guy who gets up at 5 a.m. to produce, to work, comes first,” he said in a television interview aired on Thursday. “There will be a thousand reasons why people go out and steal, but I don’t excuse them.
UPDATE - 01.21.2010: Link to original story at Yahoo! News is dead. Cannot locate story on web.
Let the Market Work
The United States Telecom Association has been granted a ruling in favor of market forces rather than government forces. It seems the FCC was forcing Baby Bells to share their networks with their competitors at prices set by the government. Do you understand what that means? It means a business owner is told, by the government, to do business the way the government says to do business and to hell with your capitalist interests. That’s socialism folks.
Additional details can be read at Voluntary Trade. UPDATE - 01.21.2010 This link directs you to Skip Oliva’s website, which previously was VoluntaryTrade.org, but evidently is not any longer. I cannot locate a link to Oliva’s original thoughts in response to the above mentioned.
Are SciFi and Fantasy Genres Stagnating Society?
Sandy Starr, writing for Spiked, seems to think the two above genres, while not the cause of stagnation, play a distinct role.
As long as science fiction and fantasy fandom remained a fairly marginal subculture, then while certain fans may have pursued their passion to an unhealthy degree, the existence of the subculture was harmless. But when society as a whole starts to become obsessed with the otherworldly, then society as a whole threatens to go hikikomori - to become more interested in whiling away its time dreaming, than in addressing the real problems that confront it.
That’s from Starr’s article in Spike titled The geek shall inherit the Earth.
Perry de Havilland, at Samizdata, read Starr’s piece and has a few words to say in response.
Spiked-online is generally an interesting site, with challenging articles which often hit the nail (more or less) on the head. And sometimes not. In The geek shall inherit the Earth, I think that it would be best to say ‘your meta-context is showing’. I have met Sandy Star, and so can attest the author is a bright agreeable person, but I find myself questioning the thrust of this article even though agreeing with many of the specific points.
“Hi. My name is Joe. I’m a . . . a voter.”
Everybody, “Hi Joe.” Tell us your story.
Via Karen De Coster.