Ron Paulie Sure

May 30th, 2007

I subscribe to a few online ‘news communities’ and they are just about my only information about the outside world. Basically just Reddit.com, Digg.com, Lifehacker.com, and Makezine.com…

It seems that it is read by people just like me and they all like to read stuff written just for them.

One topic is ‘Ron Paul’ a Texan representative that is vying for the republican nomination – and reddit’ers can not get enough of this guy. He’s painted by the incredulous media whores as “off the radar” and “no where close to getting on the polls” and “dark horse, unknown” blah blah.

But he kicked serious ass in the first debate and has subsequently swept every online and phone based polling.

Here’s the most surprising thing: he actually sounds logical. He has to be the first politician I’ve EVER heard give an articulate answer that seemed to be grounded in historical context. Instead of platform talking points he’s all: “Seems like the best answer is /this/ because of the track record other countries have had and with what leaders of the US have historically tried to promote”.

Go ahead an search on reddit.com for any of his videos – they rock. One in particular was his first appearance on Bill Maher’s show. I love Bill Maher because he’s a cynical, course, funny bastard. And it was hard to see him try to be a bastard to this guy because he ‘though’ he was dealing with a crackpot. He ‘thought’ Ron Paul was another idiot – but it turned out that all Ron’s answers were dead on and insightful bits of reasoned thinking. And Bill didn’t realize it enough to go off of the script he had prepared and Bill ended up looking a fool – which I don’t know has ever happened on ‘his’ show with the way he prepares his guests.

Here’s an example straight out of the gate (all paraphrased mattalicized):

Bill: “… let’s get right to it.. you’re a crack pot libertarian [sic] is it true you think we shouldn’t have had the civil war?!?”

Ron: “Well I have said that before because of the history I’ve studied. I don’t think there was a real good reason to go to war and spend lives on a military endeavor against our own people. Look at every other industrialized nation in the world – they were all able to abolish slavery without a civil war. Look at the British – they just bought and paid for every slave. There was more then enough money to have done that instead of having the civil war. That war wasn’t really about slaves and you’d know that if you read the history.”

Bill: ” …. oh… um… okay – no civil war”

But that was just a brilliant answer – at least in comparison with every other empty headed food wafer politician I’ve ever heard trying to dodge a topic. And this was a difficult topic.

Luckily Bill realized after the fact (a couple months maybe) that he was an idiot and Ron was speaking real truths.

The major stir is all about the conflict between Ron and Rudy during the debates. Rudy is just an idiot. I wouldn’t have known that unless he interrupted the debate format to call out Ron’s statement that the 9/11 attacks were in response to a massively interventionist foreign policy that has screwed the hell out of the middle east since the end of world war II.

Rudy says in and incredibly naive way that couldn’t have been scripted to make him look more ignorant: “That’s astonishing… as someone who lived through the attacks I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so ridiculous and I would like Mr. Paul to retract that statement that the U.S. some how ’caused’ people to dislike us”.

The only gut wrenching part was that the crowd cheered for this chauvinistic brain-less bull crap.

But hopefully that was the end of this military state scared population crap. Ron Paul says some off the wall stuff that just sounds so incredibly good.

Like… um get rid of income tax. Then people say “What what what?”. He says that income tax accounts for less then 1/3 of the nation’s income and there’s way more then 1/3 of incredible abusive spending like subsidies to big oil or how about the cost of keeping the IRS running in the first place!.

I may not agree with everything (or hell anything) that guy says but I would still vote for him just because he has reasons and history to support his ideals. That’s unprecedented, there’s no precedent baby!

Camp Quest: Its beyond belief

May 29th, 2007

Camp Quest: Its beyond belief
Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view.

about my relatives…

May 21st, 2007

and more specifically my niece.

This is a follow up to the previous voluminous belch of words.

My niece is quite obviously a contrarian. If she doesn’t delight in it then she is a pathological actress AND a contrarian. To quote Prisig in his book Lila (he also wrote Zen guide to motorcycle maintenance):

chapter 29 of Lila, Pirsig writes: …he began to think about Lila again. She’s what you would call a “contrarian.” “You’re a loner, just like me,” she had said…that stuck in his mind because it was true. But what she meant was not just someone who’s alone, but a contrarian, someone who’s always doing everything the wrong way, just out of pure willfulness, it would seem.

He’d gotten the word out of his anthropology reading. It indicated there’s more to contrarians than just individual “wrongness.” That brujo was a contrarian.

Everybody gets on these negative contrarian streaks from time to time, where no matter what it is they are supposed to be doing, that’s the one thing they least want to do. Sometimes it’s degenerative negativism, where the biological forces are driving it. Sometimes it’s an ego pattern that says, “I’m too important to be doing all this static stuff.”

Sometimes the contrary anti-static drive becomes a static pattern of its own. This contrary stuff can become a tiger-ride where you can’t get off and you have to keep riding and riding until the tiger finally throws you off and devours you. The degenerative contrarian stuff usually goes that way. Drugs, illicit sex, alcohol and the like.

But sometimes it’s Dynamic, where your whole being senses that the static situation is an enemy of life itself. That’s what drives the really creative people…the artists, composers, revolutionaries and the like…the feeling that if they don’t break out of this jailhouse somebody built around them, they are going to die.

But they aren’t being contrary in a way that is just decadent. They are way too energetic and aggressive to be decadent. They’re fighting for some kind of Dynamic freedom from the static patterns.

I guess that she is a teenager who is experimenting with dadaism because she likes to think that no one has ever done it (let alone a whole movement of people). I’m old and rusty so I can say things like this about teenagers. The important thing is that she must enjoy it because she puts a lot of effort into it. Now the side-effect, or maybe the front-effect (yes I just made up that term) is that she ends up doing some strange things. For some of these things – they are purposeful and calculated deconstructions of values.

Of course this is not a problem… if she was completely isolated on an island then it wouldn’t matter ‘what’ she did and I would venture that most of it wouldn’t get done in the first place without the external measures of reaction.

The problem is the effect it has. Mostly on people who have no concept of ‘Value’. I don’t think it has any effect (or affect) on me because I try to have a ‘value-centric’ perspective.

For instance, the thing I’m most concerned about is whether or not something has value. So yeah, I can stick a banana in my ass and lite it on fire to make some dramatic statement but unless I can display and articulate an understanding of the reasons for that statement then I’m just some idiot with a flaming banana ass.

Be sure to understand what that means – if I saw someone else with a lit banana in their ass… there is a “chance” that it could be a perfectly valid thing to do. If that person took pause and explained to me, an admitted neophyte in the ways of rectal luminous herbaceous, the value of the actions then I could be swayed to see the value in it. This could all be done in spite of all the values I’ve absorbed from my upbringing and my indoctrination into this society.

I think this must be impossible for someone with no understanding of Value. Two people very close to me have this malady. My mother and Kristin. They have no demonstrable concept of Value. Because of this there are many times when these conflicts arise where there is ‘no’ chance they will achieve a deeper understanding of something that strays outside of what they expect.

I’ve been able to see how this posit could flow down in the upbringing of my Mother, Kristin, and then her daughter to give the origin of this dadaism but I think I have to hold off on that and I’ll just point out of of the conclusions from that train of thought.

Constantly I am confronted with this alien concept that the best way to deal with ‘things that are different or difficult’ is to ignore them. For instance; when someone walks into a warm room wearing a coon-skin cap and it has been decided that person exists some where out side of casual perception – you can not address that thing.

Yesterday I was caught completely off guard to find that I had violated this rule by taking an interest in a hat and trying to understand the value behind it. It looked silly and since it may well have been a test to see ‘who in the room will notice the silly thing first’ I spoke up. I want to understand what that hat-statement means. Someone I love and care about is trying to ’say something’ with that hat and I haven’t the foggiest what it is.

When I see it I think to myself “Why aren’t you wearing a coon skin hat, matt?” Matt quickly answered “because it’s hot and I’m not trying to make anyone laugh”. Now when I ask my niece about wearing a warm hat in a warm house – I am trying to understand the Value.

This looked like an attack to some people.

The reason why this looked like an attack (I can only postulate) is because, for Socially Corrosive Catty High School Snobs, things that are different suck. Anything that is not easily assignable to the categories of “MTV”, “Something from a Prince Video”, or “Things that gag me with a spoon” are bad. Those things are signs of ‘weirdness’ and ‘weirdness’ is a weakness that should cause shame.

I did not realize this because I am not a ‘Catty High School Snob’. I also did not understand why there was such a rift in understanding between Kristin and I because I did not realize she may still be a ‘Catty High School Snob’.

So here’s the basic progression… my niece wears something off the wall wacky. I think to myself: “that doesn’t look very efficient and probably looks warm. I wonder if there’s a good reason for that”. All of this is devoid of external reference because I don’t give two bits what any body else thinks about the way she looks – I want to understand the value she associates with this stuff. You know… the MOST important piece of information when investigating someone’s self expression.

Kristin on the other hand thinks “Oh my gawd… I am so embarrassed… gag me with a spoon… I have never seen that in a Prince video” because she is much like a Catty High School Girl. Then she remembers that she happens to also be a mother and thinks “Ahh that is shameful but I should be supportive of my baby even if everyone laughs at her silliness”. And then upon hearing me regarding the outfit thinks: “Oh what a jerk, fer shure. He is like totally picking on her because she’s so fashion impaired.”
[is that how 80's high school chicks talked?]

And then she tries to correct my behavior because it’s not nice to pick on strange people just because they are strange. All the while not realizing that

A) I’m not a catty high school girl and do not understand anything of her value system

B) since my lack of external validation I have at many times been the subject of the type of teasing she thinks is going on

C) I’m interested in understanding if this a random act of auto-counter-culture or if there is any thought and Value behind this apparent display of nonverbal communication.

So there’s the problem. I don’t think my niece is strange. And I am not willing to pervert my concept of understanding and value because someone has already been toe-tagged and written off as nonsensical. I think my niece’s ‘reason’ and ‘Value’ powers are near atrophied. The argument that she may be emotionally or bio-chemically motivated makes no difference to my standards of value and love because if ‘this is the way things are’ then everyone should feel good about it.

Indifference or Isolation is the very worse thing you can do to someone. Even if you beat or torture a person they are still forced to think they are ‘worth a beating’. If your kid can put any damn old thing on their head or walk about with random ass bananas and no one says anything to them about it then what do they matter? Why should that person go on living if everything they do is marginalized to a predisposed predilection that is not to be looked in the eye?

“That’s just the way they are” is not only a negligent approach to parenting/peer interaction – it is DANGEROUS. Very dangerous.

You want to stick a banana in you butt and light it aflame? Great… but if you can’t explain it and if you don’t feel confident about it then maybe you should re-think whether it’s important enough to risk the burns. Before you doing something like that you should be able to articulate very easily to someone the benefits of it. And you should be able to do so without feeling all that upset about it.

People you love should be the ones you trust to hone your perception of reality. They are supposed to source of relatively safe tests. Not caring enough to engage is a grave disservice to the ones you love.

If I can’t challenge the value of an eccentric hat without causing emotional harm what the hell is going to happen when the 18 year old “legally able to pick up and move to some far place to shed the values of a warped upbringing” meets the same exact question from strangers in a strange land?

It’s late or early…

May 21st, 2007

I’m stuck thinking again. I can say at least one positive thing, and possibly more under duress, about going to Rebecca’s graduation party at Camp Cornell yesterday – it has disquieted my mind and reminds me that a tiny sliver of me must still regard my family as worth the effort of thought.

Without Mariel awake to corral the monster I have run down a multitude of paths sorting things out. It feels like that scene in the Shining when the kid is traversing through the snowy paths of the hedge maze and retracing his steps to hide from his psycho dad. I could be either the kid or Jack.

Notes… take notes because you’re going to forget this stuff Matt.

Yesterday… there was a discussion with Kristin that left me quite upset [albeit no where near as upset as Kristin looked]. There is one phrase that made me upset and it was probably the most subtle of things to everyone except Mariel and I.

“You don’t live here and know what it’s like. If you did every day you would know what she was like…”

My niece likes to do odd things. It’s easy to notice that she enjoys doing unexpected and/or non-conformist things. I like to hope off the tracks too and I’m pretty sure that we can smell our own. I have tonight in my racing come up with some really good posits about her motivations. I had not until now tried to think of a grand unified theory that tied together some of her behaviors because it wasn’t really necessary but I tripped over it tonight. Hopefully I’ll get to that later or remember it.

When I came in the door my niece was holding a badminton racket. So, all together now, what’s the first thing you say to someone you care about when you see something like this? [This is not a trick question and should be pretty easy to answer]

“Hey, nice racket – what’s that for?”

Now here’s where it gets interesting. She didn’t have an answer – at least not at first. Some stammering but no answer. When I get into these moments where I think most people would try to escape from a topic – I become more curious.

She ventures: “I some times carry this around when I’m with my friends”

Me: “Ahh… are your friends around?”

Her: “Well no.”

Me: “Hopefully there’s another use then.”

Her: “Well I some times keep it with me for walking around.”

Me: “Sounds like you’re carrying more then you need to.”

So the most striking thing about this micro-exchange is that it sounded like quite possibly it was the first time anyone had asked her why she was carrying a racket around in the house at a family party. We should all be very suspicious when Matt thinks to do something that no one else has – he is not creative and he is not mindful of things that should have already been done.

Later – not much later – while sitting in the living room, my niece walks in with racket head sticking up from the waist of her leopard print sweats… So, all together now, what’s the first thing you might say to someone you care about when you see a racket sticking out of their pants?

“Why is there a racket in your pants?” [Justin may have asked this first I think but it may well have been me]

She didn’t really have an answer – at least not one that made me second guess the value of a racket in the pants and she removed it and walked out the room.

Next, a few moments later – I have no concept of the passage of time because I was holding Chase at the time and dodging drool – She came back in with a raccoon skin hat on. There are many different questions that one might have asked (someone they cared about) at this point so I wont’ do that exercise again. I’ll move right on to what struck me to ask:

“Isn’t that hat kind of warm for inside?”

The answer was bit stumbled again (I don’t mention the stumbling because I expect answers sound and true on demand – but they do indicate someone’s resolve) and she managed to blurt out a:
“Well it keeps me warm when I’m out in the rain”

Me: “I guess that makes sense but you’re not out in the rain.”

Her: “Well that’s why I’m going out now” [runs down the stairs and out the door into the rain with a t-shirt, leopard skin sweats, raccoon hat, racket.

A bit unexpected but she did manage to make 'sense' of it all by going outside to wait for a friend thus finding necessity for both the hat and the racket.

Kristin, who was sitting in the corner, stands and in classic passive aggressive kung-fu stance walks out of the room and down the stairs while saying:

"You always give her such a hard time... you're the reason she's outside now because you pick on her... and you're a horrible person and no body loves you because you're dumb" [ That quote might actually not be accurate and I'm currently sobbing because I'm over thirty and I can no longer remember conversations verbatim - oh and studies show that I can fabricate memories to fit my own predispositions because I'm old now]

The gist was that I caused pain by asking about the hat (and possibly the racket). I don’t have a good gist because Kristin was employing the passive aggressive kung-fu stance and I, a shadow of my former self, was not in ANY stance and Bruce Lee would have tsk’ed and shook his head while watching such abominations from the corner. So then Bruce says: “You must be like water Matt. You must fill the container of your environment” [Bruce Lee may not have been there but see above for reference to my memory and being old]

I reel back and wipe some blood from the corner of my mouth, smile, tilt my head with eyes wide open and I invited Kristin to come and talk in the same room so that I can play with Chase, dodge spit and try to hear what she said. Feeling rusty I started with my trusty white belt ‘Horse Stance’.

Turns out she thought I was mean and shouldn’t ‘make fun’ of her daughter because of her the way she dresses.

Me: “I wasn’t making fun of her I actually wanted to know if the hat was too warm – which should have been obvious from the way I asked ‘Is that hat too warm for inside?’ I asked about that because it was out of place and strikes me as inconsistent and doesn’t make sense”

Kristin:”Right, it doesn’t make sense to YOU and it isn’t inconsistent” (thoroughly mis-understanding that I meant inconsistent with reality because it was warm in the house and the item in question looked hot)

Kristin: “Well you made her feel bad. You don’t live here – you don’t what it’s like day to day. If you were then you would know.”

So now it’s on. Unfortunately it’s the bad mojo month of May and Kristin spoke the secret magical incantation to invoke the ‘make Matt care about his family again enough to entertain another rhetorical venture of futility’ spell. This is some powerful magic and usually is only attainable by Clerics of level 20 or above. It seems that Kristin had a +3 ring of ignorance on and in that same room there was a +8 “matt defensiveness wife” sitting on the floor next to me. Oh and there may have been a curse on my enchanted underwear that was causing a -4 charisma during rolled battles with disavowed sisters. But we can’t be sure until I get my hands on a reveal potion.

There are many problems with the phrase “You don’t live here – you don’t know what it’s like day to day”: The most obvious should be that it is phrase that completely removes the thread of commonality – meaning that it dissolves any possible chance of the exchange of ideas by invoking this fresh new idea called “The Human Condition”. And since there’s no book on the “Human Condition” I will tersely describe it as “You don’t know anything about my condition because you’re not me – are you?”. So that’s just a poor thing to say and should never be used unless of course you forget how to use the phrase “Piss off. There is nothing you can add because you’re stupid, worthless and a waste of time” and you need a way to convey that same sentiment.

It gets worse then just a breach of protocol though. That phrase “you don’t live here…” is painfully familiar to both Mariel and I. It sends shivers down our collective spines because we know that is an indicator of pervasive ignorance and aggressively defensive avoidance. I’ve never heard any one utter that phrase who hadn’t already put up with incredible emotional stresses but that is no excuse. This is the Big Leagues baby everybody plays hurt – everybody.

So after the magic had been unleashed I’m not sure what happened. I know that I could feel my stomach knot up like the rubber band of a cheap $1.50 balsa wood airplane and I’m pretty sure I could feel the firing of Mariel’s synapses too. It’s scary how in tune we are. I black out and launch into something about:

Me:”… if I didn’t care then I wouldn’t care. I don’t ask strangers on the T why they are wearing raccoon caps because I don’t give a flying duck” (and I am partially shook back to consciousness when I hear my self curse at a family party while playing with Chase) “You should probably assume it isn’t malice because if I wanted to hurt someone I wouldn’t muck around with the clever subtleties of fashion critique.” [this is completely mis-quoted because as I mentioned I was unconscious at the time. The next line is much closer.] “Do you think I would say something just do hurt her?”

Kristin: “I don’t know.” [This stabbed me right in the gut] “I guess it just hurts me as a mom to hear you talk to her that way”.

Me: “I think that’s very important and you need to look into why you feel that way. Thoroughly and vigorously”

That was the end of the conversation, I think. Or at least the part that Kristin was passively (aggressively) involved in. The rest of the conversation was well contained in my head for the rest of the day. For the rest of the day I am funky and imagine that Kristin is avoiding me, or giving dirty high school cafeteria looks to my wife, or gossiping all about that evil Matt with the familiar ‘too drunk to be funny’ again neighbor who later comes over and gives me a cold mumbling about watching out for something. All in my imagination and all possible through the magic of stunted emotional growth and communication skills (maybe even my growth and skills but probably not).

So here are the very confusing parts of that interaction:
*) What unresolved issues do I have that allow me to get personal invested in what a person says? even if that person is historically incapable of reasonable discussion or the honest exchange of useful information.

*) Why does it seem so obvious to me that people communicate with their whole being and not just what they say? Unless they hole up in the mountains (and are of reasonable cognitive ability) people know that every interaction is perceived externally.

*) What kind of fish was topping that anti-pasta because I think it may have made me a little queasy?

*) Is it true that one of the most harmful things to show a child is indifference?

*) How does my beautiful family get so bitterly disfigured into this crappy little thing that I want to avoid now at all cost?

*) How is something that I feel perfectly natural, comfortable and innocent doing, like asking about an obvious fashion STATEMENT, end up as something vindictive to Kristin?

I have answers to these questions. They may not be the correct answers but having a posit to test is way more progress then just feeling nauseous, guilt ridden and sleepless.

Silly journal…

May 21st, 2007

This journal has fallen into a bit of dysfunction.

And yesterday I found myself thinking about why I just don’t ‘work-it’ [z snap] any more. The reason is because I started to use it as a repository not just for mentalities but also for web pages I’ve found or things I wanted to remember. It then became more of a scrap book then a place of reflection over topics that have no audience.

In the next couple days I will be removing all the non-thoughtful stuff from this archive and maybe putting it in another more bloggy page that just has my web bookmarks and interesting things to look at.

Miyamoto Musashi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

May 17th, 2007

Miyamoto Musashi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Miyamoto Musashi

YouTube – Tales Of Mere Existence

May 14th, 2007

YouTube – Tales Of Mere Existence “How To Break Up”
Tales Of Mere Existence “How To Break Up”

PDF of file system benchmark…

May 14th, 2007

This is a handy bit of information that I seem to lose a lot.

results-013106.pdf

footboard: 16 pedals

May 11th, 2007

footboard: 16 pedals

Flip Gone Wrong Kills Man in Deadly Dancing Competition

May 10th, 2007

This will no doubt be me in 18 years.

Flip Gone Wrong Kills Man in Deadly Dancing Competition
ABC News
Man Dies in Conn. Dance Faceoff
Man Dies of Cardiac Arrest After Trying to Outperform Rival in Conn. Dance Contest
The Associated Press

NEW BRITAIN, Conn.

A man died while trying to outdo a rival with an acrobatic move while “battle dancing,” police said.

Robert Stitt, 48, and his rival were competing in a parking lot Monday night when he tried a forward flip and landed on his head.

“It was just two guys dancing. Everybody was laughing,” Stitt’s friend John Boxley said.

Boxley said James Brown was on the radio and Stitt wanted to outdo a rival dancer, who had flipped in the air.

Police said the victim went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead a short time at a local hospital.

Police said several people were in the parking lot drinking and battle dancing a competition in which each dancer tries one-upmanship with unique moves.