Saturday, October 29, 2011

saturday matinee



Yesterday at work, I went dressed as my own Evil Twin. My costume was simple, because as anyone who watches TV or movies should know, the Evil Twin always looks exactly the same except he has a moustache (or perhaps a goatee). No one got it, though, without explaination.

sigh.

I had a great idea for next year's costume (and it's obscure, since that seems to be my thing). I will choose an incredibly elaborate costume, something literary and allegorical, and then write out a detailed description of it. I will then make many copies of that description. Wearing ordinary clothing, I will hand out copies of that description whenever someone asks why I didnt dress up this year. Why?
Can you guess what my costume is?
A Conceptual Artist!
Anyone who went to Art School will probably find this hilarious. Really.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

linkage

- Penny Postcards! (via)

- Create your own beer label (this one's for you, Chad).

- Your Honor, I move the witness receives an MRI to test for their paracingulate sulcus. (via)

- This is now on the top of my Christmas list.

- Crazy or amazing? Not brilliant, though.

- The Battle of Isengard... in Lego! (via)

- Damn You, Autocorrect! (via)

- Make it Right.

- a truly green bridge.

- This is the house I want.

- How the Candidates stand on LGBT issues. (via)

- fucking love!

- Ecosphere!

- Some really clever ideas.

- Even by now most people have probably forgotten the San Diego area power outages of early September, but dont worry, there will be reminders. (via)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hey! How about this as a possible root of our problems here in America, and it's one that even tea-baggers and libertarians should be able to agree on: Any time any organization reaches a certain level of size and power, that organization will start to turn its efforts towards maintaining that power rather than doing the thing that it was created to do in the first place. We see this with governments, we saw this with the Catholic Church, we saw this with Unions, we're seeing it now with the Democratic Party*.
This the real reason why Democracy is such a good thing - because it breaks things down into individual units.

I'm not going to argue for or against the idea that the best way to run an economy is pure capitalism. It seems to be so. Unfortunately, economies do not exist in vacuums, they are part of the larger societal picture, and in that sense, pure capitalism is pure poison.
A society is the result of a group of people banding together for their mutual good. At its heart, the sought after good is protection, but in any society worth a damn, it goes well beyond that. Capitalism operates on the principle that self-interest will always lead to efficiency, which while debatable, isnt really the point here, except for that self-interest part.
See, in order for a society to work, a certain level of self-interest must be put aside for the collective good. But when a society's economy operates under the aegis of pure capitalism (or that ideal, however diluted your actual capitalism may be) then that idea of self-interest tends to bleed out into the rest of the society's thought processes. Enough cross-pollination, and pretty soon your society has decided that "collective" activity is a bad thing.
Capitalism is a terrific way to make money. It sucks as a way to run just about everything else.

Which brings me to an interview of Michael Moore conducted by Naomi Klein.
...democracy can't be being able to vote every two or four years. It has to be every part of every day of your life.

We've changed relationships and institutions around quite considerably because we've decided democracy is a better way to do it. Two hundred years ago you had to ask a woman's father for permission to marry her, and then once the marriage happened, the man was calling all the shots. And legally, women couldn't own property and things like that.

Thanks to the women's movement of the '60s and '70s, this idea was introduced to that relationship--that both people are equal and both people should have a say. And I think we're better off as a result of introducing democracy into an institution like marriage.

But we spend eight to ten to twelve hours of our daily lives at work, where we have no say. I think when anthropologists dig us up 400 years from now--if we make it that far--they're going to say, "Look at these people back then. They thought they were free. They called themselves a democracy, but they spent ten hours of every day in a totalitarian situation and they allowed the richest 1 percent to have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.
Granted, democracy probably wont work as well as Authoritarianism will in terms of making a profit or getting big projects done, but I dont see any one in America advocating the Chinese social system, and they are able to carry out massive projects pretty much just by having whatever passes as Emporor there these days decide to do so. If China decides to go green, then America will have to work very, very hard not to be left behind in the dust on this.
That America has not initiated a Manhattan Project-like effort to get create an alternative energy source or sources when the middle east (and our dependence on their oil) has been the primary source of security problems in this country is further proof of my theory on large organization. Is the military/industrial complex really keeping us safe? I dont think so.

* * *

basically: Republicans seem to feel that the market and profit are more important than the public they are supposedly serving. Those who advocate reform of the current system feel that the good of the public should come before the profits of the marketplace.
At this point Republicans will counter that the profits of the marketplace translate into good for the public, but I would argue that this is only true if money is the most important thing, i.e., that money can buy happiness.



* Republicans do it too, of course. Nakedly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

the Republican Party has destroyed America

The Republican Party has been the dominant force in American politics since the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan. And what do you suppose they've done in nearly three decades of either direct control or control via framing of the issues?
when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And the largest creditor. More people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now just twenty eight years later we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods, exporter of raw materials which is kind of the definition of a third world nation and we're the most in debt of any country in the world.
They will blame the collapse of America on the Democrats, they will blame it on the Unions, they will blame it on homosexuals and "high" taxes, they will blame it on a lack of moral character or fiber. Then, as a solution, they will will give the same answer that they give for every single issue that ever confronts them: deregulation and tax cuts.




props to the sadly lost Kel, who provided this video sometime ago.

Ed. Note: This was an old draft that I'd written God knows how long ago, probably back in '08, that I found and decided that it was still relevant and perhaps coherent enough to fill some space.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

saturday matinee



Thank you, folks, you've been a great audience, Magical Trevor is up next!

Friday, October 21, 2011

quote for the day

The historian Robert Paxton defines fascism as "a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

From The Meming of Life

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

quote for the day

"When you base your happiness on negatives, it can only get so positive."

Jef Mallett in Frazz

Saturday, October 15, 2011

saturday matinee



This is pretty cool. My wife, a history teacher, showed it to me. I love this shit, seriously.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

quote for the day

"Pawlenty knows perfectly well what every Liberal has always known: that for decades within the GOP, "Sane" has been a rusting hulk, stripped for parts and rotting in a wingnut landfill. That however much lavishly well paid children like David Brooks sit behind the stump of the steering wheel and yell, "Vrooom! Vrooom! We're going very fast now!", the only functional Republican vehicle out of obscurity and on to political power is the Batshit Clown Car."

driftglass

Unfortunately, we are a nation of children, surly teenagers unwilling to do our chores, whining, "but it's not My mess!". In the end, we will sink beneath the waves of our own self-importance and inability to understand that a successful nation works for everyone, whether everyone "works" or not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

viva le roi! viva l'aristocracy!

Okay, here's what I'm thinking:

It's time to call the financial and industrial leaders of this country what they really are: royalty, aristocrats, the hoity toity, our Lords and Ladies. Whatever.
The signs are all there. They have hundreds or thousands of times more money than almost all of us. They inherit not only money, but power, fame and social "placement"*. They have access to lawmakers that most of us cannot even dream of. The bar for consequences to illegal behavior is much, much higher, if it exists at all.
They never get fired, even when they practically destroy their fiefdom. They may lose their job, but they never lose their positions.
And how do you explain the kind of compensations that they draw from their "work"? No person could possibly earn their salaries. Nor could they earn these kinds of benefits.

So, here's my proposition: It's time to call these folks what they are.
They are Barons of Banking, Earls of Energy, Princes of Finance, Dukes of Insurance, Viscounts of Pharmaceuticals, Marquises of the Military-Industrial Complex, and all the various Knights and Baronets of the Entertainment and Real Estate Industries. LEt's give them their titles. I mean, why wait for them to demand them? We already owe them fealty.
I myself answer to the Barons at Bank of America (and am a marked man in several other banking demenses). I am frequently forced to bow down before the petty lords who run my place of employment due to their alliance with the Duc d'Aetna.

So let's do it. America as a Democracy is probably dead anyway, so let's get started. Goodbye, Democracy, hello Feudal State. And cheer up! It cant be too many generations of toil for the glory of the aristocracy before some kind of calamity wipes out a major portion of the population, starting the whole middle class thing up again, right?

Monday, October 10, 2011

you need this for Halloween

 
 
You need this candle for Halloween, right? Which is why I'm posting this in time for you to order one (and to remind myself to do the same).
Assuming it's available, that is. It may not be. You may have to make one yourself, somehow. Or write the guy who made them and beg him to sell you one.

yeah. Or to just torment you... and myself.


(via)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

quote for the day

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
September 14, 1960

Read the rest of the speech

Sunday, October 02, 2011

sunday funny


Guess who gets paid more? Guess who determines the value of the work?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

saturday matinee



Eran Amir made a stop-motion within a stop-motion video created using 500 people in Israel holding 1500 photos. The music is 'Malinkovec Valzer' by Maxmaber Orkestar.

(straight to YouTube)