Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Friday, April 20, 2007

"No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no! You don't understand. You can't possibly because you're irreligious."

Um.  Interesting.  Yet most of the irreligious people I know were RAISED religious.  They learned religion at the knees of their parents.  In fact, we can understand religious thought very well.

Our rejection comes not from MISUNDERSTANDING...but from understanding it TOO WELL, and going in search of something that makes more sense.

One thing Rush can explain to me, though, is how the shooter deciding that he wants to "die like Christ" could possibly be the result of too little religion.

The boy was crazy.  Adding more religion would have just made him express his craziness more religiously.  Just as he would have expressed his craziness in secular terms if he had been immersed in secularism.

Secularism didn't make him kill.  Religion didn't make him kill. 

We all want answers, we all want solutions, we all want this to be a perfect world (from a human perspective).  It's not.  Blaming secularism might make you feel better Rush, but it does nothing to address the problem.

Friday, April 20, 2007 9:23:14 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #

I just heard on MPR a lead in that was discussing a view that Virginia Tech should not have let the shooter return to school after he was hospitalized with a mental illness.

Are people really saying that employers and schools have to be held responsible for decisions to not descriminate against the mentally ill?  I couldn't listen to the broadcast, but the teaser was either repugnant, misleading or both.

If someone's behavior at work or school is threatening and dangerous, then the employer/school should be responsible for dealing with it appropriatly.  Merely knowing that they have been hospitalized does not mean that they are responsible to not allow the person on campus/hire them.

How many people have been hospitalized for mental problems and gone on to live normal, productive lives and not treaten anybody.

Ugh.  I am so sad for the victims and the families, and for the whole terrible mess.  All this over-focusing on single issues is perhaps understandable, but it is inappropriate and will not produce outcomes that will be helpful in any way.  People need time to heal before they can respond rationally.

Friday, April 20, 2007 8:45:36 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From Conrad Zero I get a link to this article in the Washington Post.

A world-class violinist playing on a priceless violin, posing as a street musician, and his value is only recognized by a few people...a handful who have dabbled at being violinists, and one who recognizes the musician.

People who rushed past, perhaps flipping spare change, perhaps trying to shout over the annoying noise of this bothersom begger...what would they have done if they had realized that they were getting a free front seat at a performance that they would never get another chance at again?

What do people simply throw out as useless, meaningless, even stupid...just because they don't have a reason to really look at it's value?

How much of our "junk science" is the public policy equivilant of a virtuoso with a nearly priceless instrument being ignored by commuters too busy to bother knowing what they are missing?

[UPDATE:  Michelle gives us a link in the comments to a blog entry that expands on the "framing" aspect of the WaPo story.  She says that in order for the audience to respond to a classical musician in a street musician setting, he needs to develop skills for presenting to that audience appropriately for the kind of audience they are, and in the situation they are in rather than actually expecting them to respond to a performance just because it is good and worthy of their attention.

This is EXACTLY what I've been trying to say.  Thank you, Michelle.

Quote from the blog entry:

A busker is someone who can turn any place into a stage. Obviously, Joshua Bell needs an actual stage. As a busker one needs to interact with those around, break walls of personal space, and lure people into a collective and spontaneous group experience on the street, in the moment, with you. A bad busking act is when the performer doesn’t make an effort to connect with the audience. Like musicians who play for themselves, not acknowledging the audience, just burying their heads in their instruments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:29:10 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  | #
Monday, March 19, 2007

Wow.  Finding the link to Max’s site inspired me to look for the names of other people I’d had friendships with in Junior High and High School.

I did a search on Lee Helgen, because I knew I would find him.  He’s a politician in St. Paul now.  Ward Five City council member in St. Paul, MN

Lee and I had a falling out over something really stupid when I was in 11th grade.  I behaved foolishly and thoughtlessly and ended up not only embarrassing myself, but also doing damage to his car (no, I wasn’t driving it).  Lee was understandably upset.  I was ham-handed in my attempts to reconcile the friendship.  Lee and I never talked again, but I have no ill-will toward him as the whole mess was all my fault.  I think I’ve mentioned being kind of screwed up when I was a kid, right?  Some people, at some points in their life, are more trouble than they are worth, and if they don’t show signs of even thinking about changing, it is perfectly moral and ethical to simply say “No more.  You will bring no more chaos to my life”.  He could have done a lot of damage to me, if he’d wanted revenge, or to exercise some kind of righteous power… but he didn’t.  He just let me know that he was done, that I should do something to rescue myself from chaos, and walked away.

Anyway, I’ve always thought of Lee as kind of a stand-up guy, but this publication is obsessed with him.

The picture that they paint would have you believe that Lee is some sort of shadowy and rutheless figure somehow under the thrall of local religious leaders and the “liberal” big Pull Tabs lobby, and the Catholic Church.

I especially liked this paragraph:

Helgen objected to a specialty drink advertised at the bar which was called “Diva’s naughty fruit”. This drink consisted of cherries, olives, and pineapple soaking in vodka. But to Helgen it might have been like the forbidden fruit that Eve offered to Adam - something that was sexually provocative. Council Member Helgen also did not like that fact that Diva’s featured a singer named “Rowdy Cowboy” on Thursday evenings. “Rowdy Cowboy”, also known as “Bo Billy”, was a Nashville recording star who sang Country and Western songs. Maybe Helgen thought that his presence at the bar incited rowdy or violent behavior. There was also an elevated platform at one end of the bar room which looked like - but was not - a place for nude dancing.

It paints Lee as some sort of anti-alcohol puritan, which is just funny to me.  Lee would have to have changed a LOT since I knew him to get to that point.  He was kind of a goofy, irreverent, sarcastic kid. You all most likly reacall how, in school, the smart, serious, thinking people often put up an armor of wise-cracking bravado.  The picture of him as an anti-alcohol puritanical crusader abusing power to wipe out booze and sexual implications just cracks me up.

I DO believe that Lee might have become more religious, as people sometimes do when they get older, but going after a bar owner because she’s Ojibwe and he doesn’t like that some of her specialties have sexy names?  I don’t buy it.  I could be wrong, because I haven’t talked to him in years, but it just doesn’t track for me.  Maybe someone else who kept in touch with him can shed more light.

Oh, and if you don’t follow any of the other links, go to this one.  There is a photo of a protest depicting Lee and Father Mike as racists and serving money, ridiculing them for their religion and politics…THEN, lower on the page, it triumphantly trumpets the victory of Michelle Bachman;  Minnesota’s favorite crazy Jesus lady, who wants creationism taught as science in schools, and thinks that the US has entered into a secret deal to split Iraq with Iran.

Good grief.  The creepy weird people are everywhere.  It’s really disappointing.

Monday, March 19, 2007 10:28:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Sunday, February 18, 2007

I'm sure everyone has heard of the strange case of how two young bloggers got hired by John Edwards to blog for his campaign, and the right-wing smear machine kicked into high gear.

In the case of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen, the right-wing blow-hard cry that saying the Pope and other religious leaders obstruct gay rights is “anti-catholic”.  Hey!  You can’t say something that is true but unflattering of the Pope!  That’s anti-Catholic!  Plus, these women use bad language and are independant Freethinkers.  The religious right couldn't have that.  So they round up their posse to send out rape threats and death threats to two young women to show their Godly support of The Church.

Eventually, the young women resign from the Edwards campaign.

We’re getting dangerously close to mob rule rather than rule of law, here people.

So I’ll leave you with a little quote from Black Sabbath.  Just call it a little consolation for the fact that bands like Black Sabbath were seen as the CAUSE of the destruction of civilization, rather than prophetic foretellers of it: and  that their  “Christian” accusers are the ones carrying the torches and pitchforks.

 

Close the city and tell the people that something's coming to call
Death and darkness are rushing forward to take a bite from the wall, oh

You've nothing to say
They're breaking away
If you listen to fools...
The Mob Rules
The Mob Rules

Kill the spirit and you'll be blinded, the end is always the same
Play with fire, you burn your fingers and lose your hold of the flame, oh

It's over, it's done
the end is begun
If you listen to fools...
The Mob Rules

You've nothing to say
Oh, They're breaking away
If you listen to fools...

Break the circle and stop the movement, the wheel is thrown to the ground
Just remember it might start rolling and take you right back around

You're all fools!
The Mob Rules!

--Black Sabbath “The Mob Rules”

Sunday, February 18, 2007 9:43:23 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  |  | #
Wednesday, January 03, 2007

     On December 27th, I was going to the airport to pick up my friend, Val.  I was listening to MPR, and I heard a strange spot that they did on a new disease called Morgellon's Syndrome.

 

     The symptoms sounded so preposterous that, had the story been aired on April First, I would have laughed out loud, assuming it to be made up entirely. (bugs crawling around under the skin, cellulose fibers growing from the skin, involvement with or resemblance to just about every single hazy, difficult to diagnose, treat or even prove the existence of condition on the face of the Earth, etc.)

 

A couple of days ago, I chanced across a website where a man suggested that Morgellon's was perhaps a brilliant and sick instance of viral marketing.

 

I have since come across several conjectures about what Morgellon's is: that it is a hoax, that it is a variation of delusional parisitosis, that these poor people are actually suffering from a real disease.

 

At any rate, the site that suggested that it was a viral marketing campaign for the movie based on Phillip K. Dick's Through a Scanner Darkly had the most interesting comments.

 

The suggestion that Morgellon's was not a real disease brought out people who vitriolically demanded that the author retract his statement.  They told of their pain and anguish, their emotional and physical torture with the disease, and they even made comments wishing the disease upon the author so that he could know how much they suffered with it, and then he would not belittle their disease so much.

 

I don't believe that Morgellon's is a real disease.  I am prepared to find out I'm wrong, and retract that statement, but until I see something, anything resembling a rational explanation for the bugs, the fibers, or the lesions that the people are supposedly subjected to, I'm just not going to believe it is real.

 

I have not seen a picture of the bugs.  I haven't heard what their taxonomic category is.  You would think it would be simple to come up with the chemical composition of the fibers, and some process by which they can be manufactured.  "Information" sites about the disease are only so much noise.  With pictures and technobabble that says nothing.

 

The symptoms are so incredible as to be...well...incredible.

 

Therefore, I do not believe it is real until it can be demonstrated otherwise.

 

And if anyone posts a vitriolic response demanding an apology, and demanding that I accept their pain and anguish and suffering as sufficient cause to ignore my reason and what knowledge I have, I'm sorry, but I can't do that.

 

I'm sorry for people's pain...but me believing the same as they do about the cause of that pain will not ease their pain one bit...whereas compromising critical thought to emotionalism is certainly harmful.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 9:25:25 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  | #
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The minor skirmish over one of many small symbols of Christmas cheer has been won by the forces of freedom.  Ms. Jensen gets to keep her peace sign wreath up through Christmas, and it won't cost her one penny of her estimated $1,000 in fines from the Loma Linda Homeowner's association.

EclecticsAnonymous has the scoop

It is cool to see a situation like this resolved so quickly and (reletively) painlessly through the actions of many many complete strangers genuinly expressing their outrage.

I suppose Mr. Kearns will hail it as our liberal elite persecuting the much-oppressed but oh-so-morally-superior Grinchy-peacesign-hating-dimbulb minorty.

You never know, maybe he'll form an NGO.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:18:46 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, November 27, 2006

Hey, check it out, some

"peace is the reason for the season"-hatin' conservtives are trying to bully a woman into taking down her peace symbol wreath.

Ben at EclecticsAnonymous has a good link and some original commentary on the story.

 

Know what I think?  I think these people would benefit from a raft of Christmas cards sporting the peace symbol, and hand-written notes asking them why they hate the baby Jesus.

Monday, November 27, 2006 9:41:17 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Here's a blast from the past for me and my friends, Sue and Barb.

Wade Pilloud graduated with us from Bemidji High School.  He was also in my Confirmation class and attended our church.  He was also one of the small group of students that I went with on a trip to Germany my Senior year.  I didn't know him well, and I don't have any opinions of him that would be of any particular use or interest to the general public.

Wade is the K-12 principal of a school in Indus, MN (close to International Falls) who resigned after being put on administrative leave for shooting two kittens on school grounds.  They were orphaned, and Mr. Pilloud says he wanted to prevent them from suffering from a death by starvation.

Anyone who grew up n the country knows that it's not uncommon to find burlap sacks full of drowned kittens or puppies along the road, or to hear of people shooting, gassing, or otherwise "doing in" unwanted animal offspring that they can't or won't care for to "prevent suffering".

It is a common and wholly unremarkable attitude from the time and place that we were raised.  The fact that he thought this was the best thing to do is unsurprising to me.  The fact that he seemed to think it was natural, acceptable, and right to bring a gun onto school grounds and dispatch the animals himself (rather than call animal control to have them rescued by animal welfare professionals) is also unsurprising to me, as it is a natural outgrowth of the mentality and worldview commonly held by the majority of people in the place and time that we grew up.

I happen to disagree with it, which is perhaps a hint as to why I no longer live in rural Northern Minnesota.

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

[Update:  I just heard from an extended family member that her husband was going out to "put down" their ancient family dog, who has stopped eating.  She wanted to take the dog to the vet to be put down, but as her husband has recently been laid off, and they don't know when he will get a job, they don't have the funds to do it humanely.  So he is going to shoot the dog...the most "humane" alternative.  Luckily, her husband is quite competent with firearms, and is unlikely to botch the job.  Like I said.  Pervasive attitude.]   

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 12:20:29 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #
Monday, October 23, 2006
Enforcing proper conversational ettiquette = Sexual Harrassment; looking at both sides of an issue presented in the curriculum = indoctrinating students with your personal views; Peace = anti-patriotic. Got it. Anything else?
Monday, October 23, 2006 10:23:28 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  | #
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here's a link to a story defending the right of an employer to dictate an employee's sexual behavior in her own home.

As much as I am comitted to religious freedom, I am beginning to see the point that we would be better off without these people and their poisonous ideas.  I realize that this is a little-known regressivist e-rag...but the fact remains that a woman was ordered by her employer to get married to her live in boyfriend, leave him, or quite her job.

AND, IT WENT TO COURT.

AND there are people who feel the court should have upheld the employer and not the wronged employee.

These people are enemies of the right of conscience, the right to free thought, the right to personal freedom of every kind.  They are enemies to your right to live on your own terms as a human being.

They have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, but no matter what they believe, that right ends when their beliefs infringe on the rights of others to live as they choose, according to their conscience.

UPDATE: There are seven states with anti-cohabitation laws: Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.  So, if you want to live together with someone and you aren't married to them, don't do it in any of these states.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 4:13:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Does this seem right to you?
Sunday, December 04, 2005 9:17:14 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Saturday, November 26, 2005
If it don't apply to you, just ignore it.
Saturday, November 26, 2005 12:39:18 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Saturday, October 08, 2005
(I got better)
Saturday, October 08, 2005 5:12:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, September 16, 2005
If you Can't find embarassing evidence of politicians not paying attention to their job...make it up.
Friday, September 16, 2005 5:29:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Thursday, September 15, 2005
OR: BREAKING NEWS ALERT!!! The President sometimes has to go pee-pee!
Thursday, September 15, 2005 1:25:43 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
and "it's your money" and all that jazz.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:28:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Great...what next...telemarketing calls from the KKK?
Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:39:23 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Thursday, May 12, 2005
We can now celebrate the triumph that is the American economy.
Thursday, May 12, 2005 12:16:08 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
"Aint you heard about the "writing about zombies overrunning a school test?"
Tuesday, March 01, 2005 7:23:34 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Apparently, they are deadly weapons.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005 9:16:49 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
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