Saturday, January 31, 2009

quite possibly

found quote:
Half of the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important.

– T.S. Eliot

Friday, January 30, 2009

new to me

I had certainly heard the name Alexander Solzhenitsyn, but I had not heard much about his views. This speech from over thirty years ago was an eye opener for me. The whole thing is worth reading; here are just a few highlights:
(on courage)

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage... particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements... And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and with countries not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?

(on individual rights)

The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counterbalanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

...The culprit can go unpunished or obtain undeserved leniency with the support of thousands of public defenders. When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorist's civil rights. There are many such cases.

Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually, but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature.

(on freedom of the press)

The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom... But what sort of use does it make of this freedom?

...There is no true moral responsibility for deformation or disproportion. What sort of responsibility does a journalist or a newspaper have to his readers, or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? It hardly ever happens because it would damage sales. A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist usually always gets away with it...

Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors, and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified; they will stay on in the readers' memories. How many hasty, immature, superficial, and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus, we may see terrorists described as heroes, or secret matters pertaining to one's nation's defense publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: "Everyone is entitled to know everything." But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era. People also have the right not to know and it's a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. Such as it is, however, the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislative power, the executive, and the judiciary. And one would then like to ask: By what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible? In the communist East a journalist is frankly appointed as a state official. But who has granted Western journalists their power, for how long a time, and with what prerogatives?
(emphases mine)

historic inauguration

Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a time where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Wry Mouth echoes that sentiment:
"..."this historical inauguration" of Mr. Barack Obama.

Sigh... I can't help but ask myself, "historical in what way?"

For I am afraid the answer would be, for many people, "the inauguration is historical because Mr. Obama is The First Black President of the USA."

And that sounds so... condescending, somehow... For me, the historical election will be the one where we no longer remark upon the president's gender or faith or skin color with hushed tones."

alternative lifestyle

'Gay'-rights leader Michael Glatze quits homosexuality:
The radical change in his life, Glatze recalls, began with inner "promptings" he now attributes to God.

"I hope I can share my story," he said. "I feel strongly God has put me here for a reason. Even in the darkest days of late-night parties, substance abuse and all kinds of things – when I felt like, 'Why am I here, what am I doing?' – there was always a voice there...

In fact, he writes in his WND column today, "'coming out' from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

snul*? strep!

have been sick this week, and it's dangerous to post while fevered...

(* "snul" invented by house of eratosthenes)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"those who control the past control the future"

this article reminded of the quote used as this title, and while searching for its source (orwell) i found something related to think about.

lolnews

"inkompatuns, we haz it"

1 billion... 840 million...

...and now a bid of 750 million from the hatless man in the back row.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

let your opinion be known

Should the motto "In God We Trust" be removed from U.S. currency?

must... remember...

after... inauguration...:
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

Friday, January 16, 2009

true story

Overheard at a leatherworking shop: "No sir, we can't sell by the yard. Cows don't grow on bolts."

was television just a fad after all?

Many families already enjoy the benefits of "tuning out and turning off" by disconnecting Big Brother's sewer line from their households. The federally-mandated shutdown of the analog broadcast provides a logical time for others to follow their example.

update: a reminder from local malcontent's comment

Psalm 101:3-4 (NIV)

I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate;
they will not cling to me.

Men of perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with evil.

top five #5

fifth in the series:

Top Five Places People Usually Forget To Look When Trying To "Find Themselves":
  1. At home
  2. In the mirror
  3. At work
  4. At the Ramada Inn of Pocatello, Idaho
  5. Down

top five #4

fourth in the series:

Top Five Four-Letter Words That Could, But Should Not, Be Used To Name Soap:
  1. Brie
  2. Dyad
  3. Gamy
  4. Lewd
  5. Manx

Thursday, January 15, 2009

top five #3

third in the series:

Top Five Historical Figures Who Should Not Be Allowed To Operate A Motor Vehicle:
  1. Genghis Khan
  2. Gautama Buddha
  3. George IV
  4. Guthrum
  5. Hieronymus Bosch

top five #2

next in the series...

Top Five Most Annoying TV Ditties To Get Stuck Endlessly Repeating In Your Head:
  1. "I Feel Like Chicken Tonight"
  2. Alka-Seltzer's "Plop Plop Fizz Fizz"
  3. The theme to "Crosswords"
  4. Only the first four notes of "The Twilight Zone" theme
  5. NuvaRing's "Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun-Everyday"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

top five #1

i was inspired by this site (which i find humorous despite some politics & vulgarity) to make some hopefully humorous top five lists. attempt one:

Top Five Alternate Names for FedEx That Were Rejected for Being Needlessly Whimsical:
  1. P.J.Shippenboxer's
  2. Around The World In Three Days Or Less
  3. T.G.I. On Time
  4. O'Maileys'
  5. I Can't Believe It's Not Broken!

the not-so-great satan

i thought terrorists preferred obama?

(via monday evening marcel)

friends of friends links

Office Furniture USA: the name says it all.

Simulator Solution: ambulance training simulators.

glasses

lileks' history of vision correction is not dissimilar to mine...

gun control

facts vs dogma:
If we are serious about the role of guns and gun control as factors in differing rates of violence between countries, then we need to do what history professor Joyce Lee Malcolm does -- examine the history of guns and violence. In England, as she points out, over the centuries "violent crime continued to decline markedly at the very time that guns were becoming increasingly available."

England's Bill of Rights in 1688 was quite unambiguous that the right of a private individual to be armed was an individual right, independently of any collective right of militias. Guns were as freely available to Englishmen as to Americans, on into the early 20th century.

The rise of the interventionist state in early 20th century England included efforts to restrict ownership of guns. After the First World War, gun control laws began restricting the possession of firearms. Then, after the Second World War, these restrictions grew more severe, eventually disarming the civilian population of England -- or at least the law-abiding part of it.

It was during this period of severe restrictions on owning firearms that crime rates in general, and the murder rate in particular, began to rise in England. "As the number of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen," Professor Malcolm points out.

In 1954, there were only a dozen armed robberies in London but, by the 1990s, there were more than a hundred times as many. In England, as in the United States, drastic crackdowns on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens were accompanied by ever greater leniency to criminals. In both countries, this turned out to be a formula for disaster.

While England has not yet reached the American level of murders, it has already surpassed the United States in rates of robbery and burglary. Moreover, in recent years the murder rate in England has been going up under still more severe gun control laws, while the murder rate in the United States has been going down as more and more states have allowed private citizens to carry concealed weapons -- and have begun locking up more criminals...

In England as in America, sensational gun crimes have been seized upon and used politically to promote crackdowns on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens, while doing nothing about criminals.

Monday, January 12, 2009

gambling losses

re-shrug,
rehire, and
let it ride.

crazy people

monday evening is onto them, i.e. us:
What does it mean when economic output drops? More people sat home watching TV, ignoring the commercials, I guess. Maybe it’s an indication that we were measuring the wrong thing, or measuring wrong. Some of us thought a Super-Sized Chevy pickup was worth as much as a house, and a house as much as a small business. But a barrel of oil turns out not to be worth $150, and Campbell’s Soup isn’t worth $1.50. Everybody thinks, “Dang, they’re on to us.” Panic ensues.

People had been making useless junk and didn’t know it, and now they’ve stopped. Maybe our economy depends on us working hard to make stuff we don’t need, so we can buy stuff we don’t need. Every few years people notice, and then there’s a recession. Really, if most of what we make is expensive and unnecessary, we’re lucky it’s ever anything but a recession.

Imagine if we tried to maintain our weblogs like that.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

complimentary?

one of my posts from over four years ago has the google ranking 2 of about 3,160,000 of "randomness in the highest form". i'm not sure what to think of that...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

another apology

...for the lack of posts...

...tired-ish, sick-ish, distracted and lazy...

...will be back before too long, i hope...

Saturday, January 03, 2009