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busy, busy, busy

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It's all about the Armageddon

I'm watching the latest installment of "Revelations". The first was bad, I knew this was going to be at least as bad as the first, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be until Fred Durst showed up halfway through the episode. I guess he's one of the Satan worshipers or something.

There's no way I'm turning off the TV now.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Man Sues After Being Implanted with Gay Stem Cells
A Kansas resident who underwent stem cell therapy for advanced male pattern baldness has since been diagnosed as gay. The man is now suing his doctors, alleging that they knew he did not want to be the recipient of gay stem cells.

Of the embryonic stem cells approved by President Bush, how many are gay?

TOPEKA, KS—When Marybeth Witty stumbled upon her husband Dale watching a pornographic video on the internet, she knew something was wrong. Instead of looking at images of nude high school cheerleaders and young shaved lesbians as he often had in the past, the 37-year old auto parts salesman was taking in hot guy-on-guy action. "As soon as I saw what he was looking at I knew something was different," said Marybeth, a part-time manicurist who enjoys scrapbooking. "This was not the same Dale."

I'm adjusting to an entirely new routine here in my new place, so things might be sketchy around here until I get settled (in an existential sense--I'm actually already completely unpacked).

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I move the computer to the new place tomorrow, so I'll be offline most of the day. Possibly longer if my service hasn't switched over by then. At any rate, posting will be light (ha ha) or nonexistent through the weekend while I finish moving, unpacking, and feng-shui-ing the hell out of my new pad.

If anyone happens to be in town and wants to help move some stuff...

Part one of "Revelations" was quite awful. I loved it. It's a pretty standard End Times tale about an astrophysicist who takes down the world's leading satanist after his daughter is killed, and then some other girl gets struck by lighting after her dad threatens to take her to church if she misbehaves but she ends up in a "permanent vegetative state" where she recites Latin and draws maps during lighting storms, and some freaky nun is looking for the new baby Jesus who apparently survived a shipwreck and washed ashore in Mexico or somewhere, and the scientists are all smug pricks who only sit around and discuss how religion is dumb.

I don't see what the fuss was all about, it sure doesn't seem any weirder than any other story based on the Bible.

But, in the end, it will be no "Megiddo: The Omega Code 2", the "Evil Dead 2" of End Times films. (Except "Evil Dead 2" is actually good.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I am so going to watch me some TV tonight.

'Left Behind' Authors Blast End-Times Mini-Series as 'Unbiblical, Weird'
The six-episode "Revelations," which debuts tomorrow night, is about an astrophysicist and a nun who realize that the events described in the book of Revelation are taking place.

"'Revelations seems to draw from everywhere and nowhere," said Jenkins, who has viewed the first "Revelations" episode. Tim LaHaye, the creator of "Left Behind" and a prophecy scholar, agreed.

"This story is based on some writer's imagination about the book of Revelation," LaHaye said. "However, the writer clearly has not studied the book or maybe even read it. ... This is a good example of someone who doesn't know the message [of 'The Passion' or 'Left Behind'] and doesn't know that he doesn't know."

Considering that very little of all this "end times" nonsense is actually in the book of Revelation, where exactly did LaHaye and his cohorts get their material for a dozen or so novels? "The stuff we pulled out of our asses is a million times more accurate than the stuff they pulled out of their asses!! We're scholars, bitches!"
For instance, Jenkins pointed out that the nun assigned to study the end times searches for a baby Jesus. "Regardless of where people stand on the interpretation of biblical prophecy, no one believes Jesus will return again as a baby," Jenkins explained.

Everyone knows he's just going to burst out of the sky with angels and trumpets and a massive flaming sword. Jesus coming back as a baby would be too weird.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More meme-ing

Requested by Mac.

1.) What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

Right now I have 2,133 files (8.79 gigabytes), and seeing as how I don't download much anymore and my CD drive has totally given up, it will probably stay that way.

2.) The CD you last bought was:

I actually bought three (what is it with me and buying three things at a time?):

Out Hud Let Us Never Speak of it Again
Out Hud Street Dad
Q and not U Power

3.) What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

"Cyborg Control" by Man or Astro-man? (I think).

4.) Write down five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:

1. "Afternoon with the Axolotis" (Hum)
2. "The Hexx" (Pavement)
3. "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" (Flaming Lips"
4. "Pardon My Freedom" (!!!)
5. "Witch Mountain Bridge" (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks)

5.) To whom (three people) are you going to pass this stick? And why?

Maggie, Jason, and Steven, because they are all fine, decent folks who don't much cotton to crappy music.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Book Meme 123.5

The fun never stops. I was trying to find where the F/451 book meme started and found this one:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

I packed and moved my books last week, but fortunately I held on to a few. I grabbed a book from the top of the pile that I haven't yet read.

"The chicken woman is wearing a jeweler's loupe in one eye." (Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby)

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Book Meme

I've seen this floating around the blogosphere lately and thought I'd take a whack at it.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Because I'm fairly lazy, I'm tempted to say J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings since I already have about half of it memorized. I think, however, it would better serve humankind if I became Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I wouldn't call it a crush, but I quite liked Cayce Pollard from William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.

The last book you bought is?

I bought three books the last time I went shopping, and since I can't remember the last one past the register:

Rudy Rucker Frek and the Elixir
Cory Doctorow Eastern Standard Tribe
Bill Hicks Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines

What are you currently reading?

Terry Pratchett Feet of Clay
Ruth S. Noel The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth
Philip K. Dick Paycheck, and Other Classic Stories

Five books you would take to a deserted island?

There's no way that five single books would keep me satisfied for more than a day on a deserted island, so I would probably cheat and bring several long book series with me into exile.

I couldn't live without The Lord of the Rings, which would of course require me to take The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth collection. I would probably also take Pratchett's entire Discworld series as well as Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Baroque Cycle.

For practicality's sake I would take some sort of comprehensive survival guide, as well as a blank sketchbook so I could make maps of the island.

Three World Wars (via Post-Atomic)

I'm definitely a "what if..." kind of guy, so I think conspiracy theories are fun. Some are better (and more plausible) than others, and then some are worse than all of them combined. Not because the ideas are really off-the-wall, but because it seems as if they leave out large chunks of context.

To be honest, I could only read this silly site as far as its explanation of the true cause of WWI. Though shocking, it does leave more than a little room for big questions. After delivering a brief but stunning knockout-punch to the ironclad fourth-grade-history-textbook cause of war (someone popping a cap in the archduke's ass), the author posits the REAL cause: A shadowy network of shadowy Americans wanted to get involved in the war.

A-ha. The war started because Americans wanted to join the fight after the war started. To be fair, the author also states some people knew a war was coming and wanted to get invoved before it did, but they were shadowy and couldn't do anything about it.

Maybe warmongering Americans did have a large part to play; with the Franz Ferdinand theory so skillfully blown out of the water, what else is there? I mean, besides the previous century of European history? As he states elsewhere on the site, he is only one guy with little time, and it's natural that some details might get passed over in his quest for truth. So what if he forgot to mention possible other causes such as an incredibly rigid and outdated system of alliances and defense protocols, the geopolitical quagmire surrounding Britain and Russia over the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the "Eastern Question," colonial conflicts in Africa, ethnic tensions in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, impending revolution in Russia, the power vacuums left with the deaths/departures of Bismarck and his comtemporaries... You know, stuff that's pretty easy to overlook when the obvious cause is shockingly apparent.

Of course, it was all hard to read with an objective, open, and uncritical mind after I had already seen the following selection (about twenty lines from the top on the very first page) [italics mine]:

"Here's what an astute politician said, 9 months before the tragic events of 9/11:
[blah blah blah]
Lyndon Larouche, January 27, 2001"

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Same-sex marriage foes set broader agenda: Conservatives target abortion, evolution, adoptions by gays
Now that Kansas voters have changed the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, what's next?

The Rev. Terry Fox of Wichita, one of the primary supporters of the same-sex marriage ban, said Christians have been energized by the debate over same-sex marriage and they are eager to flex their political muscles.

"This has awakened the body of Christ," Fox said.

Fox helped turn defeat of the amendment in the Legislature in 2004 to victory for his side at the polls Tuesday night. The amendment passed by 70 percent to 30 percent.

"We never dreamed we would have this margin of victory," he said.

Next in his sights, he said, is "keeping an eye on evolution and abortion clinics."

The reason the reactionary--reactionary, not conservative--forces are so successful in this country right now is simple: They have achieved a singularity of purpose. They have one obvious mission--absolute power and control. They are collectively focused on their goal and are so well organized that a few stumbles along their path aren't going to even slow them down. Gay marriage, abortion, evolution, and the myriad other "conservative issues" are not distinct, individual problems they are trying to conquer; they are one and the same. They aren't even part of the end goal, but merely piles of brush in their path, obstacles to be forcibly moved and pushed out of the way. And it's not just a few people who clear the way, it everyone involved. A singularity of purpose. The same people who protest Planned Parenthoods are the same people who pressue school boards to teach Intelligent Design are the same people who are actively involved in banning gay marriage, and so on and so on, ad nauseum.

So far, it seems that their opponents (from now on referred to as "we") haven't figured this out yet. While we do fight tooth and nail every step they attempt to make, we treat each one as an individual problem, effectively (or purposely) ignoring their ultimate designs. This is largely a result of poor organization; while there are many of us in the fight, we are engaging only those problems that relate to our own various pet causes. Generally speaking, abortion-rights supporters aren't out campaigning for gay marriage, and opponents of Intelligent Design aren't escorting women into Planned Parenthood clinics. For us, each issue exists as a distinct entity, separate from all others, or loosely connected by such abstract ideals as liberty and justice. There's nothing inherently wrong with individually focused activity and lofty ideals, but when we're up against a group with the concrete motivation of eventual absolute power and which possesses a singularly focused collective will to achieve it, we need to get with the program.

The only times we do come together as a whole are when we stand together on street corners and shake signs and yell chants at passing cars, or mass together and march down city streets and shake signs and yell chants at each other (to be fair, in the latter, sometimes giant puppets are carried around and various forms of street theater are performed). All of that is nice, if all we want to do is make a statement. But statements don't accomplish anything aside from instilling a false sense in having accomplished something.

In order to accomplish something--anything--we need what the Reactionary Right now has. We need a singularity of purpose. We need to treat all of these problems as one problem. No more picking and choosing--if you're a die-hard abortion rights activist, you need to be a die activist for everything else. Because there is no "everything else". It is all one and the same. Our enemies know this, and we need to start playing their game.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

'Star Wars' fanatics line up at wrong theater for debut
Seven weeks before its release, "Star Wars" fanatics started lining up outside Grauman's Chinese Theater for the sixth installment of the popular George Lucas movie series. The vigil began Saturday.

But there's a problem: "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" won't be showing at the Hollywood landmark when the movie is released May 19. The studio, 20th Century Fox, opted instead to open the film a mile away at the ArcLight theater.

On one hand, I really hope none of those people quit jobs or left school to stand in line at the wrong theater. On the other hand, it would be tragically humorous.

Nutsack of the day

Darwinian Faith vs. Intelligent Faith
The debate over the theory of Darwinian evolution vs. the revived theory of intelligent design is predictably causing an emotional big bang in scientific and academic circles. Darwinism begins with the premise that God doesn’t exist or the idea of an intelligent Creator isn’t compatible with scientific inquiry (Never mind some of history’s greatest scientists believed in God). The Darwinist begins with the assumption that God had nothing to do with the creation of the worlds and of life itself. Everything must be explained by natural process because the supernatural doesn’t exist. Darwinism rests upon faith in a blind chance phenomenon which is capable of producing and sustaining life. Proponents of the theory of intelligent design point to observable laws, like entropy, and to the complexities of life and conclude that creation and life were designed by a higher power.

This utter nonsense is only the first paragraph of a vitriolic screed that rails against a philosophy that exists only in this man's mind. Despite the excessive venom, this is pretty much your standard, tiresome creationist rant.

"Darwinists" put their "faith" in science instead of God...
"Darwinists" hate God...
"Darwinists" are unpatriotic Americans...
"Darwinists" hate freedom...
"Darwinists" are unscientific because they refuse to consider the supernatural...
"Darwinists" are incorrect because Abraham Lincoln said something once...

You know, the same old stuff. This guy even trots out Social Darwinism to make his point, nevermind that it wasn't scientists but rather people like him who made the concept fashionable back in the day. Above all else, though, this takes the cake:
The theory of evolution has wreaked more havoc upon Western civilization than any other dogma of man. It replaced moral absolutes with moral relativism; purpose with emptiness; accountability with a false freedom; self control with self seeking; hope with despair; true freedom with an oligarchy; spiritualism with materialism; biblical authority with human authority (humanism); and the dignity of men with the abasement of animals. That such a contrary theory has come to reign as king in the academic world should cause us to pause; because the ramifications are far-reaching – and disastrous.

It was at this point during my first reading of the article that I paused to check its date, sure that it had been published on April 1, because it seemed to me that he had just perfectly described religion.

A nice change of pace from the above is Evolution’s Absence, which presents an interesting thought experiment--remove evolution from the world and "see what happens."

Douglas County alone rejects ban
Douglas County stood alone Tuesday in rejecting an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage.

By a statewide margin of about 2-to-1, every other county approved the amendment.

"The people of Kansas have blown us away," said the Rev. Terry Fox, of Wichita, one of the primary supporters of the amendment. "History has been made tonight."

The vote counting continued late Tuesday, but the outcome was clear early in the evening, making Kansas the 18th state since 1998 to add a gay marriage ban to its constitution.

Last November, 11 states approved same-sex marriage bans with approval ranging from 56 percent to 86 percent.

Opponents of the amendment said they were devastated by the defeat.

"God help us," said Steve Brown, of Prairie Village, president of the Democratic Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender Caucus. "This is a blatant act of discrimination to put citizens -- both homosexual and heterosexual -- in a second-class status."

Opponents said they were confident they could reverse the amendment in court.

"It's only temporary. This amendment is truly unconstitutional, and it won't withstand the light of judicial review," said Bruce Ney, of Lawrence, and chairman of Kansans for Fairness, which worked against the amendment.

Of course it passed in this county. If it hadn't, that would have been shocking. The results from the rest of the state weren't at all surprising, just saddening. I mean, what kind of a person steps into a voting booth and physically votes "yes" to a constitutional amendment that flat out denies very basic rights to a fairly large group of human beings? It's one thing to simply talk about it, but it's altogether more vile to actively participate in the wholesale oppression of an entire segment of the population simply because who they happen to love.

So, now, the "sanctity of marriage" and family values have been forever preserved in Kansas. How many who voted "yes" have been divorced? How many adulterers voted yes? How many wife-beaters voted yes? How many child-abusers voted yes? How many people who psychologically torture their spouses and children voted yes?

What fucking threat did two people who love each other ever pose? Are we now going to see a dramatic decrease in all of the above problems now that men can't marry other men? How can a group with absolutely no power at all have had such a tremendous influence over the intricate nuances of family life?

And no, this is not "only temporary"; I'm no legal scholar, but it's my understanding that a constitutional amendment cannot be found unconstitutional. It cannot be easily (if at all) overturned by the courts or legislature. That's why this issue is now enshrined in the state constitution. Oppression has just become constitutional, and the only way to change it is the same way it got there.
What's next

Both sides said Tuesday's vote was not the end.

Fox said issues such as abortion, evolution and a proposed federal gay-marriage amendment are prominent on fundamentalist Christians' radar screens.

He said he intended to make sure voters knew which Kansas legislators voted against putting the state marriage ban on the ballot.

"We'll do a real good job of identifying who those people are," he said.

Just as intelligent design is not about science, this was not about protecting marriage and families. It was about ideology, power, and politics, pure and simple. These people don't want your marriage, they want you.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

In Wisconsin, Fallout Grows Over Decision on Pageant
Janeal Lee had worn the crown of Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin for barely two months when she received a terse letter from the contest's coordinators telling her to forfeit her crown and return her prizes: an electric scooter, a two-night stay at a wheelchair-accessible resort in northern Wisconsin and a gift certificate for a wheelchair cushion.

The reason, said Ms. Lee, a 30-year-old high school math teacher who has a progressive form of muscular dystrophy that requires her to use a wheelchair, is that she is not disabled enough.

I'm sure not whether to be outraged or sadly amused.

Creationist environmentalists? Yes, really. Thoughts from Kansas has the scoop. I'd comment, but it would be a really long version of "Uh, yeah, what he said."


State Constitutional Amendment on Same-Sex Marriages
Yes 293,082 70 %
No 127,343 30 %

Still counting. Fucking Kansas... not that I'm surprised in the least way.

I forgot to post yesterday. My bad.

Also, I've noticed recently that when I do post, the posts tend to take a few hours (or even a day or two) to actually show up here. I don't know if you've noticed. I'm not complaining--anymore I'm happy that whatever I write (or cut-and-paste) eventually makes it from point A to point B. I just think it's kind of odd.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Creationists welcome fossil find
When an N.C. State University paleontologist reported finding tissue in dinosaur bones last month, her message was clear: More than fossils may survive for 68 million years.

But some Christian creationists are reinterpreting Mary Schweitzer's startling discovery to advance their cause. They embrace the Biblical story of Earth's creation and reject evidence that life evolved here over billions of years.

These "young Earth" creationists say that the planet is closer to 6,000 years old and that Schweitzer's find bolsters their view. They say the not-yet-fossilized tissue and possible blood remnants Schweitzer found in a Tyrannosaurus rex bone could never have survived for millions of years; most scientists say dinosaurs have been extinct for more than 65 million years.

Schweitzer wishes her work had no role in such arguments. Piles of compelling geological, chemical and astronomical evidence make a convincing case that Earth has existed for close to 4.5 billion years, she said.

Oh my God! Science doesn't have an easily understandable explanation for something! All of evolutionary theory is therefore wrong!

And I was thinking the other day about how we haven't been hearing from the "Young Earthers" lately. I guess this is what I get for thinking. It seems really odd to me that a group called "Answers in Genesis" is seeking answers everywhere but Genesis. Have they no faith?

Be sure to read the whole article for loads of dumbass bullshit.

This is clearly not a picture of people who are actually moving anything. Do you want to know how I can tell? They're smiling instead of fighting. As a grizzled veteran of (too) many moves, it's been my experience that the process usually comes to near-blows even before the packing is finished.

I'm currently in the process of moving right now, by myself. So far, I think it's safe to say that an extra pair of hands that want nothing more than to strangle me as soon as they're empty is much better than no extra hands at all. On the other hand, there's no one out there who wants to kill me right now, since the act of moving shockingly transforms me from a very mild, calm, nice-guy introvert to an ill-tempered, impatient asshole. I know, go figure.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Academic Extinction: More and More, Evolutionary Theory is Becoming Nothing More than Darwinian Mantra

Can anyone tell me what the fuck this guy is talking about? Something about polka-dot hats, a dean at a cocktail party, and B.F. Skinner.

Now playing:
Silver Jews "American Water"
Pinback "Blue Screen Life"
Hum "Downward is Heavenward"
Postal Service "Give Up"
Cornelius "Point"

Now reading:
Charles Stross "Iron Sunrise" (just finished)
Terry Pratchett "Lords and Ladies" (just started)

Neil Young Hospitalized After Suffering Brain Aneurysm

Friday, April 01, 2005

Boring Boring

Ha. Me am laughing. And on a somewhat similar note:

Scientific American apologizes for not being balanced
Okay, We Give Up

There’s no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don’t mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there’s no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine’s coverage of socalled evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.

Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that’s a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That’s what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn’t get bogged down in details.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody’s ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

Get ready for a new Scientific American. No more discussions of how science should inform policy. If the government commits blindly to building an anti-ICBM defense system that can’t work as promised, that will waste tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars and imperil national security, you won’t hear about it from us. If studies suggest that the administration’s antipollution measures would actually increase the dangerous particulates that people breathe during the next two decades, that’s not our concern. No more discussions of how policies affect science either so what if the budget for the National Science Foundation is slashed? This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools’ Day.

Old habits die hard

Michael Shermer needs to get with the goddamn program. How many times does he have to pull out the "there's no evidence" dead horse before he realizes that it doesn't matter. Me might be a skilled debunker of pseudoscience, but we're far past debunking in this particular fight. The issue has evolved.