Thursday, April 14, 2005

This is important.
Nice reference for you when anyone claims President Bush didn't list bring democracy to Iraq as a reason for invading.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sounds like
this person took the Denis Leary routine too seriously.
For years pot was just joints, and then bongs came out and bongs were ok too, but then bongs weren't good enough for some people. "Neeehhhhhh!"

Remember that friend in high school wanted to make bongs out of everything. Making bongs out of apples and oranges and s***? Come in one day and find your friend going, "Hey! Look man, I made a bong outta my head! Put the pot in this ear and take it outta this one! Good! Take a hit!" Then they got one of those big giant bongs that you gotta start up like a motorcycle. "Put the pot in!" Kids are driving their bongs down FDR Drive. "Pull the bong over man, I wanna do a hit. Pull it over!"

What was the problem with just smoking a joint, eating a couple of Twinkies, and going to sleep? Was that a problem?

They say marijuana leads to other drugs. No it doesn't, it leads to f***ing carpentry. That's the problem, folks. People getting high going, "Wow man, this box would make an excellent bong! *snort* This guy's head would make an excellent bong! *snort*"

Relax!

That's why I stopped doing drugs in the first place. Not because I didn't like 'em, but because I didn't want to build anything, ok?
Though I have no way to prove this,
I think that the Wendy's finger lady put it there herself. This becomes especially clear as she's dropped her lawsuit after investigators began to pursue that very theory.

This leaves one burning question: Where did she get the dismembered finger?

Yeah, yeah, yeah:
Walter Sobchak: You want a [finger]? I can get you a [finger], believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me.

The Dude: Yeah, but Walter...

Walter Sobchak: Hell, I can get you a [finger] by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nail polish.
Whine, whine, whine.
Geez. I remember these book checks. It takes all of ten seconds. Does Ms Lilly want to know why she has to do this? Harvard's library system is one of the largest in the U.S, and they own some old, rare volumes. They'd rather these books not disappear. They also haven't applied the security stuff to every book. I checked out a couple of books from Lamont that looked like they hadn't been touched in more than two decades.

Let's not even talk about the tomes in Widener.
Reading Andrew Sullivan this morning
(yeah, I know; shut up), I spied this post, which references David Frum's comments on the death of feminist-activist Andrea Dworkin. Sullivan cites this paragraph:
And in one respect at least, she shared a deep and true perception with the political and cultural right: She understood that the sexual revolution had inflicted serious harm on the interests of women and children – and (ultimately) of men as well. She understood that all-pervasive pornography was not a harmless amusement, but a powerful teaching device that changed the way men thought about women. She rejected the idea that sex was just another commodity to be exchanged in a marketplace, that strippers and prostitutes should be thought of as just another form of service worker: She recognized and dared to name the reality of brutality and exploitation where many liberals insisted on perceiving personal liberation.
His pithy response:
And she shared with Frum a deep suspicion of people who believe they are free and act accordingly.
I know very, very little about the content of Dworkin's writing, other than she was a fairly radical feminist who, oddly enough, was fervently opposed to pornography, which is the point that Frum highlights.

Now, as a fairly libertarian Republican, I have nothing against pornography from a legal standpoint. If a bunch of people want to sell their bodies, a bunch of people want to film it, and a bunch of others want to watch the final product, I believe they have every right to do so. The moral issue gets more complicated.

If I remember my Objectivist check-list-of-things-I'm-supposed-to-believe, I seem to recall ARI being generally in favor of pornography -- it helps people achieve sexual self-actualization, gives them new ideas, etc, etc, etc. The thing I could never figure out, and no Objectivist was able to give me a satisfactory answer, was if sex is considered a moral good, but promiscuous sex is a moral wrong, what's porn? Viewing hard-core porn isn't necessarily wrong, but is making it? The people involved are engaged in promiscuous sexual activity; they aren't expressing their deep love for the person with whom they are with in the sexual act -- they've commoditized it. If sleeping around all willy-nilly is immoral, why isn't immoral to be a porn star?

Anyway, the objection that Frum and Dworkin seem to have is, in my opinion, fairly obvious: Porn cheapens the act of sex, and turns into meaningless romps, divorcing and emotional or moral content from the act and replacing it with something purely physical. In other words, there's a trade-off. The mainstreaming of pornography, its ready availability, has a moral consequence. From Frum's comment above: "She understood that all-pervasive pornography was not a harmless amusement, but a powerful teaching device that changed the way men thought about women." Is that comment really so controversial? Sullivan seems to be upset because Dworkin and Frum have pointed out something quite obvious: Freely available pornography doesn't exist in a moral vacuum.

His comment, "And she shared with Frum a deep suspicion of people who believe they are free and act accordingly," seems a non-sequitor. Pointing out the consequences of freedom isn't suspicion, it's an act of moral responsibility. As I stated before, I'm basically a libertarian, so I believe the following should be available for purchase to whomever desires them: Guns, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, deep-fried Cool Whip served on a chocolate-dipped Twinkie. I think they all should be available at my local Walgreens, if Walgreens wanted to sell them and people wanted to buy them.

At the same time, I don't think it's hypocritical of me to say that I abhor the use of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and LSD, that I don't want people running around shooting each other, and that I think that maybe I can find something better than a Twinkie for my fried Cool Whip.

Seeing people freely engaging in self-expression (however loosely you wish to define the term) and saying, "I disapprove," or pointing out the consequences to such expression, isn't a some kind of fascist exercise. The same right evoked by makers of pornography also gives Frum and Dworkin the right to say, "This stuff is brutal and degrading."

Freedom doesn't mean freedom from criticism or moral condemnation.
Again, I see there's movement
against mercury (the element, not the planet).
Sniffing around CNN this morning,
I saw this review of NBC's upcoming mini-series, "Revelations" (no, I don't plan on watching it). Anyway, amid the discussion of existential dread, and whether the show is effective in creating it, I saw a sign of true wit by the reviewer:
...[Bill] Pullman seems so exhausted and squinty, he can't be far from his own "CSI" series.
Fantastic.

Monday, April 11, 2005

My wife should start a 501(c)3.
To wit:
Part of the reason corporate philanthropists haven't shown a similar interest is that it's not very convenient to give money to homeschoolers. "If you're a foundation or a corporate gifts program and you can't find a 501(c)3 to give your money to, you're not getting the tax deduction," says Justin Torres, research director of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank devoted to education reform. "Then you're just giving money to an individual, and there are all kinds of IRS headaches with that."
A group that makes homeschooling more affordable, particularly since homeschooling usually involves a single-income family, would be pretty cool.
This is disappointing:
Apparently the film Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is really, really bad:
Hitchhiker's is not so bad that it's good. It's just miserably, depressingly bad. It misses the point by a light year. Is it a good movie? No. Is it a good version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Definitely not. It is ill-conceived, badly written, poorly directed and worst of all staggeringly unfunny. It is a travesty of a film. I mourn for it, I really do.
Damn shame.
Today's Best of the Web
has a story labeled "Commie Comestibles" which is interesting, but the best part is the line at the bottom:
Where we went to college there supposedly was an Ayn Rand club that would hold pizza parties. Everyone was required to have his own individual-size pizza, because the normal practice of sharing a large pie was "collectivist."
I don't recall my club doing that, but I love it. Not because of the cult-like behavior exhibitied by blah, blah, blah, but because the club obviously has a sense of humor. If I had thought of that, I would have done that, too. I can see our posters now:
Pizza Party -- Individual pizzas only. BYOB -- No Six Packs. Say "NO" to the lecherous second-handers that force you to drink Communist sodas at the point of a gun.
Actually, I used to pay for food at the first and last meetings of the year out of my own pocket. It was an act of benevolence, as our club had no money, and I wanted our first and last meetings to at least look like we were trying to be pleasant. Plus, since I paid for the stuff, I got to buy what I liked. So, there.
David, with regards to your
post about Wal-Mart, I think I can add a comment or two. I know a few people who have to deal with Wal-Mart on the back-end, the people who actually sell Wal-Mart the products they sell.

Quite frankly, Wal-Mart can be a pack of thugs. I've heard stories of businesses that have gone under because Wal-Mart will make a huge order, and then won't pay -- they know that the business will go under, and they'll get the product for free.

Or, for example, they'll require vendors to slash prices by 5% every year they carry the product, even if there's no conceivable way to do it. This is why, for example, buying a product at Wal-Mart isn't like buying it elsewhere. There are many manufacturers who make something for the general market and have a separate build for Wal-Mart. They look exactly the same, but the quality of the Wal-Mart build won't be as good.

Or, Wal-Mart is a giant consignment shop. They only pay you for what they sell. However, they may make huge orders. So, they'll ask you to manufacture 100,000 units of something, sell only 65,000, and the return the rest to you and pay you for what they actually sold, leaving you with 35,000 units that you can't move and for which you still have to pay manufaturing costs.

Essentially, Wal-Mart may be good for consumers, but for manufacturers, they're the devil incarnate.