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Monthly Archives: February 2002

So I’m watching the endless…  §

So I’m watching the endless Enron hearings and I’m wondering just how long the charade will go on; these politicians are doing everything they can to accuse and convict the capitalists of capitalism without actually saying so. Rather than question the system which produced, nurutured, fell in love with, and then destroyed Enron (making the already wealthy wealthier), they are content to yell at a few balding sacrifical lambs on C-SPAN.

Time to “close the loopholes” (and “accidentally” open up a few new ones) to prevent this travesty from ever happening again. Hmm, does it ever work? “This” has been happening for the last hundred years in the United States of America. Innumerable books have been written, innumerable speeches given. Each time, the politicians, the press and the public find a new Kenneth Lay and a new Jeff Skilling to take the needed fall — an elixir to cure “unethical” behavior for the benefit of the economy, even though the rest of the corporate world does and is encouraged to do exactly the same things. Enron and its “scandalous” siblings throughout history are only special because they are too successful at monetary rape, so much so that they make waves among the populace — thus requiring some kind of answer from the political structure and the jet setters in order to preserve the economic imbalance between the rich and everyone else and between the west and the exploited “emerging” nations.

Yes, watch Enron and its execs get crucified for the benefit of the audience in a made-for-television hearing while a thousand other multinationals skillfully make the same “mistakes” but with better public relations. Meanwhile, the very same execs actually pocket millions. Of course few in the general public are critical enough to sit up and say “Wait a minute, if what Enron and its scandalous predecessors have consistently done is legal, common, and even expected… could it be that the problem lies with the fundamental values behind these corporations, rather than in a few ‘loopholes’ that congress is still trying to close? Maybe the problem isn’t that the corporations are always ‘one step ahead’ of the loopholes… Maybe the problem is capitalism…”

Okay, so the Olympic Games…  §

Okay, so the Olympic Games are now leaving Salt Lake City. This means that all of the things I have been waiting for — college graduation and the games being the final two — have happened. Future = Tabula Rasa.

I’ve put up some snapshots of Salt Lake City during the games for those of you who couldn’t be here and wanted a general impression of what wasn’t on television. Didn’t get the country houses though, which remains a sticking point.

Now I have to laugh,…  §

Now I have to laugh, at the Canadian skaters and at everyone with whom I’ve argued about this over the last few days. Why? Check this story out, and also this one and this one. Now it becomes to be clear where the fix was — in favor of Canada. Oops! Now that’s a scandal. I love it.

Okay, I just have to…  §

Okay, I just have to do this. Whiny, whiny, whiny Canadians, you fell flat on your backs in the short program but the media forgave you for it and fought to get you a gold medal anyway; now you have it but you are still losers and you’ll never be able to forget it! And to the western press: good snow job! Condense two separate performances from each team on two separate days into four seconds of video, then show that four seconds only from one angle, just to generate controversy and thus, ratings. To the western audience: you are bought and paid for and your opinions are dictated by corporate America. Welcome to the new world order.

Moving on… I feel like I need to study a little more — like maybe I’m losing (quickly) all of the knowledge I tried so hard to gain over the last decade simply from underuse over the last six months. I’m especially worried about my language skills, which are of course some of the hardest fought for and most easily forgotten.

Other than those little gripes, this entry was just to push that one down there off the front page. Can’t have those long tirades up there too long.

Ring-wing lunatics drive me nuts….  §

Ring-wing lunatics drive me nuts. Stony-faced, warmongering absolutism is one of the most disgusting things on Earth. The right wing seems to firmly believe that they are touched by the hand of God, granted the inalienable right to the moral high ground. You can’t have a discussion with someone like that, because the value system isn’t concerned with costs and benefits, with pragmatism — it is only concerned with absolute “right” and absolute “wrong” which are justified not by reason but but divine dictate which they believe only they can hear.

Why are we going to invade Iraq? Because, supposedly, they want to kill us. Why is it okay for us to kill them preemptively, without evidence? Because we are good and they are evil. No matter how subtle and pretty the words, they can always be stirred and reduced to that. Our values are simply better, unassailable. We in the west are good and anyone who disagrees with us is evil. This is why we can simply declare an “axis of evil” and attack three countries before they have done anything to us.

“But they have weapons of mass destruction!” the right wing says. So does America. But of course, we have a right to such weapons, because we are right. Iraq, Iran and North Korea should not be allowed to have such weapons because they are wrong.

“But they are dictators!” the right wing says. Of course, we rarely, if ever, kill the dictators. Instead, we typcially kill thousands and thousands of civilians and conscripts into these armies who would rather be at home with their families. But of course, this is a necessary amount of collateral damage, acceptable because we are right.

“But we have interests in those regions!” the right wing says. Perhaps it might be granted that the people of Iraq actually have a greater interest in Iraq than we do? But of course, our interests superecede theirs because we are right.

We are freedom, we are truth, we are light, we are the chosen. Death to all who oppose us, and anyone actually from the west who disagrees with this (as well as all of those damned Frenchies) is actually a cleverly disguised servant of Satan whose opinions don’t matter anyway. Any truly Godfearing person would naturally give his first born to bomb and kill indiscriminantly in the name of all that is right.

And of course then I always hear my favorite accusation: “Well, I can see you’ve had your head filled with liberal propaganda by the damned universities.”

Oh yes, that’s right. Those damned universities have completely fucked me up by (gasp) exposing me to the opinions and lifestyles of others, rather than just white male Christians, and others who are average folks at that, not diplomats or soldiers or other functionaries. Just people. Some of ’em not white. God save us all. Come to think of it, my dad is a darkie. Too bad my mom married him, that probably fucked me up as well… all that international propaganda he spews.

Whew, deal undone. I feel…  §

Whew, deal undone. I feel relieved. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t as dangerous as I thought it was, but I feel safer the way it turned out anyway. A little poorer, but not a lot poorer. And now, I shall sit down and try to enjoy the rest of the Olympic games. I understand there are still some hockey tickets available…

Just got back from the…  §

Just got back from the Women’s 1500m Short Track and Men’s 5000m relay semifinal events at the Salt Lake Ice Center (a.k.a. Delta Center). Very exciting, and very fun to watch. Enjoyed myself thoroughly, even if the final junk food bill (Nachos + Prezels + Sodas) was the better part of $100.00… One thing really bothered me, though. When the events were over, all the Americans packed up and left with their rolled-up flags, emptying out what had been a full building before the medals were awarded. Apparently, nobody has any respect for the athletes of other countries, namely Korea (Gold & Silver) and Bulgaria (Bronze). A little rude, I thought. Never mind. I cheered for them.

Yeah, so I’ve been watching some of the Olympic coverage on TV, too, and I saw the pairs figure skating finals. What do I think? I think this uproar proves that the west has no class. Instead of graciously conceding defeat, we’re determined to make a political battle over it. Meanwhile, we’ve got all of these “armchair judges” who somehow think that anyone is qualified to be a skating judge and decide who won.

Let’s not forget that the Russian long program was technically more difficult than the Canadian long program and that the Russians absolutely dominated in the short program. This is east vs. west sour shit once again and it really stinks.

I feel sorry for the Russian pair. I don’t feel sorry for the Canadian pair, who are demonstrating horrible sportsmanship, appearing on every news broadcast in North America to say “we know we won” in spite of the fact that, by definition, they didn’t.


Today I did one of…  §

Today I did one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done in my whole entire life and now that I’ve done it I’m about 90% sure it’s not going to turn out well at all. I’m going nearly nuts trying to clear my head, trying to have a “zen-like” attitude about it. I’m not going to lose. If it turns out badly, I will sell my car and take care of things anyway, though that too will put me in a very tough position and the initial loss will still be etched in stone, unerasable.

This whole incident proves to me that I cannot live in the western world, in the cash & credit economies. I just can’t function well that way… I do stupid, stupid things and get myself into trouble because I don’t want to see how it all really works until it’s too late. The only way I can possibly survive in the western world is to become a cop or a prosecutor, where crookedness is merely a matter of opinion, not a matter of law.

If this all turns out well, I am going to cross myself about a thousand times, sell everything I own, close all of my accounts and get out of here before I do myself some real harm. I cannot play this game called “living in America” at all and it just convinces me more than ever that if I stay here, I will eventually end up in prison for the rest of my life. It’s not the written rules that are my problem. I can follow those. It’s the unwritten rules and the culture that get me.

My mind just does not work the same way as the typical American mind. At all. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

There is a kind of rage that I feel… I still feel it, all these years later, like I used to when I was a teenager. It’s not rage at anyone or anything… It’s just a kind of rage at the failure of life to meet with expectations. I suppose this can happen when your parents are too good… When you are raised to believe in how things should work in some kind of utopian world — despite the fact that the world (and especially America) are a kind of mercenary hell.

Perhaps I need Prozac. Perhaps I need heroin. Perhaps I just need alcohol. Perhaps I need God — but I have no idea where to find him and as the product of a liberal arts education, I am compelled to disbelieve.

It’s too early in the morning to write coherently; tomorrow anyone reading this will (once again) think me imbalanced. Let’s see, what can I find to complain about… the death penalty, the wealthy, the pious, the ethnocentric, the government, life itself, scam artists, bankers, economists, telephone sanitizers, hate of Arabs, hate of anyone, history, humans, law, lawlessness, quality of life… ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss.

I don’t feel like much of a smartass right now, unfortunately.

Generally I have serious problems…  §

Generally I have serious problems with corporate culture and the influence of money, but I just can’t be upset with the Olympic movement. No matter how ugly things are behind the scenes, the international community is one in front of them. It’s like the UN — in spite of all the problems with each, at least people aren’t shooting… and there’s something to be said for that. Having them in my home city isn’t bad either.

With regard to the opening ceremonies… I loved most of it, especially the unity of the five tribes, which are due some time (finally) on the world stage, but I’m not sure about the cowboys and ho-down. Aside from the fact, that I have no idea what a ho-down actually is (I don’t know how many cowboys we’ve really got here in Salt Lake City, but I don’t think it’s that many), the narrative ignored the fact that the white men who came a ho-downin’ basically wiped their native American friends out. Ah well, guess you can’t have everything.

I just hope we Americans can keep our composure and be good hosts without descending into the kind of aggressive nationalism which has been rampant in this country since September 11th.

Controversy today. Read on. First,…  §

Controversy today. Read on.

First, here’s some thought for all the readers out there. Don’t bother to send me e-mail full of verbal anthrax, I don’t remove entries, ever. Sue me. I knew there was a reason I bought and read the NY Times every morning with my coffee when I was in school. It’s because I like their willingness to present all points of view, even if unpopular.

Then, on another note… After a large on-line discussion about evolution, I have realized that virtually no-one out there without a degree in biology or anthropology actually has any clue at all about what evolution is. There is no space here for a full course, but let me at least clear up that there is no such thing as “de-evolving” or “stopping evolution” whether you are talking about humans or alligators or bacteria. Evolution does not stop, and it does not run backward. Evolution is a continuous process of change, like time.

Evolution does not have a goal; it is not a dialectic process. Simply put, when you have sex and produce a child, that child is not exactly like you, and it is not exactly like your mate. Congratulations; on the microcosmic scale, your child has evolved, relative to you. It does not mean that your child is better, stronger, or smarter than you; if your child has Down’s syndrome or turns out to be an idiot, it has not “de-evolved” relative to you either. Your child is simply different from its parents, with a new mix of genes; this, essentially, is evolution. Ignore the mainstream media’s portrayal of evolution as some kind of dialectical quest for the ideal. Evolution must never be confused with any concept of “progress” because the two are in no way associated, and to make this mistake is to think like Hitler. Progress is a social concept, not a biological one.

Evolution is simply change over time, nothing more and nothing less. And because time cannot be reversed or stopped, neither can evolution. Approach it this way — in the morning, it is light; in the evening, it is dark; when morning comes once again, it will be light again, and so on. Are these the same “light” and “dark” over and over again? Has time stopped? Certainly not; each day is a new day, different from the last. Similarly, when light follows a dark night, has time reversed, taking you back again to the daylight? Again, no — the day is a new one. Evolution works the same way. Change over time. Maybe some things repeat, maybe they do not. Maybe they make sense to us, maybe they do not. Just like each day is a new day, each generation — each child — is the result of parents’ genes mixing in new and interesting ways; some of the gene combinations will help a child to thrive, while other children will die; some of the children will be “beautiful” and make lots of new babies, mixing lots of genes up once again, while others will be “ugly” or unhealthy and will not reproduce at all. Through it all, no child is an exact copy of either of its parents. That’s evolution. Nothing more. It’s really very simple.

Get it?

Sorry. I just couldn’t believe the people in the discussion saying things about how humans are now “de-evolving” or reaching some kind of abstract pinnacle which has “ended evolution” for all time. What nonsense; our American educational system is very lacking indeed, especially in the sciences.

That and there are a lot of bible-thumping, flag-waving fanatics around screaming “CHRIST!” at the top of their lungs not realizing that they are exactly like the terrorists and are lending themselves to the same educational values espoused by the Taliban… What’s really funny is to hear all the “Christians” spout off on the Internet about how the scientific method is a fraud. Where exactly do they think computers came from? I suppose they think God is sitting in a room somewhere zapping microprocessors into existence with his index finger. Not to mention cars, televisions, radios, acetaminophen for their evolution-induced headaches, etc.

Guess God is pretty busy.


Of course there is a…  §

Of course there is a difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. If there is none, then America is a nation of terrorists — after all, we began as freedom fighters — and our war against terrorism is nothing more than a nationalist imperial campaign.

The only question, therefore, is what makes a terrorist a terrorist and what makes a freedom fighter a freedom fighter. This, obviously, depends on which side you’re on. Understanding is therefore the key; understanding and discussion. When I was small, I was raised to believe that one should talk rather than hit. Apparently my family was very liberal; prevailing cultural wisdom right now is that talk is usless and hitting is rather fun.

The current cycle in the Aztec calendar ends within the next decade, at which time the entire stream of existence as we know it is predicted to end, replaced by another epoch to which we do not belong.

I would not be surprised if this prediction is close to the truth…