Sunday, December 28, 2008

My spiritual journey.

First up-sorry for the constant lack of posts (although the previous post should have kept all readers epically busy). There just isn't much to get outraged by these days*. I'll dig through my articles on the computer and see if there's anything of interest.

I would, however, like to state that I have undergone something of a religious development. Initially, I was an agnostic. It was my hope and belief that there was some sort of beyond-world, where people could be held account for crimes for which they were not held on our world. I never knew what this 'beyond-world' was. It could be the classic Christian idea of heaven and hell. Equally, it could be the Hindu concept of reincarnation. I never went further then this belief.

But, since several days ago, I've begun to hunger for something more. The mere hope that there was something beyond us failed to satisfy me; I needed something more. I wanted more from this life. And through that convoluted process, I became an atheist.

Now there was a predictable plot twist.

Ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that hope in no way means belief. Some sort of beyond-world system of justice (whether this system is dictated by a deity or not is irrelevant. I've never believed in any sort of god) would be great, and it is something I still hope for. However, I've decided that without any observable evidence, this mystical beyond-world simply does not exist.

To finish, I'd like to show a picture I've always enjoyed-a type of futuristic shanty town. Courtesy of MeganeRid of DeviantArt, 'Top of Their World.'

*Perhaps I should start reading the Sun.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stuff we should read.

Alas, fellow culture soldiers, but I have been terribly busy at the moment. Rather then fight alongside my fellows in the front trenches, I have been spirited away to the home front, to nurse elder statesmen and women in their final years.*

Unable to properly contribute my ideas to the blogosphere, I will (for today at least) direct readers (if only Reuben and Luli) to miscellaneous articles of interest.

- Ongoing racism against young Sudanese-Australians. Take a bow, Mr. Andrews.
- A scientist calls for ethics guidelines to be developed in relation to the use of robots. Good idea.
- The National Geographic examines intelligence in everyday animals, whilst Iceland debates whether to use its rivers for power, or to keep them as they are. (My opinion: keep them natural. We have other resources.)
- TIME magazine looks at Nelson Mandela, American Libertarianism, Obama's rise, global warming, capitalism, Somalia, the case for climate change, the abortion war in America, European multiculturalism, and Fiji.

That oughta keep the soldiers occupied.

*Working at a nursing home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Either bad or creepy decision in process

In recent useless news, a Canadian inventor has spent >$20,000 on building a robot 'wife.'

From the Feministe:

Never ever nags, can read a map, has a 32-23-33 figure, is in her 20s, will work 24 hours a day and doesn’t eat or sleep (kind of sounds like my life these days, minus the measurements and the nagging). And she’s a robot.

Computer ace Le, 33, from Ontario, Canada, has spent two years and £14,000 building his dream girl.

He had planned to make an android to care for the elderly.

But his project — inspired by sci-fi robots like Star Wars’s C3PO — strayed off-course.

Le said: “Aiko is what happens when science meets beauty.”

Actually, Aiko is what happens when science meets pathetic.

Once Aiko has been perfected, Le hopes to sell clones for use as home-helps.

He said: “Aiko doesn’t need holidays, food or rest, and will work almost 24 hours a day. She is the perfect woman.”

I wonder why this guy is still single.

Although I'm as equally creeped/freaked out by this guy as the Feministe is, it is for different reasons. My question is: if you're going to build your own robo-servent-created to respond to your every whim and desire, and design it to closely resemble a woman......why the hell would you make it look like a 10 year old?!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eat sh*t, newfangled technology.

Captain Lefty doesn't like new technology:
Of course, the important thing is that Microsoft got out of its obligation to at a bare minimum expense, and the stores didn’t have to deal with the hassle that comes from the fact that even the third generation Xbox 360s are badly-designed pieces of sh*t that almost all break within the first one to two years.
(my emphasis)

I heartily agree. "First one or two years"??1! I hope he isn't serious-because if he is, then I'm never buying a new console again. If I've forked out hundreds of dollars (and that excluding the games, controllers, memory packs etc) for a piece of machinery designed to entertain, then I want my money's worth. My Nintendo 64 was bought about 1999/2000, and is still running strong. Chances are, there are SNESs and even NESs out there that are, outlasting their sh*ttier brethren.

Gaming consoles...they don't make 'em like they used to.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Queer poetry

In the fall-out of Prop8 being passed, soldiers on both sides of no-man's land have taken to writing limericks* to express themselves.

From the conservative trench:
Limericks on Prop 8

There once were some people called “gay”
Who were used to getting their way.
They lost on “queer marriage,”
Then set out to disparage
Churches, and make Mormons pay.

“Down with Prop 8!”
Angry “gays” said it was all about “hate.”
Their hypocrisy uncanny,
They roughed up a granny
As for liberal court activism they wait.
From G.A.Y:
There's a group for whom rights are a quarrel
They're obsessed with both anal and oral
Out of boredom or hurt
They treat gays like dirt
And then smugly call themselves 'moral'

Prop 8 stripped rights away
From folks, both les and gay
The vote was historic
'Were they cruel, mean, or sick?'
Is what some in the future might say

My wedding was planned for C-A
But now it's not, because I'm gay
Must alter plans
Due to unrighteous bans
Hell yes, these 'values voters' will pay!

Prop 8ers are crying 'victim'
You'd think someone had kicked 'em
But it's just more spin
From Team 'Gay is a Sin'
Is Deception a Godly dictum?

And finally, our favorite:

There once was a gay man from Nantucket
He can marry there and Peter LaBarbera can do absolutely nothing about it.
And in the comments-from fannie:

Many closets have married a she.
For social approval it's key.
What a fate for the girl.
The thought makes me hurl.
Just accept gay as a way to be.

Some say "you dare not be gay, son."
"Turn ex-gay, have life in the sun."
If you think that is true,
here's a question for you.
Would you have your daughter marry one?

If you’re sad you may be enticed
to turn ex-gay through Jesus Christ.
If you agree to pay,
they will help you pray.
But you’ll still be gay after the heist.

Americans for Truth is lies
on gays to please Christian allies.
They bash twenty four seven.
It's a ticket to heaven.
Who cares if a gay hurts or dies?

'cans for Truth is anti-gay shtick
with Peter as its leading prick.
Ev'ry hour ev'ry day
he thinks all things gay.
he must secretly lust for a dick.

Peter is really a troll
with his head in the dark like a mole.
With prideful ignorance,
combined with arrogance.
It’s why he’s viewed as an asshole.
And from LOrion:
There's a sad little bigot named Petey
Whose energy could help the needy
Instead he delights
In opposing gay rights
Even God wonders why he's so seedy.

Your limerick is perfectly formed
And shows Petey as truly deformed
You are able to write
His spiritual plight
Proves you're crafty as well as informed

Fuc. King. Brilliant.

*because I'm very A-type when it comes to the traditional structure of poetry, I've made mild alterations to the poems to make them more limerick-y. Yes, even progressives can have a hardline conservative streak.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I no longer read newspapers.

I just read The Onion.

Here's why.

I'm Really Gonna Miss Systematically Destroying This Place

By George W. Bush
December 1, 2008

Oh, America. Eight years went by so fast, didn't they? I feel like I hardly got to know you and methodically undermine everything you once stood for. But I guess all good things must come to an end, and even though you know I would love to stick around for another year or four—maybe privatize Social Security or get us into Iran—I'm afraid it's time to go. But before I leave, let me say, from the bottom of my heart: I can't think of another country I would've rather led to the brink of collapse.

Boy, oh boy, if these Oval Office walls could talk. Seems like it was only yesterday that I started my first term despite having actually lost to Al Gore by more than a half million votes. Hmm. We were all so young and peaceful then. Gosh, gas was still under $2 a gallon! On my watch it peaked at more than twice that. Never getting it up to $6 or ideally $7.50 will be one of my few regrets when I leave office.

It's just gonna be so hard packing up my things and heading off into the sunset come January. I wish I could go on forever giving massive and disastrous tax cuts to the wealthy, taking the country from a surplus to a deficit—nearly $500 billion this year, likely to pass $1 trillion next year, fingers crossed—and just generally doing irreparable damage to the very underpinnings of our economy, but, well, I'm afraid the Constitution says I can't. And not even I can overrule the Constitution. Though Lord knows I tried! Initiating blanket wiretaps without warrants, suspending habeas corpus for prisoners in Guantanamo, infiltrating an unknown number of nonviolent civilian antiwar groups without permission… such wonderful memories. I'm going to cherish them forever.

My fellow Americans, I only hope that every time you have your civil liberties encroached upon by the Patriot Act, you'll think of me.

Everywhere I look brings back memories. The Blue Room is where Laura and I put up our first White House Christmas tree. Down the hall, in the East Room, is where I concocted my favorite signing statement to circumvent the anti-torture guidelines of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and—ooh!—right across the way is where Cheney and I decided to use the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 and the nation's subsequent fear of another attack as an excuse to carry out our long-standing plan to invade Iraq. I should really get a picture before I leave.

Speaking of pictures, whenever I look at the dusty old newspaper photos of those tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib or the crumpled ruins of that bridge in Minnesota, I can hold my head up high knowing that I truly fucked this nation—physically and symbolically—beyond repair. I only wish I had the time to destroy a couple more major American cities.

And Cheney, I almost forgot about Cheney. What a guy, huh? I can't believe that in a few short weeks he's never going to talk to me again. The stories I could tell you about what went on in some of those back rooms—well, you wouldn't believe me if I declassified the memos. I don't know, maybe in 20 years, when the economy has rebounded and the people displaced by Katrina have rebuilt their lives from scratch with almost no federal assistance, Cheney and I can meet up again in the Rose Garden and reminisce over the good old days, when it seemed like there was no part of this great country we couldn't ruin forever.

What am I going to do once I'm no longer president? I've gotten so used to waking up every day, playing fetch with the dogs on the White House lawn, and then spending a lazy afternoon shredding every last bit of our good will abroad in a mind-boggling display of diplomatic incompetence.

The worst part about leaving is knowing I can never screw up anything this big again. Don't get me wrong, I'm only 62. I could still bankrupt an oil company, or become the next MLB commissioner and ruin baseball. But I'll never get the opportunity to fuck up on this massive of a scale again. Even if you put me back in charge for another term, I could only take the U.S. from a rapidly declining world power to not a world power at all. I don't mean to gloat, but I think it's safe to say that no one can ever unseat the American empire like I unseated the American empire.

Still, I have to admit, sometimes I think I could've dismantled so much more. The very fact that the environment still exists, that a mere 4,000 troops have died in Iraq, that there is still the slightest glimmer of hope for the future left in this nation—it's easy to feel like maybe I didn't do my job. But no, no, there's no use having any regret. I fucked everything up the best I could and that's good enough for me.

You know, I've got a few weeks left. I could still illegally fire some U.S. attorneys for political reasons, or finally get rid of that pesky separation between church and state. Or maybe I could just bomb a place. Like Russia. But this time, I would really savor it.

As long as I live, America, I'll never forget irreparably ruining you. Unless we all die in a nuclear war or calamitous environmental disaster brought on by my neglect. Either way, I'll see you all in heaven!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pure misogyny

Ever heard of purity balls? (here's that epic rant I was talking about)
From Wikipedia:
A purity ball is a formal event attended by fathers and their daughters. Purity balls promote virginity until marriage for teenaged girls, and are often closely associated with U.S. Christian churches, particularly fundamentalist churches.

Purity balls can vary in many particulars, but fathers who attend typically pledge to protect their young daughters' purity in mind, body and soul. Daughters are expected to remain virgins, abstaining from pre-marital sexual intercourse. A stronger father-daughter relationship is promoted as a means to affirm spiritual and physical purity.
Some Lefties might wonder why there aren't mother/son purity balls. But why should boys be held to the same 19th century standards of morality as girls? It's totally unfair; as the good Sheik said, we menfolk are totally subverted to the capricious whims of our ids, and possess not one iota of self control. Women, on the other hand, should definitely be held to ludicrous standards that only a saint could reach. Outrageous sexism is not just condoned, but endorsed in the Bible!

Which is the entire problem of purity; it's
only ever applied to girls. It's an outdated concept that is practiced almost universally; from genital mutilation in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, to abstinence and virginity (for girls only, of course) in the West. "...fathers who attend typically pledge to protect their young daughters' purity in mind, body and soul." How exactly do they plan on doing that? Do these fathers plan of educating their daughters on sex, what happens, how to prevent pregnencies and STDs and in general improve their general knowledge on sexuality? Or do these loving dads instead plan on keeping their daughters completely in the dark on reproductive health?

Take a guess. By purity's nature, boys are exempt. Jesus may have been second only to Mohammad in prudishness, but he seemed to apply his ludicrously high standards equally to both sexes. Try typing 'purity ball boy' or 'purity ball son' into Google: these sites are what you get.

This sums up the misogyny of purity; if there is a problem, it's the woman's fault. Period. If a woman flaunts herself, and a guy ogles her, then it's her fault that he has no self control. It is, as
the aforementioned Sheik stated, the failing of the uncovered meat rather then the violent, sociopathic cat. It should also be noted that 19th century misoyny is hardly confined to these religions-Judaism has its own branch of ultra-violence (of course, due to the fear that critisising branches of Judaism or certain Israeli policies makes you a neo-Nazi, such Taliban-style violence gets a free pass in the media).

It's always fascinated me how misogyny is so accepted in our society. One would think that after two waves of feminism, one would think that blatent sexism would be a little less tolerated in society. Could you imagine the outrage if someone stated that black people had to remain pure until they were married? Hell, it's all the same.

The logical conclusion of this ideology, of course, is this.

Cross-posted here and here.