Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Outernet

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck. The next primary coming up iszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Man, I could not find this election less interesting. I'm actually ignoring it at this point, after spending most of 2007 posting nearly every day about how excited I was. Sad.

So instead, I'm going to dedicate this post to something that has, apparently, fixed itself about 2 days ago without my knowledge.

Despite running one of these blogs, I don't read them that often. I used to, of course, but much like the XKCD comic:

I realized I was spending countless hours of my day fixing other people's mistakes. Worse, they were subjective mistakes, though as far as I'm concerned I'm still right.

I stopped reading them altogether, with the occasional exception - a few blogs that I would check once a week or so, simply to see what they're writing about at any given time.

One of these blogs, run by Spiiderweb, is run by a guy that posts 4-5 times per day and doesn't have a single ad. I have these ads on the side because I find it fun when I make 16 cents or so every 7 or 8 days (in my entire time blogging, I have made approximately $11.15 - Google does not pay you until you reach $100. Lame). So I have a lot of respect for someone that blogs for the hell of it. But recently I had noticed that he had not posted in over 5 weeks, with no mention of a vacation or trip coming up. There were over 9 comments from different readers worried about where he went.

It made me realize how... creepy the Internet is. Online, you can read what they put on here, comment, possibly even communicate. But once the person is offline, they don't exist to anyone. They may never have existed. They could be dead, they could be alive and well. There is no way to tell.

I think that's why I hate the Internet. Sure, I'm online often. I even work as an freelancer now for online content. But if it weren't for work or communication with both online and offline people that takes place through the wires, sometimes I wish the Internet didn't exist.

Spiiderweb came back two days ago. Apparently it was Internet/Blogger issues. Welcome back. Still, it is something that continues to bother me - an issue with blogger, and as far as anyone else is concerned, that person no longer exists. I need to get offline more. The Outernet awaits.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Love Summer

Background: Some years back, my friend and I submitted this to a poetry site to poke fun at the generally meaningless poetry people submitted. The responses we received consisted of: "This really touched my heart. Your summer reminds me of some of mine." and "A puzzling piece, however I love the ambivalence of the words within. I get the feeling the speaker of the poem is searching for something worthwhile within the "efficient chaos", and that he/she feels wrong within the world (the chaotic situation the speaker describes being a metaphor for the world today). A struggle for identity perhaps...Interesting piece." Among many, many others. Sad. After recently posting this elsewhere as a joke, I feel like bringing it back here, so at least I'll be able to refer to it with more ease in the future. Enjoy.

I Love Summer

Blood curdling screams of horror and love
Surrounded by thousands of happy, everlasting bunny rabbits
Squashing them to my amusement and dismay
"Mother!" I cried

A well of darkness flows unkempt
Igniting the flame in the sea of my soul
Molesting my fantasies into nightmares
Belying the powers that are unknown

Chasing the end of a colorless rainbow
Illuminated by the candy rope in the tunnel
Rabid kittens gnaw internally
Meowing softly to the music

My scabbed heart sweats pus
A diuretic page of my thoughts
Expressionless chickens mock me
Efficient chaos ruling nothing

Indecisive 'societies' of war
Vanity lies in the grooves of the make believe
Shards of thought, slicing deeper
I love you too, Pippin

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Did I just see an advertisement with both Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich making stupid jokes and advocating dealing with global warming?

I don't like this strange new place. It's cold and scary.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


For all their perception of being rebellious, skateboarders have an unbelievable faith in humanity. Two rode right by me today and not once did they slow down to make sure I wasn't about to kick my foot out. That's an incredible trust they have. When the third friend boarded by later, though, I made sure to put that all in perspective.. They'll thank me for it later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Was Unaware That Ben Stein Is Such a Prick

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed has to be one of the most sickening films released in the past decade. Controversial? There's nothing controversial about intelligent design, because it's inarguable. You can't dispute it, therefore there is no controversy. What a stupid idea. Intelligent Design is the intellectual equivalent of "duh... I dunno..." and a confused shrug of the shoulders.

That does not mean that creationism couldn't have happened. It means that it's not a controversial topic, because there is nothing to it - it has no substance, it's not a thing, it doesn't exist. It's the name of the theory that you cannot answer a question. Wow. Great. Let's teach our kids that we have no idea about something and we'll never know. Good plan. Next, let's teach our kids to drop out of school since, clearly, there is no reason for them to study anything. Once you teach your students that that the answer to a question is that you can't answer a question, what point is there in teaching them anything. I don't believe death exists because you can't prove life. I don't believe the brain exists because if I try to take it out of my head I'll never be able to see it. Rather than teach science, it makes WAY more sense to teach a brain dead hypothesis that says "hey, you know what? We have no idea. And we've given up trying. Stay in school kids!!!"

But that's not what make this film so stupid. You want to believe in intelligent design? Knock yourself out. Despite how it appears above, I won't think any less of you. But to you Ben Stein, you're on my shit list.

Ben stein, a supposedly Jewish individual, claims that the evolution caused the holocaust and {{GASP}} PLANNED PARENTHOOD! I don't know which is worse!

And to prove his point, he decided to use his education at the Karl Rove Institute for Gorked Media and used images of the Holocaust to prove its point against evolution. My problem with his movie is not that he created a movie about intelligent design. It's that he created a movie and intentionally MADE it controversial by adding some profoundly ignorant and false claims that evolution caused the murder of six million Jews and abortion.

Mr. Stein - Go fuck yourself. I'm revoking your Jewish license. And Clear Eyes sucks. This would bother me a lot more but luckily you don't exist. Disprove it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dem Running Mates

While the race for the Democrat’s presidential candidate has been narrowed down to two candidates, it is the candidate’s running mate whose job it is to represent the weaknesses the Republican strategists will try to exploit once the countdown to the November elections begin. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have very different platforms, and as such they will each need different running mates to combat Republican attacks.


Evan Bayh is the current Senator and former Governor of Indiana. Loyal to the Clinton family, Bayh has already been talked about as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton should she win the Democratic nomination. He is a popular leader in Indiana, which is also considered a swing state and support for him could help Clinton win the state in the national elections. Bayh is considered a “moderate” Democrat, but his views on gay rights and abortion should keep most left leaning Democrats satisfied.


Vilsack may have been the first to drop out of the race for the white house in early 2007, but he left a positive impression on those who were introduced to him. As a Governor, his record is automatically more difficult to attack, and Iowa, the state he ran, is a swing state – something that gives him bonus points as he is considered for a running mate. Vilsack would best compliment Barack Obama, as he is a Caucasian male in his late 50’s. And he will be young enough to run for president again in 8 years, something that the Democratic party is looking for. He has, however, already endorsed Hillary Clinton, which could affect his chances of Obama selecting him.


Fresh off a close attempt to become Governor of Tennessee in 2006, Harold Ford gained celebrity status as he was vying to be the first African-American governor of a largely Republican state. He is a social conservative, which could hurt his support among the Democratic party, but he represents a diverse alternative should Barack Obama lose and Hillary Clinton take the Democratic nomination. Still, critics are skeptical of his chances, because the decision to choose him as Clinton’s running mate could seem like a poorly veiled ploy by the Clinton campaign to try to take back some of Obama’s supporters.


Following his second unsuccessful bid for the presidency, it is unlikely that former senator John Edwards will accept the role as running mate to the winner of the Democratic primaries. But his die hard supporters would love to see him back in the political area, and although he may have lost the Democratic nomination, he is still well liked across the country. His southern credentials may help counterbalance Barack Obama’s presence in Illinois, and his charisma would certainly be a benefit on the campaign trail.


Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, gained notoriety for being a two term liberal Democratic governor in a largely Republican state. He was also involved in several public efforts to improve health care and education, making him likeable even outside of Virginia. Warner would be a good running mate for either Obama or Clinton, but he is the prime candidate for the Virginia senate seat and the Democratic party may want to him to focus his efforts on taking the seat away from the Republican party, as John Warner, the incumbent, is resigning after this year.


Chris Dodd, known for his excellent oratory abilities, charming personality, and years of experience in the senate was one of the top candidates to become Barack Obama’s running mate, should Obama win the Democratic nomination. He has been an immensely popular senator for years, winning each election handily over the past 28 years. After endorsing Barack Obama’s bid for president, Dodd stated that he had no desire to become anyone’ s vice president in the upcoming elections. Still, it is impossible to rule him out as a candidate as he is still an experienced congressman that could help offset some of Barack Obama’s attack points.


A four-star general and a Rhodes scholar, General Wesley Clark is the leading candidate to be the running mate for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Born in Chicago in 1944, Clark graduated from West Point as the Valedictorian before serving in Vietnam. After the war, Clark’s reputation as a brilliant military mind quickly rose him through the ranks, eventually landing him as a four-star general and the direct ear of then-President Bill Clinton. General Wesley Clark’s reputation and history make him the perfect complement to both of the Democratic nominees, as he easily reflects the most common Republican attacks. As a four star general, it will be difficult for the Republicans to claim the Democratic candidates are soft on the military. As a Caucasian male, he can help offset any lingering fears about electing the first black or female president. And, because he ran for president in 2004, many Americans already know who he is – which can be a huge benefit to whoever is the candidate.


The 2008 election will feature the first black or female Democratic or Republican candidate in the history of the United States. Regardless of who ends up as the Democratic running mate, the election stands to be a major step forward in US history. Still, the goal of the Democratic party is not to feature the first female or black candidate – the goal of the Democratic party is to have the first female or black president. As such, choosing the right running mate will be vital to make up for any qualities the presidential candidate is lacking, as well as represent a positive voice during the campaign and ultimately the election.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Disconnect in Teaching / Random Rants About Race

Here is a long post that has no real relevance to anything and jumps from point to point with no transition, but I have no intention of reading through this again and writing anything more formal or fixing any errors, since it is unlikely anyone is reading this anyway:

All this talk about race reminded me of an experience I had back in early college. I was in an English class and we were discussing a non-fiction book about many of the difficulties that homosexuals face in society. The book was published in the early 90's and gave many specific references to issues affecting homosexuals, particularly gay men.

I apologize for not remembering what the issues were (I've tried hard to block most of that year from my memory), but these were not broad issues like stigma or homophobia - these were very specific issues that "affected gay men" like that gay men do not show any pride in their sexuality and are ashamed of it, and that gay men are rarely outgoing in non-gay circles and are too afraid to try hard to succeed, often turning to drugs or sex, etc.

The purpose of the book was to show us how difficult it was to live as a homosexual, but what it really did is stereotype gay men again by suggesting that they all act a certain way - albeit due to a homophobic society, but a certain way nonetheless. It did not suggest that this was something that might happen to gay men in this culture, it was telling us that this was what gay men are like now, thanks to the culture.

At that point in my life I had several gay friends, and approximately ~zero of them acted anything like what the book implied. Eventually, even though the book was meant to advocate gay rights, I was getting offended simply by studying it. I would think of my friends Bill, Bobby, Jack or John (names fake) and wonder why I was being told what they're like, when I know them and that's not what they're like.

The class was taught by a black female - a feminist and active member of African American community outreach programs. She was trying to drive home all of the points in this book. So after a whole week of "discussion" about the topics of this book, I finally raised my hand and said "Listen, I have gay friends and they act nothing like this." She immediately got pissed (you could see it on her face) and asked me "Well, how many gay friends DO you have?"

I thought that was a strange question. Why does it matter? I could only have 1 gay friend - in fact, I could only know 1 gay person in the world, but if they did not fit the mold that this book was trying to tell me he would, then it's wrong.

So I answered - I tried to be sarcastic but I don't know if I succeeded, and I said "um... I don't know... 6?"

The class laughed, but my teacher just nodded her head and said "see?" and moved on to the rest of the book.

Ever since then I've tried to understand both the question and the answer. I understood what my teacher was trying to say - she was trying to say that just because I know some gay men doesn't mean I can discount the points of this book. But at the same time, my whole point was this book was pointing out what gay men "are" when I could bring up several acquaintances that showed her that is not how they "are.' What I realized is that we were both right, and both wrong.

I was wrong for thinking that saying I had a few gay friends that acted differently than the book suggested would prove my point. I could have easily presented my case differently, since what I was trying to show was that the book generalized too much, but I didn't really get that point across in a coherent argument. To her, it probably seemed like I was trying to disprove science with a random example. Like "gravity doesn't exist because this balloon floats upwards."

She was wrong, however, for several reasons. First, she was using a book that clearly generalized people in ways that she, as a black, feminist activist, would never stand for. Had the book said "black people are now all discouraged workers thanks to white oppression" or "Due to women making less than men, women no long attempt to succeed in the workplace knowing it is a lost cause" she not only would vehemently disagree, she'd probably use herself as an example of why those are false.

Which brings me to point number 2: Asking the question "How many gay friends do you have?" has no right answer. There is absolutely no answer I can give that would reinforce my point - and it doesn't need to, since my point was that this book says "all" and when you can disprove "all" then the book is no longer correct. I could have answered "one" and I would still be right. Answering "6" may be a smart ass comment, but it did not prove her point as she apparently thought it did.

This type of discussion, whether it be about sexuality or race or whatever, may do a lot of good - and I'm glad that we have dialog about race and sexuality in colleges, but these classes need to be very careful about what exactly they're teaching.

Related - What I noticed throughout college was that, especially in English classes, professors are constantly talking about race. In some ways, this is good. It creates a dialog, it helps people learn more about different cultures and what people go through in America, etc. But I was only in college for 4 years and I had approximately 7 classes that discussed race for the entire quarter. 7. That's too many. Why is that too many? Because after a while all you're doing is reinforcing the fact that other people are different than you. Unless you have a way to bring up new discussion and new information, rehashing the same discussions is only going to put other people's race to the forefront. But this is key - IF you can come up with new discussions, then this is great. If you can't, though, and all you are doing is bringing up something that was already brought up in a previous class, then you're doing more harm than good. I don't want to be constantly reminded that a friend of mine is African-American, unless there is good reason to bring that up again. Otherwise I want him/her to be my friend, and I'll let the fact that their African American just be something that makes them who they are. The moral is: Unless you have something new to add to the discussion, it's not helpful to bring it up again. (This whole paragraph is poorly written, but hopefully you understand my point).

More related: There is research that shows that the more racial stereotypes you know, the more likely you're racist or hold subconscious racist views. I knew maybe 4 or 5 entering college. My college classes taught me literally dozens of new ones in the context of explaining to me why I shouldn't believe them. There is some in incongruity there.

Also, food for thought: I've brought this up several times before, but under absolutely ZERO circumstances is it okay to make any kind of racist/homophobic joke and follow up that joke with "It's okay, I have black/gay friends." It's not okay, and no you don't. They do not like you. If you want to make an inappropriate joke, that's okay. I do it all the time. But you live with the consequences. You don't get to justify the appearance of bigotry just because you may or may not have a friend (you don't) who may or may not like you (he/she doesn't).

Finally, if you would like to discuss anything I wrote about above, please feel free and comment below, but please don't attack me for anything because I'm tired and don't feel like re-reading this and most likely you are angry at me for something that was simply a misunderstanding from my poor wording and lack of editing. If you think I wrote something incorrectly, list it in the comment and I will clarify.

Thursday, April 3, 2008