Thursday, December 27, 2007
Cell phones promote freer access to information. There are forces that want to limit this. Take a cell phone pic of something sensitive today. Do something for freedom today.
P.S. My internet filter makes me want to kill myself. Maybe I just should. I'd be a martyr in the name of freedom!
P.P.S. I have obtained the Asa Coon photo, in case the powers that be decide to cleanse it from the internet.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
And in the spirit of the holidays, The Nutcracker composer Tchaikovsky was gay, too.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I was so annoyed to see even the Players Association jump on the critics bandwagon. Aren't they supposed to stick up for the players? Malcolm Gladwell had the right idea. Why is the US media so dead set against use of drugs? They are an important part of the new SuperSociety© wave of the future! Eat soma baybay!
P.S. Don't be shy. Agree? Tell me. Don't like what I say? Speak up (otherwise, I'll think my word is Law and you all agree with everything I say). Love you! Happy Holidays ! Wish me a happy holiday. I'd be sooo appreciative.
do yeshiva bochurim get hooked on drugs in israel, are college students more likely to take drugs before tests, are college boys more likely to wear hot abercrombie clothes, is this list a little absurd, would you buy a best of the tbw, more on that last later, i've been feeling very tired lately, could it be because i skip nights' sleep, i thought i made up for that with 20 hour sleepathons though, finals were rough - but fun, don't ask, the studying never ends, abercrombie studs make it easier, but they are not really my type you know, too rugged and less on the cute, i don't like how cold it has become, these thoughts are unfinished, my thinking is muddled, maybe i need some modafinil, pardon moi
Friday, December 21, 2007
morning I read the newspaper headline saying a Princeton student who
is active in a conservative anti-gay campus group was beat up by two
thugs about 2 miles from campus. University officials are quoted as
saying pretty much, "This happened off-campus, so we aren't going near
it. Not our responsibility. Talk to the city police."
Conservative groups were (rightly) irked by the university's stance
and blamed it on a pro-liberal bias. The student body watched in
silence with an attitude of, "He deserved it. I would never condone
violence, of course, but these things happen. He was asking for it."
The next day, the papers reported Nava's admission that he had staged
the event. He hadn't been beaten; he had beaten himself. Oh, so you
mean there aren't actually vicious anti-conservative mobs surging
about Princeton township? What a relief. The University's response?
"We are looking into disciplinary action against Mr. Nava." You are?!
His putative attackers would have been off the hook with you because
the event happened off campus, but for a conservative there are
special rules, eh.
Don't get me wrong. I think Nava's behavior has been ridiculous and I
certainly do not sympathize with his agenda, but the extreme double
standard is making us look bad.
Teenage pregnancy is often a problem because kids are not prepared for the responsibility either emotionally or financially to care for the child. Jamie Lynn is earning more than most people twice her age, thank you very much. She can afford to care quite well for her baby. If she made a decision to get pregnant, that does not make it time to open a national debate on when to teach kids about contraceptives. That is the wrong message to take from this.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
See, this is why nobody writes dialog the way people speak dialog. It is wrong. It doesn't sound more realistic. Even though it is. It just sounds uncouth. And it makes an irritating read. But sometimes y'all need that.
There was this one time (at band camp) when a guy said about a Midwestern kid who was visiting, "And he even says y'all". And he did. And it was hot. Not because saying y'all is hot, though. It was just the way he pulled it off. Didn't hurt that he had a great bod, either.
If I'm a good boy, I won't blog much in the next few weeks. It's finals season again. If you hear from me, I guess I'm being a bad boy: don't let me get away with it!
Monday, December 03, 2007
I'll start: I get on the F, grab the pole in the middle of the subway car and start pole dancing until I wake up and realize I've fallen asleep sprawled on the floor and been dreaming about reading the papers I had brought because I need to review them by tomorrow.
Granted commutes aren't always that interesting. But I want to hear it anyway.
P. S. Why does my country's government think it has worldwide jurisdiction? ( illegal extradition ok'd by USA)
Sunday, December 02, 2007
P.S. Why does the porn filter at school think this blog is about teen sex? I haven't had teen sex in what - 5 months? Oh right, that link. That shouldn't count. Whatevs. Love.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Meet planet Earth's favorite third world fag, Bryan Boy.
P.S. Taylor Swift looks like Barbie. And don't forget to check out the midwest teen sex show. How random was that?
Although it is solely comprised of textual information gathered from a variety of independent sources, due to philosophical or religious concerns we must insist that only those who are 18 years or older view this information: Paris's partners, Oprah's Partners
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Another salient observation he presents: In 2002, the city spent $0.22 for every $1 in parking fine revenue collected. For all other fine revenue, the city spent $2.09 for each $1 collected.
False certification of correction of Housing Maintenance Code violations (administered by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development) are subject to fines of $50 to $250.
Parking violation fines range from $25 to $180.
The fine for performing plumbing work without a permit is $250 for the first violation.
In general, the penalty for a non-hazardous Housing Maintenance Code violation is a flat fine of $10-$50. For a hazardous violation the penalty is $25-$110 per day.
Fines for critical violations by licensed food establishments doubled from $100 to $200 per violation.
The Environmental Control Board handles fines for street cleanliness, waste disposal, the cleanliness of the city's water supply; air, water and noise pollution; street peddling; fire prevention and building safety; and the misuse of city parks. These include not following recycling regulations and improper disposal of canine waste. Violations are divided into types A (no action required) and B (corrective action required). The average payment is considerably higher for B violations—$394, five times the average A violation fine of $81. For some correctable violations of the Building Code and the Fire Code, the respondent has the opportunity to cure the violation within 35 days from the date of the Notice of Violation. If the violation is cured, no payment of the imposed fine is required.
Railroad trespass carries a $10 fine in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The maximum fine for Driving While Alcohol Impaired is $300 to $500/$500 to $750, according to law firm Grunwald & Seman.
So what is going through city councilman Simcha Felder's mind when he proposed $1000 fines for feeding pigeons? This is beyond excessive. Even if you agree with the ban, the amount of the fine gives pigeon-feeding parity with much more serious crimes such as breaking-and-entering or driving while intoxicated.
While we are on the topic of inconsistency in US penal codes, here are some examples that blew my mind. (From 1910, a lot must have changed since but there is still a great deal of inconsistency.) Or look at this from People for a Fascist America .
That part they got in '73 was NY Penal Code § 240.35 (6). Section 240.35 (2) lasted another decade. That was the part about "loitering for the purpose of engaging in deviate sex". Once the consensual sodomy laws went bye bye in People v. Onofre, "loitering for the purpose" couldn't be that bad, right? So the Court of Appeals struck it down in People v. Uplinger (1983). Ha. I just found that it went to the Supreme Court (New York v. Uplinger, 1984). They held that the writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted . So the statute remains down.
Next, § 240.35(7), "loiters or remains in any transportation facility, or is found sleeping therein, and is unable to give a satisfactory explanation of his presence," came under fire in People v. Clark (1987). The New York Supreme Court struck down the statute on 14th Amendment (due process) grounds.
see also Chicago v. Morales, in which the US Supreme Court struck down another loitering law in 1999.
Loiter: to remain in an area for no obvious reason, Merriam Webster.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
How'd we get from free-and easy to fatal accident!? Sure, I know, you can explain it. But isn't it more fun not to?
Casual and casualty are derived from the Latin casualis, "by chance". So people who act casually may do things unpremeditatively and casualties died by chance. So it makes sense. At least it makes some sense that the root took on wildly dissimilar denotations. What still doesn't fit is how "ty" changed everything. Take the next example:
Sanguine: confidently optimistic and cheerful
Sanguinary: gory: accompanied by bloodshed; "this bitter and sanguinary war"
Whoa, that turned sour fast! What message are we sending here? It's a short trip from confident, blithe, and easy-go-lucky to a gory end? Both words come from the latin root sanguineus, "of blood," so sanguinary is self-explanatory. Sanguine comes from a theory in medieval physiology that believed in four "humors", black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. It was thought that an excess of blood contributed to a hopeful and confident, or sanguine, personality. My question is who decided that "ne" is the good one and "nary" is the bad one?
Well, nary does mean "not a" as in "nary a whisper was heard" and according to the Australian government's Noisy Scrub-bird (Atrichornis clamosus) Recovery Plan, Ne stands for "effective population size; the reproductively-active part of a population," so there's something.
I ought to be more controversial.
definitions from WordNet®
etymology from Online Etymology Dictionary
Friday, November 23, 2007
As the holiday season approaches, a sense of mirth and gladness begins to pervade the very air we breathe. The weather turns colder, the nights come on earlier, and spots of light become a striking feature of the streetscape. The media report on civic holiday preparations and the various hangups that these public works entail, the fliers and circulars begin rolling in advertising holiday sales and savings. Everybody seems to be having a good time. You get a few days off from work or school. You plan to spend some time with the family, maybe you go shopping for some Hanukkah gifts. But for many people, mistletoe and menorahs trigger feelings of emptiness and even depression. Though this can often seem inexplicable, the holiday blues are an increasingly common phenomenon.
Rivkah H.*, a 29 year old mother of three, came into my office complaining of a feeling of dread and sadness that would start around Thanksgiving and wouldn't go away until spring. She had gained some weight and reported feeling tired. While these complaints may simply be the result of dealing with a tighter schedule and inclement weather, often this pattern of symptoms is sufficiently severe to be consistent with a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
We don't know precisely what causes SAD, but several seasonal factors are hypothesized to play a role. Longer nights increase your body's production of melatonin, while getting less sunlight may lead to a drop in serotonin. Earlier nightfall may alter the body's circadian rhythms and disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycles, which can have a negative impact on mood. Any combination of these factors may be responsible for the seasonal depression know as SAD, which affects about 4% to 15% of the population every year.
Another client, Jacob M.*, 21, reported feeling emptiness, hopelessness, and detachment that would come and go in brief spurts. Episodes would often last from a day or two to a week and then gradually recede until he would get back to feeling normal. During these episodes, Jacob would sleep longer than usual and become less interested in social interaction. If these symptoms caused "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning", Jacob could be going through what psychiatrists call a Major Depressive Episode, the primary feature of Major Depressive Disorder.
(It is important to point out here that the methodology of the standard diagnostic manual used by the mental health profession today (DSM-IV) is based on symptomatology, not etiology. That is to say, disorders are differentiated primarily by their universe of symptoms, not by their cause. This means that even though Jacob's diagnosis is simply depression (or even depression, recurrent, with seasonal pattern) it is useful to go beyond this to try to understand his condition.)
During the clinical interview, it came to light that Jacob's depressive episodes would often coincide with the winter holidays. Although timing of onset and the similarity of symptoms make it easy to confuse holiday depression with SAD, there are a number of important differences. Holiday depression is often characterized by a more rapid onset and briefer duration; it is a more acute condition, while SAD is more chronic. Jacob's condition may have more to do with psychosocial triggers than seasonal ones.
The causes of holiday depression are manifold. First, the holiday season involves a breakup from the ordinary schedule for most people. Normal, comforting routines of work or school are interrupted. People are likely to travel or receive guests. Any disruption of the norm can trigger stress and anxiety and lead to feelings of unhappiness. Time off from our usual busy schedules can provide a chance for introspection and reevaluation. If we find we are not happy with where our lives are taking us, we may feel desolate and hopeless.
In addition, the holidays offer great expectations of familial warmth and religious meaning. For many, these high expectations may simply not materialize, leading to feelings of intense loneliness and abandonment. Conversations with friends and coworkers, together with media portrayals of "everyone else" enjoying vacations and family time can exacerbate feelings of loneliness for people who do not or cannot enjoy the holiday togetherness. For those who do not identify with the religious implications of the holidays, this season can stir up feelings of being different and aloof from society as a whole.
The fact is, most people do not have the Brady Bunch holiday Coca-Cola would like you to imagine (so that you buy lots of Coke to serve your many guests). Psychologists call this concept pluralistic ignorance. Everybody tries to conform to what they perceive is the group norm (in this case to put on a happy face and celebrate the holidays) even though each person privately disagrees with that perceived norm (people may not think of the standard holiday celebrations as their idea of a good time). Through better communication, it would have been apparent that the perceived group norm was actually incorrect: the others all agreed with the individual's assessment but they kept silent and also conformed to the perceived (nonexistent) norm.
Another factor has to do with the sense of self becoming threatened by holiday social situations. People tend to develop distinct social persona, or masks, that characterize them in each social situation. These distinct persona, rather than any underlying sense of true self, are powerful driving forces of personal behavior. When holiday season arrives and people are pressed into unusual social situations, they find that their familiar social persona is exchanged for a new one until they almost do not even recognize themselves. They may begin to act in different ways than usual or become confused and uncertain about how they should act.
Together, seasonal changes, disruption of routine, challenging social situations, pluralistic ignorance that causes us to think we are the only one "missing out", and crises of identity and meaning can lead to sadness, loneliness, and that horrible feeling in the pit of the stomach that we identify as holiday depression.
Holiday depression can often be treated successfully pharmacologically with anti-depressive agents or with psychotherapy, however the short duration of individual episodes means that symptoms will usually subside on their own before drugs or therapy take effect. If there is a SAD component, light therapy may be effective in alleviating some cases of holiday depression. It is crucial for family and caregivers to be aware that the brief duration of holiday depression episodes should not lead them to discount the painful, and for some, crippling, nature of this syndrome. Because it strikes at a time when people expect to be happy, it can be a devastating blow. By essentially "removing all the good parts" from life, holiday depression can make things look very bleak indeed.
Feedback appreciated. Pretty please, comment, revise, add, edit, argue, whatever.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I went out with some friends last night. Met some new people. Started dancing with 1 guy, then another, didn't hook up. The 1st lived pretty far out and I wasn't interested in doing the bathroom thing; the second had an awesome body, rock hard abs, but the face I wasn't crazy about. Genre calls this a lobster because (though I don't have personal experience in this department, apparently) with lobsters you throw away the head and just eat the rest. But I find the analogy rather annoying and certainly inappropriate - like most things in that magazine, especially their criminally abominable fashion sense. Funny thing is that even though I knew at the beginning that I wasn't looking for sex this time and just wanted to dance and hang out with my friends, it still felt awkward going home alone at the end of the night.
Quote: When are strippers not annoying? I mean, we've got people to fuck, we've got porn, what do we need strippers for?
P.S. Uh oh, this post is now rated R.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We already know that Santa's "Ho, Ho, Ho" is insulting to women (huh?) but did you know that he's also setting a bad example for obese children?
At Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, they even put Mr. F*ing Potato Head on a diet. Mr. Potato Head! Called him Healthy Mr. Potato Head as if this could somehow disguise the fact that potato chips and fries still won't be healthy, no matter how many sit-ups their Head does. But don't people realize that he's just a toy? So you can't win. The models are too skinny, the toys are too fat. Our kids are screwed. Big-boned Barbie
I start to watch a movie on my computer and keep getting distracted by the infonet.
Recently, I had a crazy cool experience which I can't disclose because of confidentiality, but let's say it had something to do with blood and a doctor, and it stirred up a lot of emotions, made me feel faint and woozy, and made me reconsider whether I want to go into medicine. Incidentally, it also reminded me how hard it is to be a parent and encouraged my interest in health sciences.
The New NY Times
Uh, they have names
How much would you charge for your right to vote?
Get hooked on Overheard New York
When I have some time
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Joyce, James. Scylla and Charybdis, Ulysses.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Anyway, I discovered a whole new local social scene, really an entire subculture that somehow flew below the radar--like--forever. It was pretty cool. And I'm set to start my new job this week, finally. Nervous? You bet! Not just nervous, that's not quite the word. More like horrified. But it'll be cool. And then there's the applications. They take so long! And the process has had me doing a lot of thinking. About myself, what I want to do, where I see myself in five years? Ten? Cliched, I know. But it's still real.
And then there was this guy, well actually lets go in order. There was this guy who was cute, with the trim three-day beard, light shortish hair, looks great in a suit. Two button suit with the top shirt button open and white shirt-tails hanging out beneath the jacket. Then there was this really cute guy I just wanted to hold and kiss and cuddle. Smart, a little computer-geeky, but in a good way. Great smile. I'm not good at these descriptions. Then there was this really amazing brilliant gorgeous law student whose outfit and hair were so cute, and his cheeks rosy from alcohol, even his voice was sexy. And then he was having intense conversations about God and morality and prime time television, wow! Dreamy. Marriage material.
Sorry about the daydreams. Back to what I was saying, that I'm applying to do a doctorate just for the hell of it, though I'm not sure I like the field, or that having this degree will actually qualify me to work in the field. But this is the area I've studied, so in this area I'm prepared to pursue graduate study, perhaps even in the Ivy League. Which is an exciting proposition to me for some unidentified reason (probably having a lot to do with vanity).
Remind me to look up network theory. Someone mentioned it in casual conversation (as in, "network theory helped me solve LSAT logic games easily) along with a host of esoteric math concepts (integrals, partial differentials, you know the drill) which made me realize just how much I have to learn. Oh, and about love. So there was this great young couple. Actually the first time I saw a young married couple behaving normally. Like normal people. Not like those famous Maalot Dafna couples. Not like the Ramat Eshkol couples. Not like the Machal couples. They were regular people, though they played Shabbos hosts, it wasn't a stuffy make-believe matziv like the way those newlyweds play house according to all the rules they think they are supposed to follow. It was just friends getting together and chilling. And it was really beautiful. Anyway not to sound to mushy but I'm pretty open about blabbering my feelings here.
So the husband says about his wife that he is so obsessed with her that if she ever cheated with another guy he'd feel like his life was forfeit, like killing himself. Hearing him describe his feelings like that made me think. To me, I subscribe overly much to the sex is just sex theory and emotional attachments are rare. Perhaps because I haven't met the right person yet, but perhaps also because I have a totally skewed sense of relationships to begin with. I admired his sentiments but couldn't relate. I don't remember feeling that way about anybody. If I was with a guy and he cheated, well, it was to be expected. How could I expect him to pass up an opportunity, and as long as he's there for me when I need him, so what if he played with someone else. No, I'm not comfortable with this. This way of thinking. I don't know, it sounds like a great theory, but it doesn't connect with most people. Here's where I stop making sense.
Not that I can't be monogamous. Actually, that is the most natural state for me when I'm with a guy I really like. If things are going well with one person, I totally don't need anyone else. Not interested. It's when I'm with someone who is not an optimal fit that I'm still in the game, seeking better. Ok, I wrote too much. My heart is on the table. Cut it up if you will.
And another thing. I apparently have this total mental block about calling home when I'm going to be late. So every time I go out, I come back to a litany of, "We were so worried about you. How come you didn't call? I guess you don't care how we feel." So I get the feeling, right or wrong, that they don't approve of my going out, don't approve of having friends. So I alternate staying home and being a loner with going out and slipping out without telling my parents. Then if it's getting late, I think, "I'm still having a good time and not ready to leave," and the idea of just calling to say I'll be in late somehow does not occur to me at all, even though I had resolved the last time to do just that. So the cycle repeats. But the funny thing is, I do not have a bad memory, so I think it is some psychological block on calling home. Like I block out the idea subconsciously because I get these vibes of disapproval from them that I'm not interested in even though practically I know the right thing is to call. And I'm self-centered. And hey, while I'm at it, sex-obsessed. Though not as much as I used to be. Okay, as much.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
"A first killing is like your first love. You never forget it."
- Alexander Pichushkin, Chessboard Killer, on serial killing. He was convicted yesterday on 48 counts of murder in Moscow.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. - shakespeare in macbeth
spumy. what a word.
teacher in texas suspended for including cormac mccarthy's child of god in a ninth grade reading list. parents complained because of the necrophilia. these christian parents ought to remember their own child of god and the graphic displays of his crucifixion. why don't they censor that? and if you think it somehow is different because of some magical religious stuff, not this passage from steinke's jesus saves. "when she was younger she dreamed of christ's body. the holes in his palms and between the tendons of his feet, but not only the gross parts, the sexy parts too, his flat stomach, even his cock". there is a lot of competition in the market for "exploring the darkest limits of human degradation".
remember how my mind puts songs with boys? so "i wanna make love to ya, baby" is in one of my classes. and i met "dream boy", but last i checked he was taken. and i definitely noticed a trend where i want specifically what i can't have, but when i have something that reduces the need exponentially.
talk to me people
Sunday, October 21, 2007
"We felt that this type of aspersion was something we had to act on immediately," said Derius Farmsworth, head of Farmsworth, Bermer & Fleur, and Dumbledore's chief legal counsel. Since Dumbledore's legal troubles with the Ministry of Magic began several years ago, the headmaster has maintained ties with the law firm. "We believe that Ms. Rowling's comments were libelous, inflammatory, and simply untrue. We hope the courts will help us undo the damage done to Dumbledore's reputation," added Tormary Bermer.
When reached for comment in his office at Hogwarts, Dumbledore's only response was a brusque, "I'm not gay." Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry released an official statement this morning to its parent body. The statement, signed by 27 of their 32 teachers and sent by owl mail, assured parents that they accept Dumbledore at his word but will be careful. "We are proud to stand behind the illustrious personage of Albus Dumbledore in this trying time. We have no reason to believe Ms. Rowling's disgusting insinuation of sexual misconduct, however we are taking precautionary measures to ensure that student safety is our first concern," reads an excerpt from the statement.
Our Hogwarts correspondent spoke with several teachers at the school. Professor McGonagall insisted that even if Dumbledore is gay, there is no reason to assume misconduct and she would recommend to the board that he continue in the role of Hogwarts headmaster. Professor Slughorn insisted he "knew" that Dumbledore could not be gay, and then blushed and would offer no further comment. Severus Snape insisted that he has had reasons to question Dumbledore's sexuality before Rowling outed him and that, "I'm not just talking about his obvious crush on Potter." Professor Snape refused to sign the school's statement and called for Dumbledore's resignation. "Don't think I'm homophobic, I simply believe that it is not in the best interests of our student body to have Albus as headmaster in light of the current situation," Snape added.
The Ministry of Magic could not be reached for official comment, however an unnamed source from within the ministry told us, "We are investigating." Lucius Malfoy demanded action against Dumbledore, "I'm afraid for my son. Who knows what vile acts that faggot headmaster made him do." Harry Potter has eluded the press since the incident became public. Hermione Granger of the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement told reporters for the Daily Prophet, "It is not a crime to be gay. It is a crime to attribute homosexuality in calumny. We will be watching these developments very closely."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Landsburg, S. (1993). The Armchair Economist. As cited by Bryan Caplan in The 4 Boneheaded Biases of Stupid Voters, reasononline, October 2007.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Contemplating the quiddity of poetry and debating how to fix the fault lines of the future
All this and more weighed upon my little mind; the world would be mine!
Then my mother came outside and stood observing the garden
And she said how sorrowful it is too see her children leave,
Her children into whom her life's effort went to raising
She reflected how they are grown and independent little men
As I was sitting on the veranda taking in the autumn sun of a lazy late-morning Sunday
And I felt it then
The future held more of the past and more of the future
Poetry could rot. What is my mood and my world, my little thoughts
To that great woman's reality, a life lived
What was earth-shattering and vital now is cheap and gaudy
A mawkish monument to the creed of ba-li individuality
Abstractions of mine contrasted her concrete feelings
And suddenly concrete was heavier than air, and yet I breathe air
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I saw a squirrel. Several of them, actually. Whole gaggles of them, scurrying about carrying acorns and preparing for winter. 'Tis the season for industrial squirrels. I saw a cat. It was yellow. It was made of glass and steel. 'Tis the seaon for industrial cats. I saw a man. She was weak and fat and smelly and stupid. 'Tis the season for industrial men.
Friday, October 12, 2007
And the noose thing at Columbia--who said that the noose was hung as a racial insult? Everyone jumps to say it was racially motivated, and there is a suddenly a righteous uproar from the APA about subconscious prejudice. If America wants to recover from racism, we have to stop considering it. The emphasis cannot be on "making the black equal to the white", but rather on treating all people well regardless of their skin color. But that is not what the progeny of the former civil rights movement wants. Today they don't want equal treatment, they want to be lauded for their differences.
Another important point is this: I have a dream, said Dr. King, that my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. What Dr. King hadn't considered was the way many African Americans today fill their character with their skin color. If Ms. Constantine wouldn't insist on being "a black professor at Columbia" and just concentrate on being a "Columbia psychology professor", she wouldn't need to become alarmed at seeing some rope at her door. She wouldn't garner the type of distaste that she does. Additionally, her copious writings on the differences between black and whites in America make her surprise at unequal treatment and her insistence that this has to do with skin color a joke. If she were white and wrote those things, she would provoke the same reaction.
There is apparently a biased writer at the NY Sun dedicated to provoking interracial misunderstanding, Sarah Garland (I hope you are reading this) who continually throws Jena, Louisiana and the nooses under the "white tree" into her articles without explaining the story and mentioning the six black students who mauled a white boy there. What is more painful: the sight of an empty noose hanging from a tree or the fright and pain of being outnumbered six to one in a dark alley and feeling the merciless blows of hate pounding into your gut? (And if your answer has to do with psychological trauma, you need more help than I thought.)
How can we hope to destroy racism if racist reminders are continually thrown in our faces? If we try to treat all people well and African Americans nevertheless use the accusation of white racism as a weapon to gain ascendancy? How can we hope for equality if white applicants are turned away from universities because a quota of blacks must be filled?
When I go to the doctor, I don't care if the doctor's skin is black or white. I just want to see a qualified physician. However, if I know that a white doctor needed an MCAT score of 30 and a black doctor (because of affirmative action admissions policies) needed an MCAT of only 26 to get in to medical school, and black residents can't be worked too hard in their training lest they complain about being mistreated because of their race, what you end up with is a breed of doctors who are on average less qualified than the overall average standard for what is expected from a doctor. Now, if I were to say I prefer a white doctor am I racist--or simply responding to realistic quality concerns? How can we equate equality with a double standard? ( p.s. My doctor is African American and she is an excellent physician.)
Pundits claim black youth are disadvantaged because they live in poor, crime-ridden communities and therefore need programs to boost them up and make them equal. Then they come from the other end and accuse white people of racism when they oppose government residential integration programs such as subsidized housing for African Americans in historically white communities. Here again, people have no problem if an African American family on a similar socioeconomic strata to them would move in to the house next door. It is not a race issue. But when the government wants to take a poor family from a bad neighborhood and install them into subsidized housing where they will be living in a place they could not normally afford and jealously watching their wealthier neighbors, where they will not fit into the social culture of the community, where they will be different in a thousand ways unrelated to the color of their skin but very related to the content of their character, and people oppose, this is not an example of racism.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Random site: check out musicovery.com
We are living in a free country. Go back to worrying about the State Children's Health Insurance Program Bush vetoed because "Poor Kids First". What?! Poor kids first? Why on earth does such a motto make the least bit of sense to anyone? Poor kids first? Poor kids equal, I say! Poor kids are important. Rich kids are important. Middle-income kids are important. They are all, together, going to be the future. We should care for all of them. (I am not pushing a health care program here, just a perspective). Why do poor kids have a right to be put first, ahead of kids born to higher-income families? What crime have middle-income kids committed to make them less worthy than the country's poorest kids? Is having two hard-working parents who struggle to put food on the table, and succeed, struggle to put a roof over their children's' heads, and succeed, struggle to buy clothing for their children, and succeed, but have little left over for health insurance suddenly something to be ashamed of? Are these children to be denied health care because of the sweat and dedication of their parent? Can we in good conscious reward the poor, "Poor Kids First", while we punish middle-income kids by making them "Second Class Middle-Income Kids" who can't get into the Poor Kids program, but also can't afford private health insurance like their more fortunate cousins?
Origin of the dollar sign. A mystery. Rand suggests the sign of the dollar $ is the monogram of our country, the U of United superimposed upon the S of States. That sign on the "fat pig-like creature in all the cartoons" is our sign, debased.
Gabe Nevin in Paranoid Park , one of this week's features at the New York Film Festival.
Monday, October 01, 2007
from Benway, Naked Lunch. William Burroughs, 1959.
"I might ask the same of you," I replied.
"I'm thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?"
"Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the policemen or firemen walking out."
"Or the college prfessors."
"Or the college professors," I agreed. I shook my head. "No, I don't think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed."
"I just can't help thinking what a real shaking up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems. . . "
"And how proud would you be when people started dying like flys?" I demanded.
"They'd die like mad dogs, I think--snarling and snapping at each other and biting their own tails."
I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolations of literature?"
"In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system."
"Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested.
"No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing."
from A Medical Opinion on the Effects of a Writer's Strike, Cat's Cradle. Kurt Vonnegut, 1963.
Toured the sunday night scene. There's the famous big party in the packed ballroom with a bit older grungier crowd than the college scene. More committed perhaps. Than there's the somewhat alternative party with the myriad drag queens. The only cute guy there was the promoter's boyfriend who had to tag along though it wasn't his crowd. Was more chilled than the big one. Passed by the location of an old party that had died. R.I.P. And another cool venue whose Sunday nights are dead. Was so empty a quick peek told me not to bother paying the cover. (They are planning a revival in the coming weeks - a new promoter, some gimmicks, but most anyone who's a catch has work or school or something that makes him get up Monday mornings, so Sunday partying is bound to be - different.)
Got home by about 2:30, but started reading and by the time I looked up it was 5:00am and I knew I need to do something about this ridiculous schedule.
On Lefferts Place where the pigeons fly and dive
And crap. And I got up and saw my heart
Lying in the corner of the room amidst the bird poop,
Moist, with a faint musty smell as of mushrooms stored
A bit too long in the cellar
And lifting my heart from the filth,
I brushed off several multicolored crumbs
Of fruity pebbles and washed it under the fountain
That flowed out from my eyes, and saw
Then picked up my right foot and
Squished it firmly upon my heart, listened
To the splat and pop of the red oozy mush
Spilling out between my toes.
They went on a family outing, visited historic sights with the cousins. I missed it. Sigh. Sorry to have let them down. My mother worries I don't want to be part of the family. That's not it, Ma, I just had stuff to do. I just feel awkward telling them I'm going when I know they hate it. But I guess not knowing is worse and I shouldn't cause additional worry.
I feel empty and hate life and yet, as long as there are cute guys to sleep with and I'm getting action, it is possible to forget and feel okay, if for a short time only. While it may add to the emptiness, it at least fends off encroaching depression.
Broke the guy's no-sex-on-the-first-night-rule. Was kind of afraid that meant it was over. Wondered if it was a bad sign - meant he didn't want to pursue anything long-term or a good sign - he was so overcome with passion that such niceties fell by the wayside. Probably was neither. Just the alcohol.
But before that happened, we were ready to leave the club, and he says he needs to go say goodbye to his friend. He walked back in and I waited a couple of minutes, while some elderly gentleman ogled me. Finally I went back in and waited by the door, when I noticed a really cute boy looking at me. We started talking and were soon on dance floor. Here's the dilemma part. Could I just ditch the first guy like that? Could I give up this chance with the ubercutie? In retrospect, this probs could have been better handled, but I guess the alcohol was clouding my reason.
Then I started getting mixed vibes. He excused himself to the restroom, which is club-slang for giving the slip. Anyhow, I needed a bathroom break myself, so I went with. But instead of heading toward the johns, he goes over to talk to a friend. I played dumb when he walked away from the guy and pointed him toward the bathrooms. We sat down and were chatting (not my forte) when the first guy shows up. When he comes over to me, the second boy gets up and slips away. So I leave with the first, haunted by what could have been, but looking forward to what will be. He is annoyed that I didn't wait for him outside, but pleased that he ended up finding me, so all's well. We picked up a couple of beers at the kwikimart and walked the few blocks to his apartment.
Went out to a new party in the city. There was actually a line at the door and the crowd looked good. . . session ending in 2 minutes. gotta wrap up.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Contrast this with the situation at Israeli universities. Hebrew University has a very successful campus group called the Asiron Ha'acher (the other ten percent). The name suggests that there is a significant minority on campus, and the group strives to get them together. It does. With weekly meetings held in the university's Hillel house, the group fosters a sense of community and belonging and helps build friendships based not only on a sexual orientation but on everything from political views to literary taste. The group doesn't try to pander to the "straightim" on campus. They have a lively set of programs, from lectures to parties, and the group boasts the largest membership of any student organization at the college.
A far cry from the situation in repressed America, where a tiny office coordinates no activities that no one would attend anyway, all with a surprising lack of direction. Which is not to say that this group serves no purpose. There is a handful of people who hang out there instead of getting involved with the wider social life of the college. I can't be sure this is healthy, but it may provide a necessary outlet for some people.
What happened to the "ue" from dialog?
I'm running ouit of computer time so this will be cut short.
Monday, September 24, 2007
My absence wasn't intentional; I've been away from blogger-enabled computers for some time. Still am, for the most part. So you know you're not missing out, its just been more of the usual - suicidal ideations, start-of-semester class choosing, the job hunt, the opera. Opera was kind of cool, I live in New York so some of my out of town friends encouraged me to take advantage of the Met. Too bad my potential date never answered his phone.
The job hunt was most depressing. I sent out tons of resumes and got no calls for interviews. I know, it's my fault. I went about the task all wrong. I didn't clearly think it through and decide what kind of job I wanted. In the end I found a cool spot in a university research lab. Probably unpaid, boring lab work, but that's life. It's only short term.
I hit a crisis after graduating. College is too good to give up for something as ethereal as a diploma. So I'm taking a few more classes this semester while I decide where to go next.
P.S. For all those of you who found this page searching for an explanation to Shakepeare's 18th Sonnet, here goes:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
-- William Shakespeare
It was common in Shakespeare's time to compare one's lover to a beautiful and pleasant summer day in praise of their delightful qualities. Shakespeare wants to improve on this cliche. He opens, "shall I compare thee" and answers: No, that comparison would not suffice to do justice to your loveliness, my sweet. Why not? Because "rough winds do shake the buds of May" (early summer is still cold, harsh weather may yet intrude) but you my love are always charming. Later in the season, it becomes too hot, sometimes cloudy or rainy, and then the season fades quickly back into winter.
But thy eternal summer shall never fade. Unlike the shifting seasons, once pleasant, next moment harsh, you, my beautiful muse, writes Shakespeare, shall remain forever untouched and perfect, your grace captured in my poem. This poem has endured hundreds of years and recreates in the reader's mind the beauty of the subject as it did the day it was written. Though the subject has grown old and is by now long dead, "so long lives this (poem) and this gives life to thee (keeps you alive in the minds of men)." This is one of several Shakespearean sonnets composed along the theme of poetry as a means to immortality.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
And now, a word from our sponsor. I mean, the title of the post which often, you may have noticed, bears little relevance to the content of the post. No'ar are Israeli youth. They are a subdivision of Israeli society. I guess it's kind of like what you might call teens in America, but it is so much more.
I went off the pills. Didn't mean to, but I ran out and couldn't replace the stash so now that I went through the tingling shocks and constipation of withdrawal I figure what the heck. I'm not rushing back to them. They may have eased the death wish, but they also quashed the life force so who can say what's best? Truth is, I'm not convinced they actually did anything.
The weekend was party city. Something just went beep beep in the hallway. Something bit my computer. Anyway, the weekend. The megaclubs, the sauna scene, the beach and even the sushi. Way crazy. White city? Try slut city. To put it mildly. But boys will be boys. And life is beautiful. And so not worth it. How come the boys I really want, I don't get and all the others beg at my feet?
Supervisor hasn't returned from vacation, so I'll miss her when I leave. Said my goodbyes, brought in a cake for the lab, went out for dinner with some of the summer students who are left. Back to school is in the air, and I am holding onto summer like my life depends on it. Cause it does. I could hang myself when winter comes. Don't think I will but it is depressing. And if you try to lock me up or stuff me with pills because you are afraid I'm suicidal, I swear I will stick your balls through your eye sockets and make you wish like hell you could die. Now you have another reason to advise me to seek treatment. Oh for Christ's sake, you know I'm kidding.
So, New York, NY. Opportunity, sure. Responsibility, too. To go back undergrad for some bio courses? Where to apply for grad school. How to commit to a project for the length of a Phd?
I made a lot of good friends over the summer. Going back, I don't know. Most of my friends in NY are pretty religous. They wouldn't feel comfortable going out for a drink or a movie. So I don't know what to do, how to spend some quality time. I mean, we could get a coffee and talk. I think I'll do some of that. Must make an extreme effort to be social. Not ball up in a little cave like sometimes happens when I'm home. Oh, it's a tough life. Yah, an easy life is a tough life. I don't know what a hard life is and I don't want to. Though I sometimes suspect that it can't be worse than this. Then I give myself a good hard kick in the shins and remember that it can get a whole lot worse and things are really really good. Then I get depressed again because if this is good, life really sucks.
Feel like you've heard all this before? They called it a heat wave, but I thought the weather was absolutely incredible. I just eat up the heat, remembering cold, wet nights in New York.
The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.
I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said, "How I wish
We had something to do!"
Too wet to go out
And too cold to play ball.
So we sat in the house.
We did nothing at all.
Only, it wasn't only the wet days either because you can't go out on the nice days either. Hot isn't fun in shachor lavan. Why can't I fall in love with someone who will return that love?
I always hold everything inside, afraid if I let it out I will get hurt. This isn't paranoia, though it sounds just like it. I almost certainly will get hurt. But maybe that is the price of life. Maybe I've been too careful. Or maybe I'll just F up everything.
This Jewland's been a pleasure. And now I guess it's time to say farewell. Onward ho. Don't look back. Also, don't look forward. And definitely don't look at the present. Not a good idea. So I guess it's - how does William Shatner say it -
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To blindly go where no man has gone before
Or to boldly go. That could work too.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Legislators rush into action without understanding the issues in another example of preemptive lawmaking. Every company wants to hire the most suitable candidates. They use resumes, interviews, questionnaires, tests, and contact with previous employers as surrogates for the information they seek: Is this person my best candidate? If there is a genetic marker that will provide this information as accurately or more accurately than current methods, is it fair to make companies continue to go the roundabout and inefficient route to picking employees? To answer no is to promote either gross inefficiency and waste on the part of companies using imperfect selection practices or an obscurely random style of welfare that has companies taking on a percentage of unequipped employees because it couldn't use an appropriate filter system.
Do I advocate racially biased hiring practices, then? No, of course not. What has one thing to do with the other? Why is the epithet of "racial discrimination" flung at anyone who believes that the genotype of a human being contributes to his or her phenotype in a way not radically dissimilar to the way the genotype of say, a rat, contributes to its phenotype?
Many school districts use parental income or location as surrogates for race. Banned from overt racial discrimination against Caucasians by law, they give preferential admissions treatment to people from "black neighborhoods" (who often belong to a certain race - can you guess which?). This is just one example of how surrogate measures are obscenely concocted to circumvent anti-discrimination protocols. It is also an example of what any company has to do when hiring: It can't measure competence directly - there is no "employee competence scale" - so it uses surrogate measures. Ultimately, efficient companies will find the most competent employees. So assuming that genetic screening could become a practical tool in employee selection (an unlikely possibility in the near future), this proposed bill will dictate either inefficient selection procedures or lead to not hiring the most suited employees.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Bloomberg argues that a congested city will not attract business as well and this will hurt New York's economy. He therefore proposes a plan to charge tolls for cars and trucks entering the city to reduce the amount of traffic and make the city more appealing.
The catch is obvious: The only way the fee will reduce traffic is if its cost is higher than the cost of sitting in traffic! If people would rather shell out than sit in traffic, the city will be clogged anyway. And if the fee is high enough that it is worse than the traffic, then it will drive people (and business) away faster than grid-lock. So what gives?
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Summer winding to a close, project deadline approaching. Too soon it will get cold again. And Wake Me Up When September Ends will pulsate through me so violently I'll feel like a plucked guitar string. The longing for those summer days will make me wish I was dead. And it will be a sweet feeling. And then winter will wash over me and make me dead. I'll hibernate. Walk through life unthinking. Unfeeling. Until summer. Until I don't exist. Until I realize that this is existence. That life is like that.
I love movies that make you say, "Life is like that." Books can do it even better sometimes. And even though life isn't like anything. It is nice to see that someone knows what life could be like if it was.
The question mark of next year looms large again, glaring at me from its haughty place above the horizon. So I stare back at it, daring it to make the first move. It won't. Because things happen. Life is like that. Who is John Galt?
Shabbos was relaxing. Eat and sleep and sleep and dream. And stay up late because I slept all day. And wake up early for lab Sunday morning and ride the bus, the legroom-free special, cursing the day until I get back on campus and like magic my mood picks up, a smile lifts my face, and I'm ready to face to day. To go get 'em tiger. I didn't even take a coffee before lunch.
So I've applied for quite a number of jobs for next year, but no one seems to want me. It's like a Groucho Marx kind of situation: I wouldn't want to be a part of any company that would hire me. I only apply to jobs for which I am not qualified. Anyway, better to take it easy for a while. I'll need the time to study for GREs. Maybe take a few extra prereq courses. Working isn't sexy is it? Somehow school seems so much sexier.
Friday, August 03, 2007
big fat lies
evil conspiracy plot
murderous disgusting hateful
sweet smell of flowers in the garden
hot bodies all gyrating and moving together
hard work and blissful sleep
slacking off and wasting time
late as usual
to call or not to call
consecutive waking hours: 23
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Well, first, when you put it that way it does seem silly and I'm ready to take back the heat. But the idea is that this brings head to head to issues that I care about. Journalism and Freedom. Only, here those two things that so often go hand in hand collide. Usually, free press operates both in an economic and journalistic sense in that anyone can open up a news media outlet and say what they want independently and people choose what to hear and read and believe. In such a case, the interests of freedom and journalism are served by allowing the invisible hand to move the economy undisturbed.
The problem here is that people trust a news source that has the means, the resources, to deliver great reporting. Another interest wants to takeover the WSJ and the repercussions may be harmful to the quality of future reporting or even introduce bias. So a free market economic system may now damage the free dissemination of information. Government regulation, which usually acts not in the interests of freedom, may in this case operate to protect knowledge and freedom. Paradox.