Archive for October, 2009

The hero is dead; Long live the hero

Friday, October 30th, 2009

For those who value the false idea of “equality” in our society, incidents like this cause cognitive dissonance:

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Paul Langone, 33, of Reading, heard the screams of Dr. Astrid Desrosiers on the fifth floor of an MGH office building on Staniford Street. Langone entered the doctor’s office and saw 37-year-old Reading man Jay Carciero stabbing the doctor.

Langone took out his gun, for which he has a valid license, and told Carciero to drop the knife. Carciero did not comply, and Langone shot multiple times, hitting Carciero twice, Conley said.

[+|Fox News Boston]

Note the tone of the rest of the article, as people already look for excuses why Jay Carciero’s life should have somehow been spared, despite the object in his hand about to thrust into the neck of his own doctor once again:

Police investigated possible links between Langone and Carciero, since they both live in the same town…

Conley would not say why Langone was in the medical office to begin with, but said he was there for a legitimate reason.

Perullo said, as far as he knows, Carciero did not have a violent past.

To have a violent past, you first have to think about, and then commit, acts like this. Why not stop this person at the first incident, as Paul Langone did, rather than wait around for someone to die – or in this case, be stabbed?

gunsFact is, we can never know what is going on in the minds of the mentally ill, and with an overly burdened justice system, people who begin with lesser acts of violence or threats get off with a slap on the wrist because a judge simply doesn’t know what to do with them. This person didn’t have a violent past, but he showed what he was going to become if left without a leash.

The sad part about this story is not that one sick individual died before he was able to take the life of a doctor dedicated to helping people like him, but rather it will stink of circumstantial when the media is done with it.

If Paul Langone was carrying a weapon but, say, didn’t have a license to conceal it and it was only supposed to be in his car or house, the liberal media will talk about how Langone should hang by the balls in the town square. Sadder still, most people would eat it up. 

It’s important to stress there’s a reason we deputize qualified officers:  so they can jump in when needed, as occurred here.  Paul Langone served an important purpose but no doubt will be attacked for it.

And as sad as all of that is, therein lies the beauty for people who live in realityland: there’s no escape hatch here, no no magic trap door where we can vilify Mr. Langone.

And yet, no doubt the media and people who love its silly agenda will seek to re-examine the idea of deputizing off duty security guards.  I have no doubt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will have politicians seeking votes by bearing down on police departments with questions like:

  • “How many of these off duty security guards are there?”
  • “Do we have anything to fear?”
  • “Can we have their names and addresses, please?”
  • “They should be wearing badges displayed on their jackets if they are going to run around like cowboys, like that Langone kid did!”

Just give it time.

Lawns are a design defect

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

One of the pillars of modern society is the idea of selling everyone luxuries they not only can live without, but would be better off as a whole never buying into.

Private companies and individuals alike buy into needless luxuries. This is in part due to ordinance requirements in some locales.

In other cases, like the bleaching-white of our paper products, it is a shallow expectation forced on us from our modern progress social reality.

The US landscaping services industry includes over 70,000 companies with combined annual revenue of $40 billion. Large companies include the TruGreen Landcare division of ServiceMaster, The Davey Tree Expert Company, The Brickman Group, and Asplundh Tree Expert. The vast majority of companies are small with annual revenue less than $2 million. The industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 companies hold only 15 percent of the market.


The sterilization of formerly biodiverse spaces on private property combined with chemical contamination are side effects of having lawns.

Lawn Culture, or considering the loss of local biodiversity, lawn monoculture, like Automobile Culture, is one of those destructive modern design defects that has been mass marketed to us for decades.


As defects, these artificial modern cultures cause errors that while benefitting a company or a consumer only in the most selfish way, in exchange tax the whole for the long term.

Not many residents understand that lawn fertilizer can cause water quality problems – overall less than one fourth of residents rated it as a water quality concern (Syferd, 1995 and Assing, 1994), although ratings were as high as 60% for residents that lived adjacent to lakes (Morris and Traxler, 1996 and MCSR, 1997). Interestingly, in one Minnesota survey, only 21% of homeowners felt their own lawn contributed to water quality problems, while over twice as many felt their neighbor’s lawn did (MCSR, 1997).


After pollution cleanup, medical costs from toxins, and maintenance like water treatment, this is both a form of hidden capitalist welfare and a form of hidden individual pleasure welfare.

While we cling to such needless modern luxuries, the invisible costs stay with us for the long haul.

They’re like a prosperity sink in that when the economy is good, people buy into goodies like brand new cars, driving more miles, landscaping and lawn chemical services more, which of course applies the invisible costs against us in the background in a roughly zero-sum game for civilization overall.

UN agencies have said reduced or ended lawnmowing and treecutting will slow down global heating. The 1990’s EPA published legal briefs available without cost to those fighting compulsory mowing ordinances. Highway departments have found that bushes are better than mowed median strips.


The growing proliferation of anthropogenic biomes on a large scale has already been addressed here. So has the utter destructiveness of this activity, even as it is marketed to us, in a mindless display of contradictions, on no less than utilitarian and progressive grounds.

Anthropogenic biomes describe globally-significant ecological patterns within the terrestrial biosphere caused by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, forestry and other land uses. Conventional biomes, such as tropical rainforests or grasslands, are based on global vegetation patterns related to climate. Now that humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a contemporary view of the terrestrial biosphere in its human-altered form.



Since mass marketing is practically a century-old science by now and another of the modern pillars is individual liberty combined with the distributed hidden cost of damage of such freedoms, we can’t reasonably expect decades of mere public environmental educating to outcompete these two forces.

Nevertheless, a tiny minority will always be around to calmly dissent against the liberated democratic masses who like a caged tribe of monkeys are as a whole easily manipulated  by using consumer marketing combined with their own natural apathy and ignorance.

In the context of landscaping, three of the most significant ways to reduce environmental pollution are by cutting back on the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.


The negative method, doing without, is only half the possibility for lawn alternatives. Another possibility is to replace these high maintenance, sterile lawns with the positive actions of natural local flora and fauna.

After all, they’re prettier and cost us much less both visibly and invisibly than paying for a host of economic and environmental parasites we call lawn services and chemical treatments.

Landscaping with native wildflowers and grasses improves the environment. Natural landscaping brings a taste of wilderness to urban, suburban, and corporate settings by attracting a variety of birds, butterflies and other animals. Once established, native plants do not need fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or watering, thus benefiting the environment and reducing maintenance costs. Gardeners and admirers enjoy the variety of colors, shapes, and seasonal beauty of these plants.


The short story

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The art of the modern short story can be difficult to grasp. The idea seems to be to replicate the theme, mood, and consistency in a novel, even exploring character development, but keeping it short and thus, perhaps, leaving more to the imagination of the reader. One doesn’t whip through a short story collection; you read one, absorb it, think about it – and maybe read it again.

kingStephen King is one of the masters of modern short storytelling. I’ve found his short stories to far surpass the quality of some of the endless character development that occurs in his earlier works of 700-plus page novels. Not to say there wasn’t merit in the novel-writing fundamental display that was, say, The Tommyknockers, but most don’t realize his talent for short story writing.

“I find myself even now, not wanting to say what I really believe, which is that people are too goddamn lazy to bother anymore…to pick up let’s say a book or a magazine, where you’re required to start over and over.”


“People have a tendency to be cautious; they say, ‘this is a grab bag, this is a pinata, I don’t know whether I’m gonna get a nice prize or a bad prize. But I do know that if I tune in to American Idol…I’m going to be exposed to the same comforting level of mediocrity week in and week out.’ And so, people are lazy.”


There are a bunch of factors at play here that King brings up:

  • Fear: people fear the unknown, so they pick up a book of short stories and think: wait, I have to invest my time in learning characters, growing with them, then having the story end and doing it again? That’s no fun, when I see 500 pages I want it to be 500 pages of consistency!
  • Mediocrity: King playfully mentions idiocy in TV vs. the short story collection. A short story is a one-off and you usually don’t get to learn more about the characters (usually no sequels or follow up books). TV is short in the sense that it’s a half hour per episode, but you get spoonfuls of it and it’s a passive medium. It’s also so predictable that people make the trade off of quantity over quality. Why take a little quality when you can have crap, but lots of it?
  • Laziness: This ties in with the first couple points: quality gets trumped by quantity, and short stories require a bit more work in the way of the reader absorbing a more dense story a bit more slowly, but also having to fill in gaps here and there that may be more spelled out for the reader in a novel.
  • Risk and Reward: Since people only have a limited amount of time during the day, they choose American Idol since they don’t have to do much. Why not take what’s consistent vs. the pinata that King refers to, which may contain unpleasant things, or things they don’t like?

fountainpenHe runs quite the risk even saying this on film, to alienate his own fan base. Then again, Stephen King is a businessman, and by now an institution; an automatic best seller. This causes an interesting little paradox: the guy who should be watching his mouth in the media actually says whatever he damn well pleases.

King is at a point in his career where he doesn’t need to make money nor please anyone, and besides, the guy churns out hundreds of pages with such ease that he probably has plenty of time to work on his short stories. Given the tone of the above linked interview, it’s likely that he views short story writing as one of his favorite activities, he just happens to be good at writing novels too.

Like Kurt Cobain, but less suicidal, King has elements of his artistic ability that his fans will never understand. And someone as successful as him certainly doesn’t let it slip by him that 99% of the people who read his writing fail to appreciate everything that goes into it.

It’s the defrauders, stupid

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

moneyReal estate agents typically do the least amount of work, and yet make the most amount of money in a real estate transaction. In fact, many real estate agents only do the job part time. This is just another way society rewards the “face” of the operation; the smile that has to actually (gasp!) deal with people for a living.

Is it any surprise, then, that in today’s economic climate, despite all the government is doing to, as they say, help people, that fraud only increases?

So, here’s the scam:

1. Get behind in your bills, so you can prove that you can’t keep the house that has depreciated below to loan amount.

2. Make a case for a short sale with your lender.

3. Go through the motions of selling on the open market with a crooked agent. Have the agent send only the low Offer of your confederate to the lender.

4. Once you sell to your not-arm’s-length partner, rent it back from him/her or buy it back at a later date.

(I have, in the past, run into agents who don’t present Offers. But, I can’t prove it is happening now, or for this reason, based on my experience in the marketplace. I am experiencing the inability to see properties, which may be a symptom of the same disease.)

[+]|Boston Real Estate Now blog

People see short sales and foreclosures as a way out of a mortgage obligation they signed up for when things were good. Instead of realizing that the mortgage is the first thing one must pay for each month, they continued to buy toys and rack up debt for things like car payments. Since the idea of entitlement tells these leeches that whatever they happen to “own” at the moment is theirs, forget letting these toys go or just giving them back to the bank to help cancel that discretionary debt. They’d rather play around with the system ($8,000 down payment courtesy of the government, anyone?) to do crooked buy and leaseback deals.

debtThis is loosely related to the idea in economics known as moral hazard. Where there’s a way for someone to make profits or avoid losses through loopholes (or even fraud), it happens, just like people will act differently (read: not follow the rules) if there’s no risk involved for not following the rules. This is exactly why most economists – not the policymakers in Washington, D.C. who are driven entirely by politics, but the academics – would never support most of the recent transition from capitalist republic to nanny-state. The most government loopholes you create for parasites to work the system, the more you’re subsidizing parasitic activity instead of actually helping.

This is the result of shelling out eight thousand dollars to anyone who wants to buy a home, and then injecting banks with billions in cash to keep credit flowing while also allowing the banks to be less conservative with short sales and foreclosures. To blanket the economy with funny money only gives people ideas (How do I get mine??).

Sane people choose to live a sustainable lifestyle and wait until they’re sure they can afford a house regardless of who is fronting the cash. One can only hope the idea of saving gets back in vogue as funds dry up and the government runs out of stopgap solutions.

The Kumbaya Mentality

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Life is paradox between appearance and structure, meaning that what something appears to be is usually the reverse of what it is as an active part in the process of life.

In other words, what causes a situation to come about is far removed from the point at which you observe that situation. The earthquake that just destroyed your house was not caused by an earthquake, but by shifting magma plates, and if you’d known to check geothermal sources nearby, you could have seen it. But you were too busy looking for signs of an earthquake, not tectonic motion.

Humans make this more complex because they hide their motivations: the person who appears most helpful is probably trying to sell you something; the person who appears most calm is the one having to remind himself to avoid violence; the person most convinced they must minimized their ego are in fact inflating themselves with their ego-denying puritanism.

Structure, or the world of causes for effects, reflects the true nature of impetus, or what starts an action. With humans, this is biological need: food, shelter, reproduction, social recognition. Knowing these base demands look bad to others, we conceal our motivations. “I’m just here to help” and “I’m just doing my job” are the two biggest cons in the world, right after “I just want to be friends,” which either means flight or reproduction.

kumbayaIn this world of false appearances, we often associate environmental awareness with The Kumbaya Mentality. TKM is a nice impulse… really. It’s the hope that we can all accept each other, get along, sing a happy song and be one in spiritual unity. We are all children of God. Except that, of course, some of God’s children are sociopathic anal rapists. Ruh roh! Do we want them in our Kumbaya circle? Do we really trust that singing Kumbaya will stop their tendency for rectal raiding, at least enough to fall asleep in the same tent with them?

Hell no we don’t.

The well-meaning people who introduced the singing of Kumbaya as yet another miserable ritual for children subjected to adult fears, despite knowing better on some level, hoped to give us a symbol for hope and change. Instead, they gave us a symbol for cynical manipulation of others using sops of an impossible promise, and now Kumbaya — a title given to an American folk song by well-meaning delusional missionaries who sang it in Africa — is a symbol of cynicism, bitterness and hatred for how we cannot retaliate against such a positive symbol.

In our society, the ones who don’t want to sing Kumbaya are the problem. In reality, the people trying to get us to sing Kumbaya are the cynical predators, parasites and manipulators who make life worse for everyone. But thanks to the social censure of others, we can’t strike back, or we’re seen as the aggressor. That’s how Kumbaya becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: instead of dealing with conflict, wish it away and snow everyone over with a simplistic song.

I propose we redefine kumbaya as a noun and a verb. The noun form refers to a psychology: “the desire that everyone will avoid conflict so we can continue shopping.” The verb form is to project that noun kumbaya onto someone to paralyze them, because if they react, all the other dummies in the room will then attack them. Like wounding a shark during a feeding frenzy, passive aggression is the simian way of getting indirect revenge with less risk to yourself.

After all, anyone who claims to spot the passive aggression must be putting themselves on a pedestal and claiming they’re smarter than the rest of us. Kill that king. It’s 1789 all over again, and We The People want a Pontius Pilate to crucify anyone trying to do the right — but difficult! — thing.

We want convenience. We want shopping. We want the illusion that we are supreme, Earth will never be hit by asteroids, our climate will be Just Fine, and dinner will always be on time. We just want to deny the parts of reality that threaten us, which are generally the parts between a cause and its unknown and only semi-predictable effect. “Will he love me if I drive a Hyundai? Note to self: make all cars equal, so he will ALWAYS AND FOREVER love me and I can be free of doubt, which reminds me of DEATH.”

This thought process, which we could call kumbayafication, confuses us between social tokens (“Of course that doesn’t make you look fat!”) and reality (“Stripes make anyone look fat, and you are kinda fat, so…”).

How does our hypocrisy manifest itself in the political process?

when students had a choice between a bacon cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, and a veggie burger, they went straight for the bacon cheeseburger. And they did so more often than when the choice was just between the burger or the chicken.

The scholars determined these were examples of “vicarious goal fulfillment.” Your goal in eating a salad is to eat better. But once you’ve thought to yourself, “I will have a salad,” psychologically, you don’t actually need to eat the salad. Because your brain considers the mere act of thinking about the salad as having moved toward a better diet. Thus, you’ve already met your goal of improving your nutrition. Having cognitively checked the goal off the mental to-do list, you can now eat the worst possible alternative, guilt-free.

In the study’s conclusion, the scholars wondered if this plays out the same way in other contexts. They write: “. . . does merely considering your options for retirement-investing fulfill your goal to be economically responsible and license you to a day of frivolous shopping? Does considering a Sunday catching up on work fulfill your work-related goal and give you license to play a round of golf?”


Ah. There it is: we think of a socially positive token, assert it as the goal, and then charge ahead and do what’s convenient.

Someone’s singing, My Lord… Kum Ba Yah

Listen to the pleasant music as we drift away. It’s not that the monkey is still within us — a semi-smart creature, so smart enough to know he’s screwed in the grand game, and still dumb enough to try to compensate in the short term by lying, cheating, stealing, raping, conniving, and so forth.

Conflict makes us think of possibly losing. A conflict could make us a loser, but sitting here in the pleasant music, eating the hot dog which doesn’t even resemble meat and so doesn’t remind us of death, using chemicals and air conditioning to keep the bugs away, this makes us feel isolated from the world. We are rarified, pure, abstract and removed.

Since we are so above it all, we can sing this pleasant song and think about what our positive intentions are.

Except that, when we’re done thinking, we will just space out and eat another hot dog. That’s most convenient. Never leave our own minds, even when the words solipsism and narcissism get bandied about by surly academics.

Here we see the failing of the traditional left-right axis. If we intend to do something really nice, and then go do what’s convenient, what we intended doesn’t matter much. Instead, we can see a new axis in our behavior: the division between modifying our behavior, and pleasantly pretending singing Kumbaya is a substitute for paying attention to problems and fixing it.

In fact, it seems the more we get into good intentions, the less we deal with reality, with horrific consequences:

The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest body of fresh water, covering an area the size of Ireland. But then the nations around it became part of the Soviet Union. With their passion for planned economics and giant, nature-reversing projects, the communists diverted the rivers that fed the inland sea and used them to irrigate vast cotton fields. The result: The Aral shrank by 90 percent to a string of isolated stretches of water.

The catastrophe “is unprecedented in modern times,” says Philip Micklin, a geography professor at Western Michigan University who has studied the Aral Sea for years.


From this you can see the dilemma of politics: trying to be “green” is just silly, because all of politics is interconnected — and politics is not just far-removed bureaucracies, governments and ideas, but how you behave every day and even more, how you condition your psychology.

Condition yourself toward fond intentions and singing kumbaya, and you’ll ignore reality and make vast wastelands.

Condition yourself toward self-discipline, accepting death and the interconnection of all being, and you’ll be able to deal with reality and shape nature in ways that both (a) don’t destroy it and (b) benefit you.

moral_inattentionOur newest kumbaya mentality is the idea that we can buy green products, vote for green candidates, trade in the SUV for a hybrid and take three-minute showers and the problem will magically Just Go Away.

The only other alternative is to engage ourselves fully with the situation, not rely on some distant political body to do it for us — correctly, we hope and wish and never verify. That would in turn require we remove this imaginary divide between ourselves and the reality that seems paradoxical to us, learn about it, and accept things (death, mortality, poop, aging, bad consequences) that come with the whole of reality.

Either that, or we can just sit back and listen to the song, and hope we’ve fallen asleep by the time the bad consequences of our inaction come home to roost.

Feeding the world causes more starving people

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Feeding the hungry poor does not end hunger, but instead expands the quantity of poor and hungry. When is our good intentioned stupidity going to stop paving this freeway to hell?

Band Aid was a British and Irish charity supergroup, founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”


Fast forward to present day. The cycle not only doesn’t end with this continued foreign aid, the cycle strengthens and expands.

The Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people.

The request came at a meeting of donors to discuss the impact of a prolonged drought affecting parts of East Africa.

The UN’s World Food Programme says $285m (£173m) will be needed in the next six months. Some aid officials say the numbers of hungry could rise.



Universal morality on its death bed

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

The War on Inequality continues its slow march to the margins of credibility with this latest piece from the economics angle.

“We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” Brian Griffiths, who was a special adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said yesterday at a panel discussion at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The panel’s discussion topic was, “What is the place of morality in the marketplace?”

Without inequality, there is nothing greater than ourselves to aspire toward, no direction, and therefore leaves us conditions for stagnation, which is eventually civilization death of a sort that creates Third World conditions.

Those who detest struggle and the possibility of overcoming and thus growth, which is Life’s process for betterment, are aligned with total social and economic equality. The uninspiring multiculture mediocrity and its total lack of pioneering anything in our times has been telling.

How contradictory that the same people demanding equal opportunity, which has fully transitioned now into railing against inequal outcomes, sell us their argument with the promise of everyone being able to “reach their full potential”. The new secular Christendom, which we now call Western Liberalism, is effectively a death cult.

“It was the failed moral compass of bankers which was primarily responsible for why we had this crisis,” he said. “The question is: what can we do in the culture of institutions to make them behave in a more socially responsible way?”


He’s implying that people who work in finance are not all there for the same reasons: to put their skills to use working hard to make an honest living and be a positive component in our society. Some people in finance might be there to game the system until ruin, hoping to make off with the goods before the rubble stops bouncing and investigations begin.

But this does not mean that the struggle over egalitarianism is over. Far from it. On the contrary, after the New Left of the late 1960s and early ’70s had been discredited by its bizarre turn to violence, it took the advice of its liberal elders and “joined the system.” New Leftists launched a successful Gramscian “long march through the institutions,” and by becoming lawyers and academics — particularly in the humanities, philosophy, and the “soft” social sciences — they have managed to acquire hegemony over our culture. Seeing themselves defeated and routed on the strictly economic front (in contrast to the Old Left of the 1930s, Marxian economics and the labor theory of value was never the New Left’s strong suit), the Left turned to the allegedly moral high ground of egalitarianism.


We can read more into this to understand that notwithstanding centuries of Western Christendom, or numerous decades of Enlightenment, or several decades of humanist liberalism, no new arrangement of universal moral value systems expected from everyone is getting us as a whole any closer to unified or the envisioned world lacking struggle and conflict.

not_equalMany people do not belong in our midst in any capacity. They cannot be coaxed, educated, or jailed into conforming and functioning consistently well. They are not biologically wired to function as we do, as living cells supporting a thriving social body maintaining a civilization.

Tolerance removes the filter that otherwise kept these malfunctioning human carcinogens out of our social body. Mandatory equality, as we are finding, was never a cure for such cancers.

Whipping cheating husbands

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

We fear for ourselves so much we fear all conflict and all physical consequences.

But what if a big pain is needed to avoid a big destructive trend?

public_floggingMost Bruneians want husbands who cheat on their wives to be whipped, according to a recent survey in the Muslim-majority country.

“The result of the survey is an indication of the pent-up feelings that women harbor against irresponsible men,” an unnamed social worker from Brunei was quoted as saying on the website.


Brunei can do what they want; I’d also support this in the USA.

Think outside the box

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Modern society, with its rigid rules based on single factors, makes us feel confined and paranoid because we’re told we have freedom, but then each task has seemingly one right way to do it.

allahu_ackbarThere’s always a path.

So for example, when we confront an obstacle like finding a career, most people give us worthless advice about education, certification and so on. That’s good for some; the real advice we need is knowledge that that’s one path of many.

For example, for some people, the answer is to skip all schooling and throw themselves into business ownership, and they’ll end up doing just as well if not better.

Here are some other solutions no one’s ready to think of that illustrate how many more options we have:

  • Global warming. Carbon’s rising, temperatures are rising, we’re all going to be roasting. We need to cut back. Problem: the first world’s use is mostly its infrastructure, and it doesn’t want to give that up, especially for a third world that dwarfs it and is just going to keep on breeding. Instead of buying green lightbulbs, let’s destroy China and Russia. This eliminates a huge swathe of consumers and carbon producers.
  • Roman Polanski. We’re promised a big public drama over whether he’s persecuted or not. Hollywood says he’s a victim; the woman he paid a million dollars to forget him drugging, raping and sodomizing her says he should be forgiven. But to give up on him means flouting our law for a celebrity, and ignoring the need to promise good people that they will be protected and that bad people will go to jail. New solution: re-route his plane to Afghanistan and let the Taliban try him. Problem solved!
  • Health Care. Lots of Americans lack health care. Most of us fear another government bureaucracy because those are inefficient, more stubbornly blind than private industry, and basically hire a lot of failures and jerks who make life hard for us. Solution: let the government buy health care from the biggest providers and negotiate a competitive rate, then sell it back to our citizens. People who are impoverished still don’t get a free ride, which discourages parasites, but it’s easily available.
  • Glenn Beck. The left flips out about this guy, and most people on the right seem to love him. But being offended is a problem for leftists. The solution is simple: separate television networks. You can literally buy cable package Red State or Blue State. This way conservatives don’t need to see your demented drug-addicted whore actresses talking about how they love to have horse anal, and liberals don’t need to see Glenn Beck talking about how inane liberalism is.
  • Drug Policy. Legalize the stuff in Northern California, where all the good liberals live. Send all drug users there. Let’s see what happens. Who cares, really?
  • Drunk Driving. Legalize it. Sure, go ahead. Let them drive drunk. But if they cause an accident, make it clear that alcohol doesn’t let them off the hook — and in fact will probably result in a speedy conviction. Then finally do what America has resisted for years: start yanking the licenses of incompetent drivers whether they need to drive to get to work or not.
  • Crime. We can’t get over the mentality of rehabilitation, so we jail people, let them out and then watch helplessly as they commit more crimes. Exile them all to a city in the desert of Nevada instead, and let them victimize each other.
  • National Debt. Our national debt freaks people out. We know we cannot pay it and that it devalues our currency. If we really care, we could always drop all government programs but the utterly essential until it’s paid off.
  • Gay Marriage. What gays want is basically health care and the tax breaks for being married. Great, let’s give it to them. However, we should penalize those who divorce for wasting time and money with their neurotic drama. You get tax breaks when married, and you should pay a heavy penalty when you get divorced. In addition, we should create a “virtual child” that gay married people should be forced to support with alimony. Justice is equal treatment, after all.

Some of these solutions may be tongue in cheek, but the point is made: we’re thinking in the box and it makes us sick in our hearts and minds. We need to think outside of the box, which means sacrificing sacred cows and aggressively getting effective.

How could we be afraid of that?

Halloween: when fun subverts meaning

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake:
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble;
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

From William Shakespeare’s
Macbeth Act IV, Scene I

In William Shakespeare’s England, the practice of witchcraft was already ancient. The celebration of nature—the worship of earth, sky, and the changing seasons—is humankind’s oldest faith.


Like the Christianized Easter and Christmas festivals, Halloween was an important time that served a purpose.

The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living.

Moving on as a community event from grieving over deceased loved ones so people could get back to their lives seems like a healthy practice.

The pragmatic Pope Gregory:

As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.


Fast forward to now. You buy the kid another plastic mask, plastic hatchet and plastic bucket and drag her around begging processed sugar treats from everyone. What good is this mindless, empty routine?

Processed sugars and carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, cause a rise in the insulin level of the blood. This also raises the endorphins level, a natural mood upper in the brain. These sugars causes the body to have a chemical high, mentally, which results in a lift in mood. .

Continuous large doses of sugar and/or carbohydrates, overtime, usually cause the brain’s endorphins sites to slow production or close sites to regulate the amount of endorphins in the brain. When the body cuts back on endorphin production it reduces the amount of endorphins available in the body at any given time. The lack of enough endorphin in the brain causes slight to deep depression.

To maintain a normal level of endorphins in the brain the individual must eat more sugar and/or carbohydrates to get out of depression and maintain a normal mood level. This causes a vicious cycle of addiction, physiologically (Nay, 1996). This is also directly comparable to the cycle that is developed after excessive endorphins are released into the body from the use of alcohol.



Candy-free Halloween

Halloween is often on a work night so it can be a total hassle to take kids around door to door to pester the neighbors for the junk food they’ve been socially pressured to hand out.

Tip: natural food and home cooking is appropriate for every day of the year. Decent recipes for Halloween and Autumn season are easy to find and they don’t consist of 130% processed sugar with food coloring added for variety.

Why not start locally and change this ancient tradition from pure consumerism to festive, reverent and awe for the spiritual side of living?

As an alternative that is more traditional, yet oddly enough, less likely to conflict with many religious beliefs, simply spend some time in remembrance for a loved one who has recently passed on and ignore the trick-or-treaters.

Plastic-free Halloween

Try elegant thematic gatherings and fairly authentic with all things therein instead of always cheap, always plastic, always some random mix. Although pumpkins are a native New World gourd, they’re natural and are now a part of the festival, so they’re in.

Ceramic and steel objects like skull candle holders, medieval weapons and jewelry are decorations that last for generations rather than a few years until they deteriorate as plastics to be discarded.

Candles and Autumn type incenses, oils, and even blazing torches are another excellent fit.

Costumes, if desired, also give us another junk plastics or authentic natural materials option.

Gothic, Celtic, Greek or other folk period theme styled gatherings (think Renaissance Faire but earlier in history) can shame the neighbor’s hodgepodge cowboys, pimps, pirates and accident victim mishmash.

Applying some standards for quality or authenticity in our lives can get us around passive Green Halloween type reactions and its oblivious consumerism counterpart and make for much more charming, non-destructive life experiences.

Opposing this new idea is the old fun-as-the-goal of modern living, but only when it is cheap and disposable. While we don’t need to lose fun-having, it is best had as a side effect of capturing meaning in our lives without leaving destruction in our wake.

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