Sunday, February 28, 2010

The philosopher class

Lately I've been watching this special on Immanuel Kant on NJN2, some Harvard professor named Michael Sandel giving the lecture. Exciting class, kids all look interested, lots of Asian faces. Like my friend and I were talking, you're in Barnes & Noble and there's some hot Asian chicks in the cafe studying who won't even give you the time of day because their parents have used YOU as an example of what not to wind up to be in Life, you're a walking warning in your Dockers and Reeboks stimulating their studies. There's just something about You, you give off the stench of a low-wage job and don't seem confident. You pass a chick in a department store and your eyes wander and then she notices and buttons up that top button, you must be giving off a stalker vibe or something. Interesting stuff as when we are told that Kant thought it always wrong to lie so if a murderer knocks on your front door and asks if your friend is in there you have to tell him the truth, give up your buddy, something to do with you can't make exceptions to the categorical imperative. Philosophy usually takes weird turns every now and then like when I was in Catholic high school our professor talked about solipsism a Greek word which basically means there's no objective reality outside of your own mind which means that nothing else exists, you just imagined it all which if true then why the hell did I get up to go to work these past 25 years? You can't blame it all on the acid, that didn't come until 1938 but you did have your morning glory seeds, the heavenly blues so don't know if some of the Thinkers accidentally ever swallowed some. I was thinking about the nature of dreams the other day, what are they exactly? Now we all know that dreams ain't real but they do exist on some level otherwise you wouldn't have dreamt. Put another way a dream happened somewhere, it took place in your mind, your imagination which has its own existence so if it makes you feel any better maybe Kim Cattrall really did kiss you au naturel in the kitchen. Arthur Schopenhauer, said to lead the philosophical school of thought known as Pessimism. What I wanna know is did the philosphers ever work a day in their lives? hold down your typical 9-5's or did they just think all day? We've all heard "if a tree falls in a forest and there's nobody around does it make a noise?" and along these lines what's the deal with this tinnitus-type state? I mean the noise is real to me, what am I nuts? Maybe I'm gonna give my two weeks at work and spend the next few years pondering the finer points of Life but getting back to dreams if you work in your dreams as I do shouldn't you get paid for it? Maybe we're all dead. BTW Obama ain't real folks, get over it!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Plowman Cometh

Having been through two blizzards so far this winter, second one worse than the first what happens is you shovel all day, clear your space out so you can just glide on out early the next morning for work and just as you're done for the day all proud of your achievement and go in for a hot toddy HE comes. But he already came once or twice already but NOW you have an embankment of snow to deal with, the third or fourth embankment so far this day as you already cleared away the first two and you'd better get to it now 'cause in a day or two that baby's gonna be rock hard. We need a meeting of the minds here and folks generally fall into one of two camps:

I clearly belong to the second camp. Once the plows have been through the side roads twice that's enough, any rational citizenry would say we'll deal with the rest and we will. Get that snow out into the road which apparently you're not supposed to do anymore and the traffic will take care of the rest. This can't be though because of the first group, larger and more influential and these yahoos will raise holy hell, write letters to the editor and call their representatives if the plows don't come through their street in a timely fashion. Yes they have a point, your tax dollars at work should help your streets get clear but how much plowing is too much? Are they overcompensating for fear of the yentas?

I have no easy answers. All I knows is my body is sore and all for naught.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faith systems

Along the lines of Patrick M's recent musings on faith, what faith system coincides most with our own personal belief system this is a tricky one indeed. I would go so far as to say all the official faith systems of the world don't do it and fall short for a good many of us. Born and raised a Catholic, still am, theologically very in sync but there are problems. Just to choose four issues out of a hat:

Birth control: Tried understanding the Church's position on the matter time and again, damn I tried but I think what it all boils down to is this - Sex is a fairly animalistic act when you get right down to it and the Church is trying to ennoble it, pleasure for pleasure's sake even to express love become issues so have the act be open to the transmission of human life at all times even if it means winding up with ten kids if you're the sensual type...anyway don't recall the subject even popping up in the Bible per se so I'm very Sola Scriptura on this one you could say. It's a blue moon moment, me and the Rev. Pat Robertson see eye to eye on this one.

Confession: Probably my biggest difference right now as the oldtimers accept it without question but never got the logic here - Jesus or God won't forgive you and you'll wind up eternally damned even if you're sorry as hell unless you explain in morbid detail to the priest your most personal sins and then some. Makes me instinctively uncomfortable, is there some kind of prurient interest at work here and you have to question any person or institution that says thou shalt not use your mind, put reason away and obey blindly. The priest will point to the confessional, you'll feel like a million dollars afterwards, my thing is why do you need to know?

Transubstantiation: The doctrine that when the priest at Mass consecrates the bread and wine they literally turn into the Body and Blood of our Savior. Not buying it and it has cannibalistic overtones, why can't it just be symbolic? Literalism can get you in trouble but they insist so again it's not a perfect fit.

Priestly celibacy (and hell why don't we throw in nuns too?): Doesn't seem nat'chal to me at all, why can't a woman or man bring you closer to God? Of course you could be a layman and practice what I call involuntary celibacy but I don't want to get into that right now. Valentine's Day is hard for lots of folks but at least we have it as a goal, for them the goal is illegal.

So call me a cafeteria Catholic if you want, it seems to be the only way. Soapie HAS TO have some thoughts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reflections on Valentine's Day

You really really need to find your soulmate, that kindred spirit out there. If your best friend can annoy you and he's only your best friend how much more important when you're choosing a mate for life. You know how irritating it was when you were growing up and your Mom told you to clean your room? well the both of you need to be into stuff like housework or you both should share the 'tude to just go fuck it, let's go out and enjoy the day. A workaholic and a person who values leisure time more should not get together by any stretch. Workaholics God bless 'em but being that more rare conservative type who actually does see benefit and value in increased leisure time I wanna hook up the right way. Hell I got friends who are so busy they can't even send an e-mail once in a while. Had a Korean friend, studied law and started lawyering in the Boston area and haven't heard from him in ages. Also if the both of you aren't into shopping, usually it's the guy then one of you should stay the hell home and it should be understood. You don't need to join the lounge at the end of the mall set up for all those older and bored husbands patiently waiting for their wives. I blogged about this remember? and they always have that existentially (I like that word) pained expression on their face like what the hell did I get myself into? I'm serious, the BOTH of you need to be philosophically compatible in all the important departments. You're either both into porn or you're not (I think when you're married you should give it up but that's just me), can't have one spouse usually the guy watching the shit getting freaky ideas the wife ain't into and eventually ruining the marriage (cause of divorce: differences regarding the anal). Our high divorce rate, it's because we're basically incompatible as a species, we're annoying the hell out of each other. Hell bloggers, even conservative bloggers don't always see eye to eye on everything and have different concerns. You got your personality clashes, whatever. So take your time, shop around, don't be in a hurry, get it right and if you can only fall in love with yourself for now that's a'ight too. As Oscar Wilde once said to be in love with yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Obama has plumbed new depths

Now at first blush this is gonna sound grossly unfair to President Obama, you can just picture Bill Moyers using it to illustrate classic right-wing hate in the blogosphere on his Friday night journalfest. Well let me first link up Malcontent's excellent commentary today on the matter:

Glenn Beck talked about it this morning on his radio program and I'm gonna predict this is gonna be a HOT TOPIC in the conservative blogosphere and why shouldn't it be? There was a DNC fundraiser last night in where else? Washington DC and Obama made the point that a national health-care system is still dear to his heart worth fighting for and then he talked about a letter he received concerning a young woman, 41 years old, who worked for his campaign while fighting breast cancer for four years and finally succumbed as he put it. You see she had no health insurance, couldn't afford the tests that could have saved her life but here's the kicker and I'm quoting Obama here: "and she insisted she's going to be buried in an Obama t-shirt."

Malcontent's point, she worked for his campaign so as a campaign worker why didn't they pay for her health insurance thus saving this poor woman's life? Now here's my dark thought and I'm not afraid to express it though I usually don't go down this road: they wanted this young woman to die, hell they could've gotten one of their Hollywood buddies like George Clooney to pick up the tab. It's a kind of variation of Rahm Emanuel's let no crisis go to waste, let no death be in vain when it can be used for political purposes. Does this seem harsh to you my judgement here?? not when you consider that some people deliberately use a moral calculus of let someone or a few people die for the Greater Good, think of all the future lives that could be saved. It's utilitarianism with a Machiavellian spin. It's only one life and think of the tremendous political gain to be reaped!

It's creepy, it's perverted, it's evil but it doesn't surprise in the least. Imagine if Ronald Reagan had said "she's going to be buried in a Ronald Reagan t-shirt", it would have diminished the man and it goes without saying that the liberals would have had a field day. Obama has corrupted rational political discourse in this country which in itself is a feat, the whole thing is shocking in its banality and predictability. It's far worse than anything Bill Clinton ever did while in office imo and that's saying something so shame on the Obama Administration!!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

How much should you criticize your own side?

First off I have to admit I do it on a fairly regular basis myself but then again they make it easy. I mean when you have Savage the other night saying Toyota's current problems were caused by some kind of corporate conspiracy, a sort of war games to do in a competitor something has to be said. Ditto for Rush who had to spin the Haiti relief effort around to it's gonna show Obama to be compassionate and humanitarian and will help him even more among African-Americans. What does this have to do with the price of onions? it'll only get the Oxy talk going again. Then you have your simmering tensions between the SC's and the FC's usually over abortion with the FC's taking offense at the SC's always waving a dead fetus around in everyone's faces but I don't know how you can discuss it otherwise in the end, it'd be kinda like talking about gay marriage and leaving out the anus (oh I know it's so much more but just being a little Aristotelian here). FC's tend to lump all SC's together but there are varying gradations of social conservatism. I myself find gay marriage to be unpleasant whereas I find abortion to be repugnant, a violated sphincter is preferable to a, ok no getting around it, a dead fetus and so...When Judie Brown of the American Life League said that studies show that married couples who once had premarital sex with each other have higher divorce rates than those who didn't well I don't navigate those waters. Same thing when James Dobson of Focus on the Family interviewed Ted Bundy only to "prove" the point that porn makes men into this so I really don't wanna get that far away from land ya know? There is much in the conservative movement not to like and I can't totally refrain from criticism of my own side, that'd be hard. It's like waking up with a woody, you have to go with the moment. The links I've chosen show the full range of conservatism which is why I chose them, agreement not being a prerequisite as it is at alot of blogs to get a link going (Opus Dei - sheesh!). So really the Question Before the Board today is when should we criticize our own side? but also how much is too much? It's not an easy answer or issue for me, there be those who be team players and those who don't even like to be on the same team. For me it has to do with those uncharted waters again. Now all of us are perfectly capable of a brain fart every now and then and if you think you're not believe me we're gonna find something but Pat Robertson has a string of 'em so it makes you wonder. There are uber versions of both Left and Right and everything in between so take it away.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Avatar Phenomenon

Haven't seen it yet. My friend did, he's really into this kind of stuff but if anything they come out on DVD so fast now I'll probably see it then at my leisure. Yeah my friend thought it was great and all, definitely a watchable flick but this James Cameron guy saying he had this concept of the blue humanoids since he was a kid, trying to give it that old artiste edge, the creative genius who had to wait literally years for IT to all come together like it's the greatest opus of all time or something. Yeah right!! my friend said he probably had some weird acid trip and just wrote it all down afterwards. Highest grossing film of all time surpassing even his previous work Titanic and I'm sure when the DVD finally does come out it'll be chock loaded with Extra Features including that annoying option of watching the movie with the acclaimed director's commentary throughout. They always have those extra 10 unedited minutes too like I hear Mel Gibson has an extended version of The Passion where you can see Jesus getting scourged for a few extra minutes or so. Anyway wha'd'ya think?

Friday, February 05, 2010

This Super Bowl Sunday promises to be more shocking than the Tit

CBS will air an ad this Super Bowl Sunday that has greatly offended the so-called women's groups out there. Here's the quickest recap:

The ad stars college football star and Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators and his mother Pam. You see Pam became pregnant with Tim or the fetus who was later to become Tim it being Bob and Pam's 5th child and all when she went on a missionary trip to the Phillipines and contracted amoebic dysentery. The medicines used for her recovery threatened the as yet unborn Tim who could have grown up to be a rapist/pedophile according to Joy Behar of The View but anyway everyone told her to abort and she didn't and ya got your football star. Ad put together by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family yada yada.

Glenn Beck this morning on his radio program - SUPERB OUTSTANDING HILARIOUS!!!. The guy is seriously funny and entertaining and is perfectly capable of subbing for a week for whoever is over there at the Tonight Show. I'm gonna predict Joy Behar is gonna be ripped a new one, make that three new ones and is just gonna be red meat in the conservative blogosphere for the next few days, accept it. Now I don't know if Joy wants to abort half the planet in order to reduce the crime rate but to think they make fun of Glenn Beck on a regular basis. As if Brent Bozell's Media Research Center doesn't have enough zany quotes from left-wing celebs, that there has to be a full-time crew working 'round the clock.

The times they are a'changing, years ago this probably wouldn't have happened, no chance. Fems and their outworn political ideologies like some old puckered asshole that hasn't been lubed in ages walking around with saggy tits and yellow curled toenails, fuckin' yentas sniffing the air for the latest offense, feminist covens, these bipolar bitches spazzin' out 'cause they're used to getting their own way and have come up with some resistance. I can't add anything to Beck this morning, the man was simply brilliant.

& then there's Racial Matters

Having had a long and varied career, I always seemed to choose the career path of The Whatever, didn't matter what job I had this theme ALWAYS came up and for the record I never brought it up, others said it to me:

Ya got yourself a real slacker who happens to be black and he's getting away with it whereas the white person always has to bring in a doctor's note when he or she gets sick, gets chided for arriving at work ten minutes late, didn't complete the workload that day and it's like wha'happened? you know the deal but the black worker seems to be getting away with it. In fact NOTHING ever happens, never written up and so someone makes the off-the-cuff remark that it's because he's black. Now stop right there, is it really this simple?

Boss: "Moussa's late again but I'm not gonna say anything because he's black."

Is it really that conscious of a decision? I'm not saying it's not or can't be but if it is that's a truly sad one. Then again my brother worked for years with a self-avowed lesbian who regularly told customers off, even dropped a few f-bombs and nothing ever happened to her but still I have a hard time making this calculation.

I was mugged when I was twenty and long story short I'm riding around with two white cops and they start making racial comments. Now I'd never do this, didn't condone what they said but a part of me understood. They deal with this crap day in and day out. Wanna reduce white racism reduce black crime since the one drives the other. Folks don't wake up and decide to be bigots, have a Jew in a yarmulke rob a Sunoco station for a change. The Oscar-winner of a few years back Crash dealt with matters of race honestly which surprised alot of folks and the racist white cop played by Matt Dillon turns out to be a little more complicated after all by the end of the movie but the other thing is conservatives who in matters of police brutality against blacks routinely and as a matter of course always side with law enforcement. Hit the nigger on the head and they'll come up with an excuse. Funny but you used to be able to joke about STUFF like when I worked in a flower shop in the Bronx and one florist was gay and the van driver and he got on the Abner Louima case (for those of you out West he had a plunger rammed up his ass) and so the van driver goes to the gay guy "you'd like that wouldn't you?" and nobody got offended or threatened to sue but that was back in the day.

You'll often hear that those who use crack cocaine (mostly black) are dealt with more severely than white hedge fund managers who snort coke but as a correctional guy I was talking to once at a party said "ya wanna know something? don't do drugs." Then there's the high % of blacks in prison, much to-do has been made of this by Jesse Jackson but the only injustice here would be if most of them were innocent and railroaded and so choose a different career path like Thomas Sowell or Bill Cosby did.

Howard Stern has probably said far more racially insensitive things (insensitive to whom?) than Don Imus but Stern has wisely made the decision to never apologize and so they forget about him after like a day or two and Rumor Has It that's he's poised to replace Simon on American Idol. Now how did this happen? It's because there's nothing the racial pimps love more then when you grovel and when I saw the I-man do this I was like will you cut it out you big pussy!! that only fuels them on more and how can you prove that one of the girls on that team wasn't a ho anyway? all of a sudden everyone's a spokesperson for Focus on the Family signing chastity pledges. It's wrong to stereotype of course but how come in porn you always see some big black buck with a twelve inch dick (don't they come any smaller?) plowing some 18-year old black girl who looks scared like they just plucked her out of some CVS and she has a baby to support? the thing is more like an anaconda looking for its hapless prey & btw how come Jews and other groups don't address each other by their respective slurs? "how's it hangin' kike?" "tell the spic, he'll get the job done."

Worked with a white meatwrapper once (or is that meatrapper?) and so she got pissed one day because she had to unload some U-boat and I'm just walking past: "fucking motherfucker!" she said but what's with the adjective? Isn't it superfluous? I mean isn't motherfucker strong enough to stand on its own and why do they always have man hands these women meatpackers? imagine them caressing your organ after a hard day's work but I'm gonna cap it right here...


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A serious aside for a moment - the anti-smoking and pro-marijuana movements

The commercials against smoking are getting more and more ghoulish. The latest has some black woman who lost her fingers to the stuff (???) and another one that claims smoking can cause irreversible blindness. Now I'd have to say this is pure propaganda, dubious at best but to refute it would take the better part of a blog so on to the larger point. While the anti-smoking movement has taken on new heights, new passion in public-advocacy zealotry at the very same time the pro-medical marijuana movement is picking up steam, has made some inroads of late such as in the Garden State where then outgoing governor of NJ Jon Corzine just signed it into law. The smoking evil/pot good formula seems a very contradictory public health message at best, seems to me the only two logical options would be either smoking bad/pot bad or smoking good/pot good. In my experience and this is purely anecdotal as I always stress but people I have known who were regular pot users did not become more mellow over time. In fact it was quite the opposite, their personalities seemed to change for the worse, harder to get along with although when I drop comments like this at other blogs where the subject comes up the pot legalizers always deny this. Then there is the rather common practice of dealers adding more dangerous ingredients like PCP to the mix unbeknowst to the pot user. In fact judging from a workplace situation I've been blogging about recently angel dust and ANGER are inextricably intertwined and the person under its influence will often develop an angry and paranoiac view of the world, major anxiety on an existential level (the downplayers will chalk this up to alcohol but alcohol doesn't have those effects, not all in tandem that is), these people over here are enemies see? they need to be dealt with. The person sinks into a weird depression, he or she may go to work in the morning with a strong sense of impending doom, becomes detached from his environment, detached from himself (ego-death) and detached from reality, enters a dissociative fugue state.

So to cap it off a young person absorbing all this like a sponge might form the not unexpected conclusion to not smoke but that it might be preferable to light up a joint every now and then especially when you have a medical condition (geez you'd think modern medicine was lacking in the pain management department). The other thing the pot legalizers will often throw at you is that you want to throw their sorry asses in jail. I don't, I'm half-libertarian on the issue but I have the right to opinions, impressions formed over the years by social interactions with these people and on balance I find them more annoying than your traditional drunk. In that case the effects wear off by morning whereas imho pot somehow alters the chemistry of the brain, how we think and it's been said marijuana is like a low-dosage of a psychoactive like LSD, it's mind-altering at least to some extent and in my observations not in a positive direction.

Potheads should be free and contributing members to society, just thought I'd offer a few thoughts counter to the pro-pot trend .