Saturday, July 19, 2008


The word I distrust most is “I”—
I am not what I thought I was;
I have not become what I dreamed;
I am the unreliable
narrator in this story of self—
the path is either strewn with leaves,
or there is no path there at all.

I want—do I really?
I need—why? tell me why?
a constant internal haggle,
a marriage with myself
based on unfulfilled promises
and unfulfilling love—
my voice grates against my ears,
and so I whisper,
except when I don’t.

I thought I was moral,
but I have done questionable things.
I thought I was a lover,
but I left those who loved me.
I thought I was many things
I have turned out not to be.

If my personality were deconstructed
in the way these words could be—
“I” encompasses too much
for a one-letter word—
sparks of passion
wrestling with an ambition
that is uncomfortable with itself—
a boy tyrant shouting,
“This is the way the world should be”,
at the old man who whispers,
“This is the way the world is”—
a writer
who does and doesn’t know
what I am
(or is),
or could be.

The garden party
the sweet fragrance of wild mint
unfinished poems.

Uranium mining at the Grand Canyon

Bush administration refuses to halt uranium mining near Grand Canyon.

China memories

Howard French on an oral history of China:
Master Deng's life, and almost every other oral history in Liao Yiwu's new book, appropriately subtitled Real-Life Stories, China From the Bottom Up, gives the lie to this entire vision, making this a deeply subversive book. I do not mean the reader should expect a tract or treatise on Chinese politics. Instead, Liao casts aside the official "facts" of events and replaces them with "memories"--with the resulting contrast between the censored record and interior consciousness revealing a post-1949 China that has never stopped being a traumatic place. At their root, all of Liao's "real-life" stories share something fundamental: a fantastic, dreamy and nightmarish quality.

Jury Duty

From Phil Nugent:
As it happens, one night during my jury service in New Orleans, my grandmother came to town and I took her to see Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees at the Saenger, and damned if one of my fellow jurors wasn't there, in her real-life role as an usher. When we saw each other again at the courthouse the next Monday, she told me that she had been a little wary of me, thinking that perhaps I deliberately dressed the way I did in hopes of making the lawyers and judges reluctant to put me on a jury, but that after having seen how I dressed to escort my beloved grandmother to an evening of theater, she now realized that I just didn't know any better.

I am a freak

I am a freak, by Younger Brother.

Friday, July 18, 2008


“How does it hurt you?” That, my friends, is the coolly rational voice of homo economicus. While H.E. has his virtues, and can often help you think straight, sometimes you just have to tell him to fuck off.


General Wesley Clark:
You'll never get the country to believe Democrats can defend our country until Democrats start standing up to defend other Democrats.

Don't Stop Movin

Don't Stop Movin' from S Club 7.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the morning

In the morning, by Junior Boys.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

49 Percent

49 Percent by Royksopp.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It Just Won't Do

It Just Won't Do, by Tim Deluxe

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sociology of the internets

PZ Myers receives threats of violence through the email. I'm a bit amazed at the 830-plus comments (the volume, not the mixture of stupidity and brilliance).

Threats of violence are actionable in a court of law. So should you, dear reader, lack common sense and/or common decency, I request that you be completely and utterly specific in describing how and why you will kill your intended victim when sending that intended victim an email. Trust me, you'll feel a lot better about it after you hit the send button. And so will the rest of us, when you are safely confined (our safety, not yours) in prison.

It is actually not surprising that Myers has received these threats: his blog is sufficiently controversial enough, and sufficiently anti-conservative. While his political views, when he rarely expresses them, skew left, his blog is for the most part politically neutral. What riles people up is his brash proselytization of atheism, his attacks on religious figures and what he considers to be religious idiocies, and his adamant defense of evolution. Any individual who routinely mocks irrational beliefs while praising rationality is a tempting target for the irrational among us. That's the way it is.

Frankly, the reason why I read PZ Myers is that he makes me think. I generally agree with his perspective, if I differ on ultimate conclusions.

For example, I am an atheist by default, in that I believe that if there is a supreme deity that he (or she) has heretofore shown absolutely no need or desire to be worshiped by little pipsqueaks like us. For example, if you believe in prayer, well more power to you, but all of the evidence I have seen suggests that you are more likely to get what you want if you just call a random stranger on the telephone. At least with a random stranger you have some evidence that they are actually listening to you (until they hang up).

But I for one do not care to mock religion. To my knowledge, no actual human society has ever been found or described that did not have an organized religion. Religion can inspire people to be amazing, altruistic, and wonderful human beings. But it can also, and often has, inspired people to be cruel, depraved, and inhumane.

I can imagine living without religion, and I do so now. But I am skeptical whether societies can live without religion. I am willing to be proved wrong. The question is, is everyone else?

Update: PZ also deals with sock-puppets. Hilarious, actually.

Harder, better, faster, stronger

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, by Daft Punk. Happy Bastille Day!

Truth will out

Jesse Taylor fills us in on the conspiracy:
Barack Obama, a man whose powers of time travel have already been seen a few times during this campaign (such as when he went back in time and manufactured his own birth certificate), once again shows the secrets of the universe unlocked by his fascist tinkering with the edges of perception and reality. He apparently engineered not only the placement of the Democratic Convention a full month before he declared his candidacy (easy enough, given that he probably did the latter once the former was ensured), but also engineered the very placement and nicknaming of the city of Denver.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Today's Foxtrot...

Today's Foxtrot references Penny Arcade, PvP, xkcd, and The Joy of Tech.

Sweet Dreams my LA Ex

Sweet Dreams my LA Ex, from Rachel Stevens.