25 June 2007

Crazy People and In-Laws

  • Jun 25, 2007

Crazy People and In-Laws

The guy I told you about, the homeless guy who lost his ticket and says a conspiracy exists that prevents him form getting an ID; when i came in today Felipe had let him borrow some tools to work on his bike.

His stuff was spread out all over the floor, his bags, spare tires, shoes...
He kept going and going.
He started asking for different tools, and I told him we don't normally load out tools (which is true) but I wanted him to finish so he could leave, so I let him use one more wrench and took back the others...

Raving and rambling non-sense, and yelling at fare jumpers for some reason.

I was getting so tired of him.

And you know what?

He reminded me of your dad, or I thought how they were similar, and right when I thought that, I felt more sympathy for him. I felt a little more patient.
Which was odd, because I don’t generally feel sympathy for your father (or at least I never thought I did).
The only interaction I had with him was throwing him out of a restaurant, followed by calling him a liar and making vague threats which he took seriously enough to walk away when i told him to.
I feel anger at him for hurting you. Both when you were little, and for those things that lasted into adulthood. I resent the effect he has had on my life, through you.

So it surprised me that the association had that effect, but it was strong and undeniable. Maybe because I know that there is a connection between him and you. Maybe I see him as family (but then why do I not feel the same patience with my actual family?)

Of course, when he started yelling at every passing BART passenger because they hadn't prevented his stuff being stolen (it was apparently stolen hours ago, if not days; but it his mind, is was the fault of ll passers-by, because "people" don't do anything to stop it when they witness such things happening) I did tell him he had to leave.

21 June 2007

Land Rover ad makes it explicit

  • Jun 21, 2007

Land Rover ad makes it explicit

after listing off fancy technological off road features, the voice over says:

"despite the probability that you won't, the LR2 is designed for the possibility that you will"

American consumer mindset, right there.

Our homes, our cars, the self-storage industry (which has only existed since the 1970s and has doubled in the past few years) all guided by that principal.

Lets all take what we can grab before it runs out...
(and try to forget that it wouldn't be running out if we weren't all grabbing)

20 June 2007

Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

  • Jun 20, 2007

Prius v. my own Hypocrisy

Auto ads today would have you believe that 30-35 mpg is amazingly good.

35 is awful!
We have the technology to have affordable passenger vehicles that get 100mpg.
I'll avoid the technical details, but the potential is absolutely there. Without being a hybrid. Seriously. Trust me.

A small part of it is the industry's refusal to do it.
But the primary reason they don't exist is us.

You and I, my friend.

I just read an article in Mother Jones about this guy who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity - that is, until they wanted to put a couple of affordable homes in HIS neighborhood! Then he began to protest and look for legal recourse against his former organization's work.

We look down on him, but we are all him. We are happy to help, as long as the cost to ourselves is negligible.

We are unhappy with a car that takes 20 seconds to go 0-60, maxes out at 85, has room for only 1 passenger, a small trunk, seats with minimal padding, no A/C or heat, manual transmission, manual steering, no power brakes, no power anything.

And so I look at how popular the Prius is; even though the Insight was available years earlier, and gets nearly twice the average mileage (35-40 vs 70); even though 90% of or trips have one or no passengers, even though the speed limit is 65 and we rarely exceed it by more than 15mph or so - we want to know that we could carry 4 passengers at 95mph, and so the Insight doesn't sell, and is discontinued, while the Prius, with its pathetic 35-40 has a waiting list.

And what I realized is:
I drive. My (motor)bike gets 55-60mpg; good, about as good as available for a freeway speed capable machine sold today. That's still a lot of gas getting burned, a lot of pollutants in the air. Just to save me an hour of travel time here and there. Yes, my truck runs on 100% vegetable oil - but it has its own form of pollution, and it still has to come from somewhere, it has to get transported. I ride my bike to work...most days. Which means sometimes I don't. Yes, I have an ultra-efficient home - but it saves me money, plus I enjoy it.
So what, really, am I sacrificing?

And so, in my self-righteousness, I am exactly like the Prius owner.
I work for a non-profit and split my tips with the Coalition; but I don't volunteer (and I have no intention of starting to).
I am vegetarian, but mainly because the thought of eating flesh is sickening.

I guess it is a part of the human mind to despise most those people whose faults match our own most closely.

The people who abhor welfare usually inherited wealth or at least education and connections.
The anti-sex are secretly perverted, and the strongest homophobes are often as not gay. Narcs steal from the evidence room, and the woman who sent hate mail to the guy from the example above who stopped volunteering for Habitat, her home is just as expensive as his.
The deeply religious feel guilt for all their own sins (Christianity's appeal is that all sins are forgiven, as long as you have faith).

I always found the religious to be the most hypocritical and disturbing of all.
To apply the trend I have found, that must mean I am secretly religious myself...

... ... ...


Not even a little.

So, I guess that destroys my whole theory about indignant hypocrisy. Sometimes we just dislike something because its stupid; it doesn't have to be projection. That's good. I feel better now. Damn Priuses.

13 June 2007

At One With Teh Dumb

  • Jun 13, 2007

At One With Teh Dumb

Like ebonics, anti-intellectualism, and the re-election of President Junior, the deliberate misspelling and typos in internet chat culture is a glorification of stupid.
People continually search for innovative new ways to appear more ignorant than they really are.

Being stupid is not cool!

While we're at it, why don't we un-learn all language, give up technology medicine and agriculture, forgot how to make fire, and cut off our opposable  thumbs.

Some people are born with less intelligence.

That's OK. Some people are small, or ugly, or disabled, and that's no fault of their own, nothing to be ashamed of, and some people happen to be born retarded.

But being stupid on purpose, that's just, well, stupid.

With one significant exception:

At One With The Dumb, the album by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggets, exemplified by their song "I Wish I Was Special"

Hopefully they will play it at their re-union show, Sunday June 24th, at "The Gilman" on Gilman in Berkeley.

12 June 2007

Sexual Dimorphism, and Caveman Love

Sexual Dimorphism, and Caveman Love

Its the scientific term for species where the genders have non-reproductive body features which are distinct from each other, like a mallard's green head or a peacock's tail.  The fiddler crab probably doesn't count because his giant claw is used directly for the mating process.  Many species the genders are both the same size, but differential size sexual dimorphism is very common.

In insects, spiders, microscopic animals, some sea life, a lot of variety exists. Often the female is many times larger than the male, sometimes the male lives symbiotically or even parasitically within the female for a life time, or males live only a few days while females live for months or years.
In the larger animals, the chordates, there are two primary strategies. 
In some species, the males show off for the women, build a better nest, do a sexier dance, show off bright flashy colors, and the women get to choose. 
In others, the men threaten each other, fight if need be, and the winner gets his pick of women - or as many as he can handle, or even all of them.  In this case, it is purely a question of physical dominance.  It doesn't matter if he is ugly, or stupid, or mean.  As long as he's strong, he gets to mate with all the women, whether the other guys like it or not; not to mention whether the women like it or not.  Occasionally, in many species, the women have affairs with certain less dominate males, risking the wrath of Brutus for themselves and their partners.

11 June 2007

Stuff smells

  • Jun 11, 2007

Stuff smells


Latin for "Against Life"

That which kills, poison, death.

We consider it medicine. We use anti-life to keep us alive.

We don’t like to think that we are animals. The "higher" primates. "More" evolved - if a specie is still here, it’s equally highly evolved. We are just more recently evolved.
We like to think our motives are better, more pure or more altruistic - we want to make the world a better place, which shows we have souls; we are not animalistic, motivated by lust and hunger and fear. But altruism is common in social species, it is animalistic; and we are motivated by lust, hunger, and fear.

We teach our children early on - not on purpose, but by example, that things that are slimy are "gross". Amphibians, for example.
I can barely imagine a more pleasant sensual experience than a Japanese "SoapLand" - all slimy and slippery and soft and squishy and squirmy.

We, humanity, most societies, are antagonistic toward even just the concept of sex. We take it as given that knowing that sex exists will harm, or at least confuse children. Sex is bad for children? Without sex there are no children! Sex is life. We’re not going to learn how to bud off clone offspring anytime soon.

We like everything purified and sanitized. Sanitized for your protection. Antibiotic. Wouldn’t want to make your immune system have to work. Don’t drink the water. The people who live in second and third world countries drink the water everyday, and they haven’t all died. We avoid dirt. Dirt is soil. Soil grows plants, primary producers, that every other specie depends on for sustenance. Dirt is life. We can’t photosynthesize. We need dirt. A little dirt with your water, with your food, it won’t hurt you. What other specie drinks water only after its been distilled, or reverse osmosised? Its unnatural.

We can see, we can hear, we can feel, we can taste, we can smell. We don’t seem to care much for smell. Things have scents. Saying something "smells" is synonymous in our language for something smells bad. As though every smell were bad. Something is making a sound doesn’t automatically mean a gratingly annoying sound. Most creatures that smell, they use it, they recognize each other by smell, they find food. We don’t like each other’s smell. We wash it away. We deodorize it. The fact that we overly concentrate it with clothing even on a warm day certainly doesn’t help… Most animals don’t like the smell of strong chemicals, but who else finds the smell of their own species to be gross?

Some of the best things about being alive, like sex and food and some of the best play, is slimy and smelly and dirty and filled with bacteria - but not the kind of bacteria that are going to kill you.

We don’t find much visual stimulus to be repulsive. Seems like half of all scents stink to someone.

If we are protected from life, what is the point of living?
Why would anyone want to ingest something which is called an "anti-biotic"?

02 June 2007

Email to Move-On.org

  • Jun 2, 2007

Email to Move-On.org

I have to disagree with you on this one.

Gas prices need to go up; way up.

Americans drive frivolously.
Air pollution, oil wars, and possibly global warming, are not due to politician evil as much as they are due to consumer habits.
Oil companies - like most American corporations, make way too much money, but the people do not have a "right" to cheap gas.

If the oil companies are gouging, ride a bicycle, or take the train, or at least buy a smaller car.

We should not be encouraging move-on members to be on the wrong side of this issue.
Gas prices need to go up, the sooner the better. That is the ONLY thing which will drive alternative technology, efficiency, energy independence, and individual conservation.