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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Raymond K Hessel's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
1:53 pm
Hangover days in the suburbs slip meaninglessly through your fingers, housing plan ennui. The means are there, the car has a full tank of gas and I know I could get a job and a life anywhere, but I just put on a movie, run some laundry and fail to talk myself into working out. Coffee-breathed, unshaven, the images fly through my head and are beautiful, lost instantly forever when the phone rings. She's not here right now, may I take a message? No, I don't know when she'll be back. If. It's a shitter clogged with time, drugs, money, a sculptor, Michaelangelo's David in sand, sic transit gloria, semper lethargus. We settle into our own stability. I can feel myself losing the fire, my conscience content with losing some weight, getting a new car, holding down a decent job and graduating with a B average. How many Che Guevaras have died in the housing plans, on streets named after caribbean tourist traps, crushed under a 6 year, 5% APR loan? Napoleon tomorrow, today I punch in at 5.
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
7:29 am
it's been almost ten years
The guy from fallout boy has a personal stylist. The label pays a guy whose only job is this dude's hair. All day, every day, one guy's hair. Let me tell you a little story. My cousin Brian, our friend Lou and my own self, we all got into Lou's dad's van one day, and we drove a few hours out to Charleroi, PA. We stood outside a fire hall, waiting for a meeting of the Loyal Brotherhood of Elks, or some other inane thing, to finish up so we could pile inside and wait some more. We did this, praying for the moment that came a couple hours later, when we were standing on the floor with about 30 other shitty kids, and 4 more shitty kids got on the stage. One of them, coated with road dirt, insomnia and love, leaned into the mic and sang, "Where is your boy tonight? I hope he is a gentleman." We went fucking apeshit, they rocked us the hell right.out, I don't know what the statute of limitations is on vandalism or petty theft, so I can't say much more, but it was one of the best times of my life. And now he has a personal stylist. Did it all mean nothing, or does he stay up late and reminisce over fire hall shows as well?

Current Mood: nostalgic
Thursday, April 9th, 2009
11:37 pm
I bought NiGHTS: Journey to Dreams today for $8 at Best Buy. You must understand, I used to own a SEGA Saturn. I played the demo for NiGHTS (which I will capitalize incorrectly for the rest of this article) over and over again. Then SEGA sent me the Christmas Disc. I literally wore it out. The heat from the Saturn was enough to, after many hours of playing the same levels over and over, the disc actually warped. So when I heard there was a version for the Wii, I was excited. Then I read the reviews, and I was not excited. Then it was available dirt effing cheap, so I was re-excited. I played for about 2 hours tonight, whipping through a lot of the boy's storyline, and one thing I have to say is that this is pretty much the game I left behind so many years ago. It's fun, exciting, and beautiful. The story is timeless and inventive. Blahblahimmersiveblahsurrealblahblahvisualsblah. Everything you read about this game is true. That's the unfortunate part.

The game opens with a long cut scene introducing NiGHTopia, NiGHTS, your character, and a helpful British owl. All British owls are helpful and wise, and current research suggests that all owls are, in fact, British. So far we've only proven this for owls with glasses or pocketwatches. There is some research to indicate that owls with capes are actually French, but this comes from the less-than-credible Centre Européen pour la Recherche d'Arrogance de Hibou (CERAH, the European Center for Owl Arrogance Research). It is common knowledge that CERAH was involved in a number of scandals, including one that proposed that British owls were homosexual, with both the capability and tendency to copulate with themselves and their mothers most vigorously. Her Only Majesty's Owl Scientists, a British group, exposed fundamental flaws in CERAH's research techniques, and counterpublished a paper suggesting that CERAH researchers regularly engage in analingus with people who have Crohn's disease.

Re-read the above paragraph. See how it went nowhere, and took a fairly indirect route getting there? How I started with some information you need, but instead took you on a rambling journey through information you don't need and probably don't want? Imagine sitting through about ten of those. These are the cutscenes in NiGHTS. You start the game watching a long video that shows you arriving in dream land. This is, of course, not skippable. Then you walk about ten steps, picking up blue orbs, until you arrive at an owl. Then, another 5 minute cut scene, again, unskippable. Then you walk over to your little flying clown friend, about 6 steps, then another goddamned unskippable cutscene. I understand that the game is very surreal, very visual. It has really cool shit to show you. I also believe that video games can be art. But if you want to make art in a video game format, make an arty video game. If you want to make a movie, just fire the programmers and make a damned movie. That way, I can put it on when I'm ready to sit for 2 hours and not interact with anything, and I won't be disappointed.

As far as the gameplay, once you get to it it's great. Fast, surprising, with a simple but nifty combo system and a few missions that don't stray too far from what made the game great. The controls are a little wonky, but improve greatly if you decide to use the gamecube or classic controller, and allow for a free cigarette hand if you insist on using the nunchuk. This is a plus in my book.

Rather than a scoring system, I will rate this game using a metaphor. It's your senior year in high school, and you are head over heels in love with the most beautiful girl in the world. Because this is fiction, she loves you just as much as you love her. You connect. You have the same hopes and dreams, you understand each other on an incredibly intimate level, you're interested in the same things, you're perfect for each other. You spend the summer after graduation in what may be the perfect relationship, just thoroughly enjoying each others' company. You make love a few times, first in the awkward way that teenagers do, but eventually with a skill and sensitivity that makes it almost a religious experience. You both decide to go to Penn State together, but she gets a full scholarship to Edinburgh University in Scotland. This is an offer she can't refuse, and in order to keep things as painless as possible, you decide that when she leaves, you two will just cut off all communication. Six years go by, you're finishing up grad school on the west coast and looking at a lucrative career, when she calls you up. She's in town again. Permanently. She has a six figure job lined up, and wants to see if the spark is still there. It is, of course, and burns even brighter now that you've both played the field, and each of you realizes that no one will ever compare to the other. As her way of remembering you, she has also become a rabid fan of your favorite sports team, and has developed a taste for real, dark beer while in Europe. You meet up, it goes swimmingly, you get back to her place and in your head you're already picking out a ring, only to find out that while she was in Europe, her genitals were destroyed in a horrific car accident. Still the person you love, but so much is missing. So much isn't quite right.

Or I could just skip the fucking cut scene and give the game a B-.
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
12:07 am
RFC: Dawkins, Baldness and the Selfish Gene
In which I attempt to explain male-pattern baldness as an evolutionary adaptation


This essay is, of course, entirely dependent on Richard Dawkins' theory of the Selfish Gene. Get the book. It's one of the most important things written since On the Origin of Species. To summarize, briefly, all behavior in any organism can be explained by the fact that genes promoting that behavior tend to propagate throughout the species. It explains animal selfishness, stealing food, territory and mates wherever possible, even killing the young of your own species if they are not your young (a common practice, even among higher mammals). It also explains altruism in species, because that behavior is not intended for the survival of the individual carrying the gene, it is intended for the survival of the gene itself, including any copies of said gene in other individuals. Parents tend to take care of their young not for their own benefit, but because each of their young is comprised of approximately 50% of their genes, and has a greater potential to reproduce, thus propagating the gene, than the parent (if we presume reproductive potential to be constant across generations, then a parent who has already reproduced can be expected to beget fewer additional children than a potential adult who has not yet reproduced). We are, above all things, the best machine our genes could come up with to ensure that they continue to exists in the future as copies of the original. Therefore, common genes in the human gene pool are genes that tend to lead to reproductive success in humans. Let us define reproductive success as not only the conception and bearing of a child, but also rearing that child to a point where it reproduces as well. That last sentence is very important, for reasons that shall soon become clear.

Now we examine baldness; its causes, its effects, and the potential genetic benefit of what is widely regarded as an affliction amongst people. Baldness has a definite genetic cause, isolated as a recessive gene located on the X chromosome, in particular on that part of the X chromosome that is missing in the Y chromosome inherited by males. Because of this particular position, it is far more common in men than in women. This is because women who inherit the baldness gene stand a chance of also inheriting its dominant allele on their other X chromosome, and thus will retain their hair throughout their life as well as carrying the recessive allele to potentially pass on to children. This stands in contrast to men who, if they inherit the allele for baldness, will certainly lose their hair as they mature, and also stand a chance of passing the gene on to any children they have. Thus, while female baldness does happen, male baldness is far more common. This is also the source of the folk wisdom that a boy will go bald if his maternal grandfather is bald. His grandfather certainly carried the gene, his mother stands an ~=50% chance of carrying the gene from him, his maternal grandmother may be a carrier, thus increasing his chances, and the father is powerless to contribute the dominant allele that avoids baldness.

One of the major effects of baldness in humans is that it signifies age. Except in rare cases, usually outside the influence of the gene in question, baldness does not onset until after sexual maturity, meaning a bald man is of an age where he has potentially fathered children. As a species, one of the factors influencing our selection of mates is age. Women tend to find a young, physically fit man more sexually attractive. Thus, any outward signs of old age will decrease a man's chances of finding a mate. This seems, on its face, an evolutionary disadvantage that would be selected against in nature, but has an explanation if we consider the reproductive asymmetry present in humans.

Reproductive asymmetry in a sexually reproductive species can be defined as the difference between the time the female has to invest in reproduction and the time the male has to invest. In humans, the reproductive asymmetry is vast. A female, once impregnated, must wait at least 9 months before being able to restart the process of reproduction. A male is able to reproduce again, presuming his ability to find another female, within approximately 20 minutes. Because of this, nature would tend to select males that are sexually promiscuous, spreading their genetic material over as vast a plane as possible. We are even culturally programmed to this assumption, with a promiscuous male regarded as a "stud", and a promiscuous female, a "slut". Considering not just the 9 months involved before the actual birth of a human child, but the many years of effort involved in raising a child to maturity, it seems that females are left with a much greater investment in reproduction than males, and would greatly benefit from a monogamous partner to aid in child-rearing. Male-pattern baldness helps to provide her with such a partner.

By decreasing a male's ability to find other mates and father other children, baldness promotes monogamy in males that would otherwise benefit further by fathering more children than they would by investing more time and energy in the children they have already fathered. The gene, attempting to insure its own future by insuring the future of the body it is in, tends to create a situation where it is more likely that the male will participate in child-rearing with one or a small number of females, decreasing the chances of reproductive success in his genes as a whole, but increasing the chances of reproductive success of the children fathered before the onset of baldness. At this point, it is worth remembering that it is solely the influence of the female's genes that decides whether any children born will go bald within their lifetimes. Thus is not just the gene, but the gene in that particular position on the chromosome, selected for by nature by causing males to lose their attractiveness over time, thus limiting the number of children they father and garnering a greater proportion of the male's effort in raising the children he was able to father.

This is, of course, merely a theory. More than that, it is a Request For Comments. My conclusion could be demonstrably incorrect, my assumptions could be way off-base, my understanding of the Selfish Gene framework that this theory fits into could be fundamentally flawed. My assumptions about human nature in modern times are certainly flawed. I am presuming a human population before the evolution of culture, in the very early stages of consciousness, when we were, like most other organisms are now, driven only by a need to propagate our genetic material as successfully as possible. You are allowed, no, implored to attack any weakness you feel you see in any portion of this argument.
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
7:28 am
for mrs. mcgenius
"Susan sat at her desk. There is something calming about an empty classroom; some would say the best part is that there are no children in it. In particular, no Jason.The class had built a full-sized model horse out of cardboard boxes. The children had learned about horses, and Susan had learned about Jason's remarkably accurate observational skills. She eventually had to take the cardboard tube from him and explain that this was a Polite Horse."
---Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
7:16 am
it's interesting to note that:
Tonight's headline: "Michael Phelps caught smoking pot. Kellogs (sponsor): 'He is an awful drug addict and a terrible role model to our young people.'"

Headlines from a few months back: "Convicted drunk driver Phelps wins gold medal, earns coveted spot on Wheaties box, may be True White Jesus."

Don't smoke pot. You'll never amount to anything.

Current Mood: confused
Monday, February 16th, 2009
1:51 am
Citizen's bank just sent me an offer for a pre-approved, no maintenance fee Visa credit card. The english word 'credit' comes from the same latin root as the spanish 'creer' ('cray-air', to believe), and the english word 'creed'. To extend credit to someone is, quite literally, to believe in them. Citizen's bank believes in me. Citizen's bank has made a mistake. The magnitude of this mistake will, soon, become apparent.
Saturday, February 7th, 2009
7:39 am
All life, all intelligence, exists as a brilliant, pandemonial 'fuck you' contradicting the infinite entropy of empty space. The beauty of humanity is that we look longer and farther into the empty sky, know better than anyone else how distant forever is, and still shout harder and louder than any other living beings.
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
8:39 am
lj berry haiku
God in heaven. Blackberry posts to el jay. Updates soon from bed.
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
1:07 am
Dear Democrats:

I like your guy. A lot. I worked for him a few times, and voted for him twice. I've never been more excited about national politics than I am right now and have been for the months leading up to this campaign, and I know more about the Democratic primary system than a reasonable person really should now. I even switched from Independent (I registered as a Ninja, but they marked me as Independent) so that I could vote for the chance to vote for your guy. You have it now. Democratic majority unheard of since FDR. Two of the three branches of government. Stephens, Ginsburg and Breyer can safely retire from the Supreme Court if they so choose. Maybe someone will finally shoot Scalia. The table is set.

We're studying brand loyalty in my marketing class. I learned something interesting: the majority of people who use Tide(r) laundry detergent use it because whoever did the laundry when they were growing up used it. It's a little more expensive, but they know it works, so they don't even try the other detergents. That's brand loyalty. You have two years two establish brand loyalty with me. Give me clear progress, and I'm yours for life. Straight ticket. Piss me around, timidly test the political waters before making any move, be conciliatory in victory and gracious in defeat, and I'm gone. This is your chance. This is our chance. Grab it with both hands.

Sincerely,

The Unprecedented Turnout Of Young Voters In The 2008 Presidential Election

"In victory, magnanimity. In defeat, defiance!"
Thursday, March 13th, 2008
1:10 am
4-3 in Overtime
The penguins blew a 3-goal lead, late in the third
And I know that even if you let me, I'll never be able to kiss you again

but I'd try

We went out tonight, did nothing, talked for 4 hours
Shopped for monkey-themed pillowcases to go on the pillow you didn't buy anyway
Laughing, I almost lost it for a moment
Nearly forgot
how warm you are, and how cold it is outside
A beautiful dream, then a morning in mourning

We played like children, aimlessly with no agenda
You drew a little heart on my arm, like a tattoo
We blathered on and told our secrets
You said you'd never settle for anything less than butterflies
I didn't say that I'd always have a dagger

The price of gas is up again
I didn't stop the pump in time and had to borrow a quarter
Not much more than the latest in a series of small failures

The heart got ruined in the shower
I can still see it, smudged, grotesque, the outline of the original barely visible
It'll come clean eventually
Monday, March 10th, 2008
12:46 am
this is the part where I want to be mean, but it's wrong, so I do it anyway
Thanks for answering my call. I watched you look at your phone in the doorway. Don't worry, I made it home eventually. I'm really getting to know your area well.

So, did you actually see my taillights reflected in his eyes, or did you go straight for the dick? I know what's going on; I'm not nearly as fucking stupid as you think I am. As I wanted to be. 'It's okay that you still want to be friends with him'. 'I understand that you'll always have feelings for him.' 'I trust you'. So right now you're fucking him, and I'm sitting here with Justin.

I met Justin at a bar tonight. He's why I was a little late picking you up from work (something I did regularly and willingly for a long time. What's cab fare from Monroeville to Irwin?). His full name is Justin Case-of-Yuengling-Traditional-Lager, though he usually shortens it to Justin Case. I picked him up on my way back to the restaurant, Justin Case the elephant in the room decided to stampede alone, and I needed some shelter. Justin Case you decided to give this guy's second chance a second chance. Justin Case I had lost a friend for a while, but still needed one. Justin Tuitive. Justin Sightful. Justin Timate, but Justin Absentia.

Odd, I was just starting to open up to this one a bit. I was ready to show you some of my writing. I was ready to tell you all the stories that made me who I am. It was tranquilizing. I didn't have to be the fuckin' funny guy for a while. I didn't have to check myself, sidestep unresolved transgression. You were my friend. I could be honest. I let my guard down. It was a fuckin' setup. Like a heavyweight fighter, you waited patiently for an opening, then you took a vicious shot. So no, I don't think I'll be able to make it to mini golf on Thursday. See if I let my fucking guard down again.

This is why I didn't bother with this shit for years. Drugs and rock and roll were always enough on their own. My own idiot fault though, really...I've done this before, been here before, knew the risks I was taking. The past is fuzzy, we lose the heights and depths of experience. We remember good and bad, but forget exactly how fantastic and how destructive other people can be.


fuck it


cheers, happy people.
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
2:32 am
A Newspaper Tragedy
Don't eveneve t'noD
Take A Breath
The Air Is Cold
asilentnightinhonorofthenewyear
This.Gives.Us.Cause.To.Celebrate
The Air Raid Siren
Bomb The Skyline by Artifical Night


As we sleep to burn the rent from our bloodless lives

And
Now
We're
All
Time
Bombs
OurFaultLies


Have we lost everything NOW
Walking like each other ghost Upon these silent streets
The Sedatives (Senators?) tell you everything is alright

My calendar's dying
New Year's Eve parties
As we kiss
Hard
OnTheLips
And Swear



















this year will be better than the last
Sunday, November 4th, 2007
1:17 am
In Response to Aquinas, part 2, wherein I defer to Epicurus
I promised to continue my arguments against the existence of god, as we currently see it. I'll do so now. Now I'm faced with the argument that god brings justice to the world, through his creation of heaven and hell. It is a common, reassuring belief that there is a post-mortem equality applied to us; the good go to heaven, and the bad go to hell. I'll not delve into the fact that good and bad are culturally relative. I'll not even delve into the fact that there are mitigating circumstances within any given culture (Robin Hood is not a thief, and soldiers are not murderers, even though both parties contraindicate the word of god). My focus is on one lynchpin: the fact that heaven and hell are eternal.

If you can, imagine that every act can be assigned a goodness value. A positive value if the act is generally regarded as good, and an inverse, negative value if the act is generally regarded as bad. This isn't that hard too imagine, as we already do it to some extent. Child murder is bad. It's one of the most despicable, disgusting acts a human being can commit. To attack someone who is truly innocent is to commit a crime for which there is no earthly repentance. There is no way to give back the innocence you've taken from your victim. You've robbed a human being of potential, and robbed them of such a vast amount of potential that there is no punishment worthy of your crime. On the same scale, however, to find a dollar in the street and keep it, while making no effort to return it to its owner, is also bad. You have taken a dollar that is not yours. You have stolen from someone. While these are both bad, they are in no way whatsoever equally bad. God, however, metes equal punishment for both acts. Eternity in Hell. No questions asked, no circumstances considered. To take a penny is to kill a child.

Let us consider, then, bad people. These are people whose actions, over the time scale of their lives, we can rely on to do bad things. These are people like Hitler, like Stalin, like Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez. These are people who have used every energy they had on this planet to do evil, and, had they lived longer, would have done even more evil. But are they capable of infinite evil? Can they do anything, in their finite lives, that warrants a never-ending punishment? Hitler had twelve million people killed. The number is staggering. This is close to having the entire population of Pennsylvania killed. Think of it that way, my local readers. Think of literally every human being you've ever known, ever met, ever brushed up against on a crowded sidewalk, dead. A lot of people. Most of them innocent. But is it an infinite number of people? Can you really look at that and say that the person who killed them did an infinite amount of evil? That there is literally no way to represent the amount of evil he has done, and that he literally killed every human being who exists now, has ever existed, and ever will exist? If you accept that some acts are more evil than others, then you must accept that evil must be measurable to some extent. If evil is measurable, than it must be measurable over time. If evil is measurable over time, then the amount of evil a man can commit over a given amount of time (his lifespan) must be a number less than infinity. However, if you confine a man to hell forever, even if his punishment is no more than being poked in the ankle with a sewing needle every Monday at noon, his punishment is infinite. Therefore, to condemn any man to hell forever (as Yahweh, Allah, and any number of minor gods do) cannot possibly be justice. The punishment is greater than the crime, therefore there is no justice. Because of this, there can be no god, as god created heaven and hell, and god created man to, at the end of his life, end up in either spot. If god is just, as we imagine him to be, then we just imagine god.

This argument works inverted. Replace evil with good, and hell with heaven. No person is capable of doing infinite good, so for them to go to infinite reward is for them to put one over on god himself.

As far as my title is concerned, let me paraphrase Epicurus: 'God is all-powerful and ever good. Then where does evil come from? If god allows evil, then he is not ever good. If evil exists in spite of god, then he is not all-powerful. If he allows evil, then he is not god.'
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
3:03 am
This Is Not Funny
So I took my brother out for Wendy's today. It's a little much, I know, but nothing but the best for my little bro. Also, it was open and on the way, and I hadn't put anything into my body in about 16 hours that didn't contain copious amounts of caffeine or nicotine. So we both get some chicken nuggets and The Baconator, the most beautiful 'fuck you' to anything that is right and decent in the world. Two patties, two slices of cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and an entire spit-roasted suckling pig stuck between two cornflour dusted burger buns. Nirfuckingvana. This burger is a throwback to the days when a man would spend an entire day stalking an animal through the forest, spear at his side, moving with the silence of a chessmaster, deep in reverential thought, and the savagery of a leopard in the tall grass. When the moment strikes, so does the man. Spear, thrust, primal scream and victory! Then a stone knife to peel back the hair and skin, and a bloody-bearded tear into the flesh of the fallen foe. Tearing meat from bone using only the hands and teeth, and howling up at the half-moon, a scream from deep within, the cry of the conqueror, the cry of relief and safety as the basic need for fuel is fulfilled. Anyway, "that *is* a tasty burger!" I allow myself a 2 nugget appetizer on the way to Sean's place, whenceforth the feast doth commence.

Now, there was once and may still be a type of train where, rather than pulling from the front, the main engine pushed all the freight cars from the back. I want you to imagine such an engine, barreling down ten miles of track at top speed, then coming upon an unsuspecting train of freight cars. Picture the moment of impact, and remember the old physics lesson about an immovable object and an irresistible force. It's like that, but right in the center of my body. I'm finishing the burger, and telling Sean a story from the Mindless Self Indulgence show, when it hits. The sheer force of the contractions in my body leaves me breathless, and I force out the words, "Fifteen minutes," grab the new issue of Rolling Stone, and head off to the noble court, to take my rightful seat on the throne.

This issue of Rolling Stone has Hunter Thompson on the cover. It has an article on one of my favorite bands, Animal Collective. These are probably very succinct, well-written and evocative. I don't know, because at this moment I am giving anal birth, by what feels remarkably like a C-Section must, to the Leviathan. This thing, I know, is the Conqueror of Worlds and Bringer of the End Times. I feel like I'm being raped backward. Beads of sweat on my face, strains that sound like a cross between good sex and a strenuous fitness routine. Panting, "Oh God, oh God, no...not that way...okay, one more, push it, push it, HRUUUUNNNNHHHH!" I swear by Christ, this thing must be a pineapple soaked in pepper sauce. I'm in hell. It's a torture whose only respite, between what feels like trying to shove an office chair through one of the buttonholes on my shirt, is shattered by knowledge of what's to come, and ignorance of how long it will last. By the end, I have actually developed an attachment to the horrific beast, as I feel we've been through the horrors of war together. The end of All Quiet on the Western Front springs to mind, with Paul looking up at me from the bowl, and I the mortally wounded Frenchman, sharing a final moment of humanity with my foe.

After defeating The Great One, I realize with slow terror and disgust that I had disregarded a time-worn aphorism. I leapt before I looked. At my feet are four empty tubes of toilet paper, and it isn't much of a feat to recall that toilet paper is sold in packs of four. Frantic, I begin an awkward, pantsless shuffle around the bathroom, reasoning that sane people are never out of toilet paper for more than a few hours at a time. Especially with four people living in one house, five if you count their Guy On The Couch, and eating things would be just as well-suited to oiling a squeaky door hinge. Alas, my sensibility is dashed on the rocks of residential laziness; a sort of institutional laziness that has me wondering if they, maybe, happen to have a bath towel they could afford to do without. I decide that terrycloth is not an option, and am left to consider less destructive routes. A shower, maybe, but I've no change of clothes and that would clue the residents in on My Shame. They would ask to look. They would take photographs. They would put these photographs on the internet and tell all of their friends. My mortification would only end when I use StumbleUpon to accidentally find my own feces posted to the world in general. When this happens, the only way out is the way of the shamed samurai. No; discretion is the key here. So I turn to my last friend, Rolling Stone magazine. Deciding not to ruin any of the articles, as my brother would really appreciate them, I use a subscription card made, apparently, of the skin of a special type of shark that manages to be sharp and scaly no matter which direction you rub it in. Next time, I'll just rip the trim off of the window and use the nail that sticks in the end. That may not help matters, but it couldn't possible make them worse. I roll the card into a tube shape, reasoning that it will act as a scraper (I just shuddered. I remembered the cold, self-sacrificing logic of this decision and a cold pain rolled up my spine). I had, however, failed to account for the fact that this idea was Fucking Stupid, and was forced to use my thumb in the end.

As I am scrubbing my hands like a surgeon in an AIDS ward, I catch a glimpse of a small detail I seemed to have overlooked in the frenzy of my search for options. Half a roll. Just enough. Sitting right on the edge of the seat, merely a strained arm's length from the scene of my disaster. Right there. Right there. I finish washing my hands with silent dejection, and leave the room. Moments like this are the birth of atheism in otherwise righteous men.

Current Mood: disgusted
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
1:49 am
I'm going to ask something of you...
This isn't something massive. I don't want money, I don't want support, I don't even want to know if you feel the same way I do. I just want you to think about things. I want you to look at the computer you paid, on average, about a thousand dollars for. I want you to think about all the time you've spent at that computer, waiting when you could have been doing something significant. I want you to look at the car you've paid about ten thousand dollars for. I want you to think about all the time you spent, earning that ten thousand dollars, and not doing what you love to do. I want you to look at the three hundred dollars a month you spend, filling that car with gas. The one thousand dollars a year you spend on daily maintenance for that car. I want you to look around the home you're paying *at least* six hundred to one thousand dollars a month for, maybe more, and think about how imperfect it is, how much it isn't like what you imagined your home would be as a child. When you're uncomfortable in your bed at night, think of how much you're paying to be uncomfortable. Think of how much other people are paying. Think of how much you could pay, and still be uncomfortable in your own bed at night. Think of how much money you earn at your bullshit job. By bullshit job, I mean a job that is outside of the field you studied at school. A job that is nothing that, as a child, you imagined you would do for a living. A job that, every day, forces you to do things that you Fucking Hate yourself for, in order to make a living. Think of all of this, every time you kowtow to some ridiculous bastard who deserves none of what's coming to him, but to whom you are powerless to give even the tiniest drop of what he deserves. Think of all the pain and humiliation you have to go through to supply yourself with food, clothes, shelter, water, education and medicine. The basic needs of human existence. The things that should be guaranteed to you as a human being, born into a civilization. The things you pay for, every second of your life, in the form of income taxes, road tolls, vice taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes and sales taxes on the cost of your own goddamned casket. Think of these things. Think of the fact that governments monitor every iota of your life, and can send you to prison, forever, with no rights and not even a letter to your family saying you've been taken out of your normal life. Think of the fact that federal agents watch your email. They watch your phone lines. They watch your postal mail. For all sakes, they even keep an eye on what you check out from the library. Think of all this, the everyday factors of every human being on this planet, and ask yourself, "Does this upset me?". Ask yourself, "Does this seem wrong?". Not, "Is this so wrong, in the long-term view of things in which my individual existence is not really a factor?", but "Why do I think, in my gut, that this is Fucked Up?". Ask yourself, "Is this the way I want to live?".

And if it's not the way you want to live, get out of your somewhat comfortable office chair right now. Turn off your network connection. Rip the cables out of the back of your television, the device that helped you forget that 'media' has the same root meaning as 'mediocre'. Throw open the window, or the door, whatever is closest to the outside world, the only focus group that television seems to have forgotten. Stick your head outside that window, or drag your feet outside that door, throw yourself to your knees at the altar of Howard Beale, the last great martyr of our times. And if it rings true to you, scream it out with every last bit of yourself that you have left. Tell the world and everyone in it, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!". Say it again now, quietly with me, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Feel how good it is. How Perfect. Say it again now, but in a speaking voice, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Say it one more time, so that you know it's real, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Now, tell everyone that you know. For the rest of the day, hell, maybe even the week, tell them, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Fuck them if they look at you like you're crazy. How crazy can anyone be who only wants what they deserve? How crazy is anyone who fought and fought every day, who barely got their daily bread and water, and had to pay extra for the water, and isn't mad? Fuck them. They're crazy. We only want what we need.

Current Mood: lj doesn't allow revolution
Friday, October 5th, 2007
3:40 am
For Jay, we're right...
Jay Pinkerton wrote an article about the N-word. About how we're not allowed to use it. And he's right. It's no longer our word. It's not ours anymore in the same way that a gun you use to kill someone becomes not yours anymore. We did evil with it, and our privileges concerning it have been revoked. That being said, it pisses me off to have a word that my acquaintances can use, and can even apply to me, that I can't use. So I'm proposing a word for us white folk. Our word. No one who isn't white-european can use it. Hell, even some people who are white-european can't use it. The word is 'gypsy'. Same history of racial hatred, same denigrating historical context, same assertion of anglo-saxon superiority. It's ours, and we can use it. Unless your last name is something like Smith, Johnson, Baker, Miller or Jones. You don't get this one, either. Hundreds of years of essentially dominating the planet, you get. Being the richest, most powerful people around? That's for you. Those of us who remember when an Italian, Irishman, Croatian or Spaniard couldn't get a job in America? This word is ours. Those of us who, three generations later, still have relatives who don't speak English? This is for us. We're not like you people, and it's about damned time we figured out a simple way to show it.
Sunday, September 30th, 2007
2:46 am
In response to Aquinas, pt 1
I've decided to see if I can disprove the arguments set forth for the existence of God by St. Thomas Aquinas, to at least my own satisfaction if not the satisfaction of he, Aristotle, Plato and the like. This particular part will deal with the idea of first cause. The argument goes, essentially, as follows:

1) Everything that exists was caused to exist by another thing.
2) The chain of causation cannot be traversed to infinity.
3) Therefore, there must be a thing, at some point in the chain, that caused everything else to exist, but was not caused to exist by any other thing.
4) That thing must be God.

Ignoring the logical leap between "This is a thing that existed before any other thing" and "This thing is everywhere at once, knows everything, can do anything, and loves everybody", this argument has 1 major flaw. It starts by saying that everything must have a cause, and ends with the proposal that there is a thing that does not have a cause. It's entirely self-contradictory. Let's break it down to an Aristotelian syllogism, to try to illustrate my point further:

1) All things that exist are things that have causes.
2) God is a thing that does not have a cause.
3) Therefore, God is not a thing that exists.

If you still want to argue, rationally, that God exists, you have to throw out the first point, that all things that exist have causes. This, however, is the foundation of the entire argument, and to say that one thing can exist without having been caused by another is to say that it is at least possible, if not likely, that anything can exist without being caused by another thing to exist. Tommy doesn't have a leg to stand on, at least on this point. If you still believe that the existence of God can be proven by unaided reason, like the early church did, then you are left with one less weapon in your arsenal. Then again, the early church also believed that insanity could be cured by poking holes in you to let the demons out, and that having lady parts made you inherently crazy anyway (ever notice how similar the words 'hysteria' and 'hysterectomy' are? Look it up).

Next time I feel like it, we'll tackle the argument that God brings justice to the world.
Friday, September 28th, 2007
12:53 am
An open letter to the people I've interacted with tonight, C/O the South Side
To John and Pete: Thank you. The show was brilliant, and I saw so much joy and pain come out over its course that words can't express it. I wish you had played "No Children" or "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out Of Denton", but "Up the Wolves" was great (and you made my brother infinitely happy with it), and I still loved all the songs I didn't know. Thanks again, guys.

Also, Ace of Base FTW!

To the counter jockeys at the Beehive: Guilting my friend into giving you a tip was not cool. Your tip jar mentions karma; think about how your karma is affected when you manipulate people into giving you something unwillingly. How it's affected when you make some kid look like a fool in front of a crowd of people, because he didn't give you a dollar for pouring hot water into a metal pitcher, after paying $5 for a cup of tea. It was a dick move, as was over-extracting my espresso and making it bitter.

To the absentee vandal: I shouldn't be mad at you, because I'm sure you've got a sad story to tell, and that's why you're a violent drunk. Your mom didn't hug you. Your stepdad touched you. Your stepdad didn't touch you, and you wanted him to. I really don't give a fuck what drives you to drink yourself stupid, but have a little common sense. When most people get drunk, they only break their own shit. Impact-testing my window with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale would've been a shitty thing to do on any night, but on the first night in two weeks I've had to just relax and enjoy myself, after one of the coolest experiences of my young life, and on a night where we were (rightly) expecting heavy rain, this made you a dickhead of biblical proportions. I hope you read this. I hope you read it tomorrow, when you're sober, and that this is your David Hasselhoff video moment. I hope you realize what alcohol does to you, and it sends you into a deep depression. I hope you spend your days hating yourself, become a recluse and die lonely. Better yet, I just hope that you drove home tonight. I hope that they have to replace the telephone pole, because it's too damaged to fix. I hope the seatbelt tore into your stomach so deeply that they had to cut it to remove you from the car. I hope your mother can't identify your body because of all the disfigurement.

To the first police car: You are a policeman. I am not. As such, I'm not really sure all that your job entails. But when, in your travels, you see some kids outside of a car with its emergency lights on, running after you and waving their arms, I believe it falls within your duties to STOP THE FUCKING CAR AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON! I'm actually going to apply for a refund of my local taxes this year, because I'm clearly not getting what I pay for.

To the other cop: You were very cool about taking the report and explaining to me what was going on. I appreciate that. I'm sorry you had to stand in the rain for 5 minutes because of this. Are you sorry that we had to wait for over an hour in the same rain while you mosied your fat, ineffective ass on over to try to talk me out of filing a report, so that you didn't have to do the fucking paperwork?

To Dean and Sean: Thanks for hanging out in the rain in a shitty neighborhood. If you guys weren't there, I would've had no idea what to do. Also, to Dean, thanks for getting kicked out of bars while trying to find me a pack of smokes. I owe you one.
Monday, September 24th, 2007
1:03 am
The one poll republicans still seem to be leading...
http://www.beyonddelay.org/node/373

They gave their URL a name that suggests that this is an investigation beyond Mark Foley, beyond Tom Delay, beyond Larry Craig, beyond the awkward truth that social conservatives are, in fact, feigning in public battles that they have already fought in private. The sign should be like those you see outside job sites, telling how long its been since someone was killed or maimed on the job. "US Congress: 11 days since a representative plead guilty to something he has spoken publicly against".

This site gives us a rundown of how many of the White Men we select to represent what we think and feel are clearly corrupted by corporate or political interests beyond the interests of the people they claim to represent. It provides valid documentation of campaign contributions and other nefarious misdeeds. If you think it might be liberal biased, look at the summary on John Murtha, which would have even me voting against him, had I registered at my Pitt Johnstown address, rather than my home address of Plum, "Melissa Hart Is A Shame To All Pittsburghers and All Italians", PA. My hatred for the woman who ostensibly told Michael J. Fox that he was a liar and a shill when he campaigned for a cure for his disease aside, the site does give those of us who know Left from Wrong an interesting campaign angle. Let's compare the parties of people listed and documented as being corrupt:

The Senate: 4 Republicans, 0 (zero) Democrats
The House: 14 Republicans, 4 Democrats
Dishonorable Mention: 2 Republicans, 0 (zero) Democrats

Funny, that. It would seem to me that with 20 republicans and 4 democrats mentioned, that there are 5 times as many right-wingers as left-wingers documentably corrupt. Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is secret documentation that the liberal members of congress have all been bought out by companies seeking to further political gain. But the evidence suggests that the republican party is more likely to have been corrupted by corporate interest, as their stated objectives are more likely to be in line with corporate interest in the first place. Remember, this is the party that has, even in recent years been against banning child labor, against the minimum wage reflecting the actual cost of living, and against regulating businesses that pollute our air and water.

Given the track history, which party is fighting to avoid private corruption and guide America on the Principle of Morality?

The answer, of course, is neither.
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