Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
I don’t always sleep well at night. And sometimes that means I get up and with the lights off and my wife and children asleep, I wander around the inside of the house looking out. Fortunately, I have light as my ally, unlike TV1 where the difference in light prohibits people from seeing me.
One night I was wandering about, thinking maybe I’d heard something, and looked out one of the windows, and there she was, the most beautiful white skunk is ever seen. Quite possibly the only attractive skunk I’ve ever seen2.
That skunk became an obsession. There are, of course, white skunks in the world. But this kind of coloration on one in New England seemed to be anomalous. It wasn’t what one would see when encountering the trash panda’s stinky neighbor. No, not at all.
On the other hand, I wondered if, like the squirrels and chipmunks, this skunk had decided to make the neighborhood home and I began to look forward to those times in the middle of the night where I was inevitably awake3.
However, I never saw the skunk again. I’ve seen other things. Dogs and cars. Mostly people out during the witching hour4. Cars that have no reason pulling into our one-way in and out neighborhood. I’ve seen large trucks and police cars and all sorts of things pass by. Yet, the one thing I’ve wanted to witness one more time was a white skunk.
Since then, as has often been the case over the years, I’ve invented monsters and imagined creatures. I’ve wondered at the sky and worried at the winds that blow, the giant old trees that still surround the house and propriety. I consider what I would be like to use those hours in between sleep to write or read some more. Maybe cook.
All of it is diminished by the once seen completely white skunk and invariably I go back to bed and close my eyes and will myself a return to dreamless sleep5.
Also, the year we moved in the marmots moved away or were killed and that made me very sad. For, you see, I also want me a marmot for a friend.
In TV and movies, the obvious differences in light that would otherwise keep people outside from seeing in or people inside from seeing out don’t work like that and the visibility is almost always two way. ↩
When I first started reading Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, my family was on a vacation, as you do, and we stopped in a state park and I went for a walk as neither of my parents wanted me sitting around reading when: NATURE. As I made my way down a trail, I came across a very big and very much in charge of that trail skunk. Since I had no idea to witness or be witness to a skunk spraying, I turned around and ran back to the car. I’m haunted by this experience to this day and have still not seen a skunk spray someone. ↩
Apparently, prior to the bourgeoisie deciding to get eight or so hours straight of sleep a night. The sleep rhythm was to go to bed and sleep for several hours. Wake up for between one and three hours. Then go back to sleep for the rest of the night. During this time, tack was mended, clothes were sewn, people read or talked. It was a gathering of the family. ↩
3:00 AM, if you were at all curious. ↩
I deal with bad dreams and night terrors and a lack of sleep paralysis while I’m sleeping and have kicked and punched Erin while going through a thing I’ll wake up from and in no way remember. ↩
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
The platypus is an interesting and from an outside observers point of view the platypus doesn’t make sense. It is one of five1 mammals that lay eggs. It has a ducks bill and the tail of a beaver2. And the male of the species has poisonous barbs on its rear feet. While certainly nowhere near apex predator, the platypus is an adaptation that’s also a marvel.
But why the platypus? Why did evolution dictate that the platypus should exist and in Australia of all places3?
The obvious and only correct answer is:
We don’t know4.Nor, for that matter, can we know. I mean, short of developing some weird technology wherein we are able to observe evolutionary time travel from way, way, way before humans to today. But that’s about as likely as a steam engine flying into a time vortex after giving Marty McFly gifts from the past.
After spending some hours searching the interwebs5 I discovered its not legal to own or possess a platypus outside of Australia. They’re a nationally protected species along the lines of the panda bear6 and as such aren’t allowed anywhere else , which is partially a lie as there are some zoos that are setup for the specific needs of the platypus and have permission and appropriate licensing.
I guess, on a side note (as opposed to my somewhat copious footnotes), if you’re a religious person who believes in God and are a Creationist7, then I’m curious how one twists and turns and wiggles and bends to get to reasoning that explains (1) monotremes and (2) the platypus. I’ve heard some answers:
- God is testing us
- God has a sense of humor
- We will find out in the fullness of time
- No one can know God’s mind or will
Combined matter from other planets used to form the Earth8.Not exactly stellar reasoning.
Back when I was still attempting to justify belief against reality, I proposed (and I’m probably not alone in this) that Evolution was God’s means of creating and before homo Sapiens were sufficiently evolved to allow for God’s children, the world was left within the greater cosmological matrix of advancement and development. Today, I recognize the argument as apologist and a failed attempt to explain something that has a reasonable answer of:
I don’t know.Except, I want to know. Or wanted to know.
Today I’m more happy realizing the back-bending and back breaking task of explaining everything, even through a religious or possibly an idiots point of view, is a waste of time and energy and I’m good with:
We don’t know.Which is the best answer for the platypus, which I want as a pet (along with the panda and the armadillo), monotremes, and quite possibly 99.9999999% of everything we don’t yet know. Though I also allow for the probability that we can know and when we do, I look forward to learning what I can and happy with another answer to the science of life.
The monotreme, which consists of four species of echidna and the platypus. ↩
Approximate visual comparisons. The platypus doesn’t actually have a ducks bill and it doesn’t actually have a beavers tail. ↩
Unless, of course, you live in Danville, USA, part of the tristate area, where platypus’s are rather common and abundant and don’t do very much. The prime example being Perry the Platypus or Agent P. ↩
We (or I) don’t know needs to be a far more common answer to just about everything. Does god exist? I don’t know. Is evolution real? I don’t know. Kissing. God doesn’t exist. Evolution is real. The answer, though, still needs to be used more by everyone. ↩
A considerably amount of this time was most likely used to pursue other lines of thought and personal research on a variety of topics. The topic list will most likely never be shared. ↩
Panda bears win here due to my theory they were bred to be pets and are partially domesticated. Check YouTube for videos of people directly interacting with pandas. ↩
In this sense, we’re going with the stupid evangelical American Christian who not only chooses to believe God crated the world in a total of 7 days, but that those days (a mistranslation in case you’re wondering) are equivalent to the 24 hour day we now experience, and the world is approximately 6000 - 7000 years old. ↩
In case you were wondering, I’m partial to the name Sol 3 and not Earth as a designator for our planet. ↩
Monday, February 10, 2020
Will Rogers said:
I never met a man I didn’t like.
And for him I hope that’s true. In reality, everyone needs an enemy. That individual or idea or issue that’s so diametrically opposed to who and what we think we are that the enemy in part defines us as individuals.
Did Will Rogers know that?
I’d think the answer is no. He didn’t know he needed an enemy and probably thought he didn’t have one. Or he knew he had one (or many) and chose to like the enemy anyway.
It’s a thing1.
One way to view this is in the philosophy of:
We’ve always done it this way.
It was good enough for [insert noun object] and it should be good enough for you.
Or any one of, quite possibly, a near infinite subset of other possibilities that dictate something has existed therefore it should continue to exist without question or change.
In my 20s, the single most contentious example (in my online anonymous group of friends) was Founders Intent in relation to the United States Constitution2. The position, which I then and now oppose, is that the Constitution is an established and therefore unchanging document. This argument is, by its nature, false as the Constitution was written with the express and stated intent of adding Amendments. Amendments that would further clarify and codify the established political doctrine whereby we all live3.
According to Lynn Manuel Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton:
H: My client needs a strong defense, you’re the solution.
B: Who’s your client?
H: The new US Constitution
A: Hear me out.
B: No way!
A: A series of essays anonymously published. Defending the document to the public.
B: No one will read it.
A: I disagree.
B: And if it fails?
A: Burr, that’s why we need it.
B: The Constitution’s a mess.
A: So it needs amendments.
B: It’s full of contradictions.
A: So is independence.
— Alexander Hamilton, Non-Stop, original Broadway soundtrack.
The product of Alexander Hamilton’s genius is what’s not called The Federalist Papers, the basis of the founders arguments in favor of our form of democracy4, and the need to amend the original document.
In this scenario, my enemy is anyone who thinks the document was and is established and in no need of changing. Itself an absurd proposition as the founders had no way of conceiving of modern warfare, monetary systems, computers, drugs, and so on. In effect, the 52 old white dudes didn’t have the extent of a clue some people would like them to have had.
Yet, this isn’t even the easy enemy most people need or already posses. To this we look to religion and specifically the many flavors of Christianity5. If you’re among this group your default enemy is:
Didn’t see that coming, did you?
Which is fine and good. But, it can be taken a step further and your enemy can be better defined as a Christiansee note 5 who doesn’t agree with or align with your specific brand of Christianity. In this context, groups like the Mormons8 or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Scientologists. These groups, to the larger Christian faiths are the biggest objects of Christian non-Christian debate and animosity.
Or, you could look at the deadly sins9:
I’m sure there are more than these, but as an aspect of tradition, which is a lot of what religion is, these work.
Which has been and will be (in the future) the subject of movies and books and manga and anime and more. One might even think the Judeo-Christian world almost has a fetish over sins and heaven and the like.
Regardless, by defining the enemy, regardless of how, we then define ourselves. If your enemy is sin, then the sinner becomes your enemy. Which means that:
Love the sinner hate the sin10
A sentiment that’s inherently impossible and at odds with itself. As one cannot hate an aspect of something and love everything else. Guess which part you’re going to focus on?
Unfortunately, the idea of enemy is one that’s largely ignored by Christian people as they don’t want to sinpride. Yet, rejecting new ways of worship or even new ways of viewing religion, much like rejecting amendments to the US Constitution, is a form of enemy identification. One that, for many, is essential to their form of worship.
The enemy is an important part of our lives, which is mostly fine. Except for when it’s not. The amendments to the US Constitution establish the inherent right to believe and worship as you will. There are qualifiers to this, like no animal or human sacrifice and plural marriage (polygamy or polyandry) are prohibited, but you can worship however you want and you can disagree with how others worship11.
You can also disagree with:
- the definition of marriage
- tax laws
- the type of nation the United States is meant to be
- political parties
- immigration law
- and etc.
The moment you disagree, though, you’ve defined your enemy.
And your enemy defines you.
It’s not actually a thing and it is, which makes positions like everyone needs an enemy a lot of fun to take. ↩
We’ll refer to this as example by political discourse and I’m sorry and will attempt, in the future, to be significantly more flippant in my postings. ↩
Within the United States, but don’t quote me on this point as it’s not hard to create a counter-argument based on the courts, party politics, and arguments in favor of states rights over federal law and regulation. ↩
A representational democracy, or you vote for someone who votes for you as proxy. This is also the basis of the Electoral College. ↩
I’m going to define Christianity and Christian as any religion, group, or individual who professes belief in and worship of Jesus Christ regardless of how that belief and worship manifests. ↩
It may be of some interest that Satan et. al. aren’t the primary devil or devils. ↩
In the context of non-Christian, I’m an enemy because I don’t even allow for the possibility of God. Though I do allow for the need and necessity of individual beliefs and religious worship. I’m such a disappointment. ↩
Full disclosure, I was born and raised Mormon and resigned my membership many years ago. ↩
On the other side of this are venial sins or lesser sins the commission of which doesn’t necessarily deny one entrance into heaven. ↩
As a result of a disagreement between my wife and I, I discovered that this paraphrased sentiment is from Gandhi and not a Christian or western ethos. Try to convince a Mormon of that. ↩
Incidentally, because of Mormons, the reason you cannot have more than one husband or more than one wife. ↩
Saturday, February 8, 2020
I’m not making a judgement on anyone. Though, to be very clear, I’ve found a slight obsession1 and in terms of an outlet I’m going to use this site.
Because of the thing I cannot talk about[*2], I’ve started to notice trends in people and have formed an idea, possibly even a hypothesis. This idea is on racism and racist people.
Today, racism is bad. It’s always been bad, but in terms of recognizing the tendency in people it’s even more bad today because we can see both the history of and ramifications personally, within communities, and nationally2.
What is more evident is how people couch their racism and hide it from themselves in the guise of hiding it from the world.
How does one hide their racism?
It’s not to be overt or outright in their approach to people of a different ethnic or national origin. It may not be using derogatory language. For many, they may think a lifetime of fighting their inclinations and upbringing is enough. Yet, the problem is evident when listening to how people intersect with interruptions related to their cultural comfort3.
Instead, racism is down by proxy, in support of things like Blue Lives Matter or the Thin Blue Line and in open opposition to movements like Black Lives Matter or candidates of color or even neighbors of different nationalities moving into a neighborhood followed by white flight4.
One of the verbal indicators is when someone says:
I like [insert ethnic group] just fine, but [insert exception].Basically, the format is the openly agree they like all people and then to give an exception to a willingness to accept. Of late I’ve heard the following exceptions:
- Trump’s border wall
- People who come to abuse the health or welfare system
- How children are raised
The final indicator is who these groups choose to represent them in local, state, and national levels. It’s one thing to not outwardly say or do things. It’s another to find someone clever enough to appear to not be racist and who does all they can to advance ethnic agendas. Which is, without question, the underlying issue with a lot of politics and representational democracy.
We vote for those we feel best represent our interests.Which means ethnic communities are most likely (when not cheated) to vote for community members who look and act like them. Yet, gerrymander enough and entire communities are misrepresented by people who don’t look like nor reflect their basic values.
Add in money and the political stakes are elevated considerably.
People will do almost anything to protect and defend anything they think is rightfully theirs.Which is one sense of entitlement where racism is an inherent part of the national discourse6. Who you vote for and why is yet another example of inherent racism. There comes a point where decision making is done by whatever group one chooses to affiliate. Therefore, morality is an extension of who people choose to associate.
None of which means the inherent ugliness inside is an extension of what we do on the outside. And it’s this outward tendency that in large part informs who we choose to be. Unfortunately, this outward-in approach doesn’t extend to party politics of for whom we vote7.
I like … but ….Mentality, then your racism is showing and that’s when things are bad. Really bad. And it’s when you find out who you really are and what you really stand for.
So, there are judgements. There will always be judgements. That’s not the point. The point isn’t whether or not someone points their finger and calls you a name, it’s whether or not you can accept within yourself the image your choices portray to the world, your children, and your community.
That’s what’s important and that’s where individual judgment and being judged by others is at odds with our places in the community or within our families and among our friends.
In autistic circles this would also be referred to as a special interest. ↩
With all due respect to the amazing Morgan Freeman, in order to truly combat racism and come to terms with it as a nation is to talk about it. A lot. All the time. Between groups and in individual organizations. It needs to be an essential talking point and it needs to not go away simply because it’s uncomfortable or someone, anyone thinks the problem has gone away. ↩
Clint Eastwood’s 2008 movie Gran Torino is an interesting exploration of this theme as is Sean Connery headlines Finding Forrester. There are many examples, these are two of my favorites. ↩
It should also be noted that there are all kinds of cultural flight. The vast majority of people in this country are white and when they feel threatened they run. The inverse of this is gentrification, or the upgrading and pushing out of low-rent or poor people currently living in an area. There’s enough on this for entire volumes to have been written and to still be written. ↩
There is no one more untrustworthy than the person you cannot understand whose motivations are unclear or different than one’s own. ↩
The reason the Republican Party and others are desperate to carry out a pharaonic approach to removing anything done by former President Barack Obama either by removing what was accomplished or attempting to rename or take credit for it. ↩
It’s the party aligned person who looks most like the person voting in terms of both gender and ethnicity. ↩
Friday, February 7, 2020
I listen to a lot of calls1. And among those calls there are a lot that are bad agents attempting to convince the person on the receiving end that there is something wrong with:
- Social Security
- Their PC
This is a big thing because no one is going to make these kinds of phone calls. It costs way too much for companies obsessive about increasing profits and when has any tech company or even the US government reached out one femtosecond before they are forced to by the courts or an angry mob of investors?
Robocalls make up an ungodly percentage of total calls made2. This isn’t good. But it must result in someone scamming enough money to keep the con going. It doesn’t take a high percentage of respondents willing to believe someone with a clear Indian3 accent to have an ROI worth continuing to activity.
Add to these the number of robocalls for charity organizations and political organizations, candidates, and PACs and the problem only gets worse. I cannot imagine the demographic that gets hit the hardest4, and I spend a lot of my life listening to these people on the receiving end.
These aren’t even all the calls. The conmen and conwomen are getting smarter. They’re spoofing local numbers in calling areas so the call looks to be from someone you might, maybe know. In some of these, it’s a trick to verify if a phone works. In others it’s a fishing expedition with the hope of booking and reeling in another sucker.
It’s to the point where I don’t answer my phone if it’s not someone I know or if I’m not already expecting a call from a specific area in the world. Sweden calls, not answering. Texas? Nope. The next town over? Not gonna happen. It’s no longer worth my time to answer calls when the likelihood is very high that it’s spam. Or someone with whom I don’t want to converse5.
My reality, and the reality through which I think many people now exist, is an aversion to answering phones made simpler by the use of text messages and video calls and email. Quite possibly in that exact order6.
So? Want to call me? Text me first. Then see if I’m willing to speak. Otherwise, chances are I’m not answering my phone under the realistic expectation that:
If it’s important you’ll leave a message.
And that’s the story of how I fought a bear and survived to eat calamari and California rolls outside of Big Sur.
According to a March 8, 2019 Forbes.com article, 85,000,000,000 spam calls were made in 2018, which equals about 17 spam calls per cell phone when averaged out. The United States are one of those places hit extra hard. ↩
Indian as from India the country as opposed to Indian the collectively misnamed indigenous people in the Americas. In most instances, of whom, I’ll refer to as Native Americans or by identified tribal affiliation. ↩
Pretty much everyone with one or two exceptions, a list of whom will not now nor ever be made available. ↩
Observing my oldest child and listening to stories from academia, I’m led to believe video calls are the way to go for the younger groups of consumers. ↩