November 14, 2009

HOW DID YOU GET SO PATRIOTIC?

Blogdaughter Tammi of Tammi's World got asked that question and gave a good answer. Comments are closed over there, so I'll answer over here.

Well, growing up, I never noticed anything about this country that particularly sucked, so I always thought America was pretty cool. The question of NOT liking my country never crossed my mind.

The notion that America was actually GREAT and thus worthy of a deep and abiding love... probably somewhere in 1988 when I was 21, and in my 3rd of 6 years in the Navy. I was just about to embark upon my first real visit to a foreign nation: The Philippines.

At a "cultural briefing" before setting us loose on the town, they explained about a quaint Philippine law: unjest vexation.

They explained it thusly: if you're in a bar, and you piss off a local so bad that he breaks his camera over your head, he's not guilty of assault. YOU are guilty of "unjust vexation" and have to buy him a new camera.

Which was the most fucked-up thing I'd ever heard of, and led me to conclude that America truly rocks.

What's YOUR story?

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September 11, 2009

1000 OR SO WORDS ON 9/11

(reposted from 9/11/04)

Higher, please.

(click to enlarge)



This picture is an original work of art by Bryan Larsen, which I found pre-9/11/01 at the Quent Cordair Art Gallery site. It fascinated me enough to bookmark it then, and I've viewed it many times since. Both professional quality and poster prints of this image are available via the Quent Cordair site.

The following text appears at the first link:

The following letter was written by Quent Cordair on Friday, September, 14, 2001, to our mailing list:

Dear friends, family and associates,

As a former U.S. Marine, I once carried a rifle in our defense. I've two younger brothers in the military who now stand ready to cover that end of things. The firemen, doctors, rescue personnel, blood donors, the brave New Yorkers and others on the scene are giving what they have to give to the effort. Philosophers are fighting with the pen. The artists' tools are uniquely valuable as well.

As a gallery owner, I offer what I have -- a single image to inspire, to counter the endless images of the destruction which we've all endured over the past days. This image stands in lucid contrast, in defiance of those who would destroy. It is a re-affirmation of who we are, of what we've created, of what we've built, of what we will rebuild and build higher yet, with unthwarted and unconquered determination. Those who would destroy us have not touched our essence.

My thanks to the artist, Bryan Larsen, who during the months in which others were plotting to destroy the World Trade Center, was busy creating, featuring the towers in an artwork which identifies and celebrates in theme all the towers stood for. The creation of this painting while others were targeting the painting's subject for destruction was no coincidence; there is no irony in the timing. Each side identified the WTC as a vital symbol of America in these times; one side sought to destroy that value, the other to celebrate it and build on it. In retrospect, the artwork stands in memorial. The World Trade Center was not fully appreciated, by many, until it was gone.

May this image serve as inspiration as we recover and look to the future. Please feel welcome to share it with all, to remind ourselves, and the world, of who we are, undaunted and unbeaten. God bless America, those who built it, those who will build again, and higher.

Quent Cordair

Again, I say...

Higher, please.

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September 06, 2009

DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK

Bloggranddaughter Rave of Quid Nunc is toying with the idea of "extreme honesty":

"What I am talking about is if you look like crap and ask me what I think of your outfit, I'm going to tell you I think you look like crap."

As a married man, I know that questions like these are actually just poorly-phrased requests for self-esteem boosting, and grading of physical appearance is not the intent of the questioner.

I answer the question the person wants to know the answer to ("how much do you love me?" - "lots"), and avoid taking things literally when it's not called for.

Unless I'm feeling grumpy or trying to be funny ;-)

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April 22, 2009

THEY'RE CHILDREN, NOT BILLBOARDS

Great pictures of the Oklahoma City Tea Party posted by bloggranddaughter Rave of Quid Nunc.

However, there were two pictures that bugged me. Little kids carrying signs.

As much as I love the tea parties, I find the use of children as props a little distasteful. I didn't like the anti-war yahoos doing it, and I don't like it from folks on the right.

Don't get me wrong. By all means, take the kids, show them what "free speech" and "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances" means in practice.

But don't give them signs to hold with messages that they're too young to understand.

Just give them a nice flag or colorful balloon, slather them with sunscreen, and have a fun day, instead.

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March 25, 2009

I PREFER TO THINK OF IT AS "DEITY IMPAIRED"

Steven Crowder (whose comedic works I adore, by the way) thinks that Atheism is a "Mental Handicap" and wants atheists to tell him if he's correct in that evaluation.

As an atheist, I have to say, "it depends on WHY you're an atheist".

Me, I'm an atheist-by-reason. I just don't see enough evidence to believe in a being that both created the universe and also occasionally intercedes in day-to-day events on behalf of individuals. I'm more of a "the universe just is, and things just happen" kinda guy.

The atheists Steven spends most of his time talking about are atheists-by-morality. They're actually immoralists who claim to be atheists. They see the Christian code of morality, find it inconvenient or uncomfortable, then reject the existence of God as a means of rejecting Christian morality and often ANY hard & fast sort of moral code.

And I would agree that lacking a moral compass constitutes a mental handicap, because my observations indicate that embracing a moral code leads to a happier, healthier, longer life, all things being equal.

A functional moral code requires accepting responsibility for one's actions, and reflecting on those actions from time to time for the purposes of correcting past mistakes and avoiding future mistakes.

For Christians, this takes the form of prayers for forgiveness of sin, and prayers for God's guidance. For me, it's just "thinking things over".

The other part is how you treat others. For Christians, it's "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and "turning the other cheek". For me, it's "be courteous" and "don't waste time pursuing revenge against idiots - get on with your life".

People who reject morality usually do so in order to avoid either self-accountability and/or self-correction and/or good manners. After they make the conscious decision to be thoughtless jerks, they cover their asses by saying, "it's ok to act like a reality show contestant all my life, because I refuse to believe in a God that tells me otherwise".

So, Steven, you don't HAVE to be a mentally-handicapped Hollywood jerk to be an atheist, it's just that a lot of people get there that way, and they give the rest of us a bad name.

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March 01, 2009

THE BLOOD OF PATRIOTS & TYRANTS

Blogdaughter Tammi of Tammi's World worries that America may be verging on civil war between the haves & have-nots producers and produce-nots.

Will we EVER get back to the point of wanting to take care of ourselves? Will we EVER stand up and tell the government ENOUGH!?

Because 1 or 2 voices are not enough. And right now the majority of folks are enjoying having someone take care of them.

And I just hope it doesn't come to a "blowout" (on a grander scale) like the one Mama and I had all those years ago. That......would NOT be a good way to see this end.

Well, the bad news is - yes, there will be a revolution.

The good news is - it will happen at the ballot box.

Historically, entrenched government power always becomes corrupt and oppressive. And it never just goes away on its own. It has to be forcibly removed. Usually by bloody revolution every 20 years or so.

America is a little different, because its citizens have options besides killing the bastards. We can move to another city or state that's less oppressive, or we can forcibly remove political dirtbags merely by voting. In America, NO politician has ever ignored the results of the ballot box. The winner wins, the loser goes home, and everybody tries again later. The game is fair, and nobody screws with the rules. It's sorta like football. Everybody might cheat a little - a hold here, a late hit there - but no one tries to shoot the refs and declare the scoreboard results invalid.

And personally, I don't think it's actually the MAJORITY of the folks looking for a handout. I think it's just that the usual suspects are making more noise than normal.

Fortunately, they've stopped being polite about it. They no longer say "please" or "thank you". Now they're just grabbing & saying "GIMME!".

Big mistake. Americans don't like rude, greedy, grabby people. Our mommas raised us better.

Which means the time is right for the responsible adults to ACT like responsible adults and start punishing the spoiled children who are misbehaving. That means saying "No! Bad! Don't!" out loud, with feeling, and as often as it takes to correct the unacceptable behavior.

Hopefully a lecture and a time out will be sufficient.

But still, I admit that there's a part of me that wouldn't mind carving a hickory switch.

Wouldn't mind a bit.

Posted by: Harvey at 02:14 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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December 20, 2008

CLOSER

Chris Muir of Day by Day is all about making sure that a little girl dying of cancer gets thousands of Christmas Cards this year.

Now, I know darn well that Chris isn't the type to fall for an old Urban Legend, but I Snopesed it, anyway.

And yes, Hannah Garman really does want Christmas Cards.

I found that my first thought was "I should send Hannah a card!". Which is VERY strange, because I haven't mailed a Christmas card since my wedding day. Anyway, I was looking around the room for an envelope, when a second thought occurred to me:

It's lovely that I'd like to do something nice for a complete stranger hundreds of miles away, but there are also people who are NOT complete strangers - who live in my house, for example - who also really enjoy it when I do nice things for them.

Maybe I should start a little closer to home.

Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't send a card to 704 Orchard Rd., Lititz, PA 17543. By all means, mail away.

I'm just saying you might want to hug everyone under your roof before you do.

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November 01, 2008

SOUVENIR

From a recent trip to Mexico:

Now, it's been a while since I've had Frosted Flakes. Decades, in fact. But I ate them anyway so that I could show you the box.

tigre tono.jpg

I thought "Tigre Tono" looked... off... a bit... from his American cousin, and after comparing this picture:

tony tiger.jpg

I think I notice two differences.

Tono has a squarer jaw.

Tono has one eyebrow higher than the other, giving him a bit of a leer. Plus the eyebrows are more angular than Tony's.

What does it mean? I speculate wildly as follows: although the kids ask for the cereal, it's moms who plunk down the money, so both tigers have to be a compromise between cartoony and masculine. So I'd say that Mexican women prefer men with thick eyebrows and angular jawlines, while American women only care about the muscles (although Tony DOES still have a big, strong, manly chin, albeit rounder).

Maybe I'm way off on that, but the fact is, Kellogg's DID decide to make the Tigers different for the different countries, so they must have some sort of market research to justify the cost and bother of tweaking their mascot, since messing with a brand they've spent years and millions to develop is not something they'd do lightly.

Comments welcome.

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March 20, 2008

OREOS VS. BREAD

If you leave a package of Oreo cookies sitting out, they will get stale and soft.

If you leave a slice of bread sitting out, it will get stale and hard.

Why?

I would think that both of these baked goods would end up with moisture contents related to the household's internal humidity, and thus end up with similar degrees of pliability.

Scientists and/or bakers, please explain.

Posted by: Harvey at 05:45 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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March 01, 2008

WHAT A HORRIBLE THOUGHT

Not only are Hanson still together, they're coming to Milwaukee, so I'm hearing commercials for their concert on the radio.

That's not the horrible thought, though.

Consider Hanson's hit MMMBop.

Here's the chorus:

MMMbop tick a ta ba do ba
dubi da ba do ba
tick a ta ba doo
yeah eh yeah

Here's the horrible thought:

That's what they recorded.

At some point, there was a first draft, and it was so mind-bogglingly horrible that it was rejected in favor of the wretched demon-flatulence listed above because - by comparison - said sickly ear-barf actually sounded GOOD.

Just pray that no copy of that first draft ever falls into the wrong hands, or we're all doomed.

Posted by: Harvey at 11:48 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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February 02, 2008

SPOON IN THE GLASS TO PREVENT BREAKAGE? BULLSHIT!

My old favorite cobalt blue glass coffee cup finally bit the big one after years of use. Got a crack in the bottom, probably from years of sitting on a coffee warmer all the time.

I immediately set out to replace it. One does not simply "just go on" after losing a favorite coffee cup.

Ebay was helpful in this regard, and I bought a set of 4, so as to prevent future states of cuplessness.

These came with a note that said "THE GLASS FACTORY RECOMMENDS PLACING SPOON IN CUP BEFORE POURING HOT LIQUID INTO MUGS!!!"

"What a retarded urban legend", I thought, as I proceeded to pour fresh coffee into my [room temperature] mug, only to watch said mug split apart, leaving me with 2 chunks of cup, a counter full of coffee, and that horrid still-caffeine-free feeling.

No, I didn't put a spoon in, first.

Neither did I put a spoon in the old cup that lasted for I don't know how many years getting hot coffee poured directly into it.

I say the spoon thing is just a cover for either A) shoddy workmanship or B) the piss-ignorant notion of using non-tempered glass in a COFFEE cup in the first place.

Now, having Googled this, I know that there are plenty of smug fucks out there who say "I always use a spoon and my cups don't crack". Well, since cups hardly every crack in the first place, that doesn't mean much. I'd like to hear from someone who DID use a spoon and their cup cracked anyway, thus falsifying this suspiciously unscientific wives tale once and for all.

Any takers?

And please don't talk to me about how "the spoon acts as a heat sink". That would only help cool the coffee and "protect" the cup if you poured all the coffee down along the length of the spoon to cool it. Why not just recommend putting an ice cube in the coffee pot to cool it off instead? It'd be even more effective, since the specific heat capacity of ice is 5 times that of iron.

Posted by: Harvey at 06:49 PM | Comments (17) | Add Comment
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September 25, 2007

JUST A REMINDER

Don't let well-intentioned friends steal your dreams.

Let your ferret fly.

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September 18, 2007

Need To Get This Off My Chest

(cross-posted from IMAO)

One important fact overlooked by Obama's persistent nattering about how we never should've gone into Iraq.

Uday and Qusay are dead.

Saddam may or may not ever started dealing wholesale with terrorists, but you can bet his boys - in their effort to outshine their father's brutal and stupid legacy - would've ramped up the anti-American rhetoric and followed it with action, whether covert or overt.

The war was worth it, if for no other reason than removing the region from the shadow of an insufferable Hussein dynasty.

Posted by: Harvey at 07:40 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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September 11, 2007

1000 OR SO WORDS ON 9/11

(reposted from 9/11/04)

Higher, please.

(click to enlarge)



This picture is an original work of art by Bryan Larsen, which I found pre-9/11/01 at the Quent Cordair Art Gallery site. It fascinated me enough to bookmark it then, and I've viewed it many times since. Both professional quality and poster prints of this image are available via the Quent Cordair site.

The following text appears at the first link:

The following letter was written by Quent Cordair on Friday, September, 14, 2001, to our mailing list:

Dear friends, family and associates,

As a former U.S. Marine, I once carried a rifle in our defense. I've two younger brothers in the military who now stand ready to cover that end of things. The firemen, doctors, rescue personnel, blood donors, the brave New Yorkers and others on the scene are giving what they have to give to the effort. Philosophers are fighting with the pen. The artists' tools are uniquely valuable as well.

As a gallery owner, I offer what I have -- a single image to inspire, to counter the endless images of the destruction which we've all endured over the past days. This image stands in lucid contrast, in defiance of those who would destroy. It is a re-affirmation of who we are, of what we've created, of what we've built, of what we will rebuild and build higher yet, with unthwarted and unconquered determination. Those who would destroy us have not touched our essence.

My thanks to the artist, Bryan Larsen, who during the months in which others were plotting to destroy the World Trade Center, was busy creating, featuring the towers in an artwork which identifies and celebrates in theme all the towers stood for. The creation of this painting while others were targeting the painting's subject for destruction was no coincidence; there is no irony in the timing. Each side identified the WTC as a vital symbol of America in these times; one side sought to destroy that value, the other to celebrate it and build on it. In retrospect, the artwork stands in memorial. The World Trade Center was not fully appreciated, by many, until it was gone.

May this image serve as inspiration as we recover and look to the future. Please feel welcome to share it with all, to remind ourselves, and the world, of who we are, undaunted and unbeaten. God bless America, those who built it, those who will build again, and higher.

Quent Cordair

Again, I say...

Higher, please.

Posted by: Harvey at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 430 words, total size 3 kb.

August 26, 2007

SERIOUS QUESTION

Asked by blogdaughter Machelle of Quality Weenie in the comments to this post:

Why is it that teenage/early adult males can not handle a gay man being around them?

Do they fear "catching" it?
Does it make them feel less of a male?
Does it make them feel that uncomfortable that they just don't want to deal with it?

I've mulled this over, and I'm not really sure myself. About the only thing I can think of is "they're insecure about their manhood".

Which sounds like a cliche, but this is what I mean - teen males know that they're expected to act "manly", but they don't yet understand what all that would entail (they're probably a little fuzzy on the honesty, integrity & discipline aspects of manhood at that point - hopefully they'll figure out that those are the REAL keys). What they DO understand about manhood at this point is the concept of penile-vaginal copulation. That's the one aspect of manhood they're certain about. So, when placed in a situation of uncertainty, they fall back on what they can count on to demonstrate their manhood - defending their love of vagina.

That's my theory. Others are welcome in the comments.

Posted by: Harvey at 10:38 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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August 16, 2007

Here's Your Answer

(cross-posted from IMAO)

In a terribly off-topic comment to a John Edwards post, anonymous commenter with no contact information Yak asks:

Exactly why is the U.S. deployed in Iraq, according to you?

Fine.

Let's stop mincing words.

We're in Iraq because Muslims have stated over and over and over that their only goal is to kill all non-Muslims.

After 9/11, we started taking them at their word, and since we didn't want to be killed, our only choice was to start killing Muslims before they killed us.

Iraq had Muslims in it, so it was as good a place to start as any. In fact, better than most, because it was in the heart of Muslim country, and having troops there gives us a credible force-projection threat throughout the entire putrid, corrupt, murderous Muslim region. It's easier to kill Muslims in other countries from Iraq than it is from Kuwait.

And now Muslims have two choices:

They can reform their vicious, degenerate religion so that it allows for peaceful co-existence with other religions and - after embracing this enlightened, live-and-let-live philosophy whole-heartedly - they can become productive members of the civilized world, much like post-WWII Germany and Japan.

OR

They can be exterminated like vermin.

All the rest of this crap about WMD's, and mass graves, and liberation, and oil fields, and insurgents is just so much political window-dressing. America is fighting for its life against an insidious, deadly ideology. The people who cling to that sick, 7th-century belief system must either change their minds or be killed.

I wish with all my heart that we had enough manpower to conquer every damn last Muslim nation on earth and root this virus out once and for all, but we don't. So we'll start in Iraq, dragging these barbarians kicking and screaming into the 21st century. After that, hopefully the rest of the Muslim world will get the point. If not, there will be further examples, nation by nation, until they do.

Then, when the Muslim world is either civilized or dead, the war will be over.

I hope that answers your question.

Posted by: Harvey at 06:13 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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June 02, 2007

IF YOU WERE *REALLY* EXTREME, YOU'D SKIP THE HELMET

Found this video in the comments to this post at Twenty-Sided:

Although I do admire the rider's skill, and I'm in awe at the amount of work that obviously went into perfecting that skill, I'm mostly centered on a different thought while watching this:

I'm just glad I live in a country where it's SO incredibly safe to live that kids have to go WAY out of their way to find danger.

In a lot of countries, the extreme sport is avoiding government death squads.

God Bless the USA.

Posted by: Harvey at 08:30 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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April 22, 2007

THEY'RE NOT, BUT...

Shamus of Twenty-Sided tackles the complicated question of "are video games art?" after noting that Roger Ebert answered "no" and "HELL no". Lots of good discussion in Shamus's comments, if you're interested in the topic.

Here's my take on it:

I don't believe video games are art. The purpose of art is to evoke emotion through contemplation. The purpose of video games (the story-lined kind, not the repetitive-motion kind) is to evoke emotion through interaction.

In art, you get to watch the hero. In video games, you get to BE the hero.

This does NOT make video games inferior to art. Quite the opposite. Their immersive quality has the potential to be more than mere art could ever dream. However, as Jimmy noted in his comment, the form is still in its infancy:

it’s a young medium; artists are still working out how to use it. We had motion picture technology from the 1860s, but Metropolis (one of the earliest truly great films) wasn’t made until 1927. Check back around 2040 and see how we’re doing.

I agree. The greatest days of video gaming are still ahead.

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March 07, 2007

ACADEMIC DISCUSSION OF AN AWKWARD TOPIC - STRAP ON YOUR THICK SKIN, PLEASE

Ann Coulter said:

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,'..."

A lot of conservatives have repudiated Ann's remarks.

Ann herself, however, did not. She clarified them as follows:

"'Faggot isn't offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays," Coulter said on "Hannity and Colmes" Monday night. "It's a schoolyard taunt meaning 'wuss,' and unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."

Well, since she's 45 years old, I imagine the first part of that is true for her. Being 40 years old myself, it certainly was for me. Although we inevitably shortened it to fag, since one-syllable insults somehow seem more insulting.

And let's not forget that in 1985, there was a #1 pop tune with a #1 pop video - Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" - that used the word "faggot" three times. How offensive could it possibly be?

Then there's the second point. John Edwards is NOT, in fact, gay.

Sure, he's a baby-faced man with delicate features and girlish mannerisms who stars in a YouTube video where he fusses over his hair like a supermodel, but he is NOT gay.

So Ann says it's not a gay epithet, because the target obviously isn't gay, and everyone knows he's not gay.

Fair enough - but let's take it to the next level.

Would it be ok to call John Edwards a nigger because he's not black?

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'nigger,'..."

Well, that one's probably indefensible, since - while "nigger" is frequently used to describe gansta-thug rap artists in their own songs and videos - John Edwards has never rapped, pimped, or worn excessive bling, so it's hard to pass it off as a joke, because in order for something to be funny, it needs an element of truth.

Might work for Dennis Kucinich or Dick Gephart, though.

But how about this - checking my dictionary, one of the meanings of "nigger" is "Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people: 'Gun owners are the new niggers . . . of society' (John Aquilino)."

Would it be ok to call John Edwards a nigger because he's not deprived?

Something like "I'm not going to talk smack about John Edwards, because I just feel so sorry for him. Big house, millions of dollars, but when it comes to running for the Whitehouse, he's just a nigger."

Personally, I wouldn't go there, because when I skewer folks with political humor, I try to make it as accurate and unambiguous as possible. Using a term that can be construed to make a point that you are not, in fact, trying to make, is just sloppy communications. It's always better to say exactly what you mean.

So maybe Ann IS a verbal-bomb-throwing lunatic who should be shunned by conservatives as a too-pricey political liability, but then again, maybe she just really sucks as a humorist and desperately needs to hire herself a speech writer.

You make the call.

Posted by: Harvey at 09:49 AM | Comments (18) | Add Comment
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February 23, 2007

ON THE DOLLAR COIN

Lynn of A Sweet, Familiar Dissonance is contemplating the unpopularity of the dollar coin.

"people aren't rejecting the dollar coin because of who is on it. They are rejecting it because, first of all, old habits are hard to change, second, people prefer dollar bills and finally, possibly most important, most of us have never even seen one of the darn things except in magazine ads selling them for twenty or thirty dollars each as "collectors' items""

I'd like to add that it's not just the "we have a choice and we prefer bills" issue, there's an infrastructure issue, too. A lot of vending machines don't take dollar coins, and - here's the biggie - cash drawers at most supermarket checkouts don't have a slot for them. Which is the same reason for the unpopularity of the half-dollar. In the cases where cash drawers DO have a 5th slot, it's already designated for half-dollars.

By the way, if anyone out there works at a checkout, please comment about how you handle halves and dollar coins.

In the comments to her post, Lynn wonders why she never sees half dollars anymore. Well, in addition to the above problems, there's also the fact that a half weighs the same as two quarters. So besides being inconvenient to use, there's no weight benefit to carrying one, either. Unlike, say, the advantage of 1 nickel to 5 pennies, or 1 dime to 2 nickels.

By the way, if for some reason you WOULD like to get some half dollars, just ask for them the next time you're at the bank. One of the tellers probably has a few she'd like to get rid of - since she doesn't have any place to put them.

Posted by: Harvey at 10:36 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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