Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some Quotes and Other Bits

A variety of short quotes, bits and comments I've written over the last year that don't really fit anywhere else but I wanted to keep them. Perhaps there's wisdom here, definitely some comedy. (A couple may be repeats from recent posts)


If you think about it, your cat must think you are one *magic* bastard -- areas light up wherever you go, you can make water fly out of things with the touch of your hand...


New invention: Underwear with a fan in it. Why isn't this a thing? By the gods, how many dates, social situations, and senate hearings have been ruined by lack of this simple contraption?


Any school that advertises on TV is exactly the one you should stay away from.


Laughter is the strangest thing that the human mind is capable of. It is not words, it is the mind producing a physical reaction to the silliness of the universe.


Not everything that can be called a "win-win situation" is good. A nice example is when rats eat their young during hard times -- hey! They have something to eat AND they're controlling the population!


Humor is death and everything that we don't like, presented and put aside (thwarted even) for the moment.


The general wealth and sense of well-being in this country has fallen so far that watching "The Office" is like watching royalty; "Parks and Recreation" is like watching the royal family. Dude, they don't just have jobs, they have GOVERNMENT jobs!


The funny thing about dreaming is that if you really wonder if you're dreaming, you ARE...and when you're actually awake you have absolutely no doubt that you're awake.


Every day for a cat is like being a teenager trying to steal their parents' credit cards.


An orgasm is the universe whispering its love to itself. The clean version for your midwestern states: An orgasm is God whispering his love to himself.


There needs to be a new word called "proofyness" to go with Stephen Colbert's "truthyness." I think that there are many situations in life, where we take something as being true or proven, when part of our assumption is that the other person or persons aren't insane. Often that's just not true! But we would like to not believe that, and put our trust in the general goodness of society and the usefulness of our senses, so we usually go with that assumption.


Technology has made the evolution of knowledge speed up to an exponential level - because anything that can be done once, can be recorded and done repeatedly until the end of society or until the knowledge is lost. And knowledge on the internet is the hardest to lose, so it has become the greatest force in this evolution.


A tone of voice which is intended to purposely convey a sense of affection is considered obviously feminine, or at least "sensitive," a trait which women are assumed to possess more than men and at its highest possible levels. Which is one of the things that is wrong with this world. Women face the same uphill battle, on logic/intelligence and the ability to listen to it fully/at any cost.


The reason many competitive reality shows are so dramatic and hold so attraction for some people, is that they present an unnatural situation with implied evil: people divided into teams that are supposed to be working together -- yet each individual of the team is actually not only competing against the other teams, but against each other, since only one person will be the ultimate winner, winning the prize to exclusion of the others. In real life, a situation like this is called treachery and betrayal.


I think that war is usually a terrible idea and a tragedy for the world. But I can certainly see how it would not be a good idea to express this to someone who saw war duty. Because if half your friends died to raise a flag or take a hill, it damn well better have meant something.


Lack of trust is the basic problem of human civilization.


There is an engineering saying that states, "A system may not do what you WANTED it to do, but it will do exactly what you DESIGNED it to do." I don't have anything to add to that idea, I just like it and wanted it to get a bit more press. ;)

I can have my cake and occupy it too!


Just to be clear, even though I'm self-employed and own stock, I am a *BIG* fan of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. Corporations should have NO say in how OUR elected officials govern, and the things the government and corporations have done to destroy the middle class and sink the lower class into near-homelessness are truly despicable. (Please watch Capitalism: A Love Story -- it's funny that even in Michael Moore's first 'amateur' film, Roger and Me, he had caught on that corporations really *were* willing to destroy America to make a buck) http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/occupy-wall-street-180649581.html?sec=topStories&pos=9&asset&ccode



I should probably clarify that...should corporations have their say? Sure. First Amendment. But promising jobs to our representatives and giving them millions in campaign money? Bullshit. They've already raped and pillaged us for our money, now they can use it to elect whoever they want thanks to some recent changes.

Smokey the Bear, I mean Employee...

Having an interest in your work is the first step to being good at it. But if you can't have that, by god you'd better have enough fun and interesting other shit going on in your life to keep you from going psychotic or suicidal. We're not talking "Jack Nicholson in the Shining" psychotic, or "Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby" suicidal, but the sort of slow, subtle crazy that makes someone not wear a helmet while they're riding their motorcycle to their parents' house, or pay for their 28 items with singles in the 12-item checkout, or grow their nails out until they curl "because they can." There's all sorts of crazy, and it's very real, and it's all around us. Only YOU can prevent driving the rest of us even more nuts...

Feminism in 30 Seconds

I believe "ladies first" started because there are so many things that women are denied, that what they *are* entitled to, they damn well ought to have first crack at. There's also a noble side to this; if it's "ladies first" into the lifeboats, it's partly because there are certain difficulties and hardships that men are expected to deal with, harsh deaths being among them. There's also the idea that women need more help doing things, and I mostly reject this, even though it may be part of why it's done; women are right to think that part is ridiculous, and I can see why a serious women's libber might call a man a "pig" who opens a door for her. At least to her, he is saying "you're different from me, I deserve more because of my power, and you need my help because you're weaker and I should certainly give it to you to allay a little of my guilt and it's no skin off my back, because I have all the power!" She wants no part in that point of view. Allow a man to continue to believe that he is better than you and deserves more than you, and you might as well be your own enemy.

Separation of Church and State

I got myself into trouble recently trying to discuss this subject on Facebook, and distilled these comments of my own from it. (I'm not 100% sure that these paragraphs make sense in their current order, since they were culled from the conversation and then edited slightly to fit together better.)


If you look at their letters and writings on the subject, our founding fathers were Deists (very similar to gnosticism, a dogma-free offshoot of Christianity, NOT the same as agnostic) and were using the word God in a general sense (the creator, whoever God is to you in your religion/sect -- remember that when the country was young a lot of "freaky" things like Quakers, Puritans, Gnostics, Amish, and nature worship from the old country were very commonplace), and only used that single word every once in a great while, with no mention or endorsement of any religion or its tenets...they also created a total separation of church and state and freedom of religion (ANY religion), let's not forget that.

The First Amendment specifically states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." It was very clear that when it prohibited any laws on the establishment of religion, it was 100% against the government endorsing any religion over any other.

I also love that amendment because it specifically gives us the right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances," (petition means ask, not specifically the legal version of a petition with signatures) though Bush tried to tell us we were traitors whenever we did so, and people are trying similar tactics against the Occupy movements. Yep I'm the constitutional libertarian in the room and these days I get painted as a liberal, the world is completely turned on its head. :)

Quite a few people these days seem to be spreading some sort of concept that "nowhere in the Constitution does it specifically say that there is to be a separation of church and state," which is one of the most nonsensical notions ever developed. Separation of church and state is explicitly prescribed by the First Amendment, so requiring some particular set of words in a particular order to somehow prove your point is semantics, and dangerous/unlawful semantics at that. The government is not to get involved in religion, yet Christians such as some of you are wanting it to because it's "the right one." What you don't see is, this is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and this freedom only works and is a beautiful thing if it's complete. It's there to protect you from the rest of us, just as much as it's there to protect us from you. It's there so that we will never have to wake up one day and find that our government says that, say, Mormonism is the only acceptable form of Christianity. So let's just recognize this and stop all of this talk of trying to get God and Christmas into our government. (Spending so much time trying to control Christmas is equally silly, just celebrate your own beliefs however you want to.)

It's New to You!

The worst, most insensitive possible (read: funny, at least if it was in a The Far Side cartoon) times to use the saying "It's new to you!" are:

1. A person trying their prosthetic leg for the first time.
2. Someone looking at their house after a tornado.
3. High technology to aborigines, ie. holding a cell phone in front of them.
4. Showing a copy of the Constitution to George W. Bush.

A tone of voice which is intended to purposely convey a sense of affection is considered obviously feminine, or at least "sensitive," a trait which women are assumed to possess more than men and at its highest possible levels. Which is one of the things that is wrong with this world. Women face the same uphill battle, on logic/intelligence and the ability to listen to it fully/at any cost.

Occupy Congress.

(Please note: I wrote this a few weeks after the Occupy Wall Street movement began. I had aimed to send it to the 2-3 most "official" Occupy Wall Street websites to jumpstart some discussion on the subjects herein, but have held off because A) I'm not sure if the OWS movement *wants* a coherent message, and B) I'm not sure if I want to be assassinated yet if this took off.)




This is my opening salvo to the Occupy Main Street movement. Your system of decision making and belief in equality is exemplary, but you still need a cohesive plan to truly help this country. This is a start for your consideration, and may be the answer to the problems we face. Many things provided inspiration for this, especially the enigmatic "Downfall of Democracy" essay (attributed to Alexander Tyler), and the way it is presented at http://www.apatheticvoter.com/Article_DownfallDemocracies.htm.



Our founding fathers believed in the principles of democracy -- one man, one vote -- but unlike previous examples in history, they allowed all but the most minor of decisions to be in the hands of a select few. This was because they knew that most people could not yet read and write. We have since then instituted education for all of our citizens. We can now read, write and understand. For similar reasons, they believed that women and slaves should not be allowed to vote. Women are just as well-educated as men now, and we do not engage in slavery. All citizens are now capable of voting and in a more educated manner, and we should now amend the Constitution and give all U.S. citizens the right to vote on congressional bills and other decisions that affect the future of our country.



The only way we can save our country at this point is to remove the politician's role from the system. Corporations have removed our wealth, first with pay freezes, outsourcing, layoffs with rehiring at lower rates, fraud and gambling away even their OWN wealth. While simultaneously electing OUR representatives with their money. Corporations cannot vote in elections -- they should not be able to contribute to campaigns. For their contributions and lobbying, they receive service from elected officials -- WE should receive that service from the elected officials, since we are the only ones that can vote. Most of this service is in the form of deregulation (allowing them to defraud us and destroy our wealth and resources) or subsidies (taking our money directly out of our pockets and handing it to them) or guaranteed contracts (giving them business that they do not have to compete for in a normal, free market way). Corporations and our own government have been allowed to steal almost all of the money from OUR pension and social security funds for their own use. All of this means that it is no longer a free market, and our political system is not acting in our own interests -- it is only acting in the interest of gaining money for corporations and the governmnet. The Republican party has done the most damage to this effect, in part by co-opting Christianity as "belonging" only to their party and using it to get us to condone their actions and even support them, because Christians can be led to assume that if people are suffering, they have done something wrong and/or are not Christian, and they deserve it. They tap into the natural attitude of any religion of "we are right/we are better" and this allows them to turn a blind eye to those that are suffering, because they assume that they are bad people, cheaters of the system, lazy, or in some other way deserve it. We assume that the ones that are truly in poverty and have done nothing wrong will be taken care of by our church, not the government! But there are two huge flaws in this logic: 1. Many people are not Christian, and those people will most likely not go to a Church for assistance because they will not feel welcome or they feel that they are taking advantage of an ideology they do not support. But much more importantly: 2. Their church cannot POSSIBLY have the capacity to take care of all of these people in poverty if the businesses of this country have been systematically trying to eliminate as many jobs as possible (by simple thrift or moving operations to cheaper countries), paying workers as little as they can possibly get away with, and stealing our benefits, and have thereby created a country of impoverished citizens -- who have increasingly less "safety net" from the government (and perhaps soon no pension/social security in their old age, since it has been stolen). Beginning near the middle of the 20th century and for decades afterward, there was sort of a "gentlemanly agreement" in this country that our businesses would pay employees a "living wage," a wage that they could live reasonably well on. This accomplished three things: citizens with their necessities fulfilled make happy employees, and employees receiving a living wage can afford the companies' products, creating an endless loop that enriched everyone involved. We have utterly destroyed that for quicker, faster profits that corporations are ravenous to get "while they still can," because they believe our way of life is going to die. Their actions have made this a self-fulfilling prophecy.



The six-step plan to solve this: (It is written in present tense as we would see it as it was happening -- make no mistake, none of this has happened yet.)



1. Give everyone in the United States access to a cellphone. Most of us already have one; many states are already offering free cellphones (with access to the Internet) to their citizens that are living in poverty. If nothing else or in addition to this, tethered/secured cellphones could be posted at public places (grocery stores, churches, etc) that citizens could use to vote with (logging in with a pin number).



2. We ALL vote on all issues, federal and then hopefully local. There would be ONE online system for posting petitions for bills and officializing them. Want a vote on something? Get enough interest in the vote, and we VOTE on it. As simple as that. The votes are processed on a distributed peer-to-peer network, so that NO one is in charge of it and can singlehandedly alter it. The rest of the government stays in place, but politicians' role is greatly reduced -- WE are the voters, not them. WE should have voted on whether to enter Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and others. WE should have voted on the jobs bill, health care, you name it. We would still need someone to explain the upcoming votes and what the options mean, and they could fill this role, making their role match what they truly are -- bags of hot air (which would no longer be bought by corporations, or would severely reduce their corporate allegiance's effect on our democratic system). The president becomes the conduit through which our wishes are enacted, and the judicial system has the right to decide the ethics of our actions (whose decisions we can change if necessary through amendments to the Constitution). Congress and the House of Representatives are now US collectively, or they are figureheads who draw up the bills we vote on in official language (if needed) and make OUR votes official -- and we vote to remove them if they don't. When these Congressional representatives were created and given their power, we were a fledgling country that could barely read and write, let alone understand important issues. Women and minorities were not even allowed to vote, partly because of prejudice and partly because of these educational barriers. A national educational system and the globalization of information through the media and the internet have removed these barriers. We are ready to govern ourselves.



3. Democracy has its exact say, without any entitled elitists doing it for us. Even if they don't, corporations lose their say apart from traditional media advertising, and we get a chance to repair theincredible damage they and the government have done to us, the world, our wealth and the environment. No more "pork" added to bills. Bills are bills. We decide to vote on something, and we do it. Just this simple fact will save us trillions of dollars in a short period of time. We will face tough decisions, and do what we need to. Even if we make mistakes, this will eventually be the only way we can save our democracy from failing due to its own bloated debt, the percentage of the population in poverty, corporations' and the government's removal of almost all of our past and future benefit funds for their own use, our completely unprepared free-fall into a world without fossil fuels, and our jeopardizing our own future (physically and financially) by killing people in other countries for decades at a time. The crash these things will cause will only be solved by switching to a cruel military regime, unless we become the first true democracy since Ancient Greece and give each man and woman a vote on each major decision in our future.



4. All government employees, including the president and congress, are treated exactly like other citizens with regard to benefits. They are given a middle to upper middle class salary ($40-$70k), must use the same health care system we do (not paid by the government), and must pay into any pension they receive (and no other government funds will go into this pension plan), or simply receive the same social security benefits we receive. If this causes them to reform social security, which would be doing fine if they hadn't stolen the baby boomers' contributions years ago, so be it.



5. Corporations are not allowed to give money to election campaigns anymore. CITIZENS elect government representatives, not corporations. Citizens should be responsible for the advertising, funding and media exposure they receive.



6. Arbitration must be removed as a way of resolving legal disputes. Arbitration is generally decided by individuals or entities in the industry in question, and therefore will usually side with the corporation over the individual. Also, decisions made through arbitration are not legally binding and there is no legal body (government) to enforce the decisions; corporations and individuals do not follow through with payments/actions required by arbitration with extreme frequency. The right of the individual to receive just compensation/legal action through the court system should not be systematically circumvented with arbitration.
 
I'm not advocating revolution, we can change our system from within it, but we need to start the ball rolling on this NOW, before it is too late.



By William A. Otis, ancestor of James Otis, who gave a swift kick to get the ball rolling on that whole "American Revolution" thing, and William and Elisha Otis, who jump-started this "Industrial Revolution" that's going on some hundred-years strong (with elevators, steam shovels and the Panama Canal). My father Harold R. Otis did his part in inventing the way most of the world's wires are made (corporations took all the money - are you surprised?), no small bit in itself. I'd like to help get the millenium's first true democracy going in their name, and most importantly, in YOURS.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Democracy's Future

The Downfall of Democracy, from ApatheticVoter.com

The Downfall of Democracy

Rarely have democracies survived beyond 200 years. Why do democracies fail? Two of the major reasons are: 1) democracies generally progress through an initial period from bondage to spiritual faith escalating to the point where the citizens become totally dependent on the government to where they eventually revert back to bondage, and 2) once the democracy shows signs of prosperity, citizens vote themselves generous bounties from the public treasury. Does this not sound familiar? Is democracy only a temporary and marred refuge until social engineers miraculously discover the ultimate solution?

Democracy, or the form used in the United States and most advanced countries, representative democracy or a republic, seems to be the best method social engineers have concocted to date to afford people an opportunity to have a voice in their government. The world continues to be overrun with dictatorships, socialist governments, a few communist governments, and Islamic theocracies. We can argue the merits of democracy versus the alternatives, but at this point in history, most authorities on the subject recognize that democracy has proven to be the best solution ever tried on the planet. The United States is not the first successful democracy in the world. Over 2,500 years ago, the people of Athens, Greece created a true democratic form of government that lasted for nearly 200 years but was eventually destroyed not by the people but by a military overthrow by a powerful neighbor. On the negative side, they kept slaves in much the same manner as in the days of our fledgling democracy. The most intriguing aspect of the Athenian democracy was that the people voted directly on every issue that affected their lives. Politicians, or so-called representatives of the people, did not exist.

Although the origin of the “Downfall of Democracies” is often attributed to Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor who lived in the 1700s, the origin of the material below may be attributed to Alexander Tyler, or even Arnold Toynbee, or Lord Thomas Macaulay. Whoever can lay claim to the study of democracies that had existed until that time had remarkable conclusions. He had this to say about democracy in general, “A democracy is always temporary in nature: it simple cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

Does this sound familiar? With almost one-third of all Americans feeding at the public trough, its only a matter of time before everyone receives some form of benefit and henceforth, the entire country will crash and burn with most likely a military dictatorship filling the void.

The professor went on to say: “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

q From bondage to spiritual faith;

q From spiritual faith to great courage;

q From courage to liberty;

q From liberty to abundance;

q From abundance to complacency;

q From complacency to apathy;

q From apathy to dependence;

q From dependency back into bondage.”

Does this not sound familiar! We’ve gone from being overtaxed slaves of King George of England, to a new republic that accepted any religious faith, to a wonderful new country with a brilliant constitution, to being the richest country in the world, to today over 50% of the voters are apathetic to politics, to where a major portion of Americans are literally demanding government benefits, to eventually losing all of our freedoms (just read some sections of the Patriot Act). Many people now believe that we are now at the “apathy to dependence” phase of the professor’s theory with over 30% of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

Let us not forget that during the 2004 presidential election, the candidates collectively amassed a war chest of over $2 billion. We know that the individuals, carpetbaggers, organizations and corporations don’t make these donations out of the goodness in their hearts. That’s when we, the citizens, get to take it on the chin in the form of government contracts and special legislation/bills that are decreed to reward these people for their excessive contributions.

To ensure our survival, that’s the future for America – eliminate the politicians. Of course I’m advocating a radical concept but it’s time to think outside the box to save the country. With emerging technologies there is realistically no reason why within 10 to 20 years we cannot eliminate the obnoxious power of Congress and place the onus of responsibility back on the people where it belongs, by voting directly on every statewide or nationwide issue. Just watch what happens to taxes and the budget if the people are directly responsible for expenditures. Of course, the professional politicians will fight that prospect with lies and every dirty trick in the book but the American people can prevail.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best & Worst

At its best, religion connects to our soul, our heart, the infinite. At its worst, it takes advantage of men's fear of death to keep them from standing up for their rights or to lead them to make war against people they should not harm.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Music

Music is the human body's experience of the sensations of movement and time in a form that the ears can experience.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Double the Points, Double Your Fun

Math For Dummies for corporate America: If your company has a reward program, and it gives you 2 points per dollar spent, and it's ALWAYS been 2 points per dollar, it's not "double points," it's "you get 2 points per dollar." It's arbitrary. You can't start a program at 21 points per dollar and say "We give you 21 times the points!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Civil Rights Integration

I just rediscovered that decades ago my parents singlehandedly integrated their church's nursery school...the school had a sponsorship program for needy children. My Dad and a friend went around banging on doors until he found parents of an african-american child that they were willing to send to the nursery school. Then they marched him into the school, with the church's pastor, assistant and teacher ready to hand over their resignations if the council tried to kick him out. This, from my parents, who don't always make the best assumptions about other cultures. I'm humbled.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laughter is the strangest thing that the human mind is capable of. It is not words, it is the mind producing a physical reaction to the absurdity of the universe.

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