30 September 2006
Playing Catch Up
- A Marine's report from al-Anbar province, reproduced here at Defense Tech.
- Engage, engage, engage. The point is not to identify the comments of others as "right" or "wrong," the point is to engage those we disagree with in honest, thoughtful, exchange. Yes, it's more easily said than done, but it's what actually increases the likelihood of their pulling the lever (now, metaphorical) for candidates and ideas we'd like to see chosen and enacted. Calling people "idiots" or indicating otherwise that that's what you think about them, doesn't accomplish that. The point is to win elections and create better circumstances, better lives, more security, more prosperity, not to be right and lord it over everyone else. That means listening to people, even when you disagree with them, because not listening means not taking seriously, and people deserve to be taken seriously until events prove otherwise.
- The Onion, 21 September 2006, American Voices: "Willie Nelson was issued a citation Monday for possession of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. What do you think?"
- Terry North, Osteopath: "You can't arrest Willie Nelson for doing drugs. That's like arresting Aretha Franklin for being fat, or James Brown for any of the various crimes he's committed."
- Janet Gansburg, Bond Insurer: "That's the difference between marijuana and alcohol: When Willie Nelson was pulled over, he had only nice things to say about Jews."
- The Onion, 29 September 2006, American Voices: "U.S. airlines are now allowing small quantities of fluids onto airplanes. What do you think?"
- Elaine Siegel, Sales Representative: "Thank God. I don't think I'd be able to make one more flight from New York to Chicago with a mouthful of shampoo."
- Alex Hunter, Surveyor: "The ban was a necessary precaution. We have to be willing to make these kinds of sacrifices if we're going to prevent scientifically impossible terrorist attacks."
- Foley. Ugh. Mustang Bobby gets it right (here):
The most bothersome thing about this is that it contributes once again to the cultural stereotype that gay men are by nature pedophiles. Hairsplitting about the age of consent (16 in D.C.) doesn't cut it; the homophobes don't care if the law says it's not illegal, and every time a story like this breaks it makes it that much harder to overcome the prejudice that gay men can't be trusted around teenage boys.I'll take it further: Thanks to all the creepy almost-closet cases. Yes, I know people should only come out when they're secure enough in their own skin about being gay (generic: GLBTO -- gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, other) -- in a world that is often against gay people, but, dammit people, folks who hide their sexuality at work while being open about it socially or with families are nothing but trouble. And it very frequently has to do with being in positions of power and authority, and that's troubling. It's the closet cases who end up being congressmen having horny chats with teenage boys and Boy Scout leaders trying to diddle the young men in their troops and the priests and preachers doing it with altar boys and those they're supposed to be praying with. The gay community doesn't need to put up with these putzes any longer: Anyone who's comfortable enough about being gay to be out to family or go to a gay bar ought to buck up and come out at work. It's okay to shun people who don't. That doesn't mean being hateful: it means having principles and sticking to them and expecting other people to behave similarly.
It's tough enough to live in a country where the basic rights that heterosexuals enjoy -- the right to marry the one you love and take care of them without legal barriers, for example -- are denied to gays and lesbians, and it's not easy knowing that an entire political and religious network exists solely for the purpose of demeaning and degrading them. So the last thing we need is yet another closet case giving the bigots yet another poster boy for their campaign of repression and hatred and helping people like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and D. James Kennedy with their next fund-raising campaign to marginalize the gay community even more.
Thanks, Congressman Foley, for setting us back yet again.
- From yesterday's Achewood:
- I love my XM, but Mack's Sirius (he's a big Howard fan) is running a Who channel. Sweet.
- I've got two sets of pics up at our Flickr site from the Teton's trip, with more to come.
- Here are pics from Saturday, 23 September, including more of the moose who came to the lodge for dinner. One sample:
- Here are the ones from Sunday, 24 September. After I got out of the SSCI team meeting, the sun was right over the Tetons in the west, so all these feature aperture stars, lens flares, etc. Fun. A sample:
- Here are pics from Saturday, 23 September, including more of the moose who came to the lodge for dinner. One sample:
27 September 2006
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig
Here're some teaser pics. More are coming, but have to be inspected, cropped, messed with, etc.
As usual, click on the image to see it in the context of the Flickr page, where you can choose other sizes.
22 September 2006
I feel very fortuitous to be able to do this. I hope to bring back lots of pics.
Back late Wednesday.
Good wishes to all.
19 September 2006
Yellow Dog III
18 September 2006
| You scored as Old School Democrat. Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.|
What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with QuizFarm.com
It was a tie between "Old School Democrat" and "New Democrat:" 90% on each. I've already forgotten the tie-breaker question. (I did this the other day and just remembered to post the results.)
See my FDR Memorial photos here.
15 September 2006
Yellow Dog II
Don't get snookered by the GOP's cozy incorporation and cooperation of the religious right: They also have acted like they're the one's who ought to have their hands on the levers of government. If we want to replace them, we have to be willing to play that role.
14 September 2006
Yellow Dog Time
Contrary to what many on my side of the political spectrum think, people do not just elect parties that they agree with philosophically, although they might refuse to vote for ones they disagree with. They do not vote for the person they think is "most right," or "most likely to stick it to the other guy." They vote for people who are capable of governing. Who can be put in charge. Who can run things the way the voters think they ought to be run.
People want to feel secure, they want a little more money in their pocket, and, by and large, they want things to be fair to the little guy. Candidates who voters believe are capable of making those things happen, can win elections. Candidates who are all talk, don't win elections.
Candidates who act like winners and who act like they know what they want to do when they get elected can win. Candidates who act like they wouldn't know where to find the bathroom at the courthouse don't have a chance.
Candidates and parties who try to expand their base, who try to bring more people in and around to their point of view (the one they're going to put into practice when they're elected) win. Candidates and parties who self-righteously act like everyone ought to know that they're right and deserving to govern don't. And then they wither and die.
As much as I was disgusted by the Republican National Convention in 2004, you have to admire them, give them credit, for trying to expand their base. For saying, "join us." For saying, "don't you agree with us?" The Democratic National Convention was a smug and smarmy affair that talked down to voters and patted itself on the back. We have to get back into the business of saying, "join us," "come with us," "be part of us on this path to victory and greatness."
One last thought: Every Democratic party political rally ought to include singing. Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" in particular. People want to feel connected to something larger than themselves. Their is no shame in civic virtue.
We are the rising tide. We are the correction. We are the next wave. It's our time.
Now, start acting like it.
11 September 2006
One Man's 9/11 Remembrance
I've stated before that we should remember 9/11 because the people who would like to kill us are still out there. I still believe that, but I've learned that they want to kill not only those of us who live here in "Western Civ," but every soul that disagrees with their self-proclaimed Islamic perfection, modern or ancient; male or female; straight or gay; Christian, atheist, Jew, or Muslim. Like all with a self-proclaimed direct line to the divine, theirs is the way of endless death, endless destruction, endless desecration of the messy human lives we live.
I didn't get in on the remembering those lost in 9/11 fast enough to adopt the individual I want to memorialize. That's David Charlebois, who was co-pilot on American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon. He was an ERAU graduate, a member of GLEAM, the American Airlines gay and lesbian group, and a member of the National Gay Pilots Association. My institution has never honored him as a gay man, only as an alumnus, and I regret that. Not that his killers knew who he was: only that we remember him as an example of what is better about our way than about theirs. That we celebrate diversity rather than restricting it. That we believe that men and women of all beliefs can live together peacefully. That we accept our differences and exploit them to make us stronger, not use them as excuses to let the demons that live within us all kill and destroy every last thing that doesn't fit our narrow-minded, self-righteous, beliefs.
Let our world be one where we kill only in self defense, only to prevent others from killing us. But let those who would try to do just that never doubt our resolve to do whatever is necessary for us to protect our world, with its messiness, its questioning, its awareness and celebration of differences, from their murderous implulses.
10 September 2006
A Mention in the Paper
(Politicians, business people, and organizational leaders: One of the advantages of doing an interview in your own blog is that everyone can read the entire context. It's next to impossible to be misquoted. For long, at least.)
I guess I'll have to run out and pick up a copy of the paper and make a clipping.
The only thing I think the article lacks -- and it wouldn't surprise me if this editorial decision was discussed by Kari and her editors -- was links to the blogs mentioned. My overall sense is that editorial leadership at newspapers still doesn't get the value of links within stories -- or maybe it's a management decision (goal is to bring people in, not send them away) -- but it is also hard to get longer URLs to publish nicely in columns that are only a couple of inches wide. I still don't understand why more newspapers aren't at least handling the duality of print publishing and online publishing with features appropriate to the particular domain: e.g., links in the online version, at least.
One factual correction: I'm Associate Professor of Computer Engineeringat ERAU. If you've never gone there, here's my professional home page there. I hope I didn't promote myself to full professor in correspondence with Kari. The distinction may be missing outside of academia.
Kari's own blog is here. Best wishes and thanks for the mention to her.
09 September 2006
Celebrating Star Trek
I didn't see the first two years of Star Trek. The local NBC affiliate in Nashville, WSM at the time, thought that us local yokels would rather see several hours of country music television programming on Thursday nights instead of hippy-dippy science fiction. I didn't even know the show existed until we visited our cousins in Savannah, Tennessee, on the fringe of both the Nashville and Memphis TV markets. Their family had a TV antenna with a rotor and could pick up signals from either direction at their own choice.
I think that first episode I saw was "Miri," but I'm not absoluely sure. I remember my amazement that the crew could get to the planet's surface through teleportation rather than using a rocket ship. Hell, I remember my amazement at the shape of the starship Enterprise. Where were the fins? Regardless, this was orders of magnitude better than Lost in Space.
That was it. I became obsessed with trying to see Star Trek. Occasionally, I would be able to pick up the NBC affiliate in Paducah, Kentucky, on the rabbit ears on a little black-and-white TV we had. Usually all I could get was the audio. I tried to write a transcription of an episde, "The Immunity Syndrome" (giant amoeba eats the Enterprise), from memory after listening to it on the TV. I bought some book -- The Making of Star Trek maybe -- and read about episodes I'd never seen, as well as the people who made them happen, including Bob Justman and D.C. Fontana and Matt Jeffries (who, I still remain surprised, apparently believed we would be able to develop materials to make those long struts holding the engine nacelles of the original Enterprise be able to withstand the forces of propelling the ship forward). I built Revell styrene models of the Enterprise and of a Klingon battle cruiser.
That third and much-derided season, NBC moved Star Trek to Friday nights, so I watched the opening episode, "Spock's Brain," with anticipation. And maybe I had a modicum of justified disappointment after it was over. But my neighbors Tom Meador and Bill Cherry and I rotated through being Kirk and Spock and McCoy many afternoons thereafter. I didn't really see the complete set of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes until they ran in syndication. (Cavanaugh, in his largely right-on article, misses the importance of that syndication in keeping the Star Trek spirit alive in so many during the dark years.)
I'll not disparage the other Star Trek incarnations. They clearly have their appeal to others, but to me they're largely a collection of bad latex facial appliques. But, the original voyages, boldly going forth, captured this one's imagination. Did they really make a difference in my life? I think so, and I think for the good. I think a world without them would be a world lacking something positive about life and possible futures. Possible futures that are, as Cavanaugh argues, full of government intervention, often for the worse, but still possible futures in which individuals can realize parts of their own better natures.
As long as they're not a red shirt assigned to security detail in a landing party.
07 September 2006
Mr. Fripp Provoking Us, On Benevolence, On Fearlessness
From Mr. Fripp's Online Diary, today, 7 September 2006:
Benevolence is constantly available.
But, we are not constantly available to Benevolence.
To be available to Benevolence, we have to do a little to move towards it.
But, rather than do the little we have to do, we do lot that we don’t have to do.
Rather than do the little that is possible for us, we seek Big Things beyond our reach.
This is the tragedy of the human condition.
The assumption of fearlessness: how might a performer walk onstage, fearless? This is a question recently arisen within the [Guitar Craft] family.
One adopts the injunction: assume the virtue if ye have it not.
It is not necessary to feel fearless;
It is not necessary to be fearless;
It is necessary to act as if one is fearless.
This is now a practical question, and may be simply addressed.
What are the characteristics of a fearless person? How does a fearless performer behave? What are the actions of a fearless player?
We note the conduct of our Ideal & then adopt their behaviour: we act as if we were our ideal conception of The Fearless Performer.
Substitute your line of trade or your personal situation for "Performer."
05 September 2006
A Beautiful Remembrance
01 September 2006
Paging Mr. John Daly: You've Got Competition
It was what you might call a breakthrough moment, sort of like when Benjamin Franklin bumped his head on a towel rack and invented the post office.In Chris Onstad's "blog."