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Echoes and Mirrors » 2009 » December

Archive for December, 2009

New Host, New Thrills

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

I spent the better part of today tweaking a new WordPress install on my host, registered the domain and importing all the old Echoes and Mirrors stuff. The rest of the day was spent creating this glorious beast and watching season 5 of LOST (which included explaining everything to my roomie – guess I’m going to have to drag him through from the beginning).

All posting will cease on blogspot, so redirect your feeds here. I’m still working on a few things here, like the blogroll, but this is more or less the end result. I’m trying to coax more people into posting regularly.

The Hobson’s Choice site is being a pain in the ass because of the rotten bastards that snuck off with my old domain (the old software is redirecting to the old domain because it is fucking retarded). I have certainly learned my lesson about renewing domains. It’ll probably take most of tomorrow to sort it out, so I’m just gonna let it go until then.

A lot of the posts I imported here have links going to the old blogspot blog – I’m leaving that up for the moment. A lot of the blockquotes don’t seem to have transferred correctly and a lot of the images are hot-linking from blogspot. When I was googling about the best way to move my blogspot blog over to WordPress, everyone seemed concerned about pagerank, clickthroughs and shit and it was kind of frustrating. I do have Google AdSense ads on here (and elsewhere) but I’m not really concerned about it. I’m hoping one day I’ll earn enough from it to buy a case of beer (sitting at about $7 right now). This project was and never will be about making money. That’s what I stand on the corner for.

So, faithful readers, I’ll probably be pretty quiet until after the new year. There is a lot left to do before classes start again in less than two weeks.



Merry Xmas, plebs!

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone.  I’m getting primed for New Years Eve and things will probably slow down even more around here while I sort out the issues with my web-development stuff.  Expect Echoes and Mirrors to move soon.  Also, I’m not sure if Craig has plans to post here anymore – he just started a new blog over at Written on the Stall.

My dad got me some t-shirts from smarttorso.com. One of them was the ‘life is pietzche’ shirts, which I automatically said, “that’s not how you pronounce Nietzche.” I think he’s implying that I’m a smart ass. I’m not sure.

Hobson’s Choice is coming back. Issue 5 has been recovered and I’m trying to fix the layout again. I suspect a few people will actually be quite startled by its late arrival at their doorstep (contributors, distributors). I’ve even applied for an ISSN. Seriously, it will be the most irregularly published journal of all time with years spanning between issues.

I’ll be searching for regular column (blog) writers for the new site. Details are forthcoming. Meanwhile, I’m doing everything in my power to get published elsewhere.

Drink some egg-nog and do something funny.


Burning Goat 2009

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Swedish Christmas straw goat burns again:

STOCKHOLM – A giant straw goat was burned down yet again early Wednesday in a Swedish city where torching it has become a Christmas tradition, to the dismay of local leaders.

Every year I see this article, it brings joy to my heart. Why can’t the city just understand that their tradition is to burn the straw goat, not to build and look upon a straw goat? They ought to make it an endorsed event. Over the last 50 years, almost half of their goats have been burned or otherwise destroyed. Just accept it – people want to see it burn.


Sad times

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Just to put things into perspective: the world doesn’t stop being shitty just because it’s the holidays.  A couple of local things and one from afar.

He was tough as nails.  Watching him recover from the stroke he had last year was inspiring.  He will certainly be missed.

Parking meters in Augusta is a bullshit idea.  I live downtown and I don’t always work before 9 until after 6.  Fuck paying monthly to park.  There isn’t convenient parking anywhere except on Broad street.  The only upside is that if this passes, it won’t happen until a couple of weeks before my lease is up – which will convince me not to renew it.  I’m sure the realtors downtown will appreciate this move.  A 30-day ticket free period simply means I will continue to park for free until I move out. (Also, I’ve never seen one person get a parking ticket ever the whole time I’ve been here and my roomie leaves his car for days at a time.)

I’m surprised there is in’t anything up at dosenation.com or synchronium.net yet.  The guys at Synchronium run an online store that sells a lot of this stuff.  It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that they’ve been arrested without the chance to lawfully dispose of their recently made-illegal products.

On a related note – things that suck – I recently stopped having insomnia and got my sleep cycle back to something more normal. That’s actually good, but the suck comes from the sudden re-realization that the daytime is really long and full of assholes. I didn’t have to deal with this kind of BS when I was up until 6 am and slept at most 3 hours. Now, even when I lounge around in my robe and slippers drinking coffee for four hours after waking up, it’s still only 10 AM! I am questioning how most people function like this. I certainly did it for six years straight and I don’t remember liking it then – only it seems worse now, somehow.


Social Conservatives: Liberty is not just for You.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I had originally planned on posting some really kickass video from Reason TV, but I was blindsided by PajamasMedia.  This is truly demoralizing and defies any sense of reason or liberty: Libertarians Need to Rethink Support for Drug Legalization. Why? Here’s what happened:

  • guy was getting arrested, freaked out because he was carrying a bag of marijuana and didn’t want to get caught with it.
  • He eats it.
  • He chokes on the bag.

Obviously the libertarian argument is that if marijuana wasn’t illegal, this would never have happened.  Which is logical.

The problem with this Pajamas Media blog post is that they are trying to join social conservativism into libertarianism and distance themselves from the GOP.

The position on the legalization of marijuana provides the point of departure from the traditional libertarianism of Barry Goldwater. In abandoning the duty to enforce social order, today’s libertarians have made a devil’s pact with the pro-drug forces of George Soros and company.

Traditional libertarianism holds individual property rights, especially those of one’s own person to be the first and foremost concern. If the state were to prevent you from doing things because they were “unsafe” then they might as well be telling you that you don’t have the liberty to control your own person.

They forget that the moral order they have inherited is put at even further risk as laws change to allow more destructive behavior.

That’s right because as individuals we are allowed to choose self-destructive behavior if we see fit. Morality and justice have nothing to do with whether it is pretty, nice or gives you the warm and fuzzies.

There is too much stupid to nit-pick. Get your religion away from libertarianism, go read Anarchy, State and Utopia and drink yourselves to death.

The comment thread itself is a fucking goldmine (hint: they tear the blogger a new one). PajamasMedia needs to reel its bloggers like Mary Grabar in a bit.  This one pretty much nails it (commenter ‘spindok’):

The author simply does not understand Libertarianism. Her entire argument is collectivist and intent on preserving “our way of life”, “foundations of society” and “judeo-christian heritage”.

These things are not meaningful in the Libertarian context. It is like arguing against Capitalism because it would destroy the obviously desirable goal of “state control of the means of production”.

To the Libertarian way of thinking pot may very well be bad for you and legalizing it may not produce the best results for society as a whole, but that is beside the point.

Libertarianism is not utopian. It accepts that social outcomes may or may not be “better” if we respect individual liberties. It is a principled moral argument, not an empirical one. Society and government cannot have rights, only people can and yours stop at my nose.

A Libetarian can either cringe or laugh when the author says that Pot, or something else, needs to be illegal to preserve “our” culture, but would only take that as evidence for the dangers of collectivist thinking.

Watch what happens if I propose that I dont care what “our” culture says, but “my” culture says differently. She will tell me to pack my bags and go elsewhere and if I dont follow the rules “we” will be happy to lock “me” up because although I have done no harm to anyone except perhaps myself I have not done my share in preserving our culture, our biblical values, or something else of ours.

Well said. I don’t give a crap about “Judeo-Christian values” because I am neither Jewish nor a Christian. Let’s talk reason.

85. gs:

Pajamas commenter Kazooskibum puts it well. Remember: The issue is never the issue. The issue is control.

Bravo! Then this guy comes in, and he pretty much gets ripped apart. I’ll quote the part that I can disagree with personally:

86. archer52
Most libertarians I know that like the free drug argument have two common traits. One- they usually use weed or something along that line. Not the hardcore crack/meth/oxy drugs that kill people. Just weed, or as one of the comments said- a vegetable. Two- The active libertarian does not work or live or suffer dealing with the hardcore drug user. Their argument is a classroom argument, not a real world argument. I’ve seen the end result of hardcore drug use. Meth, crack, prescription pills. I’ve actually seen it kill the user and more often kill an innocent. Legalizing anything with that kind of power and put it in the hands of people who can’t control it is stupid and dangerous. We do live in a society where our right to screw up ends at the nose of the guy next to us. There has to be controls on behavior.

I work with crackheads every day, and you know what? There would be a fraction of the crime there is in this town if drugs were for sale in a guarded liquor store. The argument is not about the drugs themselves, but about the criminology associated with drug use, dealing and trafficking. Major drug companies don’t shoot each other up or rob each other or accept stolen televisions for payment.

The post goes on to decry porn, stripping and other assorted fun activities. It’s a fucking mess. I quit.


Struggling just makes it worse – the nature of rape

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Unlike Rob over at To the People, I think this is great:

PALMDALE, Calif. — Schoolteacher Shana Richey misses the playroom she decorated with Glamour Girl decals for her daughters. Fireman Jay Fernandez misses the custom putting green he installed in his backyard.

But ever since they quit paying their mortgages and walked away from their homes, they’ve discovered that giving up on the American dream has its benefits.

Both now live on the 3100 block of Club Rancho Drive in Palmdale, where a terrible housing market lets them rent luxurious homes — one with a pool for the kids, the other with a golf-course view — for a fraction of their former monthly payments.

Rob hates them for exploiting the situation.

But let us look at this from a practical angle. What does failure teach us? Not to fuck up again, hopefully. A single failure might not deture a person, and will certainly not deture millions of people. What it takes to teach millions of people a lesson by forcing them to suffer through a hopeless, downward spiral together and force them to realize it while its happening. Horror makes you scream and fight back. Terror paralyzes you and the mind reels in horror while the body is unable to move.

And what better way to teach people that government subsidies, welfare and bailouts are bad policy? There isn’t. That’s why the best solution is to encourage it. We should all suck on the teat as hard as we can, bleed it dry, watch it turn to dust and cheer on the collapse of a flawed system.

Then social selection can resume its role of culling the herd. Policies that prevent failure fosters a culture that believes, deep down believes, that everyone can be a winner. Hell, its part of the reason for the horrible status of the American education system. And it will only get worse. The bailouts that essentially resulted in millions of US bonds simply evaporating is another example.

The simple truth is that not everyone can be a winner in a world where resources are finite. Attempting to break this rule through clever market regulation can only result in an even more catastrophic failure than could naturally take place.

Some are leaving behind their homes and mortgages right away, while others are simply halting payments until the bank kicks them out. That’s freeing up cash to use in other ways.

Ms. Richey’s family of five used some of the money to buy season tickets to Disneyland, and plans to take a Carnival cruise to Mexico in March. Mr. Fernandez takes his girlfriend out to dinner more frequently. “We’re saving lots of money,” Ms. Richey says.

Who is the chump? The guy accepting the free shit other people are willing to give him and and not thinking twice about it, or the guy who is handing it over?  Both are.  They’ve been duped by a shitty system.  Both groups will most likely suffer greatly for it.  One, immediately because he’s being forced to give and the other because he’s becoming complacent.  Self-sufficiency and independence will never lead to these ends.

I’m not a gun-toting TDTSHTF (The Day The Shit Hits The Fan) survivalist guy and I don’t expect the collapse to happen any time soon. But I’d like it to. Then again, I have very little to lose under such circumstances, and much to gain.  I am a poorly paid non-profit worker, after all.

And with that, I’ve been inspired to write a zany short story. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get high and eat 39 cent macaroni and cheese because I’m crawling my way out of a pile of debt I got myself before I had even heard the terms ‘free market’ or ‘libertarianism.’  Tootles!


The internet ruins my brain

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

This had never even crossed my mind: people standing to wipe their asses:

Now, I have lived on this planet for 33 years and I have concluded any extended bathroom venture the same way: sitting down, toilet paper bunched in my right hand, reaching back and around my body and gently wiping upwards, balls to butt. That’s how I’ve done it forever. That’s how I’m comfortable. But a couple weeks ago, a handful of our readers mailed in declaring that they stood to wipe, which I found to be completely alien.

Now, reader Dave would like to point out that College Humor did a quick poll of this phenomenon ages ago. Of 4,214 voters, 56% sat, while 44% stood. I found this breakdown to be shockingly even. I never knew. Such is the insular and private nature of our world in the john that we can find ourselves stunned at such different methodology.

This is just really fucking weird. I mean, it is not surprising. I once got into a heated argument about washing shoes with someone. I had never considered doing it.  I wear shoes to keep dirt from getting on my feet. If my shoes get sufficiently dirty, I throw them out.  They acted like I was the fucking weirdo.

Other things I’ve noticed like this are the use of a wash-rag in the shower to lather as opposed to using the bar of soap directly on your skin (for those of us that don’t use girly liquid body soap and lufas like my roomie). I don’t get the need for the extra step involved in lathering up the washcloth.

Or using q-tips in your ears after you shower. Some people don’t clean their ears, I guess.

This sort of thing will never stop bothering me.


What do the people want Echoes and Mirrors to blog about?

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Ranked by site-meter based on what is bringing people here:

  1. Porn. (Edita Bente, specifically)
  2. “mirrors and lsd”
  3. Cornbrator

And the rest seems to be from some cd rips I posted ages ago or random music/movie reviews I’ve written, but those are almost always from foreign countries. I don’t count the hits generated by bloggers checking to see why the hell I linked to them.

But I think the nature of the material bringing people here is fascinating. It pretty much sums up what the whole point of this blog is about: we, as a society, are fucked. And I’m a huge fan of porn. And LSD. And maybe sex-toys if all involved parties are cool with it.

But the philosophy-laden anger about stupid cunts trying to stop people from having fun, the nerdy game as psychology, and top-notch analysis of contemporary life will not cease. It will probably increase now that the semester is over, in fact. But so will the quick porno, vagina and drug posts. So I condemn myself.

Do any of my dozen or so dedicated readers actually care? Doubtful.

I’ll be posting a couple of my A+ papers from this last semester shortly – I just need to reformat them a bit and tidy up some corrections that my gracious professors pointed out. Everyone gets to join in on my love of education.

This blog will one day be a testament to my life: I will be remembered for ranting about porno, dildos and lsd. My academics will fall to the wayside, the body of my published works will be forgotten and anything I ever did with a computer or phone will only be revealed through my FBI profile. Hooray for the internet! Somebody go write me a Wikipedia entry!


Americans don’t understand what "Rights" are

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

When it comes to philosophy (in this case political philosophy,) how you state your argument is arguably just as important as the context of and point you are trying to make.

Chuck posted something interesting about the dialectal process being used in the abortion debate.

Egalitarianism has slithered its way into our pocketbooks once again; this time under the highly dubious guise that all women have a right to an abortion. If everyone has the right, by all means, the government has to fund it.

The problem with their argument isn’t about whether or not women should have abortions (as they claim) but whether or not somebody else will pay for them.

I happen to be pro-choice (because I’m a nutty libertarian, you see) and see the argument in terms of Negative rights:

  • People (not just women) have self-ownership. They have the right not to have the state interfere with their personal property.
  • If a right guaranteed to any person violates another person’s rights, it is unjust. Only negative rights fit this standard.

This line of thought ensures the right to choose to have an abortion, but puts it on the mother to pay for it.  Which is fair.  I don’t see other people paying for me to have convenient parking, which is also fair. What gives somebody the right to make me pay for anything of theirs? Of course, this same line of thought would make prostitution and drugs legal.

The obvious choice is to cloud the fucking question with slippery word-play and convince everyone that they are entitled to shit; the result is that they don’t question the fact that they can’t do perfectly reasonable things like get high.

I won’t go into the consequences of the freedom to abort (which I think are positive, at least for me) or the fact that the laws would almost certainly exclude any input from the father, who provided at least half of the potential child.  Those are messy areas.

But what the fuck do I know? I’m just a guy who doesn’t want children and doesn’t like stupid the American Paternalism that has blossomed since the late 19th century.


Movie Review: Teeth (2007)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Seriously, the world needed a horror flick about Vagina Dentata.  Teeth is that movie. I’ve mentioned Vagina Dentata before and it should come as no surprise that I found this movie to be a gold-mine of vagina-related jokes.  Truly, the world has been waiting for a movie about a cooter with the disposition of a dingo hidden inside the pants of an abstinence cheer-leader.  Yes, purity rings make their appearance and then some.

And after it bit the damn thing off, it spits it out.  You see the poor deflated fucking thing sitting on the rocks.  The guy, in fear of losing a finger or a hand fled, leaving it behind.  Poor Toby.  The moral of the story is that if you try to rape girls, their vaginas will bite your dick off.  Simple yet effective.

The movie is campy, but it’s also original.  And disturbing beyond measure to any guy who likes being a guy.  Vagina Dentata is fucking real.  There is a condition that causes women to grow teeth in their happy-holes.  And no guy likes the idea of losing his cock.  This goes into realms beyond any sort of mutant beast or ghost or deranged serial killer could dream of.  This movie threatened not just me, but also my genitals.

And we can all agree that my genitals are worth more than anything to anyone.

And that makes this movie truly frightening.

3/5 stars.