Monday, October 29, 2007


People have made fun of Bush for nearly a decade for his inarticulate speech and lack of diction. I'm sure somebody has addressed the issue of why he is the way he is, but I haven't seen it.

18th century rhetorical theorist Hugh Blair says, "Speech is the great instrument by which man becomes beneficial to man: and it is to this intercourse and transmission of thought, by means of speech, that we are chiefly indebted for the improvement of thought itself."

He's saying that speech and the ability to use it to take a thought from my head and put it in your head is responsible for nearly all advances in everything from culture, to science, to technology. But more fundamentally, the ability of reason itself stems from our ability to transmit thoughts and ideas, not just to each other, our contemporaries, but to people who will come later.

It is the fact that we have all of this combined knowledge from all of those people who lived before us that we are able to do all of the things that we are able to do today. Communication is the key, in other words, to everything.

So, where do bad communicators come from? How come there are so many today? I'm talking about boring, uninspiring speakers who don't give people anything useful. Bush, Kerry, Obama, Clinton, uh...Paul, etc etc. They are terrible speakers who give their hearers nothing but canned stump speeches that have been tested before focus groups, and pushed forcefully through speech writing mills, basically, in an effort to--in their mind--distill the essence of whatever truth it is that they are trying to transmit.

Whether you believe that Bush is deliberately trying to pull the wool over the eyes of America is beside the point here. Whether Bush is deliberately playing dumb to appeal to dumb people, is not on the chopping block for this particular tirade. What's really important is the fact that Bush is boring. The only emotions he can inspire in the people of America are fear and anger. And he's losing the knack for the former.

But why?

A poll during one of the past elections (I can't remember which one, nor do I care) revealed that Bush Jr. was the candidate that the electorate would most like to sit down and have a beer with. The Onion parodied this very nicely back in 2005. The article smacks of truth. The perception that Bush is "just like me," is what got the fucker elected in the first place. Right?

Now, why in all of the universe, would you want a president who was just like you? Think about it. Look at yourself. You're flawed. You've got problems. You make mistakes. You're not as smart, attractive, ambitious, talented, friendly, or decent as you wish you were. You're not as good a Christian as you think you should be. You're not as hard a worker as the guy in the next cubicle. Bush is not those things too! In fact, in all reality, you are probably smarter, more attractive, more talented, much more friendly...though probably not more ambitious, than our current commander in chief.

So why is this? Why elect this guy?

I think I have a theory, and it's about who the president is trying to appeal to. It's not the whole story, but it's part of it. The reason the founders of this country were so eloquent has everything to do with the fact that they were a) all educated and b) only hung out with a bunch of other people who were very educated. They didn't hang out with people who were "just like me." They never had to deal with people like us. They never had to appeal to us. Just the opposite, in fact. They constantly had to make sure that their proverbial asses were covered--logically speaking. These people would tear you a new one if you weren't completely sure of what you were talking about. These people were all well versed in the art of rhetoric. They knew how to persuade intelligent people. If you can persuade a smart person, then the rest of the country, the cattle, are easy.

Today, partly because nobody has an attention span long enough to listen to an entire speech--and for this reason, I'm reasonably certain that no one will read this entire post--and partly because these candidates have to appeal to the masses, the stupid, moronic, uneducated masses, there is a unilateral lowering of the bar to meet that standard.

If you use a word like "defenestrate," as in "I would like to defenestrate the president," nobody will know what you're talking about. But if you say, "I would like to throw the president out of a window," then people will understand you. The diction is lower, even if the meaning is the same.

People are stupid, and our politicians are getting stupider to reflect that fact. And it's all your fault. Shame on you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Venn Diagram

I never wanted it to go this far. I missed Countdown last Friday. But I found this. Now, maybe it's time to get angry, take up the political pen. It's downright frightening what this man is capable of. O'Relly, I mean.

One of my favorite articles by the infamous Maddox was this one. The title of the article says it all. Now, I don't think that Maddox is particularly great. I think his work is a little mis-directed, petty, and, while it all has excellent grammar, it isn't particularly insightful. He doesn't use his power for good, is what I'm saying. He's also devastatingly misogynistic. But to make the claim that Bill O'Reilly is a "big blubbering vagina," and have nearly two million people read it, is impressive to say the least.

The problem is that I think Maddox might actually be wrong. Papa Bear is not just a big blubbering vagina, he's a fucking monster. He calls J.K. Rowling a provocateur. Isn't this a case of the proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle.... a provocateur?

Rowling, in the course of answering a casual question with a casual answer, "I always thought of Dumbledore as gay," has suddenly created a scandal. Now, in England, this is no big deal. No one probably cared. If they did, they'd be laughed at.

The bottom line is, Bill O'Reilly actually thinks--insofar as he thinks at all--that being tolerant of homosexuality is undesirable in America. Yeah. Seriously. He thinks that.

Dear readers, and friends, and anyone out there in cyberspace who enjoys a good laugh, some gentle satire, or, heaven forbid, the occasional act of sodomy, we need to do something about this. Now, the news directors at Fox News have distanced themselves from Bill O'Reilly, but he still has the ears of millions of Americans. When you have someone out there, who doesn't want to play nice, someone who is just downright mean, that person needs to be dealt with.

A boycott won't work--because anyone who would boycott that bastard already is. Murder is unethical--I repeat, don't kill him, we need him so we can study him. But there's gotta be something we can do.

Leave all suggestions in the comments section. I'm serious. He must be stopped.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Vindicated

The image, stolen from Wikipedia is of one Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He was a naturalist in the 19th century and was one of the earliest proponents of evolution. The difference between his theory and Darwin's was the idea of when changes or adaptations occurred. Lamarck believed that changes occurring during the life time of a given animal would be passed on to it's young. So basically, if you're a giraffe, and you're constantly stretching your neck to get at higher leaves, then your children will have longer necks because your neck got infinitesimally longer throughout your life.

It turns out that Lamarck wasn't totally wrong. He was just not right in the way he thought.

Nova is the single best science show in the history of mankind. I got into an argument with a friend the other day about the idea of epigenetics. He had never heard of it, though I had just watched Nova's new documentary, Ghost in Your Genes.

Here's the deal. DNA is the blueprint for an organism. That much is certain. But there has to be a mechanism built into our cells that interprets that DNA and decides which bits of it to use. This mechanism is what's responsible for things like cell differentiation. It's why eye cells are different from heart cells are different from liver cells. Different bits of the DNA are turned on in each different type of tissue in your body. Basically, if the DNA--the genome--is the blueprint, then methylation and chromatin remodelling--the epigenome (literally "above the genome")--is the architect that interprets it.

Okay, but the crazy thing is that, as it turns out, some of these epigenetic features--sometimes those acquired during your lifetime--appear to be transgenerational. That is: they are passed down from one generation to the next. Your bad eating habits, in other words, could affect whether your grandchild gets diabetes.

Yeah. Fucked up.

DNA is largely static. It doesn't change much. It is very, very good at duplicating itself with near impossible accuracy. But it appears that natural selection has a place for nurture. It's like a quicker version of evolution. It's evolution on the fly that happens in the short term (short meaning hundreds of years rather than thousands or millions). It won't make new species, but it will change the way species are affected by their environment.

There's a lot of really interesting research into this stuff, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more frantically researched aspect of genetics in this day and age. I mean, a few years ago, when they were scrambling to finish up the Human Genome Project, they thought that they were inches from the key to understanding everything. They were wrong, of course.

It seems like the deeper you burrow down the rabbit hole, the deeper it appears to be.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

About the Election Bug

This is not a political blog.

I repeat: this is not a political blog.

That said, I'm planning on voting for Dennis Kucinich in the primaries. The reasons are varied, but most of them involve Obama being a pussy, Clinton being a...wussy, and everyone else being a cock biter.

Kucinich is not only the only candidate in the entire election who doesn't appear to base his stances on focus groups, but instead has the policy and voting record of..well...a person who isn't a fascist. He didn't vote for the Patriot Act. He wants to pull out of Iraq. That sort of thing. I don't like his stance on guns, but then, nobody's perfect.

But mostly, I want to vote for him, because he looks so damned much like a Vulcan.

Edit: I just googled "Kucinich is a Vulcan." Apparently, I'm not the first to make this observation. My favorite thing that I read was, "I just don't think America is ready for a Vulcan president."


Monday, October 08, 2007

I'll have some humiliation with that.

The legal ramifications of using a Trademarked logo in an amateur blog notwithstanding, I want to talk today about McDonald's. Well, McDonald's and sex.

I don't know if you've heard about this, but it's a real doozy. The fact that the event--or events--has a Wikipedia page is telling. I mean, this is not small news.

And there are two very interesting things about the whole event. First of all, it is a smashing real-life reproduction of the Milgram Experiment. Basically, these store manager's have been duped into believing that whoever was on the other end of the line was an authority figure. I'm reiterating a lot of what was in the Wikipedia article, I know, but it's amzing that these morons let it go this far. Again, "Foot-in-the-door" effect notwithstanding, this is absurd! Not once, did the manager think anything that the caller requested was completely out of the realm of possibility for police procedure. Right down to forcing the poor girl to perform oral sex.

There are several layers of percieved authority here. First, there's the manager who doesn't question the guy on the phone--I wonder if it was on speaker phone--and then there was the girl who didn't question her manager, the guy who was fucking her face.

This is one of the hugest problems with modern society's obsessive need to be controlled. I don't know if I should be pissed off at the manager or the instigator for doing the things that they did, or the girl and the manager for allowing them to fucking do it. It's absurd.

It's a problem with perceived authority, and it's a problem with people who abuse that authority. It's the reason that most people should be mistrustful of cops or anyone who claims authority.

I have to hand it to the caller that he thought it through to the point where fast food restaurants would be his primary targets. Their rigid policy codes and whatnot makes it really hard for these lackeys--termed "managers"--to deal with anything out of the norm. They are easier to manipulate, not harder.

The other thing that I found remarkable about the whole story is how they caught the fucker. First, an employee dials *69, they find the pay phone that the guy used. The find the serial number of the calling card used. Traced the calling card to the store where it was sold--a Wal-Mart, no less--and then used the video surveillance tapes to find the sonofabitch himself.

How's that for Big Brother, huh? We don't need cameras in our houses, like Orwell thought. We just need them everywhere else.

On the plus side, the girl who was assaulted was awarded 6.1 million dollars for her trouble. Which just goes to prove, that you can still get rich while having your rights trampled and your self-respect shattered.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Superficial Sacrifice

As you may well know, technology is the illegitimate love child of science and human caprice. We live in an age when technology reigns supreme. Everything we do is steeped in technology in some way or another. We can't even wake up in the morning without some form of high tech gadgetry announcing it. I use my goddamned cellphone as an alarm clock for chrissake.

It always gives me a small sense of satisfaction when something like this pops up in the ether.

This is how truly enlightened people solve their problems. Animal sacrifice. Yes, it's making a comeback. Ever had computer problems? Of course you have. Solve it by slitting a chicken's throat and letting the blood run over your motherboard. That'll solve all of your problems. Once and for all.

Is animal sacrifice even legal in the US? I'm not sure, and I'm not going to bother finding out, because this is way too tantalizing a practice not to embrace. Why take your TV set to a repair shop, when you can cut out the science and go straight for the caprice? It worked for the ancients, why not us?

It's not about being irrational here, folks. It's about saying "Fuck You!" to the established rules of measure. It's about throwing the industrial revolution out the window and saying, I'm going to do this the old fashioned way. I am going to embrace my animalistic, violent tendencies.

Bear in mind, people, that the airline in question is state-run by the Nepalese government. There are engineers and mechanics and crazy Hindu priests all trying to get to the bottom of this 757's failure. All on the tab of the Nepalese taxpayer.

It's like Henry VIII saying, "Fuck you, Pope. I'm starting my own religion. And people will still believe it like four hundred years later." They are literally making shit up to solve a mechanical--easily rationalized and deducted--problem.

Way to go, Nepal. Way to stick it to science. Way to stick it to rationality. It's a bunch of garbage anyway.


Growing Pains

Here it is, dear friends and readers. Proof that there is a God. We can rest easy, we can sit back, crack a beer, and look down our noses at everyone who's going to hell, so long as we believe. Just click here.

Here's another chance, in case you didn't click the link. It's really worth it.

Wow. Amazing. You know what's more impressive than Ray's argument? Kirk Cameron, sitting there, staring up at him in wide-eyed admiration.

You know who buys this argument? Kirk Motherfucking Cameron. That's who. Booyaa, bitches.

Kirk's actually been doing this for years, but only now have I taken the time to research his involvement in the big ad campaign in the sky. Kirk and Ray have a website. It's really awesome. That's right, First, I'd like to point out that it's not a ".org" website. This is a for profit venture, apparently. Now that's all well and good. I'm all about people making money off of other people's insecurities, but these guys are pros! Use a washed up teen idol to sell God! Brilliant!

The website itself is awesome. There's all sorts of good entertainment to be had, and I'm sure you'll all be converted and realize what horrible sinners you've all been and find Jesus, but I want to talk a little bit about the youtube video first.

First of all, let's look at the atheist's worst nightmare: The banana. Yup. You can say it. Holy shit. Yeah, who knew that atheists routinely have horrifying dreams about bananas sending them to hell?

But what's Ray actually saying in the above video clip? He's saying that the banana is an ideal food source almost like it was perfectly designed so we humans could eat it with minimal fuss. It's evidence, he says, of intelligent design. Well, actually Ray is saying it's proof. A crucial distinction. Are we talking about a preponderance of evidence to prove the existence of God? Or are we talking about clinching proof? I'll let you decide that one.

Also, I don't know if you know this, but there's a name for this argument, this intelligent design argument. It's called the Teleological Argument. And it's not new. Kirk is really good at making it seem like this is this new revolutionary idea. But, the first person we know about who put forth a teleological argument was Plato. Who's that you say? Look it up. Yeah, it's that old.

Also, it's pretty convincing. First of all, it can't be disproven easily because it's inductive rather than deductive. Also, it's being pushed by Kirk Cameron, who is so damned earnest.

Here's something else that's cool on It's a letter from an atheist. Fine, whatever. But I found it under the "Free Tools" tab on the site. But what does this page on the site do? It peddles a book of correspondence between Ray and said atheist. That's fucking amazing!

"Hi kids, I'm Kirk Cameron. I am going to give you something. A tantalizing taste of a battle between the intellectual giants that are Ray Comfort and James The Atheist. But I'm not going to just give you the whole thing. You've gotta pay me money for the whole shebang."

I'm not trying to ridicule Kirk Cameron folks. Far from it. I am lauding the guy as a goddamned genius. Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort--Comfort!--are following in the footsteps of all the great Jesus pushers. They have found a way to get rich off a guy who just wanted people to be nice to each other. Think of Cardinals, Popes, Crusaders, Priests, Televangelists, Ted Haggard, and Fred Phelps. These people are such good Christians that they have found a way to make money off it without besmirching the good name of Jesus Christ. And not only that, they have also managed to lead smashing careers as pederasts, idolaters, homosexuals, and bigots.

It's a sweet deal for those that can swing it, let me tell you. God bless them every one!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

He was a fun guy.

This is my back yard. I am giving you this tantalizing view into my personal life in order to share with you something very special. The centerpiece of this image is an oak tree with a disease. The disease is down low, near the bottom. If you know what that is, then you know how vital and important a discovery it is.

If you don't know what it is, then you're asking me, "What the fuck is that brain thing on your tree, Doctor?"

That, my friends, is sulfur shelf. Laetiporus gilbertsonii. It is a highly coveted and much valued fungus among those in the know.

If you know what sulfur shelf is, then you're saying, "Aww, shit, man. Some dudes have all the luck." Just to piss you off more, I'm giving you a closeup


Tomorrow (after it has matured just a titch more) I am going to cut it off my diseased oak tree, I am going to cut the thing up into cubes, throw it into a big sauté pan with some butter, a little salt, and maybe a dash of garlic--not too much or it will overpower the natural goodness of the fungus.

It's called the "Chicken of the Forest." It has a texture similar to chicken and some say even a flavor somewhat like chicken, but this is subjective. Everything tastes like fucking chicken.

Finding sulfur shelf is almost as awesome as finding morels. I don't know if you've ever had morel mushrooms (if you're not from the northwoods, it's unlikely) but they are the most amazing thing that sprouts from rotting vegetation. I cook them in spaghetti sauce, or just fry 'em in butter.

The interesting thing about this whole thing is that the oak tree is, in fact, suffering from an incurable malady. The sulfur shelf fungus has bored deep into the wood of the tree and will bloom once a year into the shelf mushroom you see in the image. It is parasitic in a living tree (though they are often found on dead and rotting wood, where they facilitate the rotting process in a healthy way). This fungus could very well kill this tree in a few more years. Maybe longer. I'm by no means a fungologist. In the meantimme, every year, it will bloom one of these babies, and the inhabitant of the house--ideally me--will receive a tasty treat, well worth the suffering of the tree.

You want to know something else interesting about fungi? I thought you did. You see, the cell walls of most fungi are made of a chitin. Yes, that's right. Chitin. The stuff that forms the carapace of insects.

Fungi were once thought to be just plants with bad attitudes. Hell, most of them are poisonous. In fact, who knows if even the relationship between molds and mushrooms was well understood until fairly recently. No, fungi are not plants.

In fact, genetically, fungi are much closer to animals than plants. Much closer. Creepily close. Remember the chitin thing? Also, the feed on death and decay. Pause for shudder. The fact that some of them are amazingly delicious is beside the point. My oak tree is suffering so that I can have that delicious treat. I should be ashamed of myself. And so should you.

This video says what words cannot express. You can say it. Holy shit.

Monday, August 06, 2007

There goes the neighborhood.

Dear friends and readers, it is not often that I make mistakes. When I do, I pride myself on being able to do the right thing: act like I planned it all along.

I once made the claim that the coolest possible thing in the universe was the collision of two black holes. I was wrong, but for a very interesting reason. There are... in the universe...these things called Galaxies. I'm sure you've heard of them. In all likelihood, you live in one, or at least vacation in one.

The one I call home is called the Milky Way, named after the popular candy bar.

Far away--about 5 billion light-years....really, really, amazingly, flabbergastingly far away, in other words--four galaxies are currently colliding. Or...were billion years ago.



You can say it. Don't be ashamed. That's probably the coolest thing that could ever happen. Ever. Four galaxies crashing into each other. Together they are a mass ten times the size of our galaxy. Can you imagine the cataclysm? The carnage?

Imagine if you actually live
d in CL0958+4702 about 5 billion years ago. The show would be amazing. Look up into the night sky and see a spectacular, pestilential, cataclysm beyond biblical proportions. Entire galaxies crashing into each other. There isn't a metaphor or analogy strong enough to compare it to because there's no event in all the fucking cosmos that even begins to compare to this spectacle!

The Milky Way crashing into Andromeda, in about 3 billion years or so, will be nothing, a fender-bender, a boring nothingth of a nothing on the Kuha Significance Scale TM. It's a shame, too.

It's exhausting to contemplate. Entire civilizations may have been destroyed. Populated planets decimated. Whole cultures wiped out with no one to mourn their loss.

Well, someone here mourns them. Someone sheds a single tear for all those amazing civilizations that got to die in the most momentous cosmic even in the history of the universe! You know who mourns them? I do, motherfuckers. I do.

It's a Miracle!

It's been a busy week in the world of science. A new Mars probe has been launched, which ought to clear up some big questions in about 300 days or so. Clearly this will serve a dual purpose. They say that they're trying to find evidence of life on the red planet, but scouting out viable sources of water on the planet would be another good use. Don't know if you've ever read Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. I haven't read it either, but I did read the first page last week and was surprised to find out that the minimum trip that a human from Earth could ever take to Mars would be somewhere in the neighborhood of three years.

The trek itself is like ten months. Then you've got to stay there for about a year for Earth's and Mars's orbits to sync up properly again, and then, of course, there's the return voyage. It'd be rough. You'd really get to know your ship buddies. The psychological turmoil would probably be fairly significance. you'd probably want to screen potential trekkers. Wouldn't want any psychotic episodes.

That would make a good suspense movie, though. A quirky crew of astronauts bound for Mars run into a bit of trouble when one of their own decides to stab someone in the throat with the straw he used for his freeze-dried meals. Messed up. Lots of blood. Can you imagine the scene if someone were to bleed out in zero-G? Holy crap would that be fucked! Just little droplets of blood floating, suspended grotesquely in your cramped little cabin of a spaceship.

In other science news: Parthenogensis! Holy, Mary, Mother of God! Jesus, titty-fucking Christ! And the most famous scandal-fucked Korean scientist of the last year discovered something maybe even cooler--and certainly more controversial--than stem cells. I'm sure you all remember Woo Suk Hwang (You Suck Wang?)

It'll change everything. Men, lock up your wives now, because the technology finally exists for them to reproduce without you! Fucked up, right? Soon, it will be just a matter of taking a "pregnant drug" and women will spontaneously give birth to genetically superior offspring. And without all that tedious mucking about with relationships.

"But Doctor!" all you men say, "Won't that leave us with more time to fish, hunt, and masturbate?"

Shaking my head sadly, I say unto you: once women don't need us to make babies with them, they don't need us at all. We're finished. We will no longer be a necessary half of the species. And if I were womenkind, I would have us eradicated. Women might make the claim that they'd keep us around for slave labor. Don't believe them. It's a trick. They're trying to get you to do slave labor. And we all know how fucking bullshit that is.

I think our only option is a preemptive strike, at the heart of the female empire. Um... someone capture Oprah and find out just where the hell that might be. Make it so!

P.S. You know what would have made the Nativity story cooler? If Mary had had eye lasers and Jesus had been born with all the powers of a Bene Gesserit.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Because I choose to!!!!

Okay, here it is, readers. The final straw. The idea, the conclusion, the bit of logic that will make your brain explode!

Look at him. Go ahead, I know he's just too gorgeous, too cool, and too badass for you to keep your mind clear for what's to come, but take in his vapid, empty, almost Buddha-like countenance. Be certain that Keanu is a Bodhisattva.

I just watched this documentary.

I'm not going to ask you to watch it, because it's kind of long, though it is a very interesting BBC production. Probably one of the best on time travel that I've ever seen.

It's also one of those documentaries that's just a huge cock block. They lead you in, sort of give you a bone, make you think that "Yes! Finally, time travel is fucking possible!" but then it drops you on your nuts with a, "but wait, there's a catch."

Of course, the final catch, according to how the math works, is that if you were to build a time machine, you could never travel back in time to before the time machine itself was built.

Yeah. I know. Fucking bullshit, right?

It's at almost exactly the 40 minute mark that the really interesting stuff comes up in the video. The last possibility for time travel: artificial simulation. I'm not sure if Moore's Law still applies, but it is clear that processor power will continue to increase. Our processors will continue to get smaller--just to give you an idea, the most advance chips are manufactured using a 45nm process, 450 times the diameter of an atom....very, very, very, very tiny--hard drives, RAM, things like that will get faster and more sophisticated. The point is, if trends continue--and right now, there's little reason to believe that they won't--some advanced civilization will be able to create a computer with, in essence, infinite computing power.

With a computer that powerful, you can "time travel" by simply modeling the conditions of a long, long time ago and, in essence, bring the past to you, a-la, the holodeck.

If you modeled a human brain, if you built a computer simulation of a human brain and then ran it at speed, do you realize what you'd create? If you built it from the atomic level up in simulation, do you know what it would be? It would be a conscious mind. It would have an ego. It would be, for all intents and purposes, alive.

You get me?

So here's the clincher. In the documentary, linked above, they talked about the laws of probability. ("If-Then Statement" alert) If the computer of the future is creating these simulated realities, these virtual worlds, if this computer is possible theoretically--and we can be reasonably certain that it is--then the machine most certainly has been built at some point. And if that's true, then the probability of the world you and I live in being the original world, the odds against us living in the "real" world are billions to one.


Let it sink in.

The argument is sound, dear imaginary friends and readers. It's rock solid. The odds of you being real, are very, very tiny.

What does that say about the possibility of the soul? How many layers of artificial reality would you have to claw up through to get to the real real world.

You know what would have made The Matrix a better film? If it turned out that the matrix was just a matrix within a matrix and even the machines were a computer simulation that was subjugating a species that was also just a computer simulation. That would have been the mind fucker of the century. I would have hailed the Wachowski brothers as visionary geniuses.

I know I'm not the first stoner ever to say, "What if, like, the matrix is real? What if, like, we are, just in a computer program?" Even the Wachowski brothers weren't the first to think of it. Descartes probably wasn't even the first.

But did it ever occur to you that it was almost certainly the case? Did it ever occur to you, that you're just an NPC in someone else's ridiculously complex game of The Sims?

It's fucking bullshit, I know.

Here I come to save the day!

Schizophrenia is the most awesome of all severe mental diseases. That is to say it is awe-inspiring and powerful and mis- understood. There is no other comparable disease.

They say that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of crazy people, the schizophrenic is a god.

This is why scientists at Johns Hopkins have decided that other species can benefit from this most holy of brain-crippling diseases. In the past, one might reasonably imagine that schizophrenic people might have been elevated in society. It might have been a desirable characteristic in a shaman or chief or medicine man. The schizophrenic sees things that others don't. He hears things that others don't. He pushes aside the Veil of Maya and makes connections that we only see in our dreams.

I myself have witnessed a schizophrenic acquaintance of mine treated as a shaman type by a hippie chick. She followed him around for hours and hung on his every uttered word. Look at Twelve Monkeys. Pitt's character was a lucid schizo who gathered a following.

"But," you say--O ever astute reader--"Doctor! Schizos are just crazy people! They paranoid, delusional, and insane! They imagine things!" And I say to you, my friends, the schizo is often paranoid and delusional and they are most certainly insane, but no one is so...immaculately insane. Get my drift? It's such a perfect disease. The schizo doesn't necessarily see himself as insane. He has lost his ability to separate the incoming stimuli from the outside world and the world that exists solely in his head. The one becomes transposed over the other creating a mesh, a sort of synthetic world in which miraculous things can happen.

Of course, there's sort of an inverse relationship between a schizo's lucidity and insanity. The more lucid, the less crazy (the less inspirational, but perhaps more charismatic). The less lucid, the more insightful, the less charismatic. A balance must be struck.

I don't know if you've ever heard of Louis Wain. A fascinating figure. An artist who drew nothing but cats. He was famed for his anthropomorphic cat drawings, and also for having "suffered" from late-onset schizophrenia. Here is an interesting progression.

This sort of shows his descent into madness. Bear in mind, this guy only painted pictures of cats. He goes from only vaguely intriguing and perhaps whimsical image of a feline, to.....

oh, kinda weird....

that's pretty.....


Holy fucking psycho-crazy shit, Batman!

It's really quite remarkable. I mean, Wain is the only artist I can think of that actually manages to capture even the slightest hint of what it's like to experience LSD intoxication. This page has higher-res versions of the images, along with biographical info that you might find interesting.

Anyway, what this all goes to show, is that we don't really know anything about schizophrenia or its effects on people. It is clear that some of what the mind sees when inflicted with this disease is akin to what many a hippie experiences when consuming psychedelic drugs. We all know that the shamans of yesteryear (and maybe some still today?) used them for ritualistic purposes. Tribes in Mesoamerica believed that psilocybin mushrooms allowed one to contact the divine.

Perhaps it is more utilitarian...more...useful, to temporarily induce the kind of insanity that schizophrenia is famed for, but that doesn't mean that these scientists aren't trying to create some sort of mouse god-speaker that will lead its people on towards a greater and brighter future for all of mousekind. Maybe, the tree of knowledge is just a mental illness away!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

To You, O, Murdoch, We Humbly Pray!

I've been thinking a lot about war lately. I saw this video. I also saw this video. And then I thought about an old movie. And it occurred to me that if we're going to be spending all of this money anyway, why bother with all of this nonsense about sending troops across the ocean?

Wouldn't it be far cheaper to build giant robots and have them duke it out in Death Valley? Two go in; one comes out. It'd be hella entertaining, and almost as much of a resource hog. It would be utterly pointless and absurd, and hell, we'd actually probably spend less money. We could... I don't know, give the leftover money that we would have spent feeding and housing and outfitting, what, 140,000 the poor or something. That'll shut them the fuck up. How was the Iraq war supposed to help America anyway? I can't figure that out.

Giving the gift of Democracy (which doesn't work so well here, I might add) to Iraqis whose apparently unanimous rebuttal is "Who the hell asked you, anyway?" Can you smell what The Rock's cooking now? Mmm...that's right! That smell is just a little bit of Freedom, bitches!

Whether you like it or not.

Giant robots fighting would give us valuable entertainment--and I think everyone can agree that we deserve at least a little entertainment--and it would cut down on the number of casualties from...umm...let's see...27,000 to... well... between 0 and 1, rounding to the nearest whole number.

I think it's only fair that a living, breathing human would have to be piloting the giant robot. I mean, gladitorial combat would lose all of its fun if there wasn't the possibility of death. We can genetically engineer and specially train these pilots from birth and that's all we'd need them for.

And hell, once this little scheme has solved all of the world's problems, we can start having giant robot fighting leagues. That would be sweet. It might even me a new Olympic event!

And speaking of that, what's with all these pussies saying that athletes shouldn't use performance enhancing drugs? I mean, wouldn't sports in general be more interesting if everyone across the board were juicers? Let's require steroids and crystal meth and...I don't know...crack or something. I think if there's enough money pumped into it, we'll see safer and more effective stimulants and 'roids to make our athletes better and better.

Besides, sports are boring as they are. If we kicked everything up a notch, maybe we'll see some crazy shit new records for...I don't know...the hundred meter dash and home-runs and most touchdowns in an inning or something.

It'll be a brave new world of athletics and warfare. Instead of just televising wars, let's make wars into the entertainment event of the summer! Time it for sweeps, and then totally bank. I bet Rupert Murdoch, in all of his crotchety Australian glory would agree.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do you really think we can trust the Decepticons?

With the release of the new Transformer's movie just a scant 485 hours away, I recently acquired a copy of the original 1986 film.

From the cheesy retro 80's soundtrack to the star-studded cast (Leonard Nimoy, Orson Wells, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, to name a few) to the fairly interesting retelling of the old King Arthur tale, there is a lot to like in the old film.

It's brutal, first of all. Optimus Prime and Starscream totally get killed. Ultramagnus almost bites it, and well...let's not even talk about the strange death that Unicron endured. Not even sure how that was supposed to have happened...I mean... is the matrix technological? Or magical? Or what? What the hell is it?

But that aside, there's an interesting thing about the movie that I think is very daring on the part of...well...whoever the hell it was that made the movie. It's going to take a bit to explain, but if you'll bear with me, the payoff is exceptional, especially if you're a fan of science and speculative science fiction, like I am.

Okay. What are the transformers? Giant robots from outer space, right? When they came to Earth (in the TV show), perhaps thinking that the dominant form of life on the planet was the automobile (which is understandable), they assimilated the designs of Earth vehicles as a way of blending in.

Of course, the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime takes on the form of that king of cross-country transit, almost a symbol of capitalism itself, the eighteen wheel semi truck. And the quirky youngster takes on the form of a Volkswagen Beetle (whoa...newsflash...while writing this post, I have discovered that I was wrong to lambaste the makers of this new movie for making Bumblebee into a Camaro...apparently, it's VW itself that didn't want to lend its image to a film that portrays violence--my sincerest apologies to Universal Studios, and shame, shame on you, Volkswagen).

Anyway, before I get sidetracked any further in this analysis, let's do the dirty business.

Okay, so there's a planet called Cybertron where all of these giant robots live. It is a planet which has evolved sentient robots. Inorganic creatures which are self-aware. This is absolutely critical.

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (of some degree of infamy) discussed the possibility (indeed, the probability) that DNA (that is, deoxyribonucleic acid) is not the first self-replicating molecule, and, perhaps more importantly, nor is it going to be the last. It just happens to be the one that appeared on Earth.

It is unlikely that machines can be created except by another being. They are not inherently self-aware. Some sort of catalyst organic being would be required before such a thing could come about (in most likelyhood---I'm not willing, at this point, to rule out the possibility completely that the Autobots could have evolved by chance). The important thing to consider is the possibility that the transformers in their highly evolved state are possibly the creations (perhaps a reincarnation) of another organic species that created them in the first place. --As a sidenote: wouldn't it be interesting to have a creation myth that revolved around beings less evolved than yourself?

The staggering thing is, upon watching the old Transformers movie (a film I have not seen since I was a very young child, and never had the opportunity to own myself), is that Earth appears to be the only planet that actually has organic lifeforms. All other planets (Cybertron, Junkion, Quintessa, etc) appear to support, not only exclusively mechanical "life-forms" but are also made entirely of heavy metals themselves. No organics anywhere (I think Quintessa might actually have some plants...but I can't remember exactly). Perhaps if life is to evolve on a planet with little carbon, concessions need to be made. Or perhaps some dominant organic life created some sort of horrible environmental catastrophe that stripped the planets of their atmospheres and made organic life unsustainable. Who knows?

Hell, on Quintessa, Hotrod and Kup were beset by goddamned robotic piranhas! The plausibility of robotic (non-self-aware) piranhas evolving by chance seems a little thin, but that doesn't matter. Nature abhors a vacuum right? So somebody had to fill an ecological niche. Why not a robotic piranha?

The thing we are seeing with the transformers is not a genetic legacy, but a memetic one. Look it up. Since obviously, Autobots don't have DNA, there must be some other thing being passed down by generation. Again, we look to Richard Dawkins and the "meme."

Videodrome, a film by David Cronenberg, also features a meme. It's hard to make the case that the entity that is "videodrome" is self-aware, but it certainly is a non-material (non-organic) entity that self-replicates. (Whether Max Renn's death also signaled the destruction of videodrome is beyond the scope of this little essay).

The Matrix also comes to mind, obviously with a decidedly more deliberate agenda (i.e. the endless repetition of sophomoric and highly idiotic elementary philosophical ideas about free will and what-have-you), but the idea is still intact in the The Matrix trilogy. I wonder if it's coincidental that the Wachowski epic is named very similarly to the central plot device in Transformers: The Movie (1986).

Whether this discussion has any real relevance or point is entirely up to you, dear reader. I am merely drawing connections and building a plausible framework for further analysis. The important thing is that you learned something. Now, watch this video. I think it sums things up nicely.

Friday, May 11, 2007

If only we'd listened to James Cameron! This never would have happened!

Bear with me, gentle readers. This is...unprecedented I know, but I thought I needed to warn you. It is only on matters of utmost urgency that I would ever post more than is strictly necessary to maintain the ruse that "Yeah, sure, I keep a little blog on that internet thing."

So rest assured that two posts in one day is the result of very terrible news that has just been sent across my desk.

But this could be the end of existence as we know it! And you my dear friends needed to be the first to know.

How closely did you read the article? Did you read the part where it said, "They are now sending voice, images and other data over the Skynet 5A platform."

I repeat: "Skynet 5A platform."

Yes, my friends, Judgement Day is coming. And that, right soon. Stock your basements, hole up in your bomb shelters, and do not use the internet more than is strictly necessary. Skynet is a devious machination that will infect your computer without you even knowing it. I suspect Japan will be the first to suffer, because there, everything is computerized, even their goddamned toilets.

Imagine it, because it could happen to you: Sitting on the can, reading a Nancy Drew mystery while you relax all of your muscles. A malicious computer virus infects your high tech toillette, and, with a monstrous schlupping sound, an oozing disturbing sense of loss comes over you as your bowels are sucked right out your asshole!

It will happen! Mark my words! Be afraid, America! Be afraid even to poop!

Contractual Obligation

I don't know if it's me or if it's Reuters that has a problem with this, but clearly something must be done. It has to be stopped.

You see, this sort of thing wouldn't have happened, even as little as thirty years ago. People knew who their neighbors were and what they were up to.

Okay, maybe in some of the bigger cities, sure, people were detached a little bit, even perhaps from some of their immediate neighbors.

But allow me to show an example: I live in a house that has been split into two apartments. My neighbors live a scant three feet across a shared hall and stairway that leads to the basement (which is also split in two; half for each of us). I've lived here for two years. I don't know their names. I think one of them is Tim.

If Tim died I would not know it, unless he stunk up the place.

I think our problem is not an obsession with death. The story is fascinating because it proves, like the other ones I've cited in the past(here and here and especially here), that we don't know each other anymore. People don't make friends with everyone anymore. We don't need to anymore, maybe.

People get left out. I'm not even completely sure it's sad. Sure, in most cases it ends like the above story. But there are times when it leads the Chos of the world. Those are the times when even Baron fucking Samedi can't keep his sense of humor.

It's not like I care, but that's the point, right? For me, the Reuters story is a joke. It's funny. It's an "Oddly Enough" item.

I'm not trying to be meaningful, dear readers. Far be it from me to try to make an important point about anything. I just thought that, facts being what they were, it's something we might conceivably think about a bit. If the source of the societal disconnect can be located, then perhaps it can be expunged, deleted, corrected. We can slash it with white-out and maybe be a real civilization again. Or maybe we never were.

Oscar Wilde said this about America: "America is the first country to have gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual intervening period of civilization." That does not in any way imply that there are any civilizations left in the world. In fact, one might argue that the human race is uniformly decadent and depraved. In fact, I think the quote implies that all civilizations, no matter how great, become decadent after a while. I would make the argument that any country that has even a single McDonalds qualifies for decadent status.

The point is not what or who is to blame, because everyone who doesn't say "hello" to their neighbors is to blame. Everyone who doesn't attend block parties (or indeed hold them) is to blame. Anyone who doesn't know the name of the guy who lives three feet from his fucking door is to blame.

The point, dear friends an readers, is that we don't give enough of a shit about it to actually do something about it. And if that's the way we like it, well, may good old Samedi dance on our graves. Man, he's a sharp motherfucker.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sweet Action

Let's face it, pandas are cute. In fact, there's absolutely nothing about pandas that isn't disgustingly cute, or frighteningly tragic. I mean, they're peaceful, non-violent, adorable with their painted faces and chubby good looks, and, of course, endangered.

So it's no wonder that when something good happens to them, people get all excited. When I saw the headline, I thought that some crazy manic panda orgy had occurred. I was a little disappointed (as I always am) by what actually happened. As it turns out, Bai Yun and Gao Gao just had some sort of panda love affair.

In the end, it didn't really work out and they went their separate ways. I suspect that Bai Yun got a little clingy. She's an older gal, you know. The fact that she likes them young is telling. Gao Gao was only in it for the lesson, you know? You can learn a lot from an older girl, right? But after a while, the other pandas start to look at you funny.

I'm not sure if you know this, but Ben Franklin (yes, that Ben Franklin) wrote in one of his books that when you want to take on a mistress, it's a good practice to go with an older woman. There's no guilt. They're better conversation. And among other reasons, "they're so grateful!"

But eventually, there's a time to move on. I don't really think that Gao Gao had anything better coming along (I mean, he lives in a zoo, for chrissake) but three carefully documented fucks are better than getting nothing, right?

I wonder if they videotaped it. I mean...I would, but then, I'm a man of science and medicine, endlessly fascinated by the the intricacies of nature in all of its splendor. But on top of that, everyone likes panda porn. It's so rare that it can't not be totally hot, right?

I just like how the zoologists, in trying to do their job, have to be perverts. They have to voyeuristically document and watch these pandas through their whole mating ritual. It was probably like watching a modern romantic comedy, only much better scripted, funnier, and with all the naughty bits left in. Oh, and it has more of a sense of closure, because we get to see the whole relationship arc, from first flirtations to the dissolution of the relationship as they go their separate ways, agreeing to "just be friends." And we all know how that usually goes.

The real tragedy is the kids. Gao Gao Jr. is going to be manipulated by his bickering parents. In the court custody battle, Gao Gao Sr. says to the judge, "Bai Yun has been telling my son that I'm a deadbeat. How am I supposed to have a meaningful relationship with my son, with that bitch trash talking me?"

In the end, Gao Gao Sr. gets Junior every other weekend, and Bai Yun gets the rest. So it goes.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Extinction by Choice

I found this article on BBC today. "Lonesome George" is, according to the subtext of the article, more than likely the last Pinta Tortoise that will ever walk the earth.

The reason for this is astounding. Apparently, this octogenarian reptile is a homosexual.

If you didn't click the link and read the article, go ahead and do it now. I'll wait.

It's interesting because there hasn't been a female Pinta Tortoise for probably going on fifty years, if not more. Whalers used to eat them because they were easier to catch. Not that tortoises are hard to catch; it's just that some of them spend more time on the beach.

The fact of the matter is, when you've never really met very many females of your species, your sexuality gets a little messed up. According to genetic testing, they've found a hybrid of George's species and some other tortoise.

Apparently, there's another Pinta that, instead of going all homosexual, has decided to jump the species gap and bang anything that has a shell, creating some sort of unholy union. Apparently, the centuries old feud between the Isabela and the Pinta tortoises has been put on hold, while some youngsters went off on their own to consummate their illicit love and conceive some sort of tortoise anti-christ.

I can just see a screenplay about this. It will be like Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's homosexual grandfather says that he can't be chasing that hot Isabela Tortoise tail because they are from a different species and everyone knows that you don't boff another species.

This can only end in tragedy, of course. As pressure from both families forces the two young tortoise lovers to commit hari kari in protest of their parents' cruel decision. The real tragedy of course, is that the young hybrid tortoise won't be able to find a real home. No one wants a half-breed.

Or maybe this play could have one of those hopeful endings, where it is the crystal clear honesty of the young child's voice that shows the two factions their shame and brings everyone together in a real hallmark, freeze frame ending.

As the credits roll, we are informed that six months after these events took place, the young hero was captured and eaten by a rampaging horde of whalers, the tentative truce between the Pintas and the Isabelas is demolished and a bloody war raged for, well, about half an hour, while the Isabelas lynched Lonesome George, the last representative of his species.

It's a hate crime on so many levels.

Soon enough, without the competition, the Isabelas grow soft and weak, and eat all available resources and there is mass starvation.

In the end, it's always the same. Their brains will be scanned and kept in computer simulation, and their DNA stored in a test tube, just waiting for the day that the tortoises will return and take their rightful place among the reptiles of the Earth.

A doctor can dream, can't he?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

See the cat? See the cradle?

I'm going to try and remember, without looking in the book, the last bit from Cat's Cradle:

"If I were a younger man, I'd write a history of human stupidity. And then, I'd climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down with my history for a pillow and take some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men, and then I'd make a statue of myself, looking up, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You-Know-Who."

Rest in peace, old man. I for one did actually shed a tear.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Little did she know....

Corpses have been popping up in some strange places lately. I want it made perfectly clear that this is not a trend in the direction of this commentary blog. And so, after this post, I promise to you, gentle readers, that I will not talk about strange corpse sightings for a while. Of course, being the Good Doctor that I am, I am free to break that promise if a really super juicy corpse-related story pops up again.

Also, I in no way advocate using Reuters as a primary news source. It's just one of the many RSS feeds that I check frequently. I just happen to like their comprehensive coverage of the ever expanding dilemma in America and abroad of corpse treatment.

The person in this article died just after takeoff. The article is poorly written and so it is difficult to discern exactly what happened. How was this man, apparently asleep in First Class not roused when the crew of the airplane were lugging a dead grandma down the aisle and then unceremoniously dumping her in the seat next to him, and then stuffing her in there with pillows so she wouldn't fall on the floor.

Whose decision was it to not just stuff granny in the bathroom and lock the door? Wouldn't that be better? Certainly not more dignified for the deceased, but definitely more tolerable to the poor bastard who woke up with a dead body next to him. Of course, there was the bereaved also on the plane. I mean, wow. This is absolutely amazing. There is literally nothing you can do when someone just up and dies on a plane in flight. Put yourself in the position of the stewardess or the captain that has to make the judgment call, "Uh...I don't know...maybe...strap granny to a chair and hope nobody notices. Put a pillow under her head, maybe people will think she's sleeping."

Sure, yeah, that will work. Imagine you're dozing there in your seat and the unthinkable happens: your neighbor, a complete stranger, rests his or her head on your shoulder in their sleep. Some people just deal with it and pretend it's not happening. Of course, there are those of us who will be like, "hey granny, um...I'm not comfortable with this... hello? Lady? You awake?...... um.... wake up...." You nudge her a few times, "Seriously, this isn't funny...." and then, "oh shit..." followed by you pushing the call button and then saying fuck this, "Stewardess!!! Um... I really think you should come over here..."

It's really just further proof that there are fewer and fewer real human tragedies in the world. And more and more comedies. Come on, admit it. You laughed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It's alive! It's alive! No wait...sorry about that.

I know, I know, I know. The last post I did was also about something weird about death. And the last post was also about an article I read on Reuters Oddly Enough. But before you judge me, ask yourself this question: Who am I to judge what the Good Doctor does? There, don't you feel better?

This little gem popped up on Reuters RSS feed today. I find this stuff interesting, because I am endlessly fascinated by how people deal with death, grief, and such things as prospects for an afterlife.

The deal is, some people just can't quite get over death. Perhaps some people, even people who are religious, might understand intuitively that death is the end. If you don't have the psychological constitution to be okay with that, it's going to cause problems.

The fact that this guy was trying to cast a magic spell is really entertaining. He was Pakistani, so probably Muslim, I'm going to assume. But magic? Spells? And why'd he kidnap the guy that was sleeping in the cemetery? And why was there a guy sleeping in the cemetery?

I think he needed the guy as sort of a host body for his father's soul. That would make sense. He would be like a Lich's phylactery. Store the soul in a vagabond's body, drop the skeleton in some sort of nutrient rich solution, where it can feed and sort of be like a hive mind.

In fact, fracture the soul into several parts, and then like this dude's father will control lots of different bodies, while his rotting corpse serves as the center. Destroy the corpse completely, and you will vanquish the satanic army that he's slowly creating out of vagabonds and close family members.

Obviously the son is the first attempt at possession, and it hasn't taken hold well enough. He's coming off as crazy, which is problematic. The connection might not be strong enough. Like a cellphone with bad reception. And he's such an incompetent son that he even botched simplest reincarnation spell. Jesus, what a world we live in!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Mummy Returns: Just Couldn't Tear Himself Away.

Just today, I found this article. The story is utterly amazing in its perfection. The image of a seventy-year old man, dead for over a year, not even a little bit rotten or smelly, sitting, slumped as if in a light snooze in front of a television trying in vain to sell him toothpaste and new cars, and to entertain him with quality programming.

It would be interesting to know exactly what channel the television had been tuned to. You know? Like was it PBS? Or Fox? Or Turner Classic Movies, even? Perhaps it was Cartoon Network. This guy has seen every episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force aired for the last year. What would his Nielson survey say?

The fact that he was mummified is perfect too. So the room he died in had low humidity. God, it's like a whole series of incredibly improbable coincidences all lined up and joined forces to create the perfect image for America.

I mean, the power wasn't shut off? Who was paying his electric bill? Was this thing deliberately staged? Now, that would be something. It should almost be made into a museum display. Let's not bury the guy yet. Let's set up some velvet cables and have a walkway through his living room. People will pay ten dollars at the door to walk through this shrine, this symbol of American culture and values.

I'd pay it. How about you?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

American Idiot

I've watched a few episodes of the new season of American Idol. I've come to the conclusion that this television show, perhaps even reality TV in general is a symptom of something very cool, something very disturbingly right about the world. In the first season or two, it wasn't immediately apparent. It was just something kind of funny, but now that it's become a mainstay of the winter primetime lineup on Fox, it's something more. Where before it was fun to laugh at the bad singers, and Simon being cruel to them, and those same bad singers verbally abusing Simon, saying things like, "He don't know what he's missing. He'll be sorry," that stuff is just expected now. It's the subtleties that now become apparent.

Simon remains blissfully diffident in regards to these comments. I mean, it's all for ratings. Anyway, now that AI has gotten old, stale, and become a symbol of America, something indispensible, something that we simply can't do without, something that we can't imagine ever not seeing on the television, we can really understand what the show is about.

And I think it's good. I think it's important that we see clearly in a way that is almost too visceral, almost nausea inducing, how horrible we are to other people. It's not just that British asshat telling them how much they suck in very unfriendly terms, it's all of America agreeing with him. The only one who's still in denial is the poor girl or guy who has broken down in wretched sobs on the floor outside the audition room. "I was born to sing," they say. Instead of treating AI as just an audition, perhaps one of many, they have decided, willingly, to invest their entire future emotional wellbeing on whether or not they get into American Idol. And when it doesn't work out, it's like their entire world has crashed to a halt. Suicide might be the only answer.

Do we feel bad as viewers? As Americans watching this filth? Of course not! We don't give two flying fucks about this person who was so convinced that he was it! Maybe a moment's empathy, an uncomfortable, sad little hesitation before just laughing at or ridiculing (we are arm-chair ridiculers here in America) these poor wretched souls. I'm fine with it. It's Darwinian. If that person decides it's too much tonight and eats a bottle of sleeping pills and doesn't wake up, it's not going to affect me on an emotional level. I will not care. If it's on the news, maybe some people will be like, "Oh, that's terrible! Why would anyone do that?" Even though we already know why. American Idol yesterday (Wednesday, January 24, 2007) blew away the competition, according to Nielsen. How can a nobody compete with all of America? How can a nobody get America to love him? He can't unless he actually has talent. Otherwise, all he gets is the utter scorn of the literally millions of Americans watching him (or her) put their heart on the line.

The bottom line is, these people deserve to be made fun of. Because despite the fact that they don't actually know that they are bad singers, it's their own fault for putting it all on the line for something that hasn't been proven. It's their own fault for not looking around at the world, listening to themselves and realizing that they can't sing or perform or be anything in the music world, especially, the notoriously brutal and callous pop music industry. Setting all of your William Hung's aside, we find that there are two people who get featured on the auditions for American Idol: the very best, and the very worst. And that's how it should be. That's what America wants to see.

AI is not ruining America. It is not a cause of anything. It is a symbol, a symptom, of what America stands for. I think it's important that we crush people's hopes and dreams in as callous and inhumane way imaginable. I even think it's something we ought to do. What do you think?