Saturday, February 08, 2003

I'm sorry...

I've been getting all political on your ass...Just about everything I ever think is ridiculous and looked down upon--in the internet or otherwise--I find myself doing.

It's almost as if...when I tell myself. "God that is so lame. I'd never do that. I mean, Gyawd!" I find myself doing it a short time thereafter.

I don't know why.

But I'm sorry...I'm trying to get out of your censure by being self-aware. Sorta like when you were a kid and you were afraid that other kids knew you went outside in your underwear or pulled your underwear out of your butt or peed your pants in the first grade the best thing to do was say "I went outside IN MY UNDERWEAR! My underwear went up my butt! I PEED MY PANTS LAST YEAR!"

Then they couldn't give you any shit. Well, they could. They could say 'eeewwww.' 'You are so weird!' Etc. But somehow the self-aware confession and the lack of shame takes away the sting.

It doesn't always work...It wouldn't work for like, murder. Well, who knows. Maybe. If you did it right.

In any case, I won't turn over a new leaf or nothin'...because I've realized I actually lack freedom of any kind and all my actions are outside my control...but I will try and be more fun, 'kay?

Everyone loves TinTin! (God knows why)

The Turkish Star Trek has been making the rounds on the web

find felons in your spare time

Once we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we'll have to work on those creatures that fart

Pimp of the month!

Languages, ethnicities threatened (serious, oops)!

"The purpose of a ninja is to flip out and kill people"

Metatopia project

We'll show them!

Do you remember when you were a child and you thought that adults perhaps knew what they were doing?

I thought that bad would get their comeuppance and good would inevitably triumph. The wise, the good, the sensible would rout the mendacious, the crazy, the stupid.

Those hopes should be completely washed from my brain but still I want the world to make some sense.

Sometimes I assume that everyone who controls our lives--the powerful--are truly acting in good faith but simply have the wrong ideas. It makes me feel better and sheds a light of intelligibility on the world.

One thought I first had during the invasion of Panama was that maybe the idea was the 'we'll show them!' idea. Like the nuns in my Catholic school. They seemed to think it's best to tolerate no malfeasance because if you do all hell will break loose and everyone will get the notion that they can get away with everything. It was sort of like those movies of concentration camps where the whole population is made to stand outside in the rain until they give up the one evildoer. (A less extreme version of this, of course.)

Collective punishment.

The background idea seemed to be that if you let some tinpot dictator get away with things this will give ideas to all the tinpot dictators and in fact we'll all be worse than before. If you come down and come down hard on those who defy sensible rules of good behavior all those who might be tempted to engage in those activities in the future will be deterred. So Noriega should be squashed--even at the cost of the lives of innocent Panamanians--to teach a lesson to those in the future not to make these sorts of mistakes.

I read an annoying article that I'm too lazy to find the link for now. It was supposed to be an article designed to show peace activists (the writer characterizes himself as a 'dove') what arguments they should not use in arguing against the war. The author said a few dumb things but I remember one of his claims was that no one should depend on the idea that moderate muslims will turn against the U.S. (the 'West' they sometimes say) since "Muslims like winners."

Annoying. Do you like a 'winner' when he steps on you? Do you like a 'winner' when he does something brutal to win?

Still, it made me remember that there may be certain psychological assumptions being made and I was thinking that I cling to these partly because it makes the world make more sense. No one wants to commit one really would kill for profit and glory...they see themselves as doing good but they are just confused about what it is to do good.

It isn't that those who think they are doing good are any less dangerous--of course they are much more dangerous and do much more evil than those out for what they can get. When people like that get what they came for, they generally stop...quit while the going's good. When people who are on some quest get going, they tend not to know when to stop.

I think perhaps over there in the State Department and the CIA there are a bunch of both professional and amateur psychologists and cultural anthropologists...and they have a theory The show of strength: It commands respect...perhaps the notion that you are weak only brings greater contempt from your mysteriously culturally different opponent. They admire warfare...they are warlike, etc. They extol the supreme military rulers from their own if you show yourself to be supreme--perhaps they may be cowed into submission but with a touch of admiration and so forth?

(When I remember that most of them are Political Scientists then I really get scared. What if the discipline of political science had to be held accountable for all the damage its progeny had done thus far? Of course, for the political scientists who think they are genuinely being scientific one can make no sense of this since they believe they removed morality from the scene altogether.)

The 'we'll show them!' theory sort of lies in the background many times...This half-baked 'deterrence' theory of politics.

We haven't had a lot of success with the 'We'll Show Them' idea...We bombed Libya and it seems we no longer had to worry about Libyan terrorist quite as much. We bombed Sudan. We had the War with Iraq....

We could say: Well, things quieted down after now didn't they? Yes, but prior to that there had been no terrorism on U.S. soil.

So at the very least it is a wash.

Israel seems to be another place where the 'We'll Show Them' idea plays fairly well...It doesn't seem to work quite as they want it either.

There are some definite drawbacks.

And maybe the world doesn't make sense in any case.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Talked to a guy tonight...

Janitor. Worked overtime. Didn't sleep for over 24 hours.

I keep meeting these folks--taxi drivers, janitors, cashiers--who work so many jobs and don't sleep...or sleep 4 hours a night. The one cab driver told me that she works 7 days a week and her 'day off' comes to 8 hours without working. (She works shifts where she only gets 4 hours to sleep.) Lots of them sleep in their cabs since they have to pay almost $100 to rent the cab and it takes at least 12 hours to make it back and make a profit.

It's as bad as 19th century industrialism. People are busting their ass just to pay for a freaking place to sleep at night. Of course--they don't get a union. For some reason, the hoards of people who are virtually slaves so that they can survive so that other people can be rich doesn't seem to trouble most people.

Because it's America, right? We have it good, huh? So it's OK.

I don't sleep but it's different since it is partly my own fault--although we compared notes on sleep deprivation and what it does to you.

All the same he said 'I can't complain...' etc. 'Cause he's an immigrant and can compare himself to all the people at home who are really in bad shape.

I said: "You should complain! Complain away. I'd complain. I hate to work for 3 hours let alone 30."

Of course that is totally self-serving. If this guy can't complain then I sure can't complain. And I want the right to complain. This is why I strongly urge everyone to complain as much as possible. Frankly, no one should have to work more than three hours a day and be paid enough to eat out at least twice a week--at a good restaurant. Everyone should be able to go the movies once a week. And of course--afford to buy all the food they can eat. Over and above having a nice place to live. That's my view. If you don't get it (or even if you do and everyone around you is an asshole) then you should complain...a lot.

I guess I shouldn't be so presumptuous to give him advice but I can't help myself--I dispense advice to just about everyone. He was super nice--he offered to give me a ride home. Total sweetheart...We had a nice Spanglish conversation. He's from Guatemala but not a part I've ever been to.

Oh, and I forgot this other thought: A lot of times if I'm in an urban area where there are no bathrooms and I need to pee but all the places won't let you use the bathroom unless you are a customer I look around for someone who isn't native born. I know that a native born American might embarass me by saying no but any cafe worker or janitor or what have you who isn't from the U.S. would never deny his or her fellow man a pee.

U.S. born people are more likely to enforce the rules and be jerks and for some reason I always feel so dumb when they do that I'm afraid to ask.

I was happy today because I was outside smoking and this guy who was driving a snow plow stopped and asked me for a cigarette. I had to go in and roll him one. Then he had to use the bathroom and I let him use the bathroom in our office and then I gave him some of our office coffee (fortunately, all the scary boss-people left early due to the snow). He was from Ireland. So I got to return the favor and let an immigrant pee since I'm always counting on them to let me pee.

I was happy. He asked me out, unfortunately. It seemed to make little difference to him that I was married, etc. He was a little pushy but whatever. At least I got to pay at least one immigrant back for their bathroom-access-generosity.
I suppose if I still worried about anyone who reads the blog I might feel a bit guilty that I am consumed with a single topic, but...(OK, the 2 posts that immediately follow this are whimsical so if my inability to ignore actual events bores you, move on. (Believe me, I do everything humanly possible to avoid the real...I seem to have no choice at the moment, though.

I title this: The chances of being physically assaulted in your lifetime are 1 in 10. So let's all start carrying grenades around, shall we?

Isn't it that: The country has to be a potential aggresor. Not that it would be an aggresor. Not that 'if I was that country I would be an agressor...' Or: That country wishes it could be an aggresor. Or: They're bad. They're just bad, that's all!, etc.

The country has to be a potential aggresor. Moreover, the country has to be a threat to your own country if the primary justification you use for war is your own national security.

You could use other justifications--but this is the current one going (it may change next week but it is the current one).

Why? Because you are going to kill people. You are going to kill a lot of people and spend billions of dollars. You are furthermore going to affect the lives--dramatically, irrevocably--of millions of people without their consent and--for the most part--contrary to their express wishes. People in Iraq. People in the region. In fact, you affect the world.

I said below many of the 'dangerousness' arguments are very speculative. But this is countered by the following reasoning: ..."...if your worry is along the lines of what Rumsfeld is saying--another major attack on the U.S., possibly with biological or chemical weapons--and you look at the consequences of September 11th, then the equation of risk changes. You have to be prepared to go forward with a lot lower level of confidence in the evidence you have. A fifty percent chance of such an attack happening is so terrible that it changes the calculation of risk..." (Quote from Gates, former CIA director under Bush in Feb. 10th edition of the New Yorker: "The Unknown."

This is a link to Goldberg's article. Goldberg's general view seems to be that the CIA, the NSA, the defense department has somehow--due to the genius of Tenet and Rumsfeld--found a way around the fact that they know so little and can be sure of so little. The solution? A much wider set of speculation. The assumption that virtually anything could happen at any time. The view that threat is everywhere. Consider, however, that this 'intelligence strategy' is supposed to justify foreign policy. The worry that mere guessing will itself be dangerous does not seem to have crossed their minds.

Read between the lines in the quote above: "If we assume a biological and chemical attack..." First, is it likely that Iraq could bomb us with chemical weapons or biological weapons? (Notice that the nuclear bomb theory has been dropped. What happened to that argument?)

No. In fact, it is impossible for them to do so. They cannot bomb us.

However, terrorists could utilize chemicals or biological agents in relatively small quantities within the U.S.. Yes, they could kill people. And yes, they would create havoc and this would have an effect on many--particularly those within the U.S. (and those subject to the U.S.'s scattershot backlash.) The rate of death would be low--but the level of fear and anxiety would be high.

The reasonable thing to say here is: Well, obviously what this requires is not a war but rather very extensive defensive measures within the country.

Can't you just imagine Rumsfeld saying Oh, that's too difficult. A war is much more efficient.

Yes...I see...A war: A gigantic action which will have millions of unintended consequences (the 'blowback') and whose outcome in terms of these consequences cannot be anticipated is a much more prudential course of action.

With respect to 'blowback' I refer you to the CIA's intervention in Iran in the 1950's. Read: a history of folly

Is this absurd reasoning? What happened to ordinary logic, the calculation of probabilities based on what sort of outcomes you might have, the idea that human lives have roughly the same weight regardless of nationality, the fact that insecurity and worry weigh very little when measured against widespread death and destruction?

Further, our primary concern with respect to national security is not Iraq...The whole of Iraq could vanish in a puff of smoke and our problems would be entirely the same.

It boggles the mind. The CIA and NSA virtually admit in this article (although the tone of it is actually quite positive) that they simply lack information and are going with the 'best guess' based on hundreds of unproven and unprovable hypotheses.

So here is the reasoning in a nutshell:
(1) We imagine the worst thing we possibly can
(2) Because it is so bad, we assign the highest level of probability to the possibility of its happening--although we are genuinely uncertain of its likelihood, we play it safe by assuming it is likely.
(3) Given the fact that this thing is so bad we decide that a low level of probability is sufficient to license us to act.
(4) Given that the thing is so bad we decide that--even though many of the actions we contemplate also have a low level of probability of success in protecting us from the bad thing--we believe we should perform them because any level of probability of success suggests we should try them.
(5) We go ahead with the action.

I'm not going to bother to analyze just how incredibly stupid this is in detail. You should notice that one of the main problems with it--perhaps the thing that makes it the most stupid is that there is a failure to measure the bad consequences of the action against the bad consequences of inaction.

The idea seems to be that any action will be better than no action. It is 'safer.'

Suppose you have a reason to suspect that someone wants to murder you in the indefinite future. The above reasoning is fine when it comes to locking your doors at night--there are few bad consequences of that. However, it is certainly not true--e.g.--of putting land mines on the walkway to your house and throughout the front yard. Yes, you may prevent a murderer from breaking in. Yet, even if you do not expect visitors it is obvious the land-mine solution is unwise for many reasons.

A less sympathetic view: (1) We assume something that cannot conceivably occur might occur because it is within the realm of physical possibility. (2) We decide that if this thing occurred it would be so horrible that we must act (3) We then perform an action which--on every reasonable measure--will be extremely destructive and have many unintended consequences which may be as horrible as the thing which we are trying to prevent.

It's enough to make you weep with frustration simply because of how completely fallacious the reasoning is.

Then you realize the reasoning means nothing because in fact it amounts to a lie. Perhaps a self-deceptive lie? Perhaps a lie that the main actors here regard as the truth. But a lie nevertheless.

Then you tear your hair out.

Then you realize that it is not merely a case of bad reasoning but of the intention to commit what is--at the least--a kind of manslaughter of thousands of innocent persons.

You rend your clothing.

Then you realize that it is not merely them who will suffer--Iraqi civilians, the people who joined the U.S. army to get 'money for college,' the soldiers in Iraq who have no choice but to fight--but you and the people you love. (Less than they, of course, but your life will not be the same).

For example,
--You won't be safe anymore. Your country--and your travels--will become far, far more dangerous perhaps for the rest of your life.
--The people you love are no longer safe.
--You won't ever be morally secure. You will always know that your fellow citizens and you have blood on your hands. Maybe not from what you did...but others died and it spattered. (In moments of lightheartedness, I feel guilty and foolish. Who am I to be lighthearted...when someone else has to be afraid?)
--The great wealth that accumulated due to the recent prosperity is squandered--for years again--Your hopes for improving the social fabric of your own country go down the drain.

And then you are afraid.

Thursday, February 06, 2003


This is strange thing: My life doesn't suck. It is I who suck. I guess I needed my life to be OK for me to realize where the problem truly lies. My life is too good and I'm too bad.

This fabulous woman cheered me up immensely:

Artwork of the angriest woman in the world...

She says some brilliant things. About the emotionality of art over an ex she points out that we want to see passion in the movies but not in real life. Well said! The internet--does it count as real life? Still, I see her point.

I still want to know why we can't go crazy all the time. I wrote something about that at some point...too lazy to find it wherever it is...

I want to know because it's such an effort not to be crazy and mess up my life.

Losing my mind and going down in a giant ball of flames lacks the romance it once seemed to have.

Solution: Three Hots and A Cot?

Sometimes I wish I had comments because I'd really like to ask people out there: How bad is woman's prison? I realize prison varies dramatically. I've never seen those B movies about women in prison but to judge from them prison is not a pleasant experience--particularly for the weak and lilly-livered of whom I am one. Still, it couldn't be as bad as men's prison. Maybe it merely smells like pee? Maybe you only don't get to take long showers? Maybe the water's cold and the rooms have bad ventilation?

I'd do that--I could do pee smell, I could do bad food, I could do incarceration (do they give you a window--I really need a window). I could sit, I could read, people would leave me alone. Nothing would be expected of me. There wouldn't be further down to go...Isn't that the most ridiculous problem about having things work out pretty good (for the time being)? It seems like there is too much further down to go...

Prison! It sounds so good to me. I could read, I could write, I could think, no junk mail, no phone to interrupt me on a regular basis. I'd be on a schedule...I'd have to get up early, go to bed early. Solitary confinement--that sounds so good (as long as they give you a window...I'm pretty sure they don't. If they did they wouldn't call it 'the hole.')

Really, I think I was destined for monastic life but it's lost the isolation factor in this modern age.

Moreover, think of the material it would give me--I could write an expose, poetry, novels. Of course, it wouldn't be that cool kind of 'outsider' stuff because my level of education already prevents the admiration of those soft bourgeois folks who want to be 'street.'

But still...Wasn't Papillon such a great movie? I first saw it when I was so young--about 5 years old. It may have been one of the first movies I ever saw. (I never could figure out how the nuns could turn him in.) I could do the whole Papillon Devil's Island thing. I could eat bugs. I'd rather do a minimum security thing with art classes and such but if push came to shove--if it meant escaping from the demands of freedom--hey, I'm there.

I've been trying to think of what sort of crime I could commit. Isn't it funny that I crave incarceration and yet am queasy about law-breaking. I can do the time but I can't do the crime.
We're going to kill Jeannie?!?


Does anyone remember that Jeannie was from Baghdad?

"Jeannie was born in Baghdad Iraq April 1, 64 B.C.

Remember when the Islamic world was sexy, exotic, magical and charming? Those orientalist days? When I read the names of the big long terrorist conspiracy..."Jund al-Shams is controlled by a man named Mussa'ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian of Palestinian extraction...etc. I just think: Gee, things sure have changed since those Lawrence of Arabia times, huh?

Lawrence of Arabia is my favorite movie...well second favorite movie...

I realized why it will be hard to commit blog suicide (kill the blog)...And this is because there I have nowhere else to talk about IT. The war, that is. The freaking war.

Did you SEE the slides? Wow. Is this for REAL? Check out the one of the truck carrying a 'weapons of mass destruction' factory? lab? IT'S A DRAWING!

OK, I'm all for visual aids but...oh my God. It was almost a parody of itself.

Iraq truck

Today on TV (it is right in front of me on the treadmill...I cannot avoid it) I saw the democratic senator ?Biden? talking about how great it is that now the administration really has a plan. For example, Rice told him that once we invade we are going to do these things
(1) Secure the borders
(2) Prevent retaliation to avoid civil war
(3) I forgot the third one... It sounds really good though, doesn't it?

We might get all comfy and reassured until we read about a few other plans that need to be carried out first: "A war plan leaked last week to David Martin of CBS News, calls for up to eight hundred cruise missle strikes during the first two days--twice as many as during the forty days of the Gulf War. [It's unclear if this refers to all strikes or only those on Baghdad.] Martin quotes a Pentagon official as saying "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad." The plan is called 'Shock and Awe' and its goal is the "psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight." ...

The thing is: Isn't it incredibly likely that Iraq has 'weapons of mass destruction'? (Even if we bothered to define this term in such a way that it referred to something that posed a significant threat to neighboring countries.) I just get the feeling that what's driving them crazy is that they know Iraq has these weapons!! They just know it!! But they can't seem to prove it. get...well...some very inconclusive photos...a conversation that could be interpreted in many non-incriminating ways...and drawings! Not even very good drawings.

One argument I'd be ashamed to use if I wanted war is the argument that it is humanitarian to liberate the people of Baghdad. Maybe we should ask them? It's not that the loss of political liberty or living under a totalitarian regime is something to be sneezed at but they seem like they are doing well enough to be left alone for the time being--Every person--in the entire country apparently-- receives enough staples to survive.

In my own way (disregarding the fact that I hope for wealth redistribution, socialism, a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system, an end to the two party system in favor of some form of parlimentariasm, a 4 day work week, free higher education, global justice, environmental laws so strict they will put many large corporations out of business, an end to the reliance on fossil fuel, relatively open borders with Mexico, some other things) I really think of myself as a moderate.

Hence, I do not deny that 'regimes' (interesting word...) which pose a threat to other nations and which seem likely to use biological or nuclear warfare should be 'left alone.'

Is war ever necessary? I guess it depends on what you mean by 'necessary' but I can't really support the claim: No country should ever wage war on another. The obvious case where one can engage in war is to defend one's border from an aggresor. It might also be legitimate to have a war to prevent genocide or mass killings.

'Pre-emptive' wars are part of the more tricky category--You have to estimate what someone is likely to do. If, given all available evidence, there is an overwhelming reason to believe that another nation intends to bring about widespread death and destruction and there is no other way to prevent this than to wage war--this could be a case where war is justified.

There are gigantic issues I am ignoring here. There are many views that would support even a war for oil or even a war to preserve or promote American wealth and power--I'm ignoring those. There are certainly people who believe there is no reason other than national self-interest (whatever this happens to be) to engage in warfare. It makes your nation richer, stronger, etc. there are many who will argue that this is a perfectly acceptable reason for war. For these people, the only reason not to have a war is if you will lose and lose big. The likelihood of the U.S. 'losing' is small...however, the likelihood that a huge level of public resources will be spent and that domestic insecurity will increase dramatically after our war with Iraq is large enough to give even these people pause...Although you notice it doesn't seem to. At the same time, some people stand to make an enormous profit.

You notice how there aren't even on the table or in the public eye? But many suspect that this is the only reason for the war in Iraq.

I'm not responding to that view but in the case of preventive war there are clearly some major caveats. For example, if the reason for engaging in the war is to preserve life, peace and stability (yes, in some cases I do think a war might result in a longer and more secure peace if it is against a nation that has imperialist designs, e.g.) then obviously it is absurd to engage in war which will result in more death, more war and violence and more instability than allowing things to take their natural course.

One thing that seems like a big mistake is to base your decision to go to war on shaky speculation. For example: If you are very uncertain of the outcome in either case (going or not going to war) it is smarter--and obviously more ethical--not to go to war.

So here are some things that I think about a great deal lately...

Obviously, morality and human rights and international law doesn't cut any ice with certain people. Even those people I think are wildly overestimating the 'benefits' of war with Iraq for the national interest. I would say that this is perhaps the reason most of those who oppose the war focus on the oil profits to be made: The risks outweigh the benefits. Except for those who stand to make a profit on oil. War is always a risky proposition.

Even if you don't care at all about morality, don't value human life, etc. or you're just some crazy nationalist patriot who is so concerned to have the U.S. control the world at all costs to might have a reason to stop and think a bit about whether it is worth it to go to war.

One of the major problems with every single person’s discussion of this war is that we truly are in the dark. And I don’t mean: We U.S. citizens are in the dark about what the U.S. government is planning. I believe there are many things which are complete unknowns to everyone. (I put in some things that should matter to us if we care about human life--such as the question concerning how much a threat Iraq poses)

Among the things that don't seem to be known are: What weapons Iraq does have; how usuable they are and how much of a threat they would pose in the future; what Hussein would do with those weapons if he did have them; what would occur during the war; how many casualties there will be on both sides; what sort of threat Iraq genuinely poses to neighboring countries.

Here are some things it seems reasonable to believe: Hussein desires a military advantage and would welcome weaponry that would give him this advantage; Hussein would use these weapons if he could profit from it in some way; many Iraqis will die, perhaps very many and this includes many civilians (the civilian/soldier distinction doesn’t mean much in Iraq, but it’s worth mentioning); many fewer Americans will die, but of course some will; Iraq will ultimately lose the war.

Here are some facts which seem evident and relevant: American corporations will profit ultimately from the war; multi-nationals will make bucketloads off Iraqi oil fields; the war will serve as a justification for many forms of irregular violence against U.S. citizens in the future; the war will serve to demonstrate U.S. military power to the world; many U.S. citizens will be enraged and alienated by the war; the vast majority of non-Americans will develop an even greater contempt for the U.S. than they have already…

Here’s something we can be sure of: Iraq poses no threat to the United States.

The most obvious one: What if Iraq could conceivably get a nuclear weapon in the near future? What if they intended to use it?

If we had evidence to support the claim that Iraq will invade or bomb a neighboring country, it would be hard not to support a war. However, it should not be the U.S. alone. My reasons to object to war would be diminished if Iraq was this kind of threat as long as I was sure that no one in the U.S. or any multi-national corporation would ever make a single penny off it.

That's one rule we should have right now: Every single cent made from oil in the post-war period should go to re-building Iraq and to the Iraqi people...

Then, we might be willing to trust the government we are so sure is lying to us.

The basic principles I believe should prevent the United States from going to war with Iraq: The U.S. lacks the moral and legal authority to go to war with Iraq; War is only justified in cases where an imminent threat is posed—one cannot go to war in the face of a speculative threat or because of the mere possibility of the threat; the (somewhat flawed) channels of international law should be used because a worse precedent is set by flouting them than by letting a dictator go on as he has. International law needs major reform, though. El chico explained some things about the UN security council I didn't's quite arbitrary as only those countries with nuclear weapons when it was founded have veto power...Check out 'details' on the grey info box on the CNN website.

So finally my thought is: If the thought of thousands of people being bombed, soldiers being killed, fires, destruction, hunger, terror, lifelong wounds and trauma for those who survive doesn't make you sick every day even if you are for this goddamn stupid war then there's a special place in hell just for people like you. No matter what sort of dire situation we might be in--even if we were under attack and simply striking back--this is never something that anyone should ever, ever want. What scares me is that some people seem to.

On the lighter side...

If You're Happy and You Know It Bomb Iraq by John Robbins
> If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
> If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
> If the terrorists are frisky,
> Pakistanis looking shifty,
> North Koreans too risky,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
> If we think that someone's dissed us, bomb Iraq.
> So to hell with the inspections,
> Let's look tough for the elections,
> Close your mind and take directions,
> Bomb Iraq.
> It's pre-emptive non-aggression, bomb Iraq.
> They've got weapons we can't see,
> And that's all the proof we need,
> If they're not there, they must be there,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
> If your mood is quite rejected, bomb Iraq.
> If you think Saddam's gone mad,
> With the weapons that he had,
> And he tried to kill your dad,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
> If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
> If your politics are sleazy,
> And hiding that ain't easy,
> And your manhood's gettin' queasy,
> Bomb Iraq.
> Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
> For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
> Disagree? We'll call it treason,
> Let's make war not love this season,
> Even if we have no reason,
> Bomb Iraq.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003


Is this a cheap ploy for attention?

No, this article about sexless marriages truly frightened me and made me think about sex.

I was remembering how my friends in college had sex with dozens of people. It was a badge of honor. By the time we were sophomores my hottest friend--the superbabe--had had sex with 63 different men.

I was envious--yet she assured me that it was nothing to be proud of. I doubted that since what I envied was not the pleasure she might have had but the guts it seemed to take. I was a shy girl, myself. She kept a list. There were--of course--some question marks on it. Who can remember 63 different men? Most of my friends by that time were in the double digits. The pressure on me to 'catch up'--at least a bit--was enormous. I never did. I had this terrible problem: I could never have sex with anyone who wasn't both highly intelligent and compassionate. This cut down the pool of potential sexual partners considerably.

(I found out later that intelligence and compassion made people sexually attractive but not always very good to hang out with afterwards.)

I remember one of my friends was cheating on her boyfriend with one of his friends. And I said to her 'well he seems so sweet and he is good looking but he isn't very smart is he?' I genuinely liked him but I was naive enough to believe that intelligence was one of the crucial features one looks for in sexual partners. After I said this, she found herself unable to maintain her interest in him and yelled at me later 'Why did you tell me that! It ruined it!' Later it all became a horrid mess when her boyfriend found out, etc.

The friend who slept with 63 men by the age of 19 later told me that she was sick of having sex altogether. She was thinking of becoming a lesbian so it would continue to be interesting to her, or fun...I don't quite remember what was missing for her.

I'll never forget my friend who was so beautiful all the rock stars wanted to sleep with her cheating on her boyfriend with his brother. She and the boyfriend were supposed to be super-enlightened so when she caught some sort of conjunctivitis or VD or something from her boyfriend's brother she actually yelled at the boyfriend for not telling her--after he found out she'd slept with his brother--that the brother had a communicable disease and she needed to see a doctor.

These rules were confusing to me such that when I spent the week at their house and her roomate's boyfriend tried to sleep with me I simply got up and ran away. I assumed the roomate would not want me to sleep with her boyfriend. Apparently, it would have been alright. In fact, the roomate liked me quite alot and thought I was a great candidate to sleep with her boyfriend since she liked to sleep around on him and wanted a 'nice girl' to help him catch up.

I miss my girlfriend who used to have sex with strange men in the stacks of the library and on airplanes. (I have lots of gay guy friends who do this...but it is much rarer for girls.)

Anyway...many of my friends who lived such exciting lives in fact aren't that into sex anymore. Some of my married friends who slept with a different guy every weekend in college said they barely ever have sex. I find this quite bizarre. Perhaps the periods of celibacy I voluntarily endured because of my shyness and inability to be attracted to many of those who surrounded me make me horrified at the thought of a celibate marriage.

Of course, I don't hang around with wild people anymore. Everyone I now know is a square and although they cheat they go to great lengths to hide it. I remember saying at a party with some of these squares: "I do want to get married. If you don't get married, who will you have sex with when you are old?"

They were genuinely shocked--I realized I've come down in the world with respect to my social life. I so prefer the wild people but where do you find people like that these days?

I thought I would search for all the links on my computer that I have about sex but there are probably some thrown in here that are non-sex related.

I'm obsessed with sex

I'm obsessed with sex

Stupid I'm obsessed with sex joke

Teens: Prostitution is best avoided

Caligula's budget orgy calculator

creating cleavage photo section (warning: icky, very icky)

Diary/blog of a porn publisher (also icky but somewhat more engaging)

Game: Match the nipples!

Museum of ancient beastial art

Nude paint by number

Pimp It: The Shopping Page

Bigfoot ruined my sex life

Statue molesters

Earth erotica

Farm Sluts (fox searchlight)

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The death of bla bla?

It won't be the death of bla bla but just the death of my bla bla.

Perhaps it will just be a long Rip Van Winkle sleep. A bla bla hibernation.

It won't start now but sometime soon. Little bits of bla bla will burst forth--perhaps a supernova. And then darkness.

All along I knew: It's simply bla, bla. Mere bla bla. times it seemed like more. What precisely, I don't know. A possiblity. The glimmer of a possibility at least. There is a self I can only access through the bla bla and nothing inspired more bla bla than this venue of blablasity. When it goes, so will she.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Now here's the thing about psychedelic drugs...Don't take them. Why? Because they are silly. Life's too serious for that. Didn't you know?

We don't have time for that sort of thing...time wasted thinking about nothing important, unproductive time, musing on imagery and sound, just sitting there on the couch staring in front of you, staring, staring, listening. Drugs would make you spend hours perhaps just sitting there and doing nothing. That would be very bad. No one should do that sort of thing in their spare time. Not unless we can sell them something while they are doing it.

But for some reason, no matter what anyone says, people take them anyway.

They might scare you. They might make even watching talk shows a terrifying experience

And yet many will testify to their uses, their life-enhancing properties. It interests me that there is a word for this--Who makes up these words anyway? 'Candyflipping.' Did someone just say 'hey, I'll call it candyflipping' and then it just catches on? I should say that this activity did prompt a visit to an emergency room in my own case but other factors were involved. (And I should also say that I was a minor at the time and haven't gone so far since. Oh, and that I got a 4.0 that semester and transferred to a prestigious university--one where everyone studied too hard to do drugs. And thus, the fun was over.)

There was a time when even the famous, the bourgeois and the shallow engaged in exploratory travels through altered states of consciousness...

And yet in spite of the puritanism that slowly gripped the country, there is still a portion of our society who likes to combine mental spelunking and brain damage with internet bonding on message boards.

And in spite of many warnings, there are those who will attest to the creative benefits from drug use.

Hallucinogens are supposed to damage your brain and yet some will claim that it made them 'smarter' by increasing reflective potential and curiosity about the universe.

Maybe thinking that you are 'outside' the social and conceptual fabric could lead to an egomaniacal lack of concern for what you do to others. While Ram Das is a psychedelic hero, he experimented with LSD on Harvard students in the 1950s without their informed consent.

But we know this isn't true of Groucho. God, who could be better to trip with than Groucho? Groucho: The ultimate tripping pal.

Still, drug use scares people. They aren't the kind of thing we should talk freely about.

Given this fear, this disapproval...It is amazing to think that drug inspired music, images and film once spread widely through pop culture.

But there are still some who want to remember.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

I am Oblomov

Oblomov...oh no, no.

Does Oblomov sound like you? Does he sound like everyone?

This is what Oblomov has been doing with his life lately...

Why can't I freakin' be Anthony Trollope?

I'll bet everyone is thinking: No, but all that matters is if you're happy. If you are just lying around in bed all day and you are happy...well, that's all that matters. Do what makes you happy.

No, no, no! That's all wrong. What matters is what you do no matter how miserable it makes you. Why didn't I figure this out before? I want to be miserable and DO THINGS.

But I can't. 'Cause I'm Oblomov.

Does it count if you get in a free internet magazine if you write for free?

Oh, what the hell do I know?

I wasted ten hours today...This isn't happening. This isn't happening. Someone--help me please. Please--I need help. Oh, God. Time. Time goes by. I do nothing....nothing. I slide and collide into a timeless hole of time-wasting bullshit where although I do spread some peanut butter on crackers. I eat them. That's something. I subsist. I continue. I persist. I life goes by. Death looms. But only after failure, shame, disgrace. Everyone who loves me...disappointed, shocked, horrified. I live in loserville, no one respects me, I become more and more pathetic. I am old, I am on my deathbed. I wonder what I did with my life. It seemed like I had plans. I didn't fulfill those plans. Why? I wasted that time, I saw it slipping by, I did nothing. I took drugs at 18 and counted all the hours of all the Saturdays I'd had up 'til then. It was hundreds. It's been thousands now. I could have been somebody. I could have been important. I could have at least avoided getting fired. I could have body-built, wrote 5 novels and painted 300 paintings. I could have learned Italian and French. But I didn't. Oh, why? Why? Why? This isn't happening. How can ten hours go by? Go by without my noticing? Without my being sufficiently afraid? Afraid of the passage of time? Oh why was the internet invented? Why were short stories written? Why? Why? Why am I alive? How could have have wasted 12,480 hours since I was 18? I'm not including Sundays or the amount of sleep I need. 12,480 hours! That's 520 days! That's almost two years...A year doesn't seem like a long time but this was like 2 tax free years. Oh God...God!!!! Aaaaaahhhhhhhh.....Years and years have gone by. What happened in 1999? I barely even remember. I've accomplished virtually nothing in the last 4 years. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee......Nooooooooooo.....Whhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy....Heeeelllllpppp....Make it stop.

You'd think after all that I'd feel better. I wanted to be funny and say 'whew! I feel better now.' But I don't. Nope. Not at all. Still, I'll keep at this self-flagellation and see where it leads.

'Cause I can't stand it. Time is passing me by. Life is passing me by. I didn't do the things I was supposed to. Why didn't I do them? Because I thought I would do them later. "I'll do them after this show is over..." "I do them after I finish this 527 page book of collected short stories." "I'll do them when I finish grocery shopping." The irony: I often wish that a bus would come hit me (from behind, of course) or a large blood vessel would explode in my brain, killing me instantly. Now, obviously, if the worry is that I'm running out of time this doesn't seem like a very productive wish.

However, I want to evade responsibility more than I want more time. Time only heaps greater loads of responsibility onto my shoulders. The more time I have, the more I'll just have to blame myself.

I thought I would do them like...3 years ago...But I didn't do them. Nah. I didn't. I wonder why? I guess I'll never know.
There are many strange facts...perplexing things we may never understand

It might be good to remember how little you know but if you did you might be unable to make assertions on a regular basis and you'd become unpopular and perhaps lose your job.

Oh, but this isn't what I meant to say at all....First, I was going to talk about how perplexing it is that sometimes I just like to smell bad. Sometimes I smell and sometimes this seems like a good thing. I guess I'm saying "I smell bad" when in fact I really think--sometimes I like to have a smell. Who's to say it's really bad?

I'm just kidding...Maybe I'm hemming and hawing because I had this thought and it embarrasses me because it is a thought about writing on the internet and when I think about that I remember that I write on the internet and when I remember that I feel sort of geeky. I also feel guilty because I am writing on the internet and really have much more important things to do. Then, I feel scared that someone I know might find what I write on the internet and figure out it is me. Ick. Of course, I make so much stuff up...most of it...but at the same time people often don't get that. The fact that you could make up something that strange is bad enough.

This made me realize something else: Goddamn would I hate to have anyone know much of anything about me. And I simultaneously have this paranoia that people are overly interested. That they want to know. They seem so damn curious some of the time but perhaps it is only my deep seated paranoia that makes it appear as if they are prying.

I also wonder: If I'm this bizarre...and if my (even self-edited) musings would truly freak out many whom I come into daily contact with but I have fooled them into believing I am relatively normal...what are they really like. However, I know...I do know: They are lacking in imagination. I've tested them out once in a while with little tidbits here and there and the look of bemusement (at best) or alarm (at worst) on their faces is genuine.

I also know due to my brief foray into the therapeutic realm (more on that bullshit later...or not) how narrow the socially-acceptable options are with respect to one's own world view.

Wait! Don't read that bullshit above 'cause this is what I in fact had to say about the paid/unpaid distinction

I was thinking about all these quite talented and gripping writers I've come across since October when I started this filthy habit. And I was thinking: They are working in offices. They are going to be something else. They aren't going to be writers.

But I thought: Wait...Aren't they already writers? What's the distinction between these people and your run of the mill writer--the one who gets published in Ploughshares or Black Raven/Riverrocks Yada-Yada or some other kind of nature-sounding journal with a small readership? Or even journalists? Some of these people in fact have a larger readership than many literary journal writers or even journalists at small magazines.

I thought: Is it because they aren't getting paid? Is this what makes them 'hobbyists'?

For journalism (in the form of web punditry) there is: The editorial oversight thing. Yeah...we've seen how well that works. The crap that is written in many magazines and newspapers boggles my mind with its oversimplifying and unreflective parroting of the current ideological line. We don't know what information is reliable in many cases, anyway.

It is sort of a funny thing about the U.S.--or maybe anywhere? There is this kind of 'acclaim' you must receive...some kind of credentialing you are required to have...before you count as anybody. Certainly, there are many people out there who can analyze history or literature or even do astronomy quite brilliantly. Yet, they lack the degree but they are sort of part of some lower-tier. Intellectuals without Ph.D's or who don't work for major publications are regarded by most as failures and freaks.

I tend to think this is because there aren't very high standards for anything. No one knows what the standards are. The credentialing makes it 'safe' somehow. We can imagine the person met some standard, that they know what they are talking about. Since we can't always be bothered to figure out whether they in fact do know what they are talking about it is easier simply to see what other people said about they (their professors, their university, the people who hired them) and go with that.

You can't just do something good--someone important has to say it is good for it to count as good. Just like movie stars might have been regular people to some extent prior to being movie stars but automatically get upgraded to ravishingly beautiful or fascinating and charismatic once they become movies stars.

But I realized that perhaps it is because bloggers are part of that scorned category of writer: The self-publisher. Still, this seems absurd since people read what they write and so is there any truly meaningful difference between what they put out on their own and something that is OK'd by some editorial board? In fact, they not only read it, they sometimes write about it...They communicate with one another about it--it affects our daily lives sometimes, blabbity bla bla bla.

Somehow though it still doesn't 'count.' Does it?