26 March 2015

Walking with Harry: a Close Shave


I
’m just back from walking Harry in the early morning hours before the sun is properly up, and my adrenaline is still elevated a bit. We were coming back up Capitol on our way back home when—just in front of the MacDonald’s by Huber—some asshole damn near ran into us. I had to pull Harry back and jump back myself to avoid being hit. This person seemed to be focused on some piece of electronics he had in front of him—and it might have been a woman; it was dark—and never even noticed the presence of pedestrians on the sidewalk as he turned in to the drive-in lane of the fast-foodery. I couldn’t believe it. This character was still focused on whatever it was he had in front of him as he turned out of sight in his little white car. He showed no awareness whatsoever that he had damn near hit an old man walking his dog in the morning—and this is a time when pedestrians are out here in SW Portland. Not only dog-walking, but jogging, going to work, going to—well, probably not going to school yet—too early—but it’s not like there’s nobody out there. It’s not like at three in the morning when the late night pedestrians have retired and the early morning pedestrians aren’t up yet.
Whoever you are—I didn’t honk my nonexistent horn, I didn’t give you the finger—but consider this my metaphorical finger-horn. You, with your inattention and your car, could have injured me or my dog. And you didn’t even care.

09 March 2015

Quotation of the Day


I
n both the civil rights era and the 21st century, the nullification impulse comes from the same place: the desire to preserve an unjust social order, to prevent society from becoming fairer and more equal. Then, as now, the tide of social change is rolling over conservatives who want to keep things just as they are. Nullification is their last-ditch effort to resist that change to the bitter end, to fight as long and as hard as they can against giving greater rights and protections to people whom they would prefer not to have them.—Adam Lee

07 March 2015

Idiocy of the Day

A
fter a bumpy beginning, secularism has undoubtedly been valuable to the west, but we would be wrong to regard it as a universal law. It emerged as a particular and unique feature of the historical process in Europe; it was an evolutionary adaptation to a very specific set of circumstances. In a different environment, modernity may well take other forms. … There are consequences to our failure to understand that our secularism, and its understanding of the role of religion, is exceptional. … The fruits of this error are on display across the Middle East: when we look with horror upon the travesty of Isis, we would be wise to acknowledge that its barbaric violence may be, at least in part, the offspring of policies guided by our disdain.—Karen Armstrong
[From “The Myth of Religious Violence” in The Guardian, 25 September 2014]

05 March 2015

Five Tools Everybody in the Apocrypha Industry Should Be Using


T
he manufacture of apocrypha continues to be on the horizon of latent field effects. Cutting-edge technology transforms epigraphic non-sequiturs into cogent reminders of end-playing result-oriented matrices. From “The Report of Pilate” to “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” apocrypha continue to inspire the aspirations of the multitude. Attitude is inversely proportional to eptitude.
Vaticinium ex eventu is an overlooked technique of evoking verisimilitude to the final output. Though now often overlooked, it can be put to good use in many environments and situations. The 29 th chapter of Acts shows what can be done in that line.
Nor should plagiarism be discounted as an effective tool, particularly when the object is obscure and the intended audience sufficiently retrograde. Ellen White knew a thing or two on that score. If it was good enough for her, it ought to be part of your arsenal as well.
Pseudonymous authorship—especially the attribution of the product to a figure of cultural importance—can play an important part in making innovations appear traditional. A revered figure from antiquity, a founder or religious leader, is an ideal spokesperson for your novel idea-complex.
A striking discovery makes a wonderful way of promoting your system. An old trunk, a forgotten chamber in a temple, the emergence of a lost manuscript on the black market—these can make or break your esoteric system. What Spiderman’s radioactive spider did for him, or Billy Batson’s subterranean encounter accomplished for the marvelous captain, a dramatic origin-story can do for your output. What worked for King Josiah can easily work for you.
And don’t forget your magic decoder ring. A long-time staple of Baconians and Atlanteans, the invocation of a secret decoding method (Bayes’ theorem anybody? The da Vinci code?) allows the production of an infinite supply of apocryphal narratives from already existing product. It’s almost as good as tapping the spirit world for inside info on the beyond, and it sounds a lot more sciency. The lure of unlocking the mysterious combines with the certitude of mathematical proof.
Next up: Ten Quick Tips on Investing in History

03 March 2015

Walking with Harry


I
nfinitely receding lines. Space and time incoherent. No turning back. I am writing words with the usual hope that somehow they will make sense—that I will hit on a theme of some kind. Something to justify the act of writing.
I went for a walk today with my dog Harry (as I do every day) and we took one of his favorite walks across Capitol Highway, up Galeburn, down a flight of 135 steps, across a middle school campus, and up Maricara to the Maricara Natural Area—a 17 acre park consisting of second-growth forest with a small stream running through it. It was a nice reasonably sunny day—very springlike—but I couldn’t enjoy it altogether as my head is hurting. Circling around on the paths in the park I wondered about how the hell we’re going to get money for next month’s rent, why David Barton would tell such an easily refuted lie as the one he told recently about an AIDS vaccine, why some other idiot would think that the US going after ISIL would offend Iran when Iran and ISIL are mortal enemies, and whether I couldn’t get some kind of entry out of that. (I couldn’t.)
Damn my head is hurting.
Shafts of light from the setting sun lit the trees sharply from one side, casting long evening shadows. There were other people out wandering along the paths between the trees, but they mostly didn’t concern us. Harry and I took the path along the east side of the park, where the neighboring houses are clearly visible through the evergreens, and I have to duck sometimes to avoid low-hanging parts of trees. There are roots pushing up through the path along in here, and it’s necessary to watch your footing.
Temporal worries thrust out meditations about forgotten texts, and all seem trivial compared to the horrors coming out of India, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. What difference does any of it make if barbarous thugs continue to triumph?
Harry and I came to the end of the park, going out the one legal north exit of the park onto some numbered street, graveled like a driveway. The rest of the trip back is comparatively dull; we’ll go alongside Huber back to Capitol, and then home. Even worries about finances and thugs abroad recede against the present menace of oncoming traffic. No point worrying about tomorrow if today ends abruptly with a tri to the emergency room or instant death. Incoherent time and space. Lines receding infinitely.

02 March 2015

If


I
f your god tells you to hack up some harmless human being for writing or drawing something, you’re probably worshipping the wrong god.
If your god tells you to deny the face of the universe and believe some nonsensical set of fairy tales instead, you’re probably worshipping the wrong god.
If your god tells you that suffering is a good thing, you are definitely worshipping the wrong god.
If your god tells you that making other people suffer is the right thing to do, then you’re not worshipping god at all, but some sadistic being from outside time and space.
If your god tells you to kill your child, and you don’t tell it to fuck off and die, then you flunked common humanity.
If your god curses a fig tree for not producing fruit in the wrong season, then your god is not a god but a petulant child. And it should go without saying that you shouldn’t worship it.
If your god wrote a book that is boring, repetitive, self-contradictory, abysmally ignorant, and vile, and commands you to read it—or worse yet memorize it—then I have news for you. That god doesn’t exist. It’s all a scam, and the priests and mullahs and rabbis and ministers and “scholars” who tell you that your god wrote it are laughing at you for being so gullible as to believe their bullshit. They know better, and you should too.
Selah.

01 March 2015

Derailed

S
till alive, I guess. Maybe I’ll have something or other to say fairly soon, but I don’t right now. I still have a place to live, apparently, but unless something changes quickly I’ll be out on the street by the end of the month. Under the circumstances, focus is hard.
Nonetheless, I don’t see any reason to let things derail me more than usual. I’ve got about a dozen unfinished entries, and the way things are going they’re probably going to remain unfinished. Even so…
Okay, I don’t have any words of optimism right this moment. Horrors abroad, horrors at home, and nothing to look forward to right here and now. I’m going to try to keep the words coming if at all possible, but no promises.
Sorry about the day; maybe the words will flow again tomorrow.

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