Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Location

I had to update the location in my profile from "Northern Michigan" to "Someplace between Michigan and Arizona." Heading out and not looking back. I will update here when I can (meaning that, like tonight, I find a hotel with free WiFi), but it won't be often and won't contain much in the way of information.

But the big news is that snow and winter is already a fading memory. Right now, I'm sitting in a hotel room with the AC running because it is 70 and humid. Nice.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Only three damn days to go and we get snow last night! It just had to get one last shot in before I got out of here.

Anyway, spent $140 I didn't have refreshing my to-be-read pile. I finished up my last book a couple days ago (local family history; interesting) and I'm nearly done with the magazine back-log. I didn't plan far enough ahead to get them cheap on Amazon, so I ended up at the local book store paying far too much. In any case, here is the pile in no particular order:

Eats Shoots and Leaves and Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss
Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse by Jared Diamond
Why We Believe What We Believe by Andrew Newburg, MD and Mark Robert Waldman
Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity by John Stossel
The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

That should keep me busy until I get to Arcosanti.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Again, where is the cause for optimism? This is stupidity on stilts. If we are lucky, the Marine Corp will take over and put every government worker in front of a firing squad. If we are not so lucky, they will take over a small island in the Caribbean and leave us to fester in our self-inflicted bullshit.

Holy shit.

Fred On America

Fred is at it again. I've heard from several people that his view is too bleak, too pessimistic. I realize despair is a sin and all, but I would love to have someone show me just where he has it wrong. I look around at what comes out of our schools and wonder who is going to keep things on track in 20 years when the last of the educated people retire to Mexico or Bermuda. Sure, kids can punch buttons and make a passable page on MySpace, and are nothing short of geniuses when it comes to stealing music and movies. Just don't ask them to read anything longer than a blog post or to remember anything past the next test. And for God's sake, don't even think about expecting them to understand how anything works.

Not that it matters in any case. Everyone under 25 I talk to dreams of the day they will have a "real" job, not comprehending what that means: sitting in a grey cubicle doing work that a trained chimp could do more effectively and being hounded by some psychotic bitch to shut up about your god-damned kid's soccer game and get back to work and fill out this form, and log your time sixteen ways so management can create meaningless-yet-pretty graphs for the next level of psychotic bitches and neutered she-males and oh yea, FUCKING SMILE GOD-DAMN IT because "plays well with others" is far more important than competence. So I guess in a way, our schools are turning out exactly what the market demands; timid retards that have no clue and wouldn't want one if it smacked them in the face.

Of course, some parents see that their children get actual educations and the government hasn't managed to regulate all innovation out of the market, so some continue to accumulate both knowledge and the power that goes with it. The typical human condition over the last ten thousand years or so, with rare and brief exceptions, has been lords and surfs: a small group of elites controlling the resources and a far larger group providing the labor in exchange for a subsistence living. Paradise it ain't, nor is it a republic, but it can work. It may not be what everyone wants, but it sure seems to be where we are heading. That process will take time and most likely won't be complete in my lifetime or possibly several lifetimes. Of more immediate concern to me, because it will happen in my lifetime, is the financial collapse that will come about due to the ruinous levels of debt carried by nearly everyone. I've said it a hundred times and I will say it again. What is currently happening cannot continue. Seventy-five percent of the population cannot indefinitely spend more than they make. At some point, the house of cards will come tumbling down. The Roaring 20's didn't last and neither will this current bubble. There will be a big bump and it will be sooner rather than later. You read it here first.

When the comet hit, only the small and fast survived. Get small. Get fast.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Breaking the Spell

Sheesh. A twice-a-month blog. Sorry this place has gotten so lame, but time seems to be vanishing on me.

Anyway, I just wanted to give everyone a book recommendation. I just completed Daniel C. Dennnett's book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. All I can say is, "Wow." I've read some impressive stuff in the last couple years, but this is certainly one of the better books I've taken in. Dennett's style of argumentation took some getting used to on my part, probably because I haven't read a lot of philosophical work since my Freshman year in college back in 1982. That made the first few chapters a lot of work, but then I seemed to hit some sort of pace and things got easier.

One complaint I had with the book was the final chapter, "Now What Do We Do?" For me, it was the weakest part of the book and serves as a good demonstration of what happens when a very intelligent person speaks outside of his area of expertise. Many of his suggestions border on the juvenile, or maybe just naive. Or maybe its effect on me was what the author was shooting for: what Dennett suggests is so obviously DOA that I spent the better part of an afternoon coming up with alternatives, not one of which was one bit better.

In any case, if you care to have your mind stretched a bit, you could find worse ways to spend your free hours for a week or so. If you are religiously inclined, prepare to be challenged in ways you likely have never been.