Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“I Have the Touch,” by Peter Gabriel

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My favorite line is “The time I like is the rush-hour, ‘Cause I like the rush.” It reminds me of working in restaurant kitchens when there were tickets dangling to the floor and it was nuts and stressful, but you’d see two servers on a collision course and one would lower their tray and the other would raise theirs and they didn’t even notice the near collision. They were both thinking something like, “Next I have to get a dessert out of the fridge and then I have to take it to the table and what was it that table 7C asked for?”, etc. It was magical. The synergy of intensity of the moment. No time to reflect, just keep going.

I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I love that intensity and regularly, consciously or not, put myself in demanding situations. As stressful as it can be, I love pushing my limits, within moderation.

Back to the song, big themes are “wanting contact” and “shaking hands.” To me it’s prescient (1982) about how likes on social media are not the same as face to face.

And then this part,

“Pull my chin, stroke my hair, scratch my nose, hug my knees
Try drink, food, cigarette, tension will not ease
I tap my fingers, fold my arms, breathe in deep, cross my legs
Shrug my shoulders, stretch my back – but nothing seems to please”

Wow. Doesn’t that just get to the heart of the restlessness of this mortal coil?

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The Beginning of The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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The rest of the book is good, but I’ve always especially loved the very beginning of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Thought provoking:

The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other
philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that
the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum! What does this mad myth signify?

Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once and  for  all,  which  does  not  return,  is  like  a  shadow,  without  weight,  dead  in  advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing. We need take no more note of it than of a war between two African kingdoms in the fourteenth century, a war that altered nothing in the destiny of the world, even if a hundred thousand blacks perished in excruciating torment.

Will the war between two African kingdoms in the fourteenth century itself be altered if it
recurs again and again, in eternal return?

It will: it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.

If the French Revolution were to recur eternally, French historians would be less proud
of  Robespierre.  But  because  they  deal  with something  that  will  not  return,  the  bloody
years  of  the  Revolution  have  turned  into  mere  words,  theories,  and  discussions,  have
become lighter than feathers, frightening no one. There is an infinite difference between
a Robespierre who occurs only once in history and a Robespierre who eternally returns,
chopping off French heads.

Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which
things  appear  other  than  as  we  know  them:  they  appear  without  the  mitigating
circumstance  of  their  transitory  nature.  This  mitigating  circumstance  prevents  us  from
coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit?
In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the
guillotine.

Not long ago, I caught myself experiencing a most incredible sensation. Leafing through
a  book  on  Hitler,  I  was  touched  by  some of  his  portraits:  they  reminded  me  of  my
childhood. I grew up during the war; several members of my family perished in Hitler’s concentration camps; but what were their deaths compared with the memories of a lost period in my life, a period that would never return?

This reconciliation with Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests
essentially  on  the  nonexistence  of  return,  for  in  this  world  everything  is  pardoned  in
advance and therefore everything cynically permitted.

If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity
as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal
return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That
is  why  Nietzsche  called  the  idea  of  eternal  return  the  heaviest  of  burdens
(das schwerste Gewicht).

If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all
their splendid lightness.

But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?

The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in
the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.
The  heaviest  of  burdens  is  therefore  simultaneously  an  image  of  life’s  most  intense
fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real
and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar
into  the  heights,  take  leave  of  the  earth  and  his  earthly being,  and  become  only  half
real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.

What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?

Parmenides  posed  this  very  question  in  the  sixth  century  before  Christ.  He  saw  the
world divided into pairs of opposites:

light/darkness,  fineness/coarseness,  warmth/cold,  being/non-being. One  half  of  the  opposition  he  called  positive  (light,  fineness,  warmth,  being), the  other  negative.  We might find this division into positive and negative poles childishly simple except for one difficulty: which one is positive, weight or lightness?

Parmenides  responded:  lightness is  positive,  weight  negative. Was  he  correct  or  not?

That  is  the  question.  The  only  certainty  is:  the  lightness/weight  opposition  is  the  most  mysterious, most ambiguous of all.

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2Pac Evolution

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2Pac broke out on the national scene in 2001 and died in 2006. First songs off his albums:

2Pacalypse Now, Young Black Male:

Strictly 4 my N.I.G.G.A.Z…, Holler If Ya Hear Me:

Read the rest of this entry »

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apathy

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I abhor apathy, but there it sometimes is. It is difficult to care. Not only do you need to care, you need to vet what to care about. Bleh.

That said, I am in favor of caring and all the vetting that entails.

Anyway, this is where the Cranberries and NWA cross paths in my listening:

  • Cranberries: “Unhappiness is when we were young and we didn’t give a damn”
  • NWA: “See, I don’t give a f***, that’s the problem”

Both see apathy as a negative.

The Cranberries, “Ode to My Family:”

 

NWA, “Straight Out of Compton:”

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Minimum Wage

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The minimum wage has been a topic lately, including President Obama’s State of the Union address:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address that he’s raising the minimum wage for workers under federal contracts to $10.10 per hour, an administration official told The Huffington Post.

The new policy, to be instituted via executive order, may affect hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs are supported by federal dollars. The move is designed in part to ratchet up pressure on Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage for all workers. The current federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, and hasn’t been raised since 2009, after the last of a series of increases signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.

Before we get into the costs and benefits of raising the minimum wage and by how much, take a look at this map from CNN showing the current variety of the minimum wage among the states. The current span is between the Federally mandated minimum $7.25 and $9.25.

  1. Why haven’t these states with minimum wage above the federally required level considered $10.10 already?
  2. Why did the current administration choose $10.10, as opposed to $9.99, for example?
  3. Is it fair that minimum wage workers in Oregon only get a $.85 raise while other minimum wage workers get a $2.85 raise?

Point being federalism and subsidiarity.

That said, I think a lot of proponents of the minimum wage may not understand the counter arguments, which are summed up here:

The idea being that, given an untenable minimum wage (imagine $50.50 instead of $10.10 for this exercise), employers will hire less low skilled workers, stretch the current workforce, minimize benefits, and automate.

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Colombia

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Stick with me. My internet was out this morning. Meh. Went to work. Came home. Still out. Call Comcast. Nice guy. While my computer is rebooting after he worked his magic, I ask him how his day is going. He says he is in Bogata, Colombia. I’m like cool. I’ve heard it’s lovely,I’d like to go there some time or whatever. Not sure how I missed this, as I do try to keep up on world events (I’m blaming Syria and Egypt for hogging the spotlight), but apparently, “one of the largest national strikes ever faced by the Colombian government,” has been going on since the 19th. Even though he was really nice about it, I felt bad for my ignorance. Regardless, the world is all higgledy piggledy, as Opus might say. Prayers for Colombia, as well as Syria, Egypt, and all the nations trying to figure it out, including us.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/20/3575329/colombia-arrests-46-as-national.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23892958

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Bush Tax Cuts Increased Revenue

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Update: Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2017

CBO report from May 2007.

If you’re confused about increased revenues resulting from decreased tax rates, please read up on the Laffer Curve. I’ve got plenty of issues with Bush, but, hey, if you’re going to spend too much, at least he increased revenue to offset part of his debt.

h/t iOwnTheWorld

 

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Happy Independence Day!

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Hope everyone is enjoying the 4th! Mark Levin educates us on the Declaration of Independence:

 

 

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1012 Monroe County, IN Primaries

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Indiana Primaries are May 8th this year, so what better time to get to know your candidates.Data from USElections.com

Mitch is term limited as governor, so here are your choices:

In the Senate race, Dick Lugar ( Dick Lugar (R) | Campaign Site ) will be trying to retain his seat for his 5 zillionth term. His opponents are:

In the House race, Todd Young ( Todd Young (R) | Campaign Site ) will try to hold his seat for a second term. His opponents are:

I can’t seem to find information about who is running in the local elections. Here is a list of all offices we will vote for in Monroe County in 2012 from the Monroe County Election Board.

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Blog Spam

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I find it incredible the amount of spam this blog receives. I think I hadn’t checked for a week and I had over 700 spam comments. The headache this produces is mostly my own, as there are reasonably priced tools such as Akismet to ease the pain of handling spam, but that’s not my point. I also point out that I had zero real comments not to complain but to convey that this is not a popular blog. I would imagine the number (~100 per day) would increase if it was more popular. Also note I must approve all comments, and I deleted all these, so the goal (to get links to the spammers’ site on to my site) failed, as far as I can tell.

So what we have is a 100 or so comments a day being delivered to a small blog that never publishes them, but they keep coming. I’m assuming the spammers are getting ROI, or they would stop, but I wish I could reach out to them and tell them that spamming me is a waste of effort. I first imagined children in a third world country being paid pennies an hour to post comments, but looked into it and apparently there are tools such as Trackback Submitter that can find blogs and auto-spam them. Great.

I should probably break down and use Akismet. I will get an ironic chuckle when they try to fill this posts’ comments with spam.

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