Thursday, July 30, 2009

You just have to see her/and you know that she'll break you in two

I've always liked songs that tell stories. Sometime Around Midnight, by Airborne Toxic Event, is one of my new favorites. It's incredibly powerful, I think because it's not a big long ballad. It's maybe six-and-a-half verses, told in second person, without a chorus or anything, that perfectly capture the emotional gut-punch of seeing an old lover with someone else. From a storytelling perspective, it's darn near perfect. I seriously can't get enough of it.

Ha ha ha.

Via Tam, one of the funniest things I've seen this week.

As I said in the comments at VftP, I'd say Obama throws like a girl, but I've seen Michelle. And, as an addendum, girls only throw like girls because no one's taught them otherwise. So nyah.

Prayer Requests/Updates

In no particular order:

1) A friend of mine recently saw the birth of her second grandchild, but he's doing poorly and has been in the hopistal for several days. Keep a good thought for the little guy, and for his family.

2) My aunt (my mom's brother's wife) fell this week and broke her hip. It was replaced within about 24 hours, but she's already got MS so recovery is going to really be a mother. Plus she's not even 60, so there's the "oh, that's just not cricket" factor, too.

3) My sister's back is starting to do better -- she got another shot of steroids to bring down the swelling around the ruptured disk, so her leg pain has gone way down and she's able to walk with only a little gimp. She's still not up for driving and sitting long periods, though (her tailbone might be cracked or bruised from her latest fall), and she's still taking Percoset and ibuprofen. Dosages and frequency have been greatly reduced, however -- as she put it, there for a while it was a game of "Will my liver or my kidneys give out first?" Did I mention she's only 21 and trying to finish school?

4) My mom is uberstressed. This isn't specific to any recent events, just a state-of-being thing. She'd deny it if you asked, but I can tell. (Hi, Mom!)

Any prayers (or whatever) for any or all of the above are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For the record

If you sent me something on Facebook and I never responded, it's not because I'm ignoring you. Rather, it's because a) I don't accept invitations to anything on Facebook unless it's a very special circumstance, and b) Facebook is running face-eatingly slow on my computer for some reason, and I just don't feel like futzing with it right now. So rest assured, I don't hate you. I just hate Facebook.

God's Provision

The thing I love about God is how the day you tell your coworker that you're absolutely depending on God to take care of all your bills because you just do. not. have. the money -- that's the day you get your game show winnings in the mail, two months earlier than you were expecting.

It's almost like he's, I dunno, omniscient or something. He's Good like that.

Thank You.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Appleseed Recap

The best way I can describe it is "band camp, but with guns."

Stop screaming. You know what I mean.

I'll admit right up that I only made it one day. Turns out my shirt hiked up when I laid prone to fire, and I got a horrendous sunburn all across my lower back that I didn't want to make any worse by repeated sun exposure. Those of you who donated to the ammo fund (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU), your generosity will not be wasted; I have set aside the remaining ammo and supplies for next time. Which will likely be in November, when I'll be so bundled up that sunburn won't be an issue. Also, your Delicious Baked Goods will be mailed some time in the next two weeks. I'll send e-mails to confirm mailing addresses. (Requests will be honored; drop them in the comments.)

Aside from my sunburned back (and nose, and arms -- at least now my driver's tan is even) and the burns from where a couple pieces of hot brass rolled under my forearm (I burn easily -- shocker, I know), I had a great time. The instructors were good, the history was interesting and the whole event was really professional. I'll definitely go back to this group if it's at all possible.

There were negatives, of course: It rained buckets right after we moved our gear to the line, so we were laying in puddles all day; one guy kept hitting on me (although he laid off some when I explained what the words "Krav Maga" on my shirt meant, plus I accidentally stole his sharpie), and there were the aforementioned sun- and brass burns. I also will go down in history as "That girl who started dancing around yelling 'Ow ow ow I've got hot brass in my pants.'" True story; a piece went down the back of my shirt and just shimmied on down, following gravity. But, just like with band camp, I wouldn't have traded it for the world. I had an amazing time, I learned loads and I'll definitely start planning for the next one as soon as I can wear something other than yoga pants without flinching. Also, I need to get my own rifle; my dad loaned me his, which was great, but it's several decades old and it doesn't cycle reliably. Also, I want my own, dangit!

All told, I can think of lots of worse ways to spend a weekend.

Sunday Night Recipe: Apple Brie Snackers

Old business: I made last week's recipe and have updated the post with my results. Teaser: It was amazing ...

New business: This week's recipe is short, sweet and ridiculously easy because I've been at the Appleseed all weekend and I can't be bothered with something more involved. Rest assured, next week's will be doubly awesome: The recipe for the Delicious Baked Goods I'm sending to everyone who donated (if you want something specific, just drop your request in the comments on the Appleseed post). (Ironically, that upcoming recipe isn't technically baked, per se ... but it is delicious.) Anyway, on to this week's treat:

Apple Brie Snackers

1 box Carr's Water Crackers
1 Fuji apple, nicely ripened
1 package Trader Joe's triple-cream brie

Spread the brie on the crackers and top with thin slices of apple. Enjoy outdoors. Try not to die of pleasure. Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

We have a good time, the two of us. We understand each other.

Actual text message conversation I had with my sister this morning (with notes for clarity):

Me: How you today? Better?

Her: Nicely medicated and knitting shawls and lap blankets for the elderly.

Me: I don't ... That's ... Dangit, even when you're stoned you're a better person than me. :-)

Her: I got the idea from grandma, she started it

Me: I'm bringing Gma yard to say thanks for the lodgings. [I'm staying at my grandma's for Appleseed weekend because she's halfway between there and here. - ed.] Maybe I just feel useless because it's hard to bake when you're baked.

Her: True nuff. See, my vision and brain is too blurry to sew, but i can knit in the dark. Plus i can wanted to do something nice for nursing homes. [sic all; like it says, she's stoned. - ed.]

Me: Knitting in the dark? I can see it now: 'Honey, what's that clicking?' 'Nothing, dear. Go back to sleep.'

Her: Haw.

Me: Whereas I would be: 'Honey, what's that delish smell?' 'Nothing, dear, go back to OW CALL 911.'

Her: ROFL

I wouldn't recommend cooking with one's eyes closed. Also, the weird part of this conversation? I copied it verbatim. We really do spell everything out like that. It's a wonder we don't have bursitis of the thumbs.

She also really can knit like that. She makes clothes the way I cook. We're going to do just fine in the trade-and-barter economy ...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Full Disclosure

I had a post up earlier complaining about something at work, but I took it down. Frankly, I'm in too tight a squeeze to take that kind of risk right now, even if it's a completely anonymous one. I'm not censoring myself so much as I'm trying to be sensible.

As you were.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can I get a do-over?

Dangit, the whole point of being born in the '80s was that I didn't have to put up with Carter! Do they give mulligans on that sort of thing?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Take a picture. It'll last longer.

To the Fiddy Cent wannabe who stared at me the whole time I was at the gas station on Sunday: Yes, I know I'm smokin' hot. Thank you. However, did you see the big black case in the passenger seat of my car? Do you know what was in that case?

Yeah.

Still feel like staring?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Mystery Edition

Since I missed last week's recipe, I thought I'd spice things up a little this week. I found this recipe in an old notebook, but unfortunately my standard notation (only write down what I can't do from memory) has come back to bite me in the fanny. Below is the word-for-word transcription of the recipe as found in the notebook. I'll follow with my guess at the end.

Page One:
2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c oil
2 t vanilla
1 c boiling water

Page Two:
350 degrees 2 9-inch pans

Stir sug, flo, co, bp, bs, s
in large bowl. Add eggs,
milk, oil, vanilla; beat 2 min,
add boiling water.
Pour in Pans

Bake 30-35 min.

(It was a small notebook.) My best guess is that it's a cake (9-inch pans being somewhat of a gimme), but the boiling water could be a game-changer. Post your thoughts/best guesses/results of experiments below. I'll update in a week after I've made it myself. Hopefully I'll have more of a clue then.

In any case, it sounds very, very fattening. Yum.

UPDATE: It's a cake. An amazingly moist, rich cake that took about ten minutes to put together. Let's put this one in the "Keeper" file, shall we?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yay for convenience ...

I would like to find whoever invented the self-serve 24-hour kiosk at the BMV and kiss them full on the lips.

That is all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sheesh.

In a few years, if healthcare and cap-n-trade and who knows what else have taken over, someone will stand up and cry out "Why didn't anyone see this coming?" And then the clouds will part, a hand will reach down and the words "I TOLD YOU SO, SUCKERS" will be written on the wall of the Capitol.

Later, handwriting analysts will identify the script as belonging to one J. McCarthy ...

Sunday Fun

Blogmeet! Although if that setting's not your cup of tea, you could just wait to show up until the beer kicks in.

Can has halp plz? For shooty stick?

When my dad was 10, he got a bolt-action .22 rifle for Christmas. It's a lovely thing, but it hasn't worked in years (his words: "Five out of six bullets won't fire") and he was told it couldn't be fixed. I immediately thought of my talented and lovely readers and blog friends and told him, "I bet I know someone who could at least take a look at it."

So ... is there anyone who could take a look at it? My thought was that if it can't, in fact, be fixed, maybe the broken parts could be swapped out for ones that work. This isn't the rifle he loaned me for the Appleseed in a couple weeks; he also has a plain ol' semi-auto that (should) work just fine. (I'm testing it out this weekend.) But the bolt-action needs a little love (and some cleaning -- there's some mold on the trigger guard). He's offered to pay for any repairs, and it would really mean a lot to him. Even just advice on where to take it would be appreciated. Thanks for any help!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2 + 2 = Sorry, we're out of tetanus shots. Come back in two weeks.

One of my favorite YouTube celebrities is the inimitable Steven Crowder, who has snarky opinions and barely contained hair. He is also originally from Canada, so to do a video about nationalize health care, he just went home. The result is a low-budget documentary-type thing which you can watch here. The gist of it is that he goes to Canada, grabs a couple friends and tries to get in to see a doctor. Three days and three different places later, they finally give up. A(faked) potentially broken wrist, taken to the ER, resulted in "take a number" for triage and a four-hour wait before they finally gave up and went home. A trip to the clinic (now open, for the weekend was over) for a simple blood test resulted in the nurse recommending a private clinic, which charged $900 for a check-up. A non-clinic, non-hospital facility yielded similar results.

But that's only the first half of the 20-minute video. The most damning material comes from man-on-the-street (and woman-in-the-house) interviews with various people. These include a woman whose mother's legs were amputated because she had to wait more than a year for treatment (earlier treatment would have saved at least one leg); a woman whose baby was misdiagosed with a mild condition, despite symptoms pointing to something more serious (they ended up spending a week in a children's hospital); and a young man who gave up on getting a 5-minute appointment to adjust his dematological meds because the wait was the better part of a year. And this is the system they want to put in place here? It's a good thing he ends on a funny note, or I probably would have shot myself.

My sister, age 21, recently blew out a disc in her lower back (this after breaking two ribs). We didn't know what the problem was at first, just that she bent over one day, felt something give and ended up in the emergency room in crippling pain (fentanyl IV, baby!). She was literally unable to walk or stand, barely able to move from the recliner to the bathroom and back. Luckily, she was able to get an MRI and see a specialist within days, and is already undergoing treatment to manage the inflammation and pain. The keyword here is "within days." Had she been forced to wait weeks or even, God forbid, months for an MRI, let alone the first appointment with the specialist, her life would have ground to an absolute halt. The best she could have done was load up on painkillers (and she only got effective meds from the specialist) and try to work through the pain. She's trying to finish her degree (ironically, in nursing), and I doubt she could have done it under those conditions. The only reason she's even functioning at this point is because she got diagnosed and treated in such a short time.

Another interesting thing I noticed about the video was the attitude of the workers at the various healthcare establishments. Although I work in Indianapolis, the office is part of a Canadian company. I've been increasingly frustrated at work and couldn't put my finger on why, but after seeing that video I'm beginning to get an idea. The nurses' and doctors' attitude was universally (no pun intended) one of "there's nothing I can do." They were completely helpless in the face of outside forces, so instead of taking initiative to try and solve a problem or expedite a process, they let the system roll over them. I see the same thing at work; almost all my coworkers and superiors are American, but the attitude is infectious from higher up.

From my own example: Something needs doing, so I take care of my end and then I wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. And then I hear that it may or may not have been fixed, but because I can't see whether it's been fixed or not I wait. And wait. And wait. And then if there's still a problem it comes back to me, and I fix it on my end so everything jives and then I wait. And wait. And wait. And, frankly, I don't have enough to do because I am an efficient worker and the system here does not reward efficiency. It rewards "team playing," which means "you take your coworker's assignment because she's so much slower that she didn't get it done." Which I'm fine with, except that I don't want to be that person who ends up doing all the work. So instead I wait. And there's nothing I can do about it. I've even tried suggesting ways to streamline procedures, but they're met with resistance because "that would be a good idea, but we're doing it this way." I was literally banging my head on the tampon machine in the ladies' room yesterday, all because I have so little control over my own situation. To top it all off, the people who cause the problems and need to fix the problems are nigh untouchable because their department is seen as the moneymaker for the company. So they basically run things, and the rest of us just have to adjust. (Interestingly enough, the, uh, "urban" girls I work with seem to fit in just fine to this system. Make of that what you will.)

Now imagine feeling like that, only instead of being bored at work, you have a broken leg or need a kidney transplant. Yeah.

My point is that dictates handed down and enforced from on high level the playing field by making sure everyone's so beaten down they cooperate without causing problems. Innovation and creativity require freedom to flourish, which is why they're so scary to totalitarian regimes and police states: If they can't find freedom, they'll make it for themselves. I'm not just talking about painters and novelists; I'm talking about anyone with an idea to make things better from the bottom up. Systems like government-run healthcare require maintenance of the status quo to stay in business, which leads to stagnation of everything, at every level. Instead of healthy, moving waters, you get algae and mosquitos and a drowning hazard every time it rains. In the name of fairness, of equality and "leveling the playing field," individuals are forced into molds and told that their acquiescence means they're good people. Try to do it on your own, try to find your own way to get something done, and you're chastised and punished for screwing with the status quo. The Party's goal becomes the Party's continued existence. It is the opposite of thriving, of growth, of life. It's a thumb pressing down on the back of your neck, making sure you bow. It's evil.

If you want to do something about it, go here and call the numbers listed. Take five minutes out of your lunch or coffee break and make a phone call. I'm going to.

PS: Britain's National Health Service is advised by the National Institute for Health and Clincial Excellence, or NICE. (I don't know where the 'H' went.) Click the link for information on what they do and the kind of advice they give -- it's scary stuff. But my primary question is, don't these people have any concept of literary history? At all?

Those harrowing near-death experiences are just such an eye-opener, don't you agree?

Coffee is a great way to start the day, as are a leisurely breakfast, a moment spent catching up on the news and perhaps a second or two to pet the cat. You know what else is a great way to start the morning? Not getting forced onto the shoulder when you try to merge onto the freeway because the little black sportscar in the main lane won't back off the half-length required to let you in, but in fact speeds up and blocks your access for a quarter of a mile because there's a line of cars behind him.

Let's just say he's lucky my god frowns on personal vengeance.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Domesticated, schmomesticated ...

Science, having solved all other problems, did a study to discover what anyone with a cat and two brain cells to rub together could have told them for free: Cats do, in fact, control their owners. Although from the sound of it, it's more of a self-aware manipulation than anything. The big discovery? Apparently there's a sort of purr-cry hybrid sound that means -- you might want to sit down for this -- feed me. Of course, as the same cat owners (owners? Ha!) could tell you, the consequences of ignoring this cry can be quite severe.

Ford have mercy.

Somewhere out in the ether, the ghost of Aldous Huxley just shivered and doesn't know why.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be ...

The U.S. federal deficit topped $1 trillion dollars yesterday. That's $1,000,000,000,000. That's never happened before. It's quite a milestone. Obama must be proud to have reached such great heights after only six months in office. He's certainly been working hard to reach this goal.

Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

Update: Whiskey tango?!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The geek is strong with this one.

Wired has a handy list to calculate your geek-fu. I scored 26 out of 100; I'm really more of a cultural geek. I can't build a computer, but I know the answer to life, the universe and everything.

I admit that I did give myself a couple points for things I can't do off the top of my head but have the instructions on hand.

I also shouted "I've seen Mythbusters; there's no way that was just one stick of dynamite" at a movie I happened to see on TV a couple months ago. Mmmm, geekiness.

They should have said something about Pi Day, though.

Appleseed Ammo Bleg

So I've signed up for the Appleseed at the end of the month in Riley, IN. My dad graciously lent me his .22, but I still need a universal sling (no brackets) and 500 rounds of ammo (more, if possible). This presents a problem, as a) ammo is scarce and expensive, b) slings are expensive and c) I'm still dirt poor. So I call to you lovely people: Help out a fellow American who's down on her luck and hit the tip jar! Send me to shooty goodness in style! Fabulous prizes await those who donate!* You won't regret it!**



*Probably like a loaf of homemade bread or cookies or my prize-winning cake or something. I'm good for trade 'n' barter if you want to go that route. I take requests. I'll even ship it!

Absolutely no photos.

**Non-regret not guaranteed in cases of natural grumpiness.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's worse than that; he's dead, Jim.

They had more layoffs at the Indianapolis Star today, and my friend/former coworker M. was one of them. I'm taking her drinking at some point in the near future, but as a more permanent and immediate gesture I'd like to announce:

The Indianapolis Star Dead Pool and Morbid Fascination All-Around Family Fun Time Schadenfreude Extravaganza

Ta da. There are actually two pools, divided as follows:

1) Complete shutdown v. online-only

2a) Date of last printed issue

2b) Headline of last printed issue

Pool one is a simple double-or-nothing bet: If you're right, you get twice your money back; if you're wrong, you get nothing. Pool two is a little more complicated: You can bet on either 2a or 2b, or you can try for both. (Exact prize structure to be determined later. Closest guess wins.) I'll get something set up in the next couple days to allow for collection of bets (prolly a dedicated PayPal account), and I'll post the details then. In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen ...

Last one out, hit the lights.

Conversations with my sister, part I

Her: They gave me copies of the films from my MRI, and even I can kind of see what's wrong. So now I can go to the physical therapist, and the chiropractor, and the acupuncturist ...

Me: If you go to a homeopath, I will hit you in the eye.

Her: [pause] Yeah, I would never do that ...

Incidentally, her EMT-ness is rubbing off on me: I was watching the "Warehouse 13" pilot on Hulu, and when the chick pulled the guy out of the wrecked car I had to fight the urge to yell "C-spine! C-spine!" at my computer. Watching anything with medical procedures with her around is like watching war movies with my dad/grandpa/uncle -- "That's the wrong XX." "They're doing XX wrong." "They'd never do XX, it would cause XX." Ah, family ...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What do you think? Zombie kill of the week?

Imagine if Douglas Adams and Hunter S. Thompson had a love child, and then that person was tasked with rewriting "28 Days Later." The result would be Zombieland. It comes out in October. I am so darn excited.

Monday, July 06, 2009

No bang. No whimper. Just a "tsk, tsk, tsk."

Wooooooooo hooooooooooo.

National Review has a good roundup of just what's so screamingly wrong about the cap-and-trade bill. Focusing mainly on energy policy (and the lack of a coherent one thereof), the 50-item article also highlights such policy gems as employer interference --

14. Naturally, Big Labor gets its piece of the pie, too. Projects receiving grants and financing under Waxman-Markey provisions will be required to implement Davis-Bacon union-wage rules, making it hard for non-union firms to compete — and ensuring that these “investments” pay out inflated union wages. And it’s not just the big research-and-development contracts, since Waxman-Markey forces union-wage rules all the way down to the plumbing-repair and light-bulb-changing level.
-- and personal choices in home decor (emphasis mine):
21. The bill regulates every light fixture under the sun. Actually, the sun might be the only light source that isn’t regulated specifically in this legislation. There are rules governing fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps, intermediate base lamps, candelabra base lamps, outdoor luminaires, portable light fixtures — you get the idea. The government actually started down this road by regulating light bulbs in the 2005 energy bill. This bill merely tightens the regulations, which means the unintended consequences produced by the 2005 bill — more expensive light bulbs that burn out quicker — will probably get worse.

22. The bill extends its reach to cover appliances as well. Clothes washers and dishwashers, portable electric spas, showerheads, faucets, televisions — all these and more are covered specifically in the bill. You thought we were kidding when we said this bill represents the federal government’s attempt to expand its regulatory reach to cover everything. We weren’t.
It gets worse from there. And So It Goes In Shreveport and Stop the ACLU also have articles (data dumps, really) about the bill -- they're actually reading the darn thing, bless their hearts. A repeated theme in every examination of this bill is the emphasis on regulation, particularly in what ought to be matters of personal preference. The bill covers maximum light bulb wattage, where you can plant trees and what kind of wood-burning stove you can have, all because of greenhouse gases. (Although, as my sister pointed out, taking away wood-burning stoves from the sort of people likely to have and use wood-burning stoves could prove, ah, difficult.)

But what bothers me the most is the sheer scale of micromanagement present in this piece of legislation. It's a soul-crushingly detailed overhaul of our entire nation's relationship to its government. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, Waxman-Markey will usher in a new era where we are governed not by the people and for the people, but by people who know better than you do how to run your own life. Anyone who's ever worked for or lived with a micromanager can tell you that eventually you lose the will to make decisions for yourself. The alternative is violent (physical or mental) uprising. For members of our body politic to be so convinced of their own wisdom that they are willing to completely plan our lives for us, down to where we plant our trees, is nothing out of the ordinary -- but the fact that they passed the bill under such dubious circumstances is. There's something different about this coming era, and I'd be scared if I wasn't rooting so hard for the coming apocalypse. (Trade and barter's gonna rock.) As it is, it's the end of America as we know it.

Last one out, hit the lights.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday Night Recipe: Chocko No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

I use this recipe for pitch-ins because it's quick, easy and a sure-fire hit. It's hard to go wrong with what's basically fudge in convenient cookie form.

Chocko No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

In a saucepan, combine:

2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
1 stick of butter, cubed OR 1/2 c. oil

Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil on medium heat. Time boil for one minute, then remove from heat and add:

1 t. vanilla extract
3 T. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy as per your taste)

Stir to melt and incorporate the peanut butter, then add:

3 c. oats

Stir to coat, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. When fully mixed, drop by small spoonfuls on wax paper and let cool. Portioned right, this recipe can make close to 60 cookies (55 if you lick the spoon. Which I do). Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

I love my job, part II.

About a month ago, I did a post about the current unemployment rate, specifically as shown on a graph plotting the with- and without-the-stimulus projections versus the actual numbers. If you recall, they were (in order) Screwed, More Screwed and Lay Back And Think Of England. Specifically, May of 2009 had already passed where we were supposed to peak (which was some time in 2010), and that peak was without Obama's All-American Spending Spree and Fun-Time Stimulus.

Well, the June numbers are in, and there's something of good news about them: We're not quite surging upward on the same straight line that in aviation leads to a stall, followed by a screaming tailspin. No, instead of going from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent unemployment, we only went up to 9.5. It's a small victory, but we'll take what we can get, right guys? Guys? Am I right?

Guys?

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job ...

Life Lesson #447 ...

If you go to someone's Web site and leave a comment telling them what they should and shouldn't post on their own space, don't be surprised if they tell you to stuff it up your bunghole.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

I don't know what you're doing today to celebrate, but after I stuff myself on my dad's superbly grilled hot dog masterpieces, I'll follow them up with a little tea. Care to join me?

UPDATE: Due to changing weather forecasts, my presence at the protest will depend on last-minute decision about the likelihood of being struck by lightning. Thatisall.

UPDATE TO THE PREVIOUS UPDATE: Didn't go.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Save a cow; eat a hippie

A new study shows that vegetarians have weaker bones than meat-eaters. It proves what I've been saying for years: Humans have incisors and binocular vision. We are therefore designed to eat meat in addition to plants. So eat your meat, kids! Build them bones!

Besides, I have yet to encounter a vegan/hardcore vegetarian who looked remotely healthy. I did know a vegan in college who wasn't skinny and pale, but she was very overweight so I don't think that counts.

Military intelligence ...

Well, this explains an awful lot. (Click at linkee makee biggee.)

Shut up, that's why.

So far today I've sent the following text to two separate people, so I'm going to repeat it once and for all here [edited slightly for formatting/clarity]:

I put the Obama birth certificate crowd on the same plane as the 9/11 truthers, and I'll tell you why (thanks to FrontPageMag for spelling out what I already had a hunch about):

They're asking me to believe that two impoverished students flew overseas, had their baby in a third-world hospital, flew back and then faked the documentation, *including* an announcement in the local (Hawaiian) newspaper -- all of which would have cost money and time that they didn't have. There would have been no good reason for them to do that. The alternative is that Obama lets the "controversy" go because it's a distraction and it makes his opponents look like fools. Occam's Razor sez it's the latter. Plus there's this. I've followed John Hawkins' Web site for years and even interviewed him for a j-school project, and he's solid and does his homework. Frankly, barring absolute concrete evidence otherwise, the arguments in these two articles are good enough for me.
Conspiracy theories infuriate me because they turn otherwise intelligent people into blind, credulous idiots. The obviously insane ones (lizard aliens are running the government, etc.) I don't pay much attention to, but the ones that have just enough semblence of the truth to go unchallenged are what really get my goat. Whether it's thinking that Obama was born in Indonesia (or wherever), that the government knew about/planned 9/11 or that pharmaceutical companies are out to get us, it all comes from the same place: the quest for answers and the desire to be in on something. The former is certainly a good thing, but when combined with the latter and sprinkled with a healthy dose of bad logic, it can turn into a monster.

For instance: The articles I linked to above provide simple logical evidence (and the latter provides examination of physical evidence) that easily proves their point. But because they goes against what people know in their hearts to be true, they're met with irrational resistance. Instead of saying "Wow. I hadn't thought of it like that. I'll have to do some more research," John Hawkins, for example, was asked by a reader if his bosses had threatened his job so he would conceal the "truth." The most telling part of the reader's letter is the utterly sincere "if you'd just open your eyes and see!" tone. I've encountered this sort of language many times before, in some cases from family members, and it always indicates a refusal to consider other options because of the potential damage to the person's self-image and/or world-view. Frankly, if you want a really good example, do some reading on the evangelical creationist movement (they're up there on my "shut up shut up you're making us look stupid" list). Real faith, whether in God, politics or what-have-you, must always be accompanied by the humility and foresight to consider other ideas. Anything less is what I call "stupid faith": grimly clinging to one's preconceived notions because one can't actually argue for them. If you can provide a sound logical argument for your case, fine; I'll listen. But if the best you can do is say "No, no, you're wrong, I don't know why but you just are," then perhaps it's time you did a little more research on your own positions. Maybe take a class or two. And if that's too much for you, then I suggest you go where your debate methods are widely accepted and used: Preschool.