9/30/2003

9-30-03 - 1

9-30-03

How in the fuck can you look me in the eye and tell me that marijuana should be illegal, but guns should be legal? Oh yes, it might be good fun for you to blow away deer with your 50-caliber, or shoot at beer cans with your semi-automatic, but guns are fucking deadly weapons, unlike marijuana which never hurt anybody. This one just amazes me. Oh yes, marijuana leads to violence and drug dealers - um, guess what, guns lead to violence and deaths, directly! Get a fucking clue, America!


My kitty Potemkin is so sweet and nice, but he's kind of clumsy. He also rather smells, he needs a bath now but he always gets kind of stinky for a cat. He gets freaked out easily and jumps away from me and claws me. The result is that I don't really like him to sit on my lap. I also have a kitty Kaya who I usually call Little One, who is graceful and beautiful and I love him to sit with me. Poor Potemkin, I know he has a good heart, but I'd rather spend my little bit of time with the spritely and charming Kaya.

If this was a poem and not a web rant, the metaphor wouldn't need to be pointed out.


We should go back to a terminal model for notebooks. I want a powerful desktop at home and at work, and a little terminal notebook on WiFi that can talk to both to them. It could have a medium sized disk and no peripherals, just a good screen, decent CPU and RAM. It's mainly a data transfer box and a way to be able to type text & code while sitting on the couch or whatever. They could sell for like $600 with a pretty good 15" TFT LCD.

9/25/2003

9-25-03 - 1

9-25-03

The conservative anti-tax crusade is destroying America. It sure feels like a vast conspiracy. They're lying to and mis-leading the American public about the way government spends and the ability to cut. The people (being badly educated by under-funded public education systems) are easily fooled into thinking "taxes bad, money good". The result is the starvation of government, which will cause it to horrendously implode. Seriously, this is not about "cutting fat" - you cannot make up $1 trillion by cutting fat - you have cut real services, like education, welfare, social security, medicare. The vast majority of these are services which help the less-fortunate to survive and improve in life. Instead, these people are going to be forced into a service class.

Which leads to be a big problem I see - America is headed for the shitter. Our government is going to shit, which means our education system is going to shit. America is the most productive economy in the world because of education. Our education system has led to the internet boom, telecom, genetics, etc. etc. Furthermore, people in mid-level jobs, like technicians, engineers, etc. are being forced out of the middle class, no longer able to buy homes, send their children to college, etc. Already things like low-level computer programming jobs are moving out of this country. All these middle-range jobs will be gone, because it's too expensive to do them here, they'll be done in the up & coming countries of the world. America will shift to a work-force of ultra-wealthy high end managers (who are usually managing a work-force that's primarily overseas), and another segment that is below the poverty line, doing the gardening and cooking and service work to maintain the high end. Sure, there will be a small middle segment of people who entertain the high end, but the vast skilled middle of manufacturing and production and technology will be gone. Eventually this will destroy America's entreprenuerial pool as well. People who have good ideas and make startups come from the middle segment; entrepreneurs are by definition people who haven't run a company before, people who aren't yet in the upper echelon, who got skilled by actually working in some field and now are starting a company from that skill. In the future these mid-level skilled people will be in India, China, Korea, etc. not America.

How could we prevent this? I'm not sure if we can. With the massive misleading and ambivalence of the American public, the callow puppet masters will have their way. It's not even clear what the solution is. Clearly we need to keep a strong support system in place, we must shore up education, make it the best education system in the world; offer cheap college to anyone who gets good grades, offer small classes and adequate funding in public schools, etc.

Medicare and Social Security are very hard problems. Clearly the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are raping the American tax-payer, and our government is protecting them. All over the world, governments are trying to force our pharma companies to sell their drugs for only small profits, and our government is viciously defending them by doing things like cutting off funding to organizations that demand reasonable prices for drugs. Social Security may be even worse. Life expectancy keeps going up, and birth rate is going down. We will have more and more non-working old people that can't support themselves. Due to our morality code, we won't just let them die, so we'll spend a fortune keeping them alive to 100, 120, 150. Japan will face this crisis well before us; by 2020 their population will be 50% non-working elderly. This is a major world-wide disaster for the developed nations, and clearly can't be sustained. Medical advances that prolong life are a big disaster. The elderly do clearly have more discretionary money than they need. Social Security should be cut down to a minimum. A lot of semi-intelligent people say "look at all the money in social security - if that was invested properly it would return a huge amount!". Um, no. The first problem with that is that the payout to the elderly is *much* bigger than the interest earnable on the principle; thus the money we pay to social security cannot go into savings to accrue interest, it must go directly to paying current recipients of social security. The second problem is that the # of recipients of social security is growing faster than the number of payers. Thus the drain on the balance is ever growing, and there's no way you could invest it and pay off the needs from interest. The money paid into social security simply cannot sit long enough to be invested and accrue any interest.

9/21/2003

9-21-03 - 4

9-21-03

Terrel Owens is severly over-rated. He's okay, but he's a mediocre to poor catcher. People are blown away by his Adonis-like physique, and they forget how often he drops easy passes. There are a lot of better receivers, like Marvis Harrison of the Colts and Eric Moulds of the Bills. Randy Moss is similarly over-rated. So are all the "physical" quarterbacks - Daunte Cullpepper, Donovan McNabb, Mike Vick, etc.

9-21-03 - 3

9-21-03

I think there's a very easy way to make money betting on sports - bet the spread, and always bet against the team in the major market or with the biggest stars. These teams are over-rated and over-bet, so all you have to do is bet against them on the spread. Their team may win the game, but you win the spread. This works because of the principles I outlined earlier in these rants. If you do this, you should bet near the end of the week, after the common man has had a chance to influence the line. The only problem with this is the "rake" or "vig" that the house takes, which will destroy your margin.

9-21-03 - 2

9-21-03

I've never met anyone who thinks about money wisely in their daily life. They conserve money foolishly and spend it ridiculously. For example, people consider paying $20 to join our Poker game too much. But is it? You'll play for 4-5 hours, and you do have some chance of winning. For a good player, that actually makes the game free, because you win often enough that your average cost is $0, but the silly people still see it as "costing $20". Even for a bad player, maybe it costs $15. That's $15 for several hours of fun, much cheaper than buying a video game, for example. People will buy cheap products that are a little cheaper, but much lower quality, like poor meat, store brand Macaroni & Cheese, generic tires for their car, etc. All the savings from that add up to like $500/yr and make a big difference in quality of life. On the other hand, they go out a lot and get glasses of wine at restaurants for $7/glass, when you can get a whole bottle for $4 ! Again, that would be fine if you're doing it because you really enjoy the experience, but you do have to realize it's a big cost and that's a huge chunk of your entertainment budget.

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make is spending a lot of time to make very little or save very little. For example, people will spend weeks shopping around trying to find the best price on a TV. In the end they might save $100 because of this. But they spent 10 hours looking at all the different stores! That means they only saved $10/hour, which is good if they're making minimum wage, but if your salary is much more than that, you're wasting time. This becomes especially pointed once your salary is very high. For example, an execute making $100/hour or more should do almost nothing to save money outside of work. All you should do is work or enjoy yourself. You should not mow your own lawn, clip coupons, shop around, etc. (unless you enjoy those things). If you feel up to doing some work to make some money, you should work for your job. At some point you shouldn't even drive yourself to work, you should get a driver and a laptop and work on your commute (again, unless you enjoy the drive).

There's an awesome Smith's song about the death of a pop star, and how the record company releases compilation albums as soon as he dies, and how they have a party and are so glad he's dead -- I think of this as I see all the Johnny Cash albums come out. Damn, I can't remember the name of the song!

9-21-03 - 1

9-21-03

I have a big problem with the Jewish establishment. I'm sure I'll be lambasted as being "anti-semitic" for saying that, and that's exactly my problem. The Jewish establishment has become the most defensive reactionary group in the world these days. If you say anything criticizing the practice of Jews, Zionists, or Israel, you are an "anti-semite" and it's defamatory and it must be stopped. One recent strong example of this was when Harvard's President, Larry Summers, criticized several of his professors for supporting Palestine. Many Jews believe that any support of "Political Islam" is a form of anti-semitism. This is ridiculous and reactionary. Jews will deny that there is a massive Jewish control network, but of course there is! They claim that the idea that "Jews run Hollywood" or "Jews run Wall Street" is ridiculous, but again - of course they do! Not so much anymore, but they still have influence far beyond their numbers. Jews largely started Hollywood and Wall Street and still have huge influence and power there. Furthermore, Jews have massive influence on the American government, as evidenced by our extremely friendly support of Israel, beyond anything that's politically reasonable. Jews also are in extreme positions of power in the major liberal media outlets, which leads to very little anti-Israel news getting out (and if it did, a huge outcry of anti-semitism would shut it down). The "anti-semitism" card is worse now than the sexist or racist card was a few years ago, it's the remaining tool of extreme political-correctness, one that they take incredible seriously. Now, of course I believe that real anti-semitism is horrible, just like real racism, real sexism, etc. but anti-Zionism or anti-Israeli dialog is NOT anti-semitism. I can think that the political actions of Israel are horrible without having anything against Judaism. Now, what about Mel Gibson's movie? He's being attacked as an anti-semite for portraying Jews capturing and killing Jesus Christ. This is somewhat complicated because it seems Mel Gibson actually is an anti-semite who should rightly be dragged through the mud. *However* so far as I can tell, there's nothing anti-semitic about his movie, he's simply showing the facts - the Jews did (with the Romans) capture and kill Jesus Christ, they considered him a heretic. Even prior to Gibson flying off the handle he was being lambasted as anti-semitic for showing the facts. That's ridiculous. The same thing happens when someone writes an article about the Israeli government firing on Palestinian children, bull-dozing apartment complexes, driving the Palestinians into poverty, enforcing curfews, treating the Palestinians just like Jews in a Ghetto. Those are just the facts, but it creates a wave of cries of "anti-semite", just like cries of "communist!" or "witch!".

9/20/2003

9-20-03 - 2

9-20-03

I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, so I'm stuck just moping around the house. I watched all 3 Godfather movies (for the first time). The first two are good, if a little slow and sappy. Coppola makes better wine than movies. Anyway, it's really funny to watch Al Pacino change between the first two movies and the third. In the first two, his character is pretty quiet, reserved, and Pacino shows a variety of emotions. By the time the third movie was filmed, Pacino was becoming his "hoo-ha" character, always bellowing, always over-acting. Pacino's bellowing gesticulating self was good in the Dick Tracy movie. I kept imagining that while watching Godfather III. Sofia Coppola was horrendous in GF3 and now she's way over-rated as a director (Virgin Suicides was pretentious crap).

9-20-03 - 1

9-20-03

Fucking BlockBuster. Every time I go there they screw me over and I swear I'll never go back, then I have to go back for something and they screw me again. The biggest screw was in Houston one time I rented some movies and then returned them to a different BlockBuster location by accident. I didn't realize what had happened until the first location sent me a bill for like $150.00 for lost movies. I called over and over and waited on hold and cursed and they gave me all this shit about how they couldn't track the movies at the other location, etc; eventually, it got straightened out.

I can't stand TV news. On all channels it's dominated by media talking heads making predictions about things they don't know. Show me journalists talking about the recent *past* , not the *future* so they can actually give me facts which I can learn from !!

Did President Bush lie about the case for invading Iraq? Of course! The administration all along wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, wanted to establish a base in the Middle East, etc. It had nothing to do with the war on terror on weapons of mass destruction. I just cannot fucking believe that this is even a matter of debate. There were these reported "links to Al Qaeda" that Bush quoted which the administration had to admit were backed by little to no evidence. Furthermore, if we really cared about Al Qaeda, we'd be doing more work in Afghanistan & Pakistan!! In reality we don't *want* to catch Osama bin Laden, because if we did catch him the public's support for the Bush war games would die down. The other reason for invading Iraq was these Weapons of Mass Destruction. Now, first of all, the evidence for them was very weak, second they weas no evidence they were an impending threat to the US, third, there are countless more dangerous countries with worse weapons, fourth, *we* gave them those weapons, fifth, even if all of what the administration said was true, that still doesn't give us the right to invade a sovereign power and take out their government without the support of the international security. Now, about these WMD's. Yes, I believe that the CIA had some hints that Saddam had them. But what did Bush say? He said that Iraq *HAS* WMD's, not "We have some possibly correct intelligence which loosely links Saddam to WMD's". Just as a topic for you to consider, recall that in the days before 9/11 the CIA was seeing a lot of intelligence indicating that there would be a massive terrorist attack using commercial airliners. This intelligence was not acted upon because there was not sufficient evidence indicating that it was accurate, and the CIA said something like "we receive lots of information about terrorist attacks, and very little of it is accurate, so we can't create hysteria over every bit of 'chatter' we see". So, based on chatter we can't protect our country, but we can invade Iraq. Draw your own conclusions.

9/07/2003

9-07-03 - 3

9-07-03

Charles Shaw is the wine for the semi-intelligent; the thing that really gets me about it is people who drink it think they're so clever. Hey, don't be insulted, that's better than most of the world, which isn't even doing as well as you. Charles Shaw costs $1.99/bottle and tastes very plain, no bite, no complexity, no depth, but drinkable. Good for sangria. Certainly some uses of it are good - sangria, big parties, stuff like that. For most purposes - why would you drink $1.99 wine when you can get quite excellent wine for $3.99 or $4.99 ? Those two dollars are just not a very good savings. Now some people have learned that Charles Shaw is made by Franzia, and they've stopped liking it. Yes, of course that kind of information changes the taste; expensive wine tastes better if you know it's expensive. Side information like that really does affect the senses, it's a complicated thing; art looks better if you know it's made by a famous artist, etc. Anyway, the Franzia thing should be no surprise, most of the wine in the world is made by a few mega-corporations which just put different labels and prices on their product; the major wine groups make everything from box wine to $100/bottle stuff, but they try their damndest to hide it. Go get yourself a bottle of the Bear's Lair Cabernet at Trader Joe's for $3.99 or a bottle of anything by Montes (I think they're Argentinian) for $4.99 at "Cost Plus" aka "World Market". There's no reason to ever spend more than $8.99 on a bottle of wine if you're not a real connosieur. "connosieur" is French for "one who knows". And it's "know" in the "experience of the world" sense, not the "book-knowledge logical reasoning" sense.

9-07-03 - 2

9-07-03

I want a combined I-pod/cell phone/Palm/digital camera/voice recorder ; I want all of them to be quality and I want the whole thing to about the size of a deck of cards. I bought a Pentax Optio-S digital camera; it's 3.2 mega-pixels, smaller than a deck of cards, pretty nifty, easy to take everywhere. Carrying it and a cell phone is too much, though, I can only handle one or the other. Seems to me this combined device shouldn't be very hard. The big parts are : LCD screen, Hard disk, lens, CCD, cell antenna, chips. The storage for all the devices can just be the disk, they can all use the same CPU and the same LCD; you should really be able to make the combined device about the same size as an I-Pod, since big hard-disks already exist that are much smaller than the one in the I-Pod. I think it could be sold for about $600.

Followup - this is a start in the right direction - Motorola A920

9-07-03 - 1

9-07-03

I want to offer love and greetings and kindness to the world.

On that note, people who scream or honk at bicyclists from their cars should be killed. I want to tie them up and beat them with a household hammer until each and every one of their bones is nothing but splinters. Die in pain, you bastards.

I used to think most people were inherently shit, and fuck 'em, I don't have time for them, I was going to be one of the greatest physicists who ever lived, I didn't have time for them. My opinion of others hasn't really changed, but my opinion of myself has gone straight down the toilet, putting us more on the level, and even aside from that I want to offer smiles and friendliness to people, not scowls and coldness.

I wish Tivo had a 5-second skip. I would skip through the boring bits of shows; 5 seconds is a very long time to be bored.

9/04/2003

9-04-03 - 1

9-04-03

Still sick; drinking Robitussin (they have so many varieties now it's hard too choose! I just want the red liquid stuff!). My head is all loopy and I can't work, so I'll just ramble to the web. I miss the connection and people of Burning Man, the generosity and compassion and connection. Maybe all you wise web readers out there can help me find similar worlds? I want places where people are rewarded for being themselves and giving what they have to offer, not mocked, where people laugh together, without sarcasm. Even Burning Man didn't completely live up to that ideal, but I'm sure there are small conclaves where it is true, if even just briefly.

9/03/2003

9-03-03 - 2

9-03-03

(preamble : I know you're going to think this rant is related to my recent Burning Man trip, but it's not, it's actually a thought I've had for a long time and have expressed verbally before).

I enjoy doing various drugs ocassionally, but not in a habitual way; I like them as a perception-altering device, something that makes you experience the world in a different way. I'm very sensitive to this type of thing, even little feelings like unusual temperatures can alter my senses and give me a very different view of the world. Things like looking through binoculars, or seeing the world from a moving car or train - these things change and heighten my perceptions in a powerful way, which helps me see new things or experience new things in the world. Mind-altering drugs are particularly great because they make you *behave* differently than you normally would, which leads to different experiences and a broadening of your life. I'm not interested in permanently changing my experience of the world, I see these things as vacations from my ordinary life, which change you when you get back. Going to an exotic place has a lot of the same effect, you behave differently, see new things, and when you get back to ordinary life, you're changed because of it. I contrast this to the way most people use alcohol or nicotine or cannabis, which is just to enhance their experience of their ordinary life, to make it more pleasant, more bearable; they don't really learn anything or experience anything new because of it. That's ok too, it's just a very different thing.

9-03-03 - 1

9-03-03

I'm just back from Burning Man (and the several-day trance that followed). It was incredible. I won't write about it here.

Does our personality come from our genes or our environment? Are you a bastard because of your genetics or your parents? The funny thing about this debate is that your *self* is left entirely out of it; is there really any self, though? So, maybe you're a bastard because you choose not to think about your own actions? Why do you choose that? Because you want short-term pleasure, not work for the long-term. Why do you want that? Because your low-level pleasure responses are stronger than your will-power? Why is that? genetics or environment. This argument of reduction of the mental picture is an easy way to remove the "self" from responsibility.

old rants