Category Archives: METABLOG

Gun control, redux

Naturally, like many people, my thoughts have been on the topic of gun control of late. Naturally, if you know me, I have opinions on the matter.

However, you may be surprised to hear, my thoughts have evolved a bit.

But first, a metablog word: So, as you can see, it’s been nearly a year since the last time I’ve blogged on here. There are various reasons. One was the chilling effect that incident a year and half ago had on me. (Huh. I was going through the archives trying to find a reference to that incident, and can’t find one. Except where I vaguely refer to it. I guess it was so chilling it left me too skittish to even refer to it when it happened. Probably wise. Suffice to say, someone who vehemently disagreed with a political opinion of mine tried to get me fired from my day job. Tried very hard. And it had the desired effect: I censored myself a lot more. That person won. They limited my freedom of speech by making me afraid to speak. I’d say that’s a tool of the fascist, but that may or may not be libelous if I meant it.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I have also not blogged, even the banal stuff I promised because, well, Facebook is just too darn easy! Find a good article, hit “Share,” write a sentence or two: bam! Instant validation. When you can do that 20 times a day on various topics, why bother spending time in a long-form essay format.

But (coming back on topic) some issues and thoughts require careful consideration and discourse. And gun control is one of those topics.

Looking through my archives, it seems I’ve shared a few words on the topic before. Here’s most of the good ones:

I packed a lot of good facts and statistics in those posts, which is good since, today, I want to give more broad strokes. Not to say I want to avoid facts, but I want to avoid being too redundant.

Here’s my thesis statement right off: I’m pro gun, anti-gun culture. Pro gun control, anti-gun abolition.

These are not mutually exclusive opinions, despite what the more reactionary liberals would have you believe. In fact, usually whenever I state that I’m pro-gun and anti-extreme gun control, and support concealed carry, the reaction that more than half the time that comes from a reactionary liberal is:

Oh, so you think giving everyone guns would make us safer?!

I swear, the next time I see someone respond with that (and that’s a literal quote from one individual and nearly verbatim from others), I’ll ban/unfriend their rear. That is a textbook slippery slope, straw man logical fallacy. In no way have I, nor the NRA for that matter, nor any reasonable gun advocate I know, has ever suggested, or even implied, everyone should be given guns–or even that everyone should own a gun at all! In fact, most people probably shouldn’t.

I can’t speak for all gun ownership advocates, but I’m in favor of reasonable gun control. Meaning: yes, ban fully-automatic weapons. Ban assault rifles. Ban whatever can’t be reasonably used for hunting and home/self defense. In addition, I feel, everyone who owns a gun should have to take gun safety and usage courses, pass an exam, and re-certify every so many years, just as we do for driving. Also, mental health background checks should be considered, especially if there is a history of schizophrenia or anti-social personality disorders (sociopathy and psychopathy).

Now, can that position in any way be confused with: Let everyone have guns!!1!

Here’s the crux: Liberals tend to think the whole issue can be solved by banning guns. That somehow our culture will be more civil and less violent without guns. Just like how banning drugs has made people stop using drugs and dealers stop profiting off drugs. (That last was sarcastic, in case you didn’t notice.) But it’s not as simple as that.

Examples: England has outlawed almost all private gun ownership. Yet they have a terrible black market gun trade and high rates of gun-related crime. Meanwhile, Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership, but extremely low gun-crime. Why is this?

People hate this, conservatives more than liberals, but on this topic, liberals hate it as much as extreme conservatives: The solution is complicated. It comes down to culture.

Face it, America has a violent, arrogant, thrill-seeking, short-sighted, selfish, adolescent-like, near-sociopathic culture. It’s mirrored and reinforced in our entertainment, it’s validated by the corporatocracy which defines our values, it’s evident in our brief history, and it’s exported by our military empire.

Add to that, we have deplorable, embarrassing, social care and safety-net system: the worst insurance-care healthcare system of the civilized world, massive poverty for a western nation, we treat drug addiction like a crime instead of a disease and thus exacerbate drug-related crimes, terrible mental health screening and care–our social structure is abysmal, which is why people often turn to crime, violent crime at that. Countries like Switzerland and most European countries, actually abhor violent culture and entertainment, care about their social structure, have higher education rates and put a premium on education, and strive to make sure their populace is physically and mentally healthy and happy. England, unfortunately, aside from their national health service, has a culture far too similar to the U.S. (thanks Thatcher!) and so suffers from much of the same cultural ills.

What I’m saying, is the problem isn’t the guns, it’s the people. We could ban all guns in the U.S. outright, but that’s not going to change the culture. We would simply have an out of control black market gun trade, and an increase in gun violence just as illegal drugs lead to violence connected with its illegal trafficking.

I agree, we should make it harder for people to get guns that can do a lot of destruction in a short amount of time. But what we also need to do is stop making human game preserves, or as they officially are called: gun free zones. Because if someone is intent on doing gun violence, you think making some place a gun free zone is going to deter them?

What can deter people intent on doing mass violence is the threat of an armed populace.

Yeah, I just heard that aneurysm blow in dozens of liberals.

Again, I am in no way implying giving people guns. Read my paragraph above on what I believe people should have to do to be able to own a gun.

Concealed carry requirements, for example, not only require people to understand gun safety, but also when and where the use of armed protection or reaction is necessary. People who are responsible gun owners, who have legal concealed carry licenses, are people who tend to train often and respect the tool. The scenario of some wanton cross-fire shootout among civilians pretty much only exists in (our violent) movies. It just doesn’t happen in real life.

What does happen in real life, is responsible gun owners have stopped mass killings.

Here’s a site which this fellow (an anarcho-capitalist, ugh!) has researched mass shooting events across the country, sorted the ones in which the killers shot at will until stopped by police, and ones in which an armed civilian got involved. The result:

The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.3

The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.3.

[…] it makes perfect sense if you think about from inside the mind of a heroic civilian with a concealed carry permit. It goes something like this:

BANG!
“Holy crap! that guy shot that other guy.”
BANG!
“He’s just going to keep shooting people.”
BANG!

And the shooter goes down.

Quite a few cases went something like that. In fact, I found only one example of a shooter stopped by civilians who killed more than 3 people. Jared Loughner killed 6 people in Tucson, Arizona before he was tackled by two civilians. Maybe it’d have been less if one of those two men were armed.

Police react to shooting events as fast as they can, but unless there happens to be a few around the corner, it takes them as long as it takes a killer to empty three clips of ammo at least, to respond. Usually, as that site shows, mass shootings end when the killer is finished and commits suicide. But like he illustrates, an armed, trained civilian can react and stop a mass shooter in enough time to same many lives.

But the Aurora shooter had body armor! A civilian would have had no effect and possibly kill more people!

Perhaps. But we know two things, especially about Aurora: 1. no one confronted the shooter and a lot of people died and a lot more were wounded. 2. in other shootings in which the shooter was wearing body armor, the shooter stopped shooting at other people and focused on the civilian.

Example: The Mark Wilson response to David Hernandez Arroyo’s mass shooting. Arroyo had already killed two people and was about to kill his own son, when Wilson, a civilian, shot him. Arroyo, instead of shooting the unarmed son, turned on Wilson and chased him down instead. Wilson was, sadly, ultimately killed by Arroyo. But his action saved at least one life, taking the shooters attention until the police was able to adequately respond.

Also in Colorado, when church security guard Jeanne Assam took her personally owned concealed handgun and fired on a man intent on mass murder, the guy’s plans were instantly thwarted (he certainly didn’t expect armed resistance at a church!) and he killed himself (instead of doing so after killing many).

That site I linked above details many such instances in which an armed civilian turns what could have been a news-making mass shooting into a page 3 shooting event.

As for the Aurora, Colorado shooting, obviously we can’t know for sure what would have happened if there were an armed civilian or two in there. But here’s what I see would likely have been a worst-case scenario: Holmes would have started firing. Two, three, maybe five people get shot. The two poorly trained armed civilians pull their guns and fire, both hitting another two to four civilians (with concealed carry size handguns, most likely seriously wounding but possibly killing them). Holmes focuses on them long enough to kill them, and then continues. Instead of 12 dead and 60 injured, maybe 15 dead and 63 injured. Yes, every life is tragic! But is the final result that much worse?

More than likely, what would have happened: Holmes fires a few times. An adequately trained armed civilian realizes what’s going on and takes a kneeling position behind a row of chairs and fires back. Holmes stops shooting indiscriminately at fleeing people, and focuses on the shooter. He can’t see the shooter much better than the other way around, and has to try to locate and approach him. Meanwhile, more people are safely escaping without being shot at. A full minute or two passes while civilian and Holmes trade shots. Eventually, maybe Holmes kills the brave civilian (although, in nearly every single case but 2 of civilian opposition, the civilian is unharmed), but in that time, dozens of people were able to flee. Final result: maybe 4 dead and 12 injured. Still tragic, but significantly less so.

It’s also been shown that some shooters, when their plan goes south and realize there’s quick and unexpected opposition, flee instead….

Well, that’s my take. But what about the Second Amendment? Shouldn’t we be allowed to have AR-15s and assault rifles and high capacity clips and body armor to protect the republic from a corrupt government, like Jefferson and other Founding Fathers intended?

Well, at one time (one of those links above?) I would have possibly agreed. But when you really think about it, it’s far too late for that. No matter how many AR-15s the populace has, if the people wanted to revolt against an evil government, they would have as much chance against the U.S. military as an ant has against a tactical nuke. Gun hoarders and Idaho compound residents expecting to rise up against the government: yeah, give up the delusion. The only thing you’ll be any use in is if all technology stopped working and the world descended into medieval-like chaos, or Red Dawn comes true. And that ain’t bloody likely. No, if the government becomes so corrupt that we need to rise up, you better darn well hope the military is on our side, and that’s not going to happen. And if it does happen, the military coup will be swift.

That being said, it’s possible that the U.S. has avoided corrupt(er) and evil(er) governments thanks to the prophylactic threat of an armed populace. We can’t count the number of times something didn’t happen, so who knows how many times the Second Amendment actually prevented a fascist regime. (One can argue that that very threat has contributed to the plutocratic government’s more subtle corporatist military-industrial-complex takeover that influences our culture.)

But, water and bridges. As it is now, the Second Amendment just doesn’t matter any longer in the sense that guns are needed to protect liberty. The people vs. the standing military (something the Founding Fathers very much did not want) has already been terribly lost.

So, in conclusion: better (i.e.: smarter) gun control, and massive culture reformation are the only ways we’ll prevent gun crime.

CelticBear returning?

free speech?

Sadly, not as much as I’d like. I’m still very skittish after the incident that happened last autumn that prompted me to give up expressing my opinions publicly; and then, at work yesterday, I had to deal with someone who seems to be obsessed and has been harassing people here at work multiple time a day for weeks. Then there’s the guy from Montreal who’s been sending crazier and crazier death threats to skeptics and atheists around the world, and has begun being seen at skeptical events.

There are some real effed-up people out there, and I’m not too keen on making myself a bigger target.

So, if I start posting again on here, it’ll probably be mostly banal stuff. Yeah, I’m sorry to say, I give in to terrorist threats. That’s not to say that what I’ll post here might not be of interest — it will be to me. 🙂 And I’m really itching to post some thoughts on how culture is created and how it affects the way we think and believe, but I’ll probably keep it all at a higher, theory level and try to stay away from things that may trigger personal buttons of this-person-doesn’t-believe-the-same-things-I-do-so-I-must-fuck-with-their-life!

I keep thinking I’m an idiot and a fool for putting my thoughts and opinions out there for people to read; but then, that’s like blaming the rape victim for wearing a skirt and leaving the house. I’m not advocating violence, I’m not advocating revolt or rebellion, I’m not advocating hate, I’m not advocating irresponsible actions — if I’m advocating anything, it’s for people to think critically, skeptically, and outside your comfort zone. I express opinions and share uncommon info because I want to, primarily, to express myself, but also to give people a chance to look at the world they live in just a little bit differently. Do I deserve to be harassed and terrorized for that?

(comic by Nina Paley)

2011: Posting the first — and last-ish.

I’ve kept my resolutions for a whole day already! Wee, I’m on a roll!
I’ve deleted or hidden around 15 Facebook people/pages, 8 RSS feeds, and 6 podcast feeds. What I’ve kept are only media involving sci-fi, writing, literature, general philosophy, and technology news. That so means that this blog will probably go to sleep for the year, seeing how the general subject matter of CelticBear has been politics, religion, and related topics that I’m trying to minimize in my life right now. I do need to finish the last two posts in my Alpha Course analysis so that can be put to bed — but after that, this blog will likely be inactive for 2011.

In the meantime, I plan to do a lot more blogging of SF, writing, literature, reviews, and scholarly stuff. And for that, I’m using my blogs: GrogMonkey and Tragic Sans.
Right now they just mirror each other; I need to decide on how to separate their roles and make them unique. Shoulda done that before today.
Anyway, so there’s the update.

Have a good year!

Atheism Resource

It’s official, I am now a regular contributor to the new, up-and-coming blog site for atheism advocacy: Atheism Resource.

Their… er, I guess our tagline, is: “Big questions deserve big answers.” In that spirit, my first offering over there is a two-part essay on atheism and its role (or lack of) in determining ethics and meaning to life. Big enough for ya?

I end the essay with what I think is one of the best observations about appreciating life from the humanist perspective, by Paul Kurtz.

Well, go check the site out, it has some great contributors (me notwithstanding), including the incredible and impressively intelligent and well-read (if somewhat crass and crude) JT Eberhard. He’s embarrassingly young for being so enviably sharp and effective, and even lives in the same town as I do. While I will always be some curmudgeony blogger, I fully expect JT to become one of America’s foremost advocates for rational atheism. People will one day in the not-too-distant future be including Eberhard in the same breath as Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris.

Anyway, I hope I can add something of value, or at least interesting, to the discourse. T’would be cool for Atheism Resource to at least place around the likes of The Friendly Atheist and Debunking Christianity. (…whom we need to get plugged by on their sites, hint-hint, Adam. *grin*)

Hmm, maybe we can be looked at as the BoingBoing of atheism?

Bloggy update

In case I have anyone new watching the blog, especially coming for the Alpha Course reaction posts, I thought I’d give a quick update:

I’m currently working on the big-ole Weekend Retreat Alpha post. It was a 3-for-1 weekend of Nicky videos and some interesting group discussion — so look for that (and a regular weekly Alpha post) sometime during the evil spooky weekend.

I’m also working on a post about voting that may be heretical to some. That’ll be good for some laughs, and coming in a day or so.

And breaking from religion and politics (well, religion at least), I have a reaction to SF author extraordinare Charles Stross’ reaction to my beloved sub-genre of steampunk coming up.

Lots of goodies; stay tuned!

Quick update

Well, just a quick update from my iPhone (love this WordPress application for it, although sure limits my being able to post long posts).

I’m really going to miss being able to post during the day, and I can’t copy n paste on iPhone, so that limits the ability for me to react to articles or the like. I’m going to try to post in the evenings, but it’s difficult after work around making dinner and studying, before falling asleep on my books.

Hopefully later this week I’ll do a review of a new album from one of my favorite artists and maybe a book or two.

Anyway, just wanted to post a reminder I’m still around! Stay tuned. 🙂

New job; less blogging.

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago: “E-Media Specialist.” Pretty fun. I get to do all the computery stuff I love (Web development, graphic design, playing with different e-media applications) without the stuff I’ve gotten to hate (computer repair).

Unfortunately, it’s completely stopped my RSS/blog reading and writing. In my last job it was easy to just take a few minutes each day and read the latest newsfeeds and if inspired by something, spend 5 to 15 minutes as a break to write a blog. Well, that’s when I was in control of the network. Now I work at a place where the ‘net is monitored and my PC can even be VNC (remotely viewed) stealthily. So, no news/blog reading and no posting.

It’s annoying, but I’m not angry about it: it’s their job to have strict ‘net policies. In my opinion (and practice as Network Admin at the last job) though, if the work gets done and done well and on time–I didn’t care if an employee of mine (and I only had two) did some non-work stuff now and then. Hey, some people in the office went out to smoke every 20 minutes, I and my minion browsed nerdy Web sites. 🙂 The tough thing is I just don’t have any more time at home to do it than I do at work. As soon as I get home in the evenings it’s right to dinner making, then cleaning up, then an hour or so of homework before I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. This is the first moment I’ve had in a while to write–and I shouldn’t. I have an important presentation next week to work on, a paper due soon, and comprehensive exams questions to research and formulate. Ugh!

Well, I’m inspired to say something briefly in a moment on another subject. 🙂 Enjoy the babble.

Interesting conversations.

It’s pretty sad when I have so few good conversations on here that when I do I feel compelled to make a blog post about it. 🙂 I guess I actually need to link to my blog in my emails and message board postings and stuff more often…

Anyway, there’s a conversation in the comments for my post:
♦ On sexuality, feminism, and being a man, baby.
with Amy from the site Stands to Reason (as ironically named as “The Discovery Institute”, but she sure seems very nice and reasonable), that starts talking about sex and religion and ends (as usual for me) discussing the absurdity of religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Then over on Soujourner:
♦ Where Does ‘Ought’ Come From?
Mark calls naturalism’s claiming that there are “oughts,” that is, moral and ethical behavior, “a bunch of hogwash.”
So, I call him on it as he tries to deflect the issue into a false dilemma and complete and utter mischaracterization of the naturalist worldview. He’s comfortable attacking and mocking something he has no interest in actually learning anything about; but like most believers, ignores reasoned and rational challenges to their attacks. Ignores, moves the goalposts, or deflects. I will guarantee you that within 90 days he’s going to have another post attacking and mocking naturalism and he’s going to use the same misrepresentation and false understanding with no attempt to understand what he’s attacking.

Like how Ray Comfort still uses his “banana argument” to prove God’s existence and ridiculous drawings of duck-bunnies to ridicule evolution, even though for literally years he’s been shown how fallacious and absurd his arguments are in pure logic, not even with refutations with counter arguments or positions or evidence–his banana shtick is utter garbage from a purely logic point of view. His duck-bunny pictures are laughably…I’m sorry, stupid and gross misunderstandings of what evolution even claims to describe. But, he has no interest in changing or learning or understanding or reasoning. He’d rather go blithely on with his absurdities, thinking he’s got it all understood while people are literally laughing at his ridiculousness.

Even people who are supposed to be more educated and intelligent, like Michael Behe, ignore evidence that disprove their claims. Behe made challenges to evolution in his early books (books, not scientific journal articles or science symposium or conferences where real science debate happens). And then slews of response was generated with painfully detailed and evidence supported refutations of his claims. But not only has he subsequently ignored these refutations, but has the audacity to claim his challenges have been unmet by the scientific community!
You really have to ask yourself, do these people really exist in their own little worlds? Are they that deluded and honestly don’t see the evidence? Or do they see it, but choose to ignore? Which is worse? Delusion or willful dishonesty?

In Comfort’s case, I think he’s delusional. Behe, I’m not sure I can give him that much leeway.

iCoolness.

I happen to be writing this post on my knew iPhone! The Web browser is phenominal, and the virtual keyboard works great, even with my fat thumbs! (the auto-spellcheck is way better than Firefox,I have to admit).
Although, the lack of being able to block and copy text is annoying. But, the one huge advantage the iPhone has over the Blackberry Curve (the other phone i was seriously looking into) is the fact it’s software is completely upgradeable, meaning Apple (and soon even 3rd-parties) can add and change any functionality at any time.

Well as much fun as this is, typing long sections does get tiring. Time to go see what else this can do! (OK, the inability to copy textmakes adding links to the blog or images impossible. Oh well.)

The GrogMonkey lives! And pontificates.

The GrogMonkeyOK, so my 3rd blog is up and running now:

The GrogMonkey

Here’s the “About” page on the site:

This blog is designed to feature my work in English/Cultural Studies education.

I’m currently working on my Master’s Degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing. While I don’t plan, at the moment, to put any of my fiction up here, I do plan on publishing my non-fiction works–of which I’ve done more this last year and a half than I would have thought I’d have in me two years ago. After my M.A,, which should be finished in another year and a half, I plan on going on for my Ph.D. with a focus in posthuman fiction and cultural studies. (Over on another page I plan on profiling some of the people in the field that I’m modeling my career path on, such as Slavoj Žižek.)

I plan on submitting some of what I will be placing on this site to journals (both academic peer reviewed and otherwise), and some I wouldn’t normally want anyone to see–but there may be something to it that compels me to put it out there for critique, entertainment, or for some twisted sense of vanity. (Yeah, that’s probably the most likely reason.)

I encourage anyone to read what I’ve put out, comment, and even debate or argue some of the presented points with me. Some of what I’ve written and will write about I’m only scratching the surface of my understanding and would love to better my apprehension of the subjects in the crucible of debate (how’s that for some fancyshmancy grad student prose?)

While this blog is pretty esoteric and comments on general issues: tech, news, politics, etc., The GrogMonkey is going to be only for my scholarly work. Probably mostly reprints of papers, occasional posts on issues and events that deal directly with my studies and education. I anticipate that site will have even a smaller audience (than the 2 or 3 this one gets…) but that’s OK. I’m doing it mainly for my own benefit. (What that benefit is, I don’t quite know yet.)

At the moment there’s only one post up there. I have probably around 10 to 15 papers I can upload, but I don’t want to inundate the site just now–I’ll probably upload a file a week. If you’re interested, check it out.

As the world turns.

Been really busy lately, so I haven’t blooged much of late. In quick news, I’ve been having a discussion online regarding anarchism, socialism, and capitalism which I’ll share here later, and I’m thinking of applying for a job with MoveOn. Anyway…
I came across this blog the other day:
http://www.stephaniegunn.com/
an interesting blog in its own right, and so is her LiveJournal page.
But as I was looking at her site, I noticed the image of the forest at the top later in the afternoon and was pretty certain it was more daylight earlier in the day. I felt certain of it. (See past blog entries on how our brain plays tricks on us and our too often certainty is too often incorrect.) I was certain her top page image was changing lighting as the day went on. While I would later realize that wasn’t happing at all, I thought that was a really cool idea.

So I wrote a script into my blog that changes my top blog image throughout the day. Every 4 hours it gets lighter or darker depending on the time of day. It’s kind of subtle, but I think kind of cool.
But I really love the idea of doing it with an image instead of just some silly swash of color. Once I find the image I like, I’m going to get all Photoshoppy on it and made it change daylight throughout the day…and even seasons throughout the months! Oh that rocks. =)

Some bloggy stuff.

My blog tends to exist in this hazy middle-ground between pointless drivel and high-minded op-ed.
(Let’s be honest: it’s all drivel and there’s nothing here that can be confused with “high-minded.”)
What I mean is, nearly every time I post, it’s something that’s 500 words long and attempts to pontificate on some important subject, whether politics or religion or social awareness. I’ve been toying with the idea of having two blogs–one for the quasi-intellectual rants and one for just pointless personal stuff.
But, I realize, I have a lot of odd Internet service accounts all over the place. If I add one more Web 2.0 thingie, will it just get lost in the flotsam and jetsam of my e-interests? I think have about 5 online radio accounts and 10 unused free e-mail addresses (did I think I’d ever use liam@deism.org?) and have signed up on many profile pages but have never bothered to set up any info.

Here’s a few that I do actually pay some attention to:

  • Facebook profile
  • last.fm radio profile (I’ve added a last.fm widget up there on the side that shows what music I’ve been listening to. Kinda cool.)
  • MySpace I rarely check (I irked off this former co-worker who once asked me if I was on MySpace–I said, “No, I’m neither an emo teen nor a pedophile.”)

I know I have a Blogger account and LiveJournal, and some other accounts, and they can be pretty cool. Some interesting features, so long as you can get an ad-free account. But, nothing quite beats developing your own blog space with the help of a WordPress template and making whatever changes and adjustments you want by editing the scripting yourself.

So do I want to try to separate the blog into one where I try to only include those serious and important issues as I strive to become more journalistic and professional and critical in my writing, and another where I can randomly say “I’m listening to a lot of The Tea Party right now” or “boy ‘Rome’ was a good show,” or do I continue to put it all in one blog and deal with the random bouncing between trivial tripe and serious analysis?

I shall think on this.

Blog probs

Well, I just realized that on good ole Internet Explorer, my blog is horribly misaligned.
I’ve been using Opera and Firefox, so I haven’t realized until now.
So if you’re reading this in a terribly messed up layout, stay tuned as I fix it later today.
UPDATE: Well, I’ve been trying, but I simply can’t get the layout to look right in IE. It keeps wanting it to put the main text below the menu. Looks great in Firefox, though.
So, sorry to the two or three of you who read my blog. =)
I’ll try to get it fixed after I get back Sunday or Monday.

CSS Are Your Friend!

There was a time in which Cascading Style Sheets didn’t exist…and that was the age I learned HTML in. Circa 1995. It was all TABLE and FONT tags, baby!

Well, a few years ago I finally stopped using FONT tags and started using style sheets for all my font stuff at least. But I’ve been reticent to go all out. I’ve learned how to make border boxes, but I still use tables for all my positioning and widths.

Now this blog. Well, this blog software, WordPress. I’ve been using MoveableType for a few years and except for a few of my own manual changed, had used a downloaded template.
I’m still currently using a downloaded template with this new blog, but at its very core WordPress is so customizeable that I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get it “just right”. And that requires not only my more than mediocre knowledge of PHP *grin* but a crash-course in more advanced (read: “standard”) CSS’s.

For example. Blockquotes. If you’re reading this blog while I’m using the “borderlinechaos” theme, then you will see the blockquotes style like this:

All this text you are reading right now is in “blockquote”. It brings the margins in and separates the text from the main body of the blog.
The appearance of this blockquote is very different than what it originally looks like in this theme “off the shelf.”

I’ve gone into the CSS of the theme and added margins and a background and borders and padding to make it look “better” (according to me.)

(The big problem with this blog entry, is it’s very likely that within 30 minutes I may be using a different theme entirely. I’m trying first to learn what all I can DO with a theme, with what features I can add and create, for example, over there to the side with the various menus and lists. Then, I plan on finding a theme as close to what I want and then revamping it to what I want permanently. This borderlinechaos theme, if that’s what you’re seening now, is fun, but it’s temporary.)

Anyway, I’m having alot of fun playing with CSS. It’s a little daunting, like learning a new programming language (hey guess what? It IS! *g*) But it certainly does make doing large or comples visual changes a LOT easier!

Toss a Penguin Today?

This is a potential problem. I just discovered this post waiting for my approval…and I didn’t write it.
There may be scripts out there that spam blog posts…not just comments!
I’m going to have to see what settings can prevent this.
In the meantime, this really IS a cool site. =)

..:::YETISPORTS:::.. by chris hilgert // powered by edelweiss medienwerkstatt

OK, this site is way too much fun!
Beware the time wasting potential!

New Blog Software

Well, I’ve switched from MoveableType to WordPress as my blog software.
Nothing really against MoveableType…it was a fine piece of software for a couple of years, but the spam and comments issue has just gotten to be too much. I looked around and found WordPress appears to have the best comment solution.
It has a site registration feature so if a commenter is registered it will auto-accept their comments. Plus, it seems the templates are pretty heavily customizeable.

So, while I get things setteled around, just ignore all the weird changes you’ll see. =) Thanks!

Comments Closed…Again

I don’t know what happened, but over the last few days I’ve been SWAMPED with hundreds of spam comments a day. Oh yeah…I turned MT-Blacklist off. And I guess my sneaky moving the default Moveable Type comment form to a different page name isn’t good enough to defend against those clever spammers.
So, until I impliment a Turning Test component to the comments, they’re off for now. =(
I can be e-mailed at:

blog @ SPHAMISEVIL(take that part out) celticbear dAWt com

I figure spammers surely have tools now that can interpret spelled out “dot” and can take out remarks like “NOSPAM” that people use to mask their addresses from spam spiders. =)

Gimmie Gimmie

So I’m looking around at various Websites that I view daily, Web comics and whatnot, and I see “Donate” buttons here and there. And I thought, “Why not?”
I don’t contribute anything of value, nothing helpful or useful, even artistic or interesting, and only maybe 5 people have ever even looked at my blog.
But what if some misguided soul with too much disposable income were to come by and say “You know, he might post something slightly more interesting if he got a few cents for it.”

So, over on the right there, in the side-bar, there’s a PayPal “Donate” button for anyone who feels very charitable.

Do I feel deserving of donations? Nope. Sure don’t. But hey, Why not?
Of course a donation is not like a political contribution. If you do suddenly come down with psychosis and decide to donate something, and put a message “I’d like to see more nekkid girlies,” I will tank you for your contribution to my bandwidth and hosting fees and then direct you to Playboy.com.

Of course, if I do get the ocassional contribution to my bandwidth and hosting fees, I will be compelled to write more and more interesting things…just be warned that it may not be to your interest. =)

So, thanks in advance, and don’t laugh TOO hard. =)

Commenting Back, and Giving Back to the Opposition

Well, commenting is back on. Something weird happened with my MT-Blacklist causing it to reject EVERY comment, spam and legit.
So, I turned off Blacklist for now until I get it fixed.

Anyway. I feel bad that the only other blog out there I read is Vertias Center* and I’m constantly posting caustic vitriol over there in response to his posts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Mark who runs that blog is a great guy. Smart, friendly, generous, outgoing, a great father, someone who I had the fortune to be both a student under and a co-worker of. He’s curious and I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, even during times of stress. Although I bet I’ve really taken him to the edge of patience with some of my post comments. =)

I’m a pretty confrontational guy. Well, in writting at least. In person I think I’m kind of a meek geek and have a VERY hard time speaking my thoughts. So when I find something I feel passionately about, I will write passionately and confrontationally and often with a lot of bloated self-importance. And I’ve left a lot of that over on Vertias Center.

I say that to say this: If you want to read a well spoken and passionate advocate for the side of religious certainty, head on over there and support his blog. He puts a lot of work into finding sources and quotes and articles and whatnot to express his beliefs and opinions. If yo uagree, let him know and link his site to yours. If you disagree, be kinder than I have. =)

* I do also read Wil Wheaton’s blog although I don’t send comments. =)

————-
(ADDED A FEW HOURS LATER)

Well, for reasons as yet unknown, Veritas Center no longer exists. Which disappoints me. While we had (have…I mean, Mark is still alive and all *g*) very significant philisophical and theistic differences, I was glad for his opinions and insight.

While I take ownership of a certain amount of “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude and mentality, I’m certainly not a fascist who believes differing opinions should be repressed! On the contrary, I think every and all opinions should have an outlet! (Well, to be honest, there are SOME opinions I can conjure up that really probably shouldn’t, and believers in such opinions should probably be exiled from society if not outright eliminated for the sake of innocents….)

And so, I’m disappointed the fact Veritas Center is no more. R.I.P.