Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gun Thinkin’

I’ve been thinking a lot about guns lately…again. I want to own one. Or more. But why, I ask myself.

It’s no secret, I think, that I really love guns, the objects themselves, but despise and hate and dread the use of guns and what they do. Kind of a weird contradiction, I suppose.

Maybe it’s the Y-chromosome I carry, but I think guns are “cool.” I love the feel of a gun in the hand, the impression it’s weight gives indicating its powerful potential. This seemingly benign piece of machinery that’s capable with a small movement of a finger of creating death and destruction at a distance. There’s something very testosterone about that, if I may use that word as an adjective. I love gun-movies: “The Matrix,” John Woo movies (mostly his Hong Kong ones), and gun video games: “Soldier of Fortune,” “Battlefield: 1942”, etc. But I hate the real-life result of using guns. I loved “The Matrix,” but I think seeing “Elephant” (which is a realistic depiction of a Columbine-like event) would disturb the hell out of me for weeks. One is an obvious glorification and flashy, unreal fiction of gun use with obvious fictional characters, while the other is realistic and possible and reminds you of how guns are used in real life and what they really do.

So why do I want one. Is simply the desire to have one enough? What about self or family protection? No, I don’t go for that stance…at least I 95% don’t. There’s a very small part of me that actually believes one can defend themselves by being armed…and sometimes it works. But I can imagine a million ways being armed would lead to greater death and destruction, while any successful self/other defense using a gun would work only in a perfect situation…and how often does that happen? Let’s say you’re out at the bank or a store, and it/you gets robbed. If you comply and don’t have a gun, chances are excellent no one will get hurt and you’ll lose your wallet. If you pull a gun, suddenly the criminal is in a situation where they feel their life is threatened and their inclination to escalate the situation increases tremendously. Remember, someone who is capable and willing to rob people with a weapon is not going to see your pulling a gun as a fair and just leveling of the playing field and let it go–they’re going to return the threat with greater threat. Especially once you increased their own chance of getting shot or getting arrested. Don’t pull a gun, 90% chance no one gets hurt. Pull a gun, 90% someone’s getting shot. In my opinion.

Going back to my love of movies, I keep thinking of the scene in “Boogie Nights” in the donut shop. Guy robbing the place holding the clerk at gunpoint, customer draws a gun and shoots the robber, robber pulls the last pound-per-square-inch and shoots the clerk in the head before shooting the customer. End result: three dead or dying people including one innocent, blood and brain matter everywhere. Is that worth it?

Another interesting question I ask myself, would I now carry concealed? It’s legal in my state. No, I wouldn’t. However, if I wasn’t married and had a kid? Perhaps, but still doubtful. So my having a family changes my opinion. If I had a gun, would I keep it in a bedside drawer? With family, no way in hell! If I didn’t, perhaps. Which brings me to another topic: home defense.

There’s no twisting the data around, research shows without spin that more household members are killed in the home with legally owned guns than are intruders. By a far margin. That’s kids who get into their parents guns, family members shot by mistake during a real burglary or false alarm, and in the heat of an argument. With a child in the house, there’s no way I would ever have a real handgun not in locked box with a trigger lock and the ammo stored in a separately locked box. That’d be three different locks one would have to get past to use the gun, which make home protection kind of out of the question. At one time I was kind of a depressed person, I wouldn’t have trusted even myself with a gun in the house, but now I’m a pretty happy person so that’s not an issue. But children in the house is.

OK, coolness factor way up there, self-protection no, and home protection no. 2nd Amendment right expression? yes, to some degree.

The 2nd Amendment in our Bill of Rights states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Now to take that statement as saying everyone has the right to own whatever guns they want is ridiculous. First of all, the only guns that were around during the late 18th century were muskets and early versions of rifles. Pistols were still muzzle loaded flintlocks. They, our Founding Fathers, never conceived of a gun that was capable of firing 10 rounds or armor piercing bullets a second over half a mile with pinpoint accuracy. Guns back then were used for war, protection, and food. People depended on their guns to live, and taking away the right to own a firearm was a terrible and dictatorial way of keeping a people subservient to your rule, and prevented them from forcing you out of power. Nowadays, a bare fraction of the guns made are used for self-sustaining hunting, and we have the best armed military in the world to protect us. The only legitimate reason for someone to own a gun nowadays, to rise up against a corrupt government, is pointless. The Founding Fathers gave the people the right to change their government by voting, and baring that, allowed us the tools to revolt as they themselves did against King George. Back then, it was a LOT easier for a populace to out a government. Nowadays, try to imagine a civil revolt against the government in the US? Impossible. Even is enough people could be made to care enough to do anything, you couldn’t get enough people to actually DO anything to risk their comfortable television watching and latte drinking by taking up arms against the government. A few hundred untrained civilians with basic rifles and firearms against several thousand trained military with amazing weaponry. And we no longer need a militia to protect our land. No other military is a threat to us that the regular military can’t handle. And as for terrorism, regular armed citizens can’t protect themselves from a secretly released biochemical or a hijacked airplane made into a missile. So, there really is no practical reason these days for the 2nd Amendment.

However, there is a huge symbolic need to support the 2nd Amendment, and I would never want to see it repealed from the Bill of Rights. The idea of the citizenry given the right to keep firearms is as symbolic to the existence of this country as is the flag. It’s a symbol of democracy, to some extent. Countries ruled by dictators, ownership of weapons is one of the first things to be severely restricted. One might say that since we see examples of dictatorships that refuse its citizens to keep guns all around us, it can still happen to us. I contend that the US has evolved WELL past the barbaric political environments we see in the Middle East and African nations. We’ll be controlled by megacorps before we’re controlled by the government. Unless two-thirds of the population had the same M-16’s and CAR-15’s and SAW’s grenades and Abrahm’s tanks as the government has, there’s no way we can use guns to protect ourselves from our government. Unless the military fights for us in a quop.

Perhaps on day several thousand years in the future, the human species will have evolved beyond the need to use guns for anything and the 2nd Amendment will be seen by all as ridiculous and completely unnecessary in either a practical or symbolic sense. But not in the near future.

Do I see my own ownership of a gun as a patriotic issue? Well, not so much as my keeping one of my rights alive. I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the work of our Founding Fathers and the effort that was made to make us an independent country, a democratic republic. I have no hope of rebelling against corrupt politicians through force, but so long as I own a gun and can fight politically to keep it, then I know we’re still living in the free country. And the day that I, as a non-felony committing citizen, am forced to turn over my gun, I’ll know America is dead.

Back to the coolness factor. =) Aside from the sensationalistic coolness given guns by movies, their history, to me, is also fascinating. I love watching History Channel shows on the history of guns, and how a particular new weapon helped turn the tide of a battle, affecting the war, changing the course of nations. I would love to be able to collect things like an 8mm German Lugar used in WWII, an original 1873 Peacemaker revolver, a 1911 US Army semi-auto, etc. “Coolness” is kind of a crass word for this. In honesty, I admit to thinking guns are cool, but that feeling is mainly reserved to movie gun-play. In real-life, I have respect for guns. I have an appreciation for them both in appearance and their power.

For example, take a look at this Taurus PT911 9mm http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=911BGR&category=Pistol and tell me this isn’t a beautiful gun! The rosewood grips, the gold against the black, this is something I’d have in the middle of my display case. Probably would never fire it.

I have a couple of Airsoft replicas, they look almost exactly like the real pistols even down to the trade marks, but they shoot plastic BB’s at around 200 feet per second. These are things are put my “coolness” factor into. I can hold one in my hand and say with childlike glee “COOL!” and have fun with it, because it’s nothing more than a glorified toy. I’ve been shot in the forehead with one from 20 feet and it left a bruise. It didn’t even break the skin. Oh, they can take out an eye, no doubt! So I have a respect for them as well (ask my brother, who I constantly annoy by getting on his case for treating his Airsoft with less than respect.) But a real gun, having a history on the development of Western civilization as well as being able to end a life with a thoughtless action, I would hold in my hand with respectful awe. One day, when my daughter is older than say 16, I hope to have a few pistols, and at that time I think I could safely lock them in a glass front cabinet. I’d have pieces that I knew the history of, I’d know if they were used in a war, if they had original parts. I’d enjoy their deadly beauty.

Kids and guns. The fewer kids with guns the better. =) Seriously, though, because of the “coolness factor” movies and video games have given guns, we have developed a very dangerous gun culture. Until the 1960’s kids were brought up with a healthy respect for guns. But the fact that kids were playing with toy guns since the 1st Hopalong Cassidy movie shows that it’s very easy to play on the Y-chromosome’s love for guns. And it’s gotten worse since then. At least in the 30’s through 60’s those same kids who played gangster and cowboys-n-indians were taught by their fathers how to respect the real thing. How to treat the real thing carefully and as a tool. Kids knew the difference between the toy and the real thing. Nowadays the only contact kids have with guns are movies and video games. They think a gun safety course is the tutorial in the videogame. I really do believe the inundation with violent media IN GENERAL creates people who are a little disattached from reality, when the violence is not tempered with respect and knowledge. At least the bleeding-heart liberal parents of the 60’s and 70’s who were anti-guns discussed them at all! Nowadays parents would rather just ignore the issue altogether and forget they saw that adult rating on the videogame they bought for their kid. I say in general, because I realize there are exceptions, and I believe I’m one of them. I can drool over and get giddy watching “The Matrix” and absolutely fall in love with the battle scene at the bottom of the office building, and envision myself in all black wielding dual Scorpion machine pistols. I love shooting at my brother and friends with my replica SIG Sauer P228 Airsoft gun. But I’m sincere that I will never let a gun in my house while my daughter is under about 16 without it being trigger locked, locked in a box, and the ammo separate. And all of it hidden away. If I’m on a range with someone with real guns, and that muzzle were to point anywhere than downrange, I know I’d get pissed off big time at that person for jeopardizing my life. I’m not stupid enough to think that carrying a gun around will keep me safer, and would in fact increase my chances of being killed 10-fold. I didn’t have a dad to raise me with that respect for real guns and knowledge of safety, I partly learned it from being smart enough to know it takes a ridiculously small amount of effort to pull a trigger that will cause a piece of lead with enough force to explode a skull to take someone I care about away from me forever. I take that somewhat back: I had a stepdad you bought me my first BB gun, and took me out shooting once. But Boy Scouts taught me more about respect for guns than he did.

What I would like to do, and I think is the smart thing to do, is teach my daughter respect for guns. Fortunately she doesn’t have the Y-chromosome which makes the job that much easier. Chances are good she’d have no interest in guns anyway, and would never go looking in my or a friend’s parents’ possessions for one. But, she may have a friend who does, and might be in a situation where someone has a gun around her. I want her to be able to know what’s unsafe and irresponsible behavior and avoid it. Also, who knows, having a dad who loves violent computer and role-playing games, movies, and has dreams of being in the FBI/CIA/NSA, she might grow up with an interest in guns. I want her to be smart about it. Fear isn’t smart. Fear causes poor judgement and confusion. If you can intelligently handle a gun, know what they can and can’t do, and what they’re capable of, you can be in more control than if you were simply afraid.

If you’re afraid and not knowledgeable, you can be deceived and manipulated! That’s a good rule for life!

Anyway, I’d like to be able to own a gun, take my wife and daughter to the range, teach them how to handle, load, unload, and clean a gun. Know how to check if one is in a safe condition, and know why you can’t trust any gun 100%. And how to fire one.

So, here are a few of my favorites. =)

SIG Pro SP2009 9mm:
http://www.sigarms.com/products/sigpro-models.asp?product_id=36

SIG P245 .45 ACP:
http://www.sigarms.com/products/classiccompactsize-models.asp?product_id=38

SIG P239 9mm:
http://www.sigarms.com/products/classicpersonalsize-models.asp?product_id=43

Taurus 938B .380 ACP:
http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=938B&category=Pistol

Taurus 138B .380 ACP “Millennium”: (I have an Airsoft replica of this one)
http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=138B&category=Pistol

and of course
Taurus PT911 9mm:
http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?model=911BGR&category=Pistol

TOOLS TO FIGHT SPAM!

I think I may have already mentioned the godsend that is MT-Blacklist, an add-on to Moveable Type Blog programs which help prevent spam comments. So far it’s worked EXCELENTLY!

Now, I’ve discovered something else to fight spam in E-mail: SpamArrest.
It’s a program that filters your mail, and requires senders to send a one-time-only verification that they’re a real person before it sends their e-mails on to you.
It’s easy for the sender: the 1st time they send an e-mail to you while you’re using SpamAssassin, they get a reply asking them to click a link. If they do, they’re asked to type in a word and then they’re forever verified to send you e-mail.

The management is great, you can remove senders, manually add senders, add mailing lists, view your blocked e-mail….

I had a few reservations at first:

1. I use a lot of e-mail addresses, primarily to help stop spam or at least track back where the spammers got X e-mail address.
2. I’m on a LOT of e-mail listserves.

OK, 2 reservations. Here’s how they worked out:
1. I set up a forward to forward my other e-mail addresses to the one e-mail address I signed up SpamArrest with.
2. I pre-authorized as many listserves I could remember, then, watching my blocked e-mails, I grabbed and added any listserves that got caught.

Easy.
It does take a little time and attention at first, wayching to listserves and mailing lists that I want to keep receiving mail from…but I figure once I get them all (various Yahoo Groups, Food Network, Sci-Fi channel, Writer’s Weekly, etc etc) then there’s nearly no maintenance at all!
I get literally no spam!
That’s a decrease from over 400 spam a day, to maybe 1 or 2 that get through! If that!

OK, so it IS a pay service…but for less than $3 a month! That’s WAY worth not getting any spam!
If you’re someone that only gets a couple of spam a day anyway, OK, it may not be worth it to you. But if you get handfull or more, check it out! You get a free month.

Anyway, head to http://spamarrest.com/affl?2021905 to check it out, if you would. =)

Proof vs. Faith: Biblical Discussion redux

Again I direct your attention to the blog entry: http://blog.celticbear.com/archives/000053.html . Good discussion. Aeron (cool name, by the way,) makes some very good points and well stated as well. I appreciate discussions (OK, it’s almost a debate really, but a really friendly one) with educated, intelligent people who show respect. =)

Anyway, something that was brought up earlier just struck me again this morning in that fuzzy realm between sleep and “Daddy, wake up!” The statement Jesus makes “I AM” which translates basically from Hebrew/Aramaic to “I am God”. Here in one gospel he says he is God incarnate, yet in a couple other gospels he’s in the Garden of Gesthemine (sp) praying TO God, asking Him to “take this cup from me”. He knows what’s going to happen, has doubt and fear and asks God to not allow him to be sacrificed. Now, if he were God incarnate, why would he pray to himself and ask a favor?

And that points up my original…point I was originally trying to make. The Bible doesn’t necessarily make sense, is not logical, contains contradictions and fallacies, and inaccuracies. BUT WAIT! Before you scoff at this point, a point in which any good atheist and haughty pagan would continue with “…and thus there is no God” or somesuch, allow me to say it does not prove anything! And that’s the point!

What would happen to God’s greatest gift to humanity: Free will (OK, one could argue the greatest give is the capability to love, or the sacrifice of Jesus, but just go with me here,) what would happen if there were undeniable proof in the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus? Undeniable to EVERYBODY not just the faithful or those who want to believe? What purpose would that serve? What would happen to faith, to spirituality? To the fatalism and free will?

To take a more structured, logical point of view: The Bible is not false, the expectations we have of it our false!
We’re making the mistake of looking at the Bible from a 20th/21st century mindset where most Americans at least have heard of the scientific method, are expected to look at things as 1+1=2, and that everything must have a reason and make sense. This is a VERY new concept. I would say as new as the idea of public education, circa 1860-ish. For the last 12,000 years of recorded human civilization up until 100-200 years ago, the idea of accurate recording of historical events objectively wasn’t even a consideration. (With some exceptions, granted, like recording of births or Egyptian record keeping of harvests. What I mean is not the recording of daily numbers like that but of grand events and the stories of occurrences and people’s lives.) The authors of the Bible’s New Testament wrote “gospels”, not “factual accounts” but “stories” of Jesus. Their intent was NOT to deceive or tell lies!! (No, The Church starting around 300AD on until Vatican II would do that just fine, thank you.) But to tell people the “good news” to the masses, and write down the foundation of this growing Jewish sect.

We in the modern ages think everything must be accurate, and anything written down must be “true”. Isn’t it ironic that we demand that the written foundation of our “faith” must contain “accurate proof”??

An example of how new a concept this is can be seen in the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages. No, these aren’t who-dunnits. Mystery Plays were little plays performed during religious holidays that depicted some event from the Bible. The examples we have of Mystery Plays show a great amount of anachronism. Of merging 1st century AD with circa 12th century AD. References to places and times and people of those times alongside people from the Bible, and the like. And it wasn’t done for comedic effect, it was because to the people of the Middle Ages, the time of the Bible and the exactitude wasn’t a concern. They believed in the immediacy of the Bible within their lives and didn’t care that it all took place 11 centuries earlier. They didn’t pour over the text looking for contradictions and biases, they simply accepted. (Of course, The Church also demanded that the ordinary person could only experience the text through the priests and weren’t ALLOWED to own a Bible, but the point remains.)

Look, I don’t want to sound harsh, but let’s accept it: The Bible is not historically accurate. It says the universe was created in 6 days only 16,000 years ago or something like that, if you count back the genealogy. We KNOW that the universe was created in a Big Bang some 10 billion years ago. We KNOW dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. We KNOW modern man evolved from cro-magnons (although we know that we aren’t descendant from Neanderthal.) We KNOW that the ark of Noah could not have repopulated the earth. etc etc.

Now as a faithful person you can do two things: either keep arguing against it and trying to come up with crazy theories that hold no water to try to prove the Bible as historically and scientifically accurate, or, accept the inaccuracies and Not Care.
What?! Not care?! How can you say that?! Seriously. Is your (and I mean the general “you”, not anyone specific *g*) if your faith so weak and so superficial that you rely on the futile and energy consuming task of proving the Bible to be without error? Can’t your faith be based on, wait for it…faith?! On your heart, on your gut, on what God speaks to you, and not what some handful of human men wrote down on paper thousands of years ago? This is the same text that if we are to believe and follow all of it literally, we need to do things like stone people, abort children conceived in adultery, treat women as stock and property, sacrifice animals (this is all Old Test’ stuffy, by the way.)
Or, do we just accept it and say “Yes, why thank you for pointing it out that the Bible is not scientifically accurate, and you know what? I don’t care. (Big sincere smile.) I Believe not because of a mouldy book but because God is in my heart.” Imagine what the reaction of an atheist or a haughty pagan would be to that? How can you argue against faith? If you hold your beliefs solely or even mostly to the Bible, you will be in for a lifetime of arguments, debate, trying to prove you’re right and the other person’s wrong. Is that really what you want to base your faith around? Is that the example you want to set for others? Is that how you think a faithful person should behave?

Isn’t it more faithful to be certain of what’s in your heart and what your spirit tells you, and just smile and shrug when some blowhard tries to tell you the Bible is “wrong”?

Some people, people likely who can’t grasp the concept of being both skeptical and faithful, are shaking their heads. “He starts out by saying he doesn’t believe in the Bible, but he believes in God, he doesn’t believe in Salvation, but he believes in The Spirit…” (sound of head exploding.) Maybe I need to just follow my own advice and smile and shrug. =)

Biblical Discussion: Truth or the path to Truth

Staring as comments to one of my past posts, a discussion has sprung up.
(Yeah! Someone reads the blog! glee)
http://blog.celticbear.com/archives/000053.html

Check it out; it’s interesting (LOL and not just because I’m writing half of it.) It’s a rousing, thought provoking discussion, I think. =)

Oh, you may want to copy-n-paste it into a word editor and doublespace it for easier reading. =)

Spammers Must Die…Painfully!

So I wake up this morning to find my Inbox containing a few dozen messages alerting me to comments submitted on my blogs. Yeah, a few dozen.
So I check it out and they’re all spam. Some really brilliant fellow used some pre-made script to spam my blog with some advertisement for generic viagra.
So I took the time to individually delete every message…and I’d do it again even if there are a million of them. Of course I will be checking to see if there’s some nice Moveable Type add-on that can either delete that kind of thing for me or prevent it in the 1st place….

So the Web site provided, generic-viagra-i.us and the resolution of the IP address used (209.49.85.10 –> v.ioip.com) have the following registrar info:

generic-viagra-i.us:
Kim
24 Finchley Road
London 10024 United Kingdom
Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Domain Name: GENERIC-VIAGRA-I.US
Created on: 12-Aug-03
Expires on: 11-Aug-04
Last Updated on: 23-Oct-03
Administrative Contact: Kim, Jay e-webmaster@support24x7.biz
24 Finchley Road
London 10024 United Kingdom 44-207-339756
Technical Contact: Kim, Jay e-webmaster@support24x7.biz
24 Finchley Road London 10024 United Kingdom 44-207-339756 Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.NETWORKSPRO.NET NS3.NETWORKSPRO.NET

ioip.com:
The Wane Corporation t/a WaneCorp (IOIP2-DOM)
7505 Democracy Blvd – Suite A-124
Bethesda, MD 20817 US
Domain Name: IOIP.COM
Administrative Contact, Technical Contact: Wane, AbdoulAziz Boubacar (ABW11) abdoul@AFRIQUENET.COM The Wane Corporation (WaneCorp) 18 Loganwood Ct North Bethesda, MD 20852-3413 US 301-881-3158 fax: 301-881-3158
Record expires on 29-Sep-2005.
Record created on 29-Sep-1998.
Database last updated on 23-Jan-2004 10:47:27 EST.
Domain servers in listed order: NS.NETPOW.COM 208.185.189.138 NS2.NETPOW.COM 208.185.189.143 NS.IOIP.COM 209.49.85.20 NS2.IOIP.COM 209.49.85.21

Some interesting info there indeed, that I’m sure some enterprising person who is interested in justice would find…interesting.

Anyway, I’m a gentle fellow, really. I can’t even hunt animals. I’m not at all against hunting! Great for other people, but I couldn’t bear to look down the sights of a gun at an animal and intend to kill it.
Spammers, however…I can imagine doing wonderfully interesting (there’s that word again) things to them involving wire snips, cutting torch, hammer and nails, and a Dremmel. And given the opportunity….

On a productive note, anyone who runs a mail server, I HIGHLY recommend SpamAssassin! It’s a fantastic server-side spam detector with a lot of adjustable features. I found the sweetspot myself on my server where I get rid of about 90% of the spam, and in several months only 1 non-spam mail by accident with it.

Now to search for some anti-spam measures for Moveable Type blogs….

EDIT: Ok, it’s a couple hours later, and I’ve upgraded my MT from 2.64 to 2.661, AND have found a VERY nice too called MT-Blacklist which blocks spam attempts on the blog! =) Well, we’ll see how it works I guess. =)

Politics: Regret and Confidence

Been a long time since I’ve blogged. Been busy working on finding a day job, working on Web projects, and running a family. =)

Anyway, two topics today: More recent thoughts on Bush and the Iraq war, and current Presidential hopefuls.

First, if you’ve read my early blogs, and perhaps my article on the original celticbear.com front page, I very much supported the war in Iraq. Would have preferred complete UN agreement, but based on what we knew about Hussain and what we were being told about WMD, I believed war no matter what to get rid of that dictatorship was necessary.
Well, I still do. We know more now than we did before of what murderous, sociopathic, evil men Hussain and his two sons were. They needed to go before their murder of innocent people reached hundreds of thousands instead of tens of thousands.
But, if I hated the Bush administration before, now in my opinion they’re only a step above Hussain. (OK, that’s exaggeration: I mean, Hussain murdered dozens of men with his own hands when he was a hired killer for the Iraq organized crime, and even as leader enjoyed getting his own hands dirty with the torture and killing of innocent people. Bush is a complete @$$hole, and may be responsible for the needless death of hundreds of soldiers, but that still doesn’t quite match Hussain’s bloodletting.)
Anyway, part of my being so adamant about going to war to get rid of Hussain had been based on the “evidence” of mobile chemical labs, purchasing of uranium, stockpiles of anthrax and nerve toxins…. Iraq DID at one time have all of the above and has used horrible chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds as well as Iraqis themselves, but they didn’t have anything at the time we went in. The Iraqi’s are almost as obsessive about record keeping as the Nazi’s were, so on the one hand we have mountains of proof that the Hussain regime is responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity since the Ton Ton Lacoute (sp) and maybe even the SS themselves…but we also know without doubt they had no WMD. So while Hussain and his sons needed to get arrested/killed and the Iraqi people need a new government representative of themselves, I feel betrayed, even by an administration I hated beforehand, for having lied to me about something so incredibly large and important.
We needed to have toppled the Iraqi government, yes, and with military force, yes. A decade of UN pleading and sanctions had done nothing to change the Iraqi government, and so as the UN’s police force we’re obligated to handle things with force when reason doesn’t work…but it needed to be done properly and not as what it ended up being: Bush’s revenge and a mega-corp opportunity for lucrative contracts. It sickens me. And the idea that we’re continuing to try to control the rebels nearly on our own. As long as we’re still over there, there will still be bombings and terrorism. We need to get the heck out of there and pass off the responsibilities for rebuilding Iraq to other UN members.

That was all ranting, so I apologize for the probably lack of clarity of writing.

I’m not a Democrat, I’m a Libertarian. But since the Libertarian Party in general is too doped up to get going on a Libertarian nominee, I’m going with the best non-Bush candidate. No way I’m going to “waste my vote” this year by voting on a 3rd party nominee, I’m voting Democrat no matter if it’s Kerry or Dean or Charlie Brown.
Bush and his megalomaniacal, arrogant, self-righteous, Religious Reich affiliated, blind to everything but big business, lying @$$ needs to get out of the White House ASAP. Hear the State of the Union speech? He claimed “jobs are up!” Yeah the worst unemployment since the Great Depression has indeed improved over the year…because thousands of people have stopped trying to find work and have dropped off the rolls and no longer being counted as unemployed…although they didn’t find a job. He claimed the “tax relief you passed is working.” Huh, funny, the middle and lower class are worse off than before…oh, but corporate CEO and administrative positions have gotten higher average pay over the last year! The tax breaks the rich and corporations have are working a LOT better for them. Oh and he claimed the “No Child Left Behind” initiative is going strong. For an intensive care patient, perhaps. Schools across the country have had large cuts in funding, his own initiative he gave only 10% of the funds he promised. All he simply did was require more testing, more regulation and thus more money needing to be required yet schools and teachers are getting less then they were before Bush. Brilliant.

Anyway, I’m supporting Kerry. In addition to being a decorated war veteran (Silver Star, Bronze Star, THREE Purple Hearts, and thus more believable when he says he’ll support the military as opposed to Bush’s saying HE does and yet turns around and gets rid of medical benefits for reservists and cuts benefits for active servicemen,) he doesn’t seem like a career politician like Dean for example. Dean’s a politician through and through, and not a bright one either. He’s constantly having to take back something he said in the past or defend something he said more recently that was simply meant to gain support. All he says seems to be empty sentiments, changing depending on what group he’s talking to. Kerry is a Senator that voted to give Bush the ability to go to war if necessary, not expecting the power to be so abused like it was. Kerry has convictions and he seems to stand by them.

OK, I’ve vented enough tonight. Gotta get some work done. Later.

Biased Gamer Hatred in the Media

Yeah, I haven’t had much opportunity to post.
Maybe during the holiday season I haven’t been getting riled up enough about anything to bother venting.
Until today.
Penny-Arcade’s posting today made me 1st angry then very annoyed (not at Penny-Arcade, but regarding the subjects of the posting)
http://www.penny-arcade.com/news.php3?date=2004-01-02
When you get to the paragraph regarding “Child’s Play”, they’re refering to the toy donation project they organized:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/childsplay/

To Heck in a Handbasket

Odd, I have more time on my hands right now and I haven’t had time to blog lately.

Anyway, just thought I’d present some topics of angst and anger, for no other reason than to vent:
Lawyer trying to do good, murdered.
Anyone who knows me knows I think lawyers are the scum of the earth–but that’s an unfair catch-all. There are a few, like Jonathan Luna whose goal it was to prosecute drug dealers and molesters and get some of the scum off the streets…and he ends up tortured and murdered. 38 years old, wife and two kids.

Scum let back out on streets
Meanwhile, the guy who kidnapped the North Dakota student Dru Sjodin was convicted of kidnapping and rape three times, was released after 23 years in prison, and deemed no longer a threat. Only weeks after his release he does it again, and possibly added murder to his list. He wasn’t even being watched after his release. Possibly the only reason they caught him as quickly as they did is because a victim of his now living on the West Coast called the police saying this sounded like the guy’s M.O. and he’d been released in that area recently.
I believe even more vehemently that serial rapists as well pedophiles and serial murderers (by serial, I mean more than one,) should be at best exiled to their own island if not put to death. There’s no cure for the deviant disorders that cause people to want to rape or molest or murder sociopathically. It’s part of who they are, and that makes them unfit to live in society. I say, two strikes, and you’re dead. No long appeals, no living off taxpayer money for years, just a .50 cent bullet to the head and dumped in a mass grave or cremated if your family doesn’t claim you and pay for a burial.
No, better yet, permanent exile to that island where they’re forced for the rest of their lives to manufacture goods for society’s use. Then, if it starts to get too full, start killing some off.
You might think it’s ironic that I advocate the concinceless killing of people who are concinceless killers and rapists. To me, they’re not human but predatory animals that must be gotten rid of for the protection of a society, pure and simple.

Video games train to kill??
First it was crazy jazz music, then rock and roll music, then Dungeons and Dragons, and now video games. There will always be some scapegoat for a) sociopathic kids or b) lack of proper ethics instilled by parents, or a mixture of both. Look, I LOVE violent movies and video games, and I listen to Rammstein and some Marilyn Manson (some of it’s not worth listening to,) and guess what, I’m not a vilolent person. (I can actually hear alll the eyeballs widening and rereading the above section on advocating killing murderers and rapists.)
Hey, I’m all about society killing the people who kill and prey on society, but I hate violence personally. In real life that is. I’ve seen countless violent images in movies and perpetrated countless violent actions in video games, but I still get sick to my stomach when I see the video of Kennedy’s assassination. I still get emotionally flumoxed when I see some news story on some innocent person who’s killed in real-life. I still remember watching a Dateline years ago that showed a police cruiser’s dash-cam as he chased a speeding reckless driver out of town and down a dark road, veering out of control and hitting another car…and knowing in that car was an innocent bystander college student with a bright future, instantly and horribly killed. I teared up.
Years and years of playing role-playing games, loving movies like Matrix and playing gory video games like Soldier of Fortune, and I’m not at all desensitized to violence. Neither is my brother, and neither is pretty much anyone else I know.
There was a study recently that showed more than 80% of people under 30 in prison for violent crimes, never went to movies or spent any significant amount of time playing video games. So as far as I’m concered, this blaming video games for acting out violence is bulls–t. Pure and simple.

We’re living in an age where parents aren’t raising their kids. They expect the schools to do it, they expect the media to do it, they expect everyone except themselves to raise their kids, and blame anyone and anything else when their amoral kid does something like shoot at cars on a freeway. We’re living in a culture of blaming other people, whether it’s for our mass obesity or spilling hot coffee on our laps or dumda– stupid behavior. We’re being convinced and raised that nothing is our own fault, it’s got to be someone else’s.

Take responsibility, people. You do something wrong or stupid, you own up to it and pay the cost. That’s ethics. That’s morality. If nothing else it’s good karma.
Even if you’re just living an ordinary life, take responsibility for it. You want something different in your life? Make it happen. Don’t wait for it to be brought to you, or for it to just “happen.” It’s not. You make your own path in life, follow it.

Kennedy Conspiracy Update

It’s been a few days, so some stuff has been forgotten.
But after writting the previous entry regarding JFK’s assassination, I watched some more TV. =)
And caught a couple of more recent programs…like, THIS year, that does some more investigation to prove/disprove some points:

1. Recent, exacting examination of the Zapruder film has allowed for pinpointing the exact frame the “Magic Bullet” was shot. The position of Kennedy and the Governer at that instant makes the the path of the bullet from the window to Kennedy’s neck to the Governor’s back, chest, wrist, and left thigh a nearly straight shot. No odd bends in the air or weird paths. It chages trajectory only slightly after shattering the Govenor’s rib before hitting his wrist and thigh. One single shot–none from the grassy knoll.

2. Extremely state of the art computerized sound analysis of the audio tape from the Police radio that supposedly has 4 shots recorded, has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to have been recorded a couple of minutes after the shooting, and the so called “shot” sounds are random noise patterns.

3. (This one even *I* knew as common logic.) A ballistic’s expert shot at human skulls filled with animal tissue and coated in white powder at the same distance and angle as Oswald, same ammo and rifle. When shot from the rear, the kinetic energy is released at the exit of the bullet exploding the side of his head out blowing him back and to the left. Every single test held this out, proving the fatal shot came from the rear. Any other angle would have not exploded out that side of his head and would have gone through to the left side of his head, such as if it came from the grassy knoll.

Yes, science has once again disproven human fantasy. Now, that’s not to say there WASN’T a conspiracy! After all, there’s still the issue of the bullet would in the conrete, Ruby’s connection to the Mob and the CIA’s connection to the Mob, Oswald’s connection to the CIA….

Kennedy Conspiracy? Maybe…

I’ve said it before: I love conspiracy theories, but I’m not a believer. I believe there are many sentient life forms in the universe, but not only do I not believe the government is hiding any evidence but I don’t believe we’re even being visited by aliens. I believe we did land on the moon in 1969 and since, and while the “evidence” that the government faked the landing is interesting, it’s also completely unfounded and ridiculous.

However, there are some conspiracies that are real and documented, or even admitted to by the government: The CIA involved in drug trafficking in the U.S., the military doing radiation testing on unsuspecting citizens, enlisting the Mafia to aid in attempts to kill Castro, etc.

I’ve always been on the fence about the Kennedy assassination: A conspiracy theory is interesting but, something THAT big being kept secret? It’s just people’s imagination getting carried away. After all, at least two different non-government related CSI and 3-D computer modeling investigations have confirmed that it’s possible for 3 shots in 7 seconds to come from that window in the Book Depository.

But…this weekend I’ve learned some things that’s hard to ignore. And makes you consider, if it’s true, then it’s NOT secret! The conspiracy IS revealed, people ARE talking…or have been killed. Here’s some of those things (oh don’t worry, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate in a minute and try to refute them myself):

1. Over 50 people in the area claim they heard a shot from the grassy knoll. That’s where most people in the area thought the shots came from, yet, the police immediate (within 90 seconds) under the direction of the Secret Service converged on the Book Depository.
2. One of the shots, the one that hit the Senator’s wrist that also lodged in his thigh would have had to alter direction in mid-air.
3. Oswald, a Marine, was not a good marksman’s, and even excellent marksmen say it’s highly difficult to fire 3 shots in 7 seconds in at that distance a pretty small grouping. Oh, the scope was also misalignment.
4. The rifle found in the depository had no initial fingerprints. However, shortly after Oswald was killed, another examination of the rifle was done and a blurry palm print was found. Federal agents visited the body at the funeral home to fingerprint Oswald between the two examinations of the rifle.
5. Standard Secret Service protection procedure was completely ignored, allowing for open windows in a building that had excellent line of sight as well as remaining away from the President when the car came below 45 MPH as well as was in excellent position for ambush as was the car in that location.
(Now it starts getting good…)
6. When the photos of the president’s casket leaving the Dallas hospital and getting on the plane is different from the one shown entering Bethesda hospital, as well as the body bag and the body wrapping.
7. The Secret Service literally forced the body and casket out of the possession of the Dallas medical investigators to be rushed to D.C. (which even though it’s the President, it’s still considered a Dallas homicide investigation so removing the body without Dallas permission was even illegal.)
8. The two men that headed up the official autopsy at Bethesda were hospital administrators with no pathology experience. They were a year from retirement, and career military men.
9. The autopsy was attended by military generals, admirals, and FBI and would constantly direct the autopsy…viz a vis the examiners were taking orders from their superiors.
10. The photos of the official autopsy bear little resemblance to the damage that was filmed at the event.
11. JFK’s brain and other medical evidence were sent to the Federal archives…and since and still lost. (Imagine if something like that were to happen in a normal crime investigation.)
12. The Dallas police, only a couple of days after the assassination, were told by J. Edgar Hoover himself, to stop their investigation and send all their evidence to the FBI.
13. The Dallas police found a fresh hole in the curb which matches the trajectory of a shot from the grassy knoll. They photographed it, and told the FBI. The FBI ordered the piece of curb removed and ran their own analysis of it. Their description of it does not match the Dallas photo and all FBI evidence and reports of it have been destroyed “to save space.” (A potential piece of evidence in the assassination of a president destroyed to “save space”?)
14. Now President Johnson was refusing to hold an inquiry, but eventually bowed to pressure and ordered the Warren Commission. The Commission refused to speak to any of the over 50 people originally interviewd as having heard shots from the knoll, and only interviewed people who substantiated shots from the Book Depository. They refused to examine the autopsy photos. If they had done so, the photos would have had to have been published in their report and thus be viewable by the Dallas medical examiners. The Commission also refused to talk to Jack Ruby (you know, the guy who killed Oswald,) who had been pleading to be allowed to testify in D.C. because he “wasn’t safe in Dallas.” (You’d think they’d have been very interested in the man who killed the supposed Presidential assassin.) Jack Ruby died suddenly of cancer.
15. A later Senate Commission in the 70’s refused to allow the Dallas medical examiners to view the autopsy photos.
16. Oswald, while not a great marksman, DID have high security clearance and was even a RADAR operator tracking secret U-2 planes over Russia. He had an honorable discharge, and then immediately defected to Russia? Who happened to be so fluent in Russia his future wife, a Russian citizen, initially mistook him for a local. All indicating he was likely quite trained and having gone underground as a mole in Russia for the CIA.
17. Oswald was autopsied including skull cap removal, and then placed in a hermetically sealed vault that’s designed to preserve bodies for decades. When it was exhumed in the 80’s, the bottom of the vault had been broken, as well as the casket, and the body does not show evidence of the autopsy that is on record.

More in a minute. But now, in the air of fairness, some criticisms of this evidence numbered in the same order as above:

1. Eyewitness reports are always suspect. Sound can do weird things, especially among buildings, and sounds can appear to come from any direction given the right circumstances.
However…the police would have also heard the same thing over 50 people heard and would have likely investigated the knoll…but instead, they followed the Secret Services lead by immediately examining the Book Depository.
2. Any ballistics expert or medical examiner will tell you that bullets can do weird things! You have an object spinning a thousand RPM, it can change trajectories in weird ways when it hits bone or even soft tissue.
3. But, it IS possible. Very unlikely but not impossible. The misalignment could have occurred during the disposal or handling of it.
4. It was the early 60’s, mistakes in today’s crime scene examination happens, certainly it happened back then! Especially in an investigation full of stress and anxiety. The Feds fingerprinting him is likely standard procedure.
5. You never know. It may have been an accident or too much made of it.
6. I don’t know why this would be. It was an odd time, who knows what reason they might have to do that.
7. Could be arrogance and a power play. Like THAT never happens! The Feds always try to take control when jurisdictions overlap.
8. Well, the Feds in charge simply feel it’s a good idea to have loyal, high ranking medical people in charge at the hospital to be in charge of a Presidential autopsy. Makes sense. Perhaps they didn’t know nor care they didn’t;t have any pathology experience.
9. Again, power plays and the desire for people in power to be involved. It happens.
10. Despite the very gruesome film showing Kennedy’s head exploding at the entire length of the right side of his head, (very disturbing, by the way,) pathologists will tell you that biological material will do weird things when interacting with high velocity projectiles. Just because the film looks like one thing happened, once it’s cleaned up and moved back in place (shiver), it could show a very different thing happened.
11. Mistakes can be made.
12. More power plays and arrogant desires to control jurisdiction.
13. Perhaps the police were wrong, and misidentified something unrelated as a fresh gunshot damage to concrete. Maybe the photo is simply not the same thing the FBI investigated, and mistakes were made. And things get destroyed in a beauacracy all the time. It’s the government.
14. Maybe Johnston wanted to just put the whole thing behind the country and didn’t want some long Commission investigation. Maybe the Commission, run by men who also wanted to just get the whole thing over with and not fan the flames of unfounded conspiracy theories, kept maybe a misguided by innocent focus on one direction.
15. There could have been legal reasons, perhaps.
16. People change. Maybe after his training in Russian language and culture, he sincerely embraced Marxism. It happens.
17. Mistakes happen. Maybe they originally SAID they were using X casket and crypt, but bait and switched and used poor materials instead. Greed, you know. And perhaps the examiner didn’t perform the autopsy as he said and is covering his own lapse by claiming a conspiracy.

So, what do you think so far?
To me those are the most compelling pieces of evidence, but there’s more, suspect pieces of evidence. Most of it hearsay and individual reports which can easily be mistaken, lies, altered memories, any of a number of reasons not to be believed.
1. A VERY blurry photograph of the very second the fatal bullet hit JFK shows on the other side of JFK’s car, on the grassy knoll, the faint impression of a man in a police uniform and a puff of gunshot smoke, standing next to a man in a workman outfit looking in the direction of the Depository. Standard sniper procedure is two people, the shooter and a lookout.
2. Two different people who had wanted to watch the motorcade from the grassy knoll were shoed away by a man identifying himself as CIA.
3. A man working a train switching booth on the backside of the knoll watched two men, one in uniform, hanging around that area the blurry photograph shows, for a couple of hours. This man testified to the Warren Commission this, and dies in a car accident around the same time Jack Ruby died.
4. Another man also saw the two men, and said one of then handled a long case or “toolbox”, and after the shooting happened, they walked calmly away.
5. A successful contract killer in France says he was approached by a very powerful Sicilian Mafia family to be one of three assassins to kill a high-level American politician. When he found out it was to be IN the U.S. he refused.
6. It’s proven the CIA has enlisted the help of the Mafia to do dirty work, and still uses criminals to do “jobs” for them. There’s a connection between the Sicilian Mafia family and the U.S. Mafia organization in Chicago that supposedly brought the assassins into the U.S. and Jack Ruby also had ties to.

Here’s some comments on these also in the same order:

1. This photo is ridiculously blurry in the background. Oh it shows JFK and the explosion of his head OK (shiver) but back where the shaded, partially hidden area where the figures are supposed to be is so spotty that the outlining of two figures back there almost looks like a Roashak test. If this were the only evidence, I’d laugh at the whole thing like a Loch Ness or Bigfoot or ghostly apparition photo. The mere fact over 50 people thought shots came from there and a few people saw suspicious people there makes me partially believe the photo evidence. But even then, it’s likely the 50+ people are simply influencing the photo experts to see what might not be there.
2. Yeah, it could be these two people just want a piece of the conspiracy action. Or, maybe it’s real. It would have been a Secret Service person simply keeping people from the area to protect the President, and they simply remember it as CIA.
3. Again, one man’s word. And people do die, you know. Not EVERYONE who has mentioned something odd has died…but then, that’d be a LOT of people to kill of….
4. See above. (I just don’t trust individual people, people being notorious attention hounds and like to get in on the act. Often times it’s innocent and their memory is simply conditioned by outside factors and wishful thinking.)
5. See above. He’s a captured criminal in a French prison. Why not make up stories, maybe try to work out a deal for release.
6. True, but come on, it’s Chicago. The mob there has LOTS of ties to mobsters everywhere. Just because the Mafia’s been used before and since doesn’t mean they were used here. Even if they were enemies of the Kennedy’s.

I guess I’m still on the fence: Nearly everything can be explained, and even taken altogether, can easily be the result of a lot of procedural blundering, power plays, and fantastic imaginations.
but, it’s hard to ignore. And foreign assassins would make sense. In fact, it’s CIA rulebook stuff when doing dirty deeds. Get someone who can’t be connected to the government, who can be paid off, who are professional and won’t talk. The very highly loyal and renown for vendetta killing for snitches would be a perfect source for foreign hired killers. Jack Ruby was an easy patsy to get rid of Oswald who was a low-level intelligence operative designed to take the fall.

Oh well. Interesting to talk about.

Mother-Whore Complex

This coming Monday, 10 November 2003, there’s a program on TV discussing the theory that Mary Magdalene was actually Jesus’ wife:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/11/03/tv.abc.jesus.ap/index.html
Evidently based on a poorly written novel “The DaVinci Code”. Which I haven’t read so I can’t legitimately insult it…but I’ve seen portions of it. The hero is a square jawed handsome man with lots of charm and skill in everything and the women in the book are gorgeous and smart and as sexy as they are good with quantum mechanics and cooking. A modern novel with potboiler writing skill. =/

Anyway, it presents a theory that’s been hanging around for some time actually. That Mary Magdalene was actually Jesus’ wife…but I said that already.
I saw another program on A&E some years ago that gave evidence such as the scene in which Jesus turns the water into wine…the providing of wine for the guests at the wedding he was attending as well as many other descriptions of his actions and behavior in that scene, are duties and behaviors of the traditional Jewish bridegroom.
That among other bits of evidence, which this book goes into depth about in novel form I understand.

You might ask why in the world would the Bible have kept this from us, and made Mary a “whore” instead?
Well, remember, the New Testament Gospels were written by four (plus the authors of “Acts”) men, none of who were actually eye-witness participants in Jesus’ life. The 1st Gospel was written about 10 years after his death and the others decades later. They were written by men who had agendas, and ties to the mainstream Christian sects that were vying for power (originally simply survival, but eventually power.) They were written one after the other, with knowledge of and building off of the pervious Gospel, much like a game of “Telephone” except with personal egos and objectives involved. They came from a tradition of religious traditionalism that placed women as “the enemy,” from being the temptress of Adam to the instigator of schism and the symbol of disobeying God with Hagar, (and don’t forget, even the “good wife” Sarah was duplicitous in that event too), etc.
Plus, how would it look to the people the early Christians were trying to convert if God incarnate was a mundane human who had a wife? Which implied he may have had sex, and lived on earth as a normal human for a time (despite the fact that the supposed purpose of God’s manifesting/sending his son to Earth was in order to BE a normal human man to become the sacrifice, and to show understanding and empathy with our temptations and problems.)
Kill two birds with one stone by turning the wife of The Saviour (which implied on a human level, equality with Jesus OH NO!) into the harlot. A character who will be perpetually unclean and sinful, forever known as “the whore”, and to remain a hanger-on to Jesus and the Disciples’ Inner Circle. Good way to yet again elevate Jesus beyond the mundaneness of being a man and keeping women “in their place.”

Which also illustrates the attitude that has become standard in organized religion (I suppose mainly Catholocism, but it’s evident in conservative Protestant religions just with less iconery): Madonna/Whore. Here’s Mary, mother of Jesus who although born a normal girl and after Jesus went on to have a family and other children, was then to be deified: given the attribute of born without sin (THAT’s the real meaning of Immaculate Conception) and then labeled “The Virgin” for all time, pure and clean and untouchable. Worshiped, in some ways, more so than Jesus and God himself. She fulfills the mother complex, the worship men traditionally have for their mothers…but wait! Aren’t women evil? The temptresses of Adam? Oh yeah, so we’ll have Mary “the whore”, who will be the polar opposite of Mary the Virgin. (Western religion loves opposites. Good/evil, God/Satan, Heaven/hell, right/wrong. A concept that’s exclusively Western, as Buddhists and Shintoists for example don’t believe in that kind of thinking.)

So Mary will always be the symbol of the perfect mother, beyond the impurities of the flesh, and Mary will be the symbol for the desires of the flesh and we’ll vilify that. Hmmm…you’d think all girls 2000 years ago were named Mary, huh.
Plus, as the later expansion of The Church will see, having a “goddess” in the Christian pantheon will really help when bringing in and converting people from other religions and cultures…most of which having their own goddesses which, oddly, tended to be either true equals with their male godly peers or even superior to.

And ever since The Church has used this mindset to keep women as unequal and enemies of man’s right to lead the religious flock, and keep them as subservient targets of our sexual desire, while in the meantime having one symbol of perfect motherhood untouched by wicked sexuality. (Even though she later had other kids. Think some other Spirits conceived those too? Poor Joseph, the cuckold for ghosts.

BTW, if Joseph had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ biological nor genealogical creation, why so much importance on his lineage? Oh yeah! Because Old Testament prophets said the Messiah would come from that lineage, so Jesus has to fulfill the prophesies…but…hmmm. Looks like they painted themselves into a corner. Make Mary beatific and untouched by sex, which forces Joseph out of the picture, but yet for Jesus to still be the Jewish Messiah he needs to have a lineage matching the old prophets’. Huh.

Anyway, if it can be proven that Mary was Jesus’ wife, my goodness, wouldn’t THAT throw 2000 years (4000 if you want to include the pre-Jesus Jewish tradition of woman hating, what with the the OT laws that end up killing or maiming women for even suspected infractions while men by and large get off the hook. My favorite is the one where a women even suspected of adultery can be taken to a priest and forced to drink an extract that will kill any unborn child if it was conceived by the affair. Why do we have protests and marches and hate spewing against homosexuality because it’s “biblically wrong” but we don’t follow rules like forced abortion like that one? Funny, that.)
What was I saying…oh yeah. If it can be proven, then that would open the doors to women’s religious equality both in the church affairs and philosophically. And the power hungry men in power would sure hate that.
I wonder how the Promise Keepers who LOVE keeping women “in their place” would feel about that? =)

By the way, I’ve said it before, but after an essay like this I feel I need to say it again: I believe in God the Creator, and I believe in Jesus as one of the world’s most important and spiritually connected philosophers. His divinity, I’m still not sure. But I believe in a God that created this universe and all existence, and the existence of the soul. That divinity can be felt on earth. But I’m a free-thinking skeptic who looks at his own spirituality with intelligence and reasoned analysis. I don’t blindly follow what religious “leaders” feed to me as Truth or what I was brought up to believe as an influential child ready to believe anything told to him by big ominous “leaders” who are representatives of God-himself so they must be right…. I accept that there is a God and that does not mean there can’t be human arrogance, frailty, hatred, ignorance, political agendas all throughout these human created things called religion/mythology. The creator of the universe and provider of these pieces of divinity called souls that are all a part of the Godhood, can’t be bottled up and packaged into a religion that makes up laws and rules and written down by men who are flawed, and hope to be accurate and correct and complete…even fractionally.

That Sneaky CIA

New documentary about a failed coup in Venezuela in 2002.
Now, I’m not exactly a new junkie, but 90% of the time I’m in the car I’m listening to NPR, I read as many articles as I can on cnn.com, and I watch CNN and other news channels now and then. I can’t believe I have no recollection of this attempted coup that most likely was secretly supported by the American CIA.
That might explain why I don’t recall much. Aside from the fact that the US media probably didn’t care too much being Latin America and all, but also because of the War on Terrorism and War on Saddam (which I still support, BTW, although my opinion of the Administration’s reasons have shifted*,) and the US War on Anti-Patriotism. All of which stole all the media attention.
But also probably because the government probably did a pretty good job trying to keep it out of media attention.
Failed CIA supported coups don’t make for good government support, especially when it has to do with oil ownership and we’re going to war in a Middle Eastern country that happens to be one of the largest oil producers.
Hmmm.

Anyway, politics aside, I’m intrigued by this new documentary also because of the heretofore unequal access the documentary makers had to the events. They were inside the palace before, during, and after the coup, they had unbiased footage of shootings, of prisoner questionings, all very fascinating and historic!

Doubt it’ll ever show in the Midwest. =( Don’t have HBO, so I better hope bumbfrick Missouri video rental places get copies of it.

* I originally believed, naively, that the Administration’s reasons for going to war in Iraq were: 80% freeing the Iraqi people, 15% Bush’s father’s unfinished business, 5% oil access.
I now believe it was 20% freeing Iraq, 20% unfinished business, 60% oil access. Did they think it wouldn’t be obvious that something would look fishy when the Vice President’s (double check that) own former oil company was put in charge of Iraq’s oil production, and the process for implementing a local Iraqi government gets stretched far longer than necessary, despite endless offers and plans from other countries to help speed things up and take some of the responsibility from the US (and the US military who has had more “post war” casualties than during??)

1984…2004, Closer and closer

Teenaged girl expelled because of a piece of prose in here diary.

I can’t help but think about since 9/11, the “Patriot Act.” The labeling of “anti-American” and “non-patriot” to anyone who expresses disagreement with the Administrations handling of terrorism/Iraq. Prisoners of a “War on Terror” who the Administration is getting away with calling NOT prisoners of war and holding them indefinitely and without any rights in Guadalcanal. I think about an Attorney General who has classical style statues covered up because of their nudity. A general in charge of liaison affairs with Middle East representatives making statements that his God is the only real God and the God of Islam* is a false God.
And I think of how each day we seem to be coming closer to a fascist Religious Reich controlled country where “no tolerance” will soon include “thought crimes.”

And we’re not only turning a blind eye to it, we’re encouraging it!

* The God of Islam, don’t forget, is the same God of Abraham and Moses…who also happens to be the Judeo-Christian Yahweh/Jehovah. Go fig.

Battle Redux

Still obsessing over the movie “Battle Royale.”
Here’s probably one of the best reviews of the movie, and commentaries on why it’s a poignant film with sociological meaning and not just an action flick:
http://www.destroy-all-monsters.com/battleroyale.shtml
Pay close attention to the last three paragraphs if nothing else.

Another excellent site on the movie, with a pretty active Web board is:
http://www.battleroyalefilm.com/
Right now there’s a pretty heated thread of discussion involving a plotline that went unnoticed by me the 1st five viewings of the movie…but having been alerted to it, it’s so obvious. A downright brilliant in its subtlety and believability.

Can We Get Any More Moronic?

http://money.cnn.com/2003/10/23/technology/grandtheft.reut/index.htm?cnn=yes
It seems some more ghouls who a) Want to make money off of tragedy, b) Are displacing sincere grief they need to deal with in a more healthy way, by casting blame where it doesn’t belong, have found a scapegoat.
A death and an injury caused by a couple of teens sniping drivers on a highway is being avenged through a lawsuit against the designers and distributors of the game “Grand Theft Auto III”, which the two teens say gave them the idea.

OK, can we get real for a second? We have two teens who have the emotional and psychological makeup/upbringing to think shooting people is a good idea, and we should believe that a game is the sole cause for them to think of doing this?
You know, I’ve played “GTA-III”, I’ve played Quake, Doom, UnrealTournament, Battlefield:1942/Desert Combat, America’s Army, hundreds of violent video games and even Dungeons & Dragons for a couple of decades now, and I have yet to have had the urge to go kill a human being. I live a normal middle-class life and grew up pretty well adjusted. And guess what, everyone else I know who have had the same or even more exposure to violent video games are equally just fine, responsible non-murderers. In fact, 99% of players of video games are normal people who don’t think murder is a hot idea.
The logical conclusion would be that it’s not the game that makes the killer, right? Or does that make too much sense?

Strangely, we’ve had people killing each other for all history, LONG before video games.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that a person capable of murder and wanton violence in real-life has some deep psychological issues that pre-date their involvement in video games.

What we really have here are two fscked up teens who likely were born with a genetic disposition to violence and an upbringing of little to no discipline and little to no education of morality, who are projecting the blame and responsibility onto a popular scapegoat, parents who don’t want to take responsibility for raising kids with no discipline or morality encouraging the displacement of blame, victims who need to deal with grief and pain thinking they can get it resolved with money, and dirty freaking slimy evil sick disgusting soulless lawyers who see a great opportunity to get big settlement paychecks and publicity.

Or, maybe that’s just me.

Battle Royale

Well, I’m obsessed with a new movie now. Not quite as bad as when I was to “Heavenly Creatures,” but I’m spending my lunches and after work doing browsing and searching and reading everything I can find on “Battle Royale.”
It’s a Japanese movie made in 2000 about an “underachieving” jr. high class being selected to “participate” in an annual battle to the death on a deserted island. One winner in 3 days, or else everyone left alive will be killed by the low-jacks they all wear around their necks.

Yeah, sounds like a cheeseball thriller flick, and I thought so too when I first heard of it. I saw some discussion about it on a forum when I was looking around the ‘Net for info on “Kill Bill” actress Chiaki Kuriyama, who was also in “Battle Royale.”
The rationale in the movie, which is certainly more fleshed out in the book and then the manga that came 1st, is it’s the near future, and the overpopulated society’s fear of its ever increasingly violent teenagers has forced it rid itself of them in this manner. In the book, 50 of these events are held a year, only 1 in the movie.

Yes, it’s bloody and very violent, but more like a “Saving Pvt. Ryan” violent than slasher-movie violent. (By the way, I detest slasher movies. Hate em hate em. There’s nothing more banal and disgusting and moronic as a slasher movie. With the exception of the 1st “Scream,” the 1st “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Each because they were either cleverly written comments on the slasher genre, or was a low-budget non-ultragore film that successfully captured and created mortal fear and not revulsion.) So I hope you trust me when despite the way it sounds, “Battle Royale” while bloody and violent, is not a moronic blood-fest designed to simply slate the thirst of slasher fans. The movie is not designed to scare or gross out, but it does horrify and shock.

The 40 characters, and indeed the actors themselves, are 14-16 year olds who you see placed in a horrific situation of life and death, where they kill each other or try desperately to avoid death, and that concept alone is horrifying. Instead of the movie focusing on the “action” factor that might create, or make it tongue-in-cheek, it recognizes the horror (I’m using that word a lot, but it fits,) of it and subtly comments on it. What kind of society shocked and fearful of juvenile delinquents forces then to kill or be killed, making them become far worse and doing far worse than they ever would have done in society? And this sensationalistic method of doing so, (the movie acknowledges early on the media excitement over this “game”,) trying to get rid of “bad seeds” ends up catching countless innocents in its net. For example, this class of 40 (plus two suspicious transfer students) may have 2 or 3 future criminals, while the rest are normal kids with normal fears and desires and hopes and troubles.

And the movie does an INCREDIBLE job in showing all the possible reactions to a situation like this. When a school class is forced to kill or be killed in 3 days, all the cliques, the rivalries, the desires, assumed infractions become ultra magnified and amplified, and as often happens in normal situations except on a slower less mortal course, end up being shown as ridiculous and harmful for no good reason.

For example, a group of girls, some are a clique, a couple outsiders, get together to plan a way to get off the island and not participate in the “game.” The situation has forced them to put aside differences for the moment which is fantastic. But when a horrible mistake happens, in seconds all civility is torn aside and the situation deteriorates quickly and violently based on amplified rivalries. One moment you’re glad to see how this small group has risen above their situation and you have hope for their survival and cooperation, and the next second everything goes horribly wrong and innocent 15 year olds have slaughtered each other in both fear and hatred, and brutal, emotional instinct. It’s a scene that is not easily forgotten.

On a forum someone commented they don’t believe how some of the relationships, the love shown by some characters, can be realistic for 15 year olds. (No, there’s no sex or nudity, thank goodness. That would not be realistic, and this movie is nothing if not realistic.) And I say, absolutely it’s realistic. Two couples kill themselves, not wanting to either be killed, or having to kill their girl/boyfriend, a couple kill in order to defend someone they love, a couple die professing their love for someone…and I’m thinking, when in your life except when you’re in love for the 1st time do you feel that kind of once-in-a-lifetime love that’s that passionate? (Granted, one could argue if it’s REAL love, but philosophical debate aside, whatever it is, it’s been known to be fatal to young lovers in real-life as well as fiction.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m happily married to the love of my life and I’d die for her, but middle or almost middle-aged love doesn’t resonate the kind of passion young, unworldly-wise love does. Romeo & Juliet were only 14, and I doubt their story would have ended like it did if they were 30.

When you see a scene where one 15 year old girl is pointing a gun on another and screaming at her about how she stole her boyfriend, written here it sounds almost silly, but seeing it and seeing what looks like honest anger and anguish and fear in these 15 year old actors, (OK, so that’s why it’s called “acting,” but I would hazard that a lot of the emotion seen from these young actors had more than a kernel of honesty in it,) it’s very stressful and believable. You believe their fear and anger and motivations, and thus feel that much more affected by their fates.

The book evidently does a great deal, as books always do, in examining these motivations and actions. Why someone who might be a shy and meek outsider normally would be the first one to try to kill as many as he could as quickly as possible. (I haven’t read the book…I hope to! But here’s a sample of it translated: http://www.bobmink.com/translation/leftmenu.htm )
And unfortunately the version of the film I saw was the theatrical release (there’s an expanded special edition) with poor subtitle translation (there’s a Korean release on DVD with supposedly better English subtitle translation.) Some of the lines were rather ridiculous, and I just knew that couldn’t be what they meant. I could pick out places where a character would say “hai” meaning “yes” in a formal situation, and another where the subtitle says “yes” but the words she spoke was something more casual and befitting the situation.
I found a site, I thought it was this one: http://www.battleroyalefilm.net/movie/index.html but I can’t find the page, that showed how there are different translated subtitles and how the meanings are very different in places from one to the other. I’d really like to get my hands on a copy of the film with the better translation.
Fortunately, if you recognize the translation’s bad and just use it as a guide to what’s being said and focus on the tone of voice you really get a good idea of WHAT is really being said and why.

Anyway, it’s a very disturbing movie that really stays with you. Some have compared it to “A Clockwork Orange” or “Lord of the Flies,” and I think comparisons are certainly fair, but it’s not near as good as either the “Orange” movie (or book especially) or the “Flies” book. Now, the “Battle Royale” novel might, but the movie is just very affecting, lingering, thought provoking and emotion stirring cinema. I understand the book goes into greater detail, obviously, regarding character backgrounds, but the movie I think did a good job at hinting as well as it could at these without spending an extra hour on flashback scenes. For example, there’s one girl who very obviously has had a hard life where she’s had to fight to just be normal. Now she’s fighting to survive, and she seems as homicidal as the sociopath among them, but she’s given enough dialogue and actions to display her need to not be a “loser,” which isn’t that a core motivating force in most teens?

I’ve always been intrigued by these kinds of stories. Back in grade school I read a book about these 4 kids who wake up in some surreal house of stairs–no cieling, no floor or walls…just stairs and landings. And a food dispensor. It was a government experiement on conditioning and social deterioration, and I’ve never forgotten it. I’m likely never going to forget this movie either.

http://www.battleroyalefilm.com/

Did God Provide Morality?

Having a discussion with someone regarding whether “morality” (whatever that can be defined as) was provided by God or if it’s a human biological trait. “Objective morality,” specifically, is what the conversation is about–and I don’t believe in it. There is no such thing as objective morality. The closest you might be able to come is “murder,” but that’s subjective depending on your environment and beliefs.
Cults and especially religious zealots love to get kids young, because they can indoctrinate them with their subjective reality very easily. The younger the person, the more “morality” is mutable. Murder can be made OK, if it’s for “the cause.”

Anyway, here’s my side of the conversation; thought I’d share:

I preface my reply saying that even Stephen Hawkings and Carl Sagan have both stated the NON-existence of God cannot be proven, and there’s nothing in the universe that exists that is mutually exclusive from an existence of a creator God.

If the most intelligent and creative living astrophysicist and the most intelligent (recently) living cosmologist and proponent of critical and skeptical thinking can say that, then it’s foolish to be staunchly atheist. In my opinion. Agnostic, sure. But in my opinion to say that there cannot be a God as a matter of “fact” is as foolish as saying the universe was created in 6 days and dinosaurs either never really existed or they existed only 6000 years ago.

Now, that being said, and again stating that I believe in a creator God (although in a free-thinking, deist way similar to our nation’s founding father’s like Thomas Paine and Jefferson,) I can still see a legitimacy to a biologically organized “morality.”

1st, morality is subjective, we have to agree. There are certain components of morality which can be argued as “universal,”: e.g.: murder and theft. But the more you get into specifics beyond that, the more examples there are of differing cultural views. For example, the early Jews and middle period Christians felt it was immoral to “murder” although going to war and slaughtering every man, woman, child, and animal in a town because God told them to, is OK, be it against the people standing in your way of “The Promised Land” or against “infidels” who are occupying “The Holy Land.” Likewise stoning a woman for the suspicion of adultery is OK. Both of these concepts were perfectly morally OK until a few hundred years ago. And now, you’d be hard pressed to find a Jew or a Christian who would advocate ANY kind of killing…except possibly in a war that was OK’ed by your government. Morality is very fluid and subjective to time, place, and conditions.

Now, let’s take humans out of the picture. In the animal kingdom, there is no murder. There is inter-species killing for the purpose of survival, but you don’t see one bird killing another out or some philosophical difference. Animals only steal from each other when they need something to survive. One could say animals are more “moral” than humans. At least they don’t sanction wholesale slaughter (Crusades, Inquisition, travel to the Promised Land, Final Solutions, racial cleansing,) by justifying it with either religious arrogance or social intolerance and hatred.

The same concept which says we have a divinely assigned morality, religion, is the same concept that has justified most of the mass death and injustices throughout history. One could say that if God IS the giver of morality, He’s also the giver of subjective rationalization of murder and rape and pillage and forced conversion and theft of homelands, etc ad nauseum.

Humans are undoubtedly a very unique creature. We’re the only ones able to create art, music, architecture, politics, and justification for injustices. We are owners of a sentient self-consciousness that can arguably be called a “soul.” IF we evolved to this consciousness, it had taken tens of thousands of years. Not something that just went POOF! One could argue it happened around the time the Neanderthal developed and started becoming social creatures which helped each other for reasons seemingly beyond just self-preservation. Did we evolve to that because humanity found on a genetic level that as a species we’d be able to survive en mass by developing a sense of helping others with no conscious anticipation of self gain? Or did the creator God who undeniably set the universe in motion with set laws of physics and biology, say about that time “OK humans, I am now endowing you with a soul, and thus a morality that includes behavior that includes self-sacrifice”? We have to remember that the fundamental law of nature is the survival of the SPECIES, not the individual. In the animal kingdom where abilities and skills are a million times more limited compared to humans, survival of the species is often limited to survival of the individual or family unit and that works fine.

But humans are capable of killing entire tribes, ne’, the entire race…it behooves us to have a genetic programming to direct our behavior as a species to way that benefit the species, not just the individual.

God gave us free-will. The ability to chose our actions and to justify them how we will. We can choose to kill out of religious justification, we can choose to stop wars out of a religious pacifism. We can chose to kill all the 13th century Muslims for being heathens and say it’s morally alright because they’re heathens, we can kill entire tribes of American Indians and say it’s morally justifiable because God gave us the right of Manifest Destiny, or we can spend our lives protesting war and injustice, or live our lives in 3rd world nations helping the poor and starving and disease ridden.

All of our morality is based on the survival of SOMETHING. Be it ourselves, our family, our own town or village, our own society with its own way of thinking, our own human species.

God is not required to give us a mutable and conditional sense of morality, history has shown us time and again WE need GOD in order to justify our actions!

Besides, dualistic ideas of “right and wrong” is really a Western concept. Buddhists, Taoists, Hindi and Shinto’s to an extent, don’t believe is a right vs. wrong morality concept. Since I’ve been doing a lot of study on Buddhism, I’ll focus mainly on them as much I can express my limited understanding…but Buddhists believe actions are based on want and need. And actions that cause others grief and pain are not “bad” but just are. Our own grief and pain is to be accepted, then overcome. We allow ourselves to experience negative emotions because something WE want or need has been affected by another’s actions. What is desired is to get beyond want and then actions which affect what we want, viz-a-vis, can’t. It’s a matter of what is and what isn’t, not what’s right or wrong. Murder is not wrong in any moral sense, it’s a side effect of someone being controlled by their want and that’s unenlightened. And the grief and pain caused by that event is a side effect of the want people who were affected have. And we overcome that pain by overcoming want.

It’s hard to explain, because so much of our mindset is focused on a duality or morality, which the traditional East simply does not have. For centuries it was very difficult for them to understand Westerners and our “twisted” sense of right vs. wrong. Until we did our darndest to convert as many Buddhists, Shintoists, Confucinists, and Hindis into good Christians. =) Pounded right vs. wrong into them but good!

😉

iTunes not that great…YET!

A letter I sent in to Apple’s iTunes site. Just thought I’d share it with you. =)
(iTunes is now available for Windows!!)

I’d been hoping for an inexpensive method of buying individual songs back when Napster wasn’t even a blip on the media’s radar. And was real excited to hear about iTunes…and real disappointed when I found out it was for Macs only.
Then real excited again when the Windows version came out!
So I’ve spent an afternoon browsing around, and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed with the selection. Certainly I understand that you probably have to deal with unfriendly music publishers to get a lot of material, but when I can find no songs for “Radiohead,” “Rammstein,” “Evanescence,” “Chemical Brothers,” just to name a few popular artists in their own genre, it’s difficult to justify iTunes as a viable alternative…just yet.
(Although I do admit I was rather surprised to find more tracks than I would have expected from Canadian band “The Tea Party”. Kudos for that.)
I assume the issue is with the publishers as I did a search in buymusic.com and found the same problem with the same artists.
I guess my comment is more of a request and a hope that you’ll be able to successfully convince music publishers that iTunes is a good idea.

My second comment is regarding price. $1 for a current popular song, or a classic oldie, is justifyable. But I have yet to see anything for less than .99, which is very discouraging. If you could possibly offer a good amount of tracks for .49 and perhaps even .24, I and thousands of others, will very likely flock to iTunes and download in droves. I would gladly pay a quarter or half dollar per song legitimately rather than rish the Gnutilla network for my music.

Also, the cost of purchasing a digital copy of a CD seems rather high.
Again I understand you’re at the mercy of the publisher, but a digital CD should be significantly less than what you’d spend in a retail store due to lack of a physical product that had to be pressed, assembles, manufactured, and shipped. I can buy the same CD sold on iTunes for only $2 more and have a physical item with booklet to show for it.

And finally, can you tell me (I really don’t expect a reply, but I appreciate if this at least gets read,) if the artists get more of a share from sales at iTunes than from buying CD’s retail? I doubt it, as I assume you’re required to pay a certain percentage to the publishers which go by the same rules of money distrobution as they do with retail sales.
I just hope iTunes becomes a very successful, powerful tool in music sales, and that you might be able to use your influence to help artists to see more money from their work than they do now.
Especially since, as previously mentioned, e-purchasing bypasses the cost of CD pressing, CD booklet publishing, product assembly and distrobution. Artists should rightfully get more when the purchase is simply a collection of 1’s and 0’s directly translated from their music.

Thank you for listening!

DOING Something in Protest

Two items today on people taking a stand and doing something in protest.

The 1st, the LA Film Critics Association is cancelling their awards ceremony in protest of the MPAA’s decision to stop sending out screener DVD’s. A move which everyone EXCEPT the MPAA (and the big studios of course) says will hurt the chances of smaller and indipendant films from getting a chance at Academy Awards.
If Chicago has a critic’s award ceremony, you can bet Roger Ebert will protest. He’s pretty vocal about how assinine the MPAA decision’s lame attempt at preventing movie piracy is.
Actors and Writer’s Guild has also protested.

Also, even though there’s a telemarketer “Do Not Call List,” it’s highly flawed and full of holes. This morning’s NPR’s “Morning Edition” had a story (scroll nearly all the way down to “Pranksters Take Revenge on Telemarketers”,) about two guys who are making trouble for telemarketers (sure, and some money for themselves along the way.)
By pranking and just screwing around with telemarketers who call them (and recording it to sell on CD’s) they bring down the production quota of the handful of telemarketers who call them. A drop in the bucket, but if LOTS of people do this instead of just hanging up, it could make a dent in the profitability of telemarketing!
Having been both a telemarketer (for like a month, until I couldn’t take anymore and either had to quit or gouge my eyes out with paperclips,) and a network administrator for one of MCI’s telemarketing center, I know how almighty important the production quota for telemarketers is. If a lot of their time is wasted without making a sale, that’s lost money for the telemarketer.
So, I suggest you go ahead and take telemarketer calls, and spend as much time as you can screwing around with them (keeping it legal, of course,) and having your own fun.
If enough people do it, we might make a dent in how many firms use this marketing strategy.

Hacking and Writing

The Feds made a mistake in a hacking persecution? No way! Not possible. =)
Granted the guy should not have used his FORMER employer’s resources to garner a mailing list of all their customers and send e-mail out to all of them, whether it was to warn them about a security flaw or not. That’s not cool.
I can’t honestly think of a better way to get the word out, true. I worked for a piddling ISP once whose customer base was 99% within a 100 mile radius so articles to newspapers in the area would have worked.
His intent was good, trying to protect the company’s customers, but I have a feeling revenge was also a goal, and that’s not cool either. Supposedly he tried, while still an employee, to get the security flaw examined and he wasn’t taken seriously, so I’d like to think he had the best interest of the people in mind.

As for writing…yeah! Good news…which I can’t say much about. =/ Mainly out of fear of jinxing it, and partly a fear of coming even an iota near violating a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Let’s just say I’ve been accepted to work on a provisional basis on some writing for a major gaming (pencil-and-paper and CCG gaming) company. Small and not even 100% assured (not until I see my name in print *grin*,) but I have confidence! It’s a step closer to what I would love to be doing! Writing in general, and for a game company specifically.
Oh granted the money stinks (actually, it’s pretty darn good for what I’ve been asked to do so far–I really expected no pay at all,) but in general it’s not something one can live on, so I have no hopes of ever quitting my day-job. =)
But it’s a step closer to my dream “second” job! Besides, I don’t do it for the money. I love to write, and I love the products the company in question puts out (I’m sure it’d be fine to say it, but again, a) Jinxing it and b) Even coming near NDA violation, nuh-uh.)

Ever since I was 8 or 9 I daydreamed of working for TSR (you know, the original owners of “Dungeons & Dragons”.) I had no real idea of how the company worked, but I sure did have grand imaginings of it!
I never thought I’d have a chance at really being a part of “the industry” (and again I stress, I’m still not really a “part” of it now…I’m just real excited about what little taste of it I’ve been granted.) But this gives me hope that if I focus and work hard, one day I might see my name in the front of a role-playing game source book, preferably in a font size reserved for those above “play testers” *grin*.

And I’ve started to get serious on my other writing. I’m currently editing a couple of my short stories to send for publication submission, and I’m getting back to work on one of the three novels I’ve been working on for oh…THREE YEARS! =P It’s conceivable that by my birthday next year I could have a 1st draft completed. And if I follow Stephen King’s excellent advice given in “On Writing,” I might have it ready for submission by the end of next Summer.

He states that after you finish a 1st draft, put it away and forget about it for weeks, if not months. Don’t come back to it until it looks strange and foreign to you. You’ll be able to more objectively edit it that way, and I completely agree!
I wrote a 10,000 word short story a couple of years ago that I thought was excellent work…but put it away for fear or rejection. (Sick, I know.) I came back to it last week, and man! Does it need a LOT of work! Adverbs and redundancies galore! I am SO glad I didn’t try sending it out then, because, well, the story is still good but the writing itself nearly stinks. (In my opinion.)
So I’ve been working on a 2nd draft on it, and I keep wishing I had done 2nd drafts of papers back in college. Granted I generally got A’s and B’s on most of my papers that I only did one draft of, usually the night before they were due. But if I had actually taken the time to do 2nd or more drafts, I KNOW I could have gotten a 3.8 or even a 4.0 in college instead of a 3.2. But, I was putting all my time and energy in my Theatre BA (3.9 GPA in that major) instead of my English BA (I don’t recall, but it was below a 3.4. Mainly because I pretty much sluffed off a couple of classes like “Old English,” which I deeply regret because I loved that class. But Theatre was indeed a very harsh mistress.)

But I digress, badly. So, between getting that news, and finding the urban assault tac’ boots I very deeply wanted cheaper at BassPro than online, I’m a pretty happy camper!!
So, now to chug a SoBe Adrenaline and get back to work on my day job (which is kicking my rear! I LOVE Flash/Actionscript but this current project is a PAIN! I SO wish I could start over on it from scratch. A 2nd draft, one could say *grin*)