28 December 2011

Timur's Body

Some people are so evil that not even death can stop them.

Timur

Fig. 1: Amir Timur statue, Uzbekistan

Timur was the son of some middle class dude in Transoxiana (modern day Uzbekistan, home of what used to be the Aral Sea, the Sogdian Rock, magnificent architecture, and Khiva, one of the last independent kingdoms of the 20th century to be battled over between the British and Russians in the Great Game. You also can't read the Bible, use the Internet, and prisoners are frequently tortured to death). He had ambitions. Unsatisfied with his prospects, Timur became a warrior and decided to conquer the Mongol empire like his hero Chingis Khan. To achieve this goal he invented a fake geneology linking him to the great Khan and married the Khan's granddaughter.

Timur then conquered the Persian Il-Khanate ("little" Khanate), and half of the Chagatai Khanate. He punished the Golden Horde for overstepping their boundaries as tributary state, permanantly destroying their economy. His greatest passtime during this period was abducting scholars and artists and transporting them to Samarkand, which they were to make into the most magnificent city in the world. He also liked to slaughter tens of thousands of people and make towers out of their heads for no other purpose than because it looked cool.

Timur's next venture was to prove that he is "not a man of blood" and that "God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity." He looked to the Quran for advice whether to slaughter every single person in India or every single person in China for being infidels and India turned out to be closer. He went there with his army and destroyed the Delhi Sultanate because they were the wrong kind of Muslims. He proceededt o ravage India, slaughtering more than a million people and making towers out of their heads. Every time his men would slaughter 20,000 Indians in a single afternoon he would throw a massive two day long feast so they could revel in their own crapulence.

Satisfied that it would take over a century for the subcontinent to repopulate he went West to slaughter the Ottomans for being the wrong kind of Muslim. In a bloody battle, Timur killed the Ottoman sultan and threw the empire into chaos. He also depopulated nearby Christian kingdoms for being infidels as well as other Muslim kingdoms for being the wrong kind of Muslims.

Timurid_Empire

Fig. 2: Timur's Empire at the time of his death in 1405.

Something was still eating away at Timur. He was getting old and he hadn't slaughtered everyone in China yet, nor had he conquered the entire Mongol empire. He saddled up his army and went to China, but the weather was bad and he died. His body was placed in a lavish tomb in Samarkand with a curse: should anyone remove his body a fate more terrible will befall them than if Timur himself would ravish their country. Like the curse of King Tut, Timur's curse had real power to it. Unlike Tut's curse, which only claimed the lives around 20 people (and a dog and a bird), Timur's curse claimed the lives of millions.

Soviet archaeologists/tomb raiders broke into Timur's tomb in June 1941. Two days later Hitler broke the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, launching Operation Barbarosa, the largest single military campaign ever. Eastern Europe would be devastated, millions would die both soldiers and civilians, and the Nazis would take control of an additional 13% of the continent, creating the largest empire in European history. One million people would die in Leningrad, another million in Stalingrad, three million Soviet soldiers would die as Nazi prisoners, and millions of Slavs and other unwanted would be sent to die in the death camps.

Realising the gravity of the situation the Soviets reintered Timur's body in November 1942. A few days later they launched Operation Uranus, the decisive counteroffensive that would push the Nazis back from Stalingrad and pave the way for the fall of the Third Reich.

Some might scoff and say that it is merely coincidence that within days of Timur's tomb being disturbed the largest military operation ever was launched and laid waste to the Soviet Union. They will say it is mere coincidence that within days of his body being put back the tide of the war turned and the Soviets were able to gain an iron grip on Eastern Europe for the next half century. I ask, "what is the measure of coincidence?" In the scientific method you make an injunction, follow it through to collect data, and check it against the results of others who have done 1 and 2. Timur's curse is the same. There's an injunction: "remove my body and your country will be devastated." Performing the injunction leads to the data: what he said would happen happened. The experiment was done in reverse with the reverse results: Timur's body was put back and the enemies of the Soviet Union were devastated and the Soviet Union grew in power undreamed of previously. The only thing missing is step three, repeating the experiment, which is a very bad idea in this case as the intended result is millions of people dying.

What we're left with is a mystery. Timur's curse did exactly what it said it would when it said it would, which is strong evidence in its favour. Unfortunately morality prevents us from testing his curse again so we can't be 100% certain. Still, for what it's worth, it's made a believer out of me.

25 December 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

There are two towns named Bethlehem in the Holy Land.

Tradition places the site of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem near Jerusalem, which currently sits in the Palestinian territory. A journey here from Nazareth would have taken weeks; not the kind of trip for a woman about to give birth to take.

There is another town named Bethlehem right next to Nazareth, about two days journey to the Northwest. It is more likely that it was this Bethlehem, not the more famous one to the South, where Jesus was born.

This map was made in 2009 and shows some well known sites in the Holy Land.


Bethlehem

23 December 2011

Staff's Top 10 Stories of 2011

As you'll know there are more posts tagged "2011" than anything else. This has been a very busy year with a lot of very important stories. Difficult though it may be to choose the top ten, here's what we at The Urban Mystic have decided upon. There is some overlap with what the readers chose yesterday.

1. The Economy, Stupid
Whether we're talking about the gargantuan matrix that is the US tax code, all 71,684 pages, admonisions from economist Niall Ferguson on the need to stop spending, S&P downgrading the US credit rating from AAA to AA+, or real unemployment being close to 20%, the economy has touched all of our lives. It has touched every piece of news in the past year and will be the salient issue in next year's presidential election. Surprisingly none of the readers thought so.

2. The World Gone Mad
It's not every day that a fictional story turns into reality. The so called "Arab Spring" that was warned about here and, again, by Niall Ferguson, turned the world upside down, decapitated several governments, and spilled over to Europe and America. Ranking number 4 on the popular list, this is one the readers definitely understood the significance of.

3. Sathya Sai Baba's Mahasamadhi
Baba's premature departure really hit hard. It was a troubling time for millions around the world.

4. The Israeli/Palestinian Issue
Whether it be the numerous outlines of the true history of Israel dating back to the stone age, or the original borders of the British mandate, or simply the fact that the Palestinians are unwilling to ever accept peace with Israel, this is one of the most important stories of all time, let alone of 2011. Draw a circle around Israel 300 miles across and you will not find a more free country. Instead you will find a policy of human rights violations, religious persecution, sex discrimination, and genocide. It is of paramount importance to defend Israel and their right to exist.

5. 7 Billion People and Demographic Collapse
2011 saw the birth of baby 7 billion and prompted actions correcting the myth of overpopulation. There are not too many people on the world. To the contrary, way too many people are being killed in sex-selective abortions, especially in China.

6. The Tenth Annaversary of 9/11
This year was not only a time to reflect on 9/11, the sacrifices made, the heroics displayed, it was also the time we tied up the loose ends and came full circle with the death of Osama bin Laden. For a decade he had been the boogie man lurking in the shadows of children's nightmares, then he was shot, unceramoniously dumped in the sea, and made top secret for no good reason. What the hell, the son of a bitch is dead, let's celebrate.

7. My Little Pony
Certainly one of the greatest things to happen to my life, and certainly the most popular post ever on The Urban Mystic. I think we've all learned more than 100 things from My Little Pony, including something about ADHD and depression and how to deal with affluence without becoming an ass.

8. Integral Politics
It spawned a legend. It spawned a sequel. It spawned a really long, confusing thing about history too. Whether you're left, right, or fall toward one of the other eight ends of the political spectrum, there's something here for you.

9. NASA Nixes Climate Change
NASA's 11 year study (2000-2011) definitively killed any notion of climate change by showing that the upper atmosphere has not only not warmed but it's hemorrhaging heat at an alarming rate. Any story from NASA that uses the term "alarmist" that many times in reference to the climate change proponents has got to turn heads. It's the greatest step forward in getting rid of this albatross since November 2009's Climategate scandal.

10. Forbidden Knowledge
Okay, which story has had the most contributers? Which story has created more posts than any other? Which story is the bane of The Urban Mystic? Here's a hint, "Google Bob Coutie + Nitinol". It's Bob Coutie's forbidden attacks on Uri Geller that led to the longest post in Urban Mystic History and love it or hate it a story can't have that big an effect and not make it to the list.

21 December 2011

Top 10 Stories of 2011

After some back of the envelope calculations based on the rough estimates Google or whoever provides for viewer numbers here are the top ten most viewed stories posted to The Urban Mystic in 2011. The staff's picks will go up tomorrow.

1. My Little Pony
With 2844 views 100 Things I Learned From My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is by far the most popular post on The Urban Mystic ever. Nothing else even comes close, even adding several different posts together. Exactly 25% of all page views in Urban Mystic history come from just this one post. Not bad for something cobbled together before sleep last May.

2. Sathya Sai Baba's Mahasamadhi
Sai Baba's health took a turn for the worst in April and like all fully realised souls he chose not to heal himself, instead opting to depart the world ten years early. 466 views for three posts detailing Baba's condition take the second slot in the list.

3. Integral Politics
The most popular intellectual piece maxes out with 304 views. Written in January and attracting readers quickly the foray into integral politics spawned a video sequel in October that has proven to be nowhere near as popular as the original.

4. The World Gone Mad
What started out as a fictional story about a contagious madness that spread around the world in December 2010 quickly turned to reality with the eruption of the Near East in what would become known everywhere else as the Arab Spring. The original World Gone Mad was extended by three sequels (Addendum A, Redux, and Addendum B, the 200th post and the most popular in the series). The destruction of all stability and the possible beginnings of the end of the world come in fourth place with 178 views.

5. Sadhu Haridas
This one is a real surprise. A one off piece on Sadhu Haridas in April, an Indian ascetic who was buried alive for 40 days comes in a close fifth with 121 views. This goes to show that even seemingly obscure topics can turn out quite popular.

6. Bi-Winning
Charlie Sheen never loses. The closest he has ever come to losing is absolute victory, and his Adonis DNA has given him 89 views without even trying.

7. Ken Wilber's Ethics and Morals
Two videos about Ken talking on Ethics and Morality and how they relate to enlightenment together couldn't beat Charlie Sheen alone, but the herculean genius still managed to get 79 views and seventh place.

8. Alan Watts' God Complex
An hour long talk by Alan Watts on psychology, psychiatry, western thought, mysticism, and knowing you are God just barely lost out to Ken's two videos with 77 views.

9. Forbidden Videos
The name must have done it for this one. Though not forbidden and only a single video this trend from 2010 refuses to end. Bob Couttie's assault on Uri Geller prompted more posts than just about any single topic. Though only a promise to read a book this video was surprisingly popular, and with 65 views it is enough to get to ninth place on the list. By the way, the free PDF "Forbidden Knowledge: A Dissertation on Debunking, Parapsychology, and the Psychology of the Paranormal" is available and will eventually be turned into a video series, time permitting.

10. The Pussification of America
We are the 1%! That's right, America is the 1% of wealthiest people in human history, regardless of what the occupy pussies have to say. The most recent post to make it to the list, this one has gotten 59 views since October and shows no sign of slowing down.

18 December 2011

Kim Jong Ir Is Stone Dead

The supreme reader, dictator of arr North Korea (bad Korea) Kim Jong Ir is stone dead. Any time someone evir dies it's good for the worrd, even if there are worse, unforseen consequences, which may happen as his son takes command of one of the worrd's rargest armies. Wirr the war between the two Koreas heat up? Nearry 20 mirrion sordiers can be mobirised at the drop of a hat. This could very werr be the event that tips the barance of the worrd from mere chaos to totar war. We must pray coorer heads prevair. Untir then, we can cerebrate that the worrd's most ronery man is with us no ronger.




Author's Note:
No comments from liberal racists will be accepted that say this post is racist for making fun of one of the evilest people of the past half century. If anything they should be rejoicing the fact that now, maybe, the North Korean people may get some basic human rights and dignity.

17 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens In Memoriam

Christopher_Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens has died 15 December 2011 from pneumonia at the age of 62. The famous outspoken atheist intellectual, author of many articles and the book God Is Not Great, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last year. Many will remember him as the atheist who was not a liberal (though, as he said many times, he was not conservative either). He attacked Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal for saying that US foreign policy created al Qaeda and that 9/11 was due punishment for American imperialism. He defended the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of the Second World War, and called out Hitler and Stalin as the two evilest people ever. While an outspoken atheist, Hitchens extended his gratitude toward those who prayed for him during his time of need.

Here is David Berlinski's eulogy.

16 December 2011

The Truth About Palestinian Refugees

"Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon explains the historical facts relating to the issue of refugees in the Israeli Palestinian conflict."

The Arabs have used their own refugees as a political football, kicking them around, never permitting them to settle to perpetuate the illusion that Israel is evil. For six decades these unfortunate people have been denied education, habitation, and employment just to serve the twisted, antisemetic ends of corrupt rulers.

The UN is no better. While more money is spent on Palestinian refugees than all other refugees combined, they have seen no benefit from the UN's efforts.

Runs 5:30

15 December 2011

The Palestinians Are Fake or Why I Like Newt Gingrich

"1209 BC is the earliest recording of the name "Israel" as a place or group of people occupying a place. In contrast, the earliest recording of the name "Palestine" as a place comes from Herodotus' Histories, written 750 years later."



Last week Newt Gingrich ("Ingrinch" will be his joke name should he become president*, to join the ranks of Billy Boy, Capital Bush, and Zero) said in an interview with The Jewish Channel that the Palestinians are an "invented people." Gingrich, a student of history, is the first politician in living memory to have the balls to state the truth. Every single word in that one minute clip is historically accurate. There never were a Palestinian people. There never was a Palestinian state. Watch the clip below:



The British defeated the Ottoman Empire and as part of the peace treaty recieved the land that would become Israel, Jordan, and Iraq. This was a legitimate territorial acquisition as decided in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne. Prior to this time the area of greater Syria (the area in question) was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for five hundred years.

Prior to that the region was controlled by the Mamluks, Turkish slaves who revolted against their Egyptian rulers. Prior to that the Arab Caliphate conquered part of the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered the Jewish state of Judea around the turn of the calendar and kicked the Jews out of Jerusalem after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 136 AD, merging Judea with the province of Syria to create Syria-Palestine.

The Jews ran the place before the Romans came in, for about 100 years, after serving as clients under the Greeks who took over everything in 323 with Alexander the Great, who loved the Jews and was a great champion of Jewish culture. Alexander beat the Persians, who were in charge before. The Persians were also champions of the Jews, so much so that Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from Babylon, is the only Gentile/Goy to be named Messiah in the Bible.

The Babylonians/Chaldeans crushed the Jewish kingdom of Judah and ruled from 597 to 539 BC under Nebuchadnezzar II (not to be confused with Morpheus' ship, Nebuchadnezzar Mark III, No. 11). He's the one that made the famous Ishtar Gate, now in Berlin, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World until the Colossus of Rhodes was built.

Judah was the southern kingdom, comprising two of the twelve tribes, Judah and Benjamin. The northern ten tribes were united as the kingdom of Israel. The two kingdoms used to be united, and also named Israel, but the northern tribes were wicked so the Assyrians conquered them and spread them out to the far corners of the world, thus creating the ten lost tribes. Some of those lost tribes may have been sent to Africa as DNA tests show, as well as Afghanistan, where Alexander (see above) encountered a small community of Jews living isolated from the world. The kingdom of Judah remained a client of the Assyrians.

The original, united, kingdom of Israel included territory on both sides of the Jordan river, comprising large parts of the modern states of Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon. Israel was established, probably, by Joshua. We can't know for certain. What we do know is that a stone inscription called the Merneptha Stele, located in the Cairo Museum (probably, if the Egyptian protesters didn't destroy it), carved probably in 1209 BC, mentions the kingdom of Israel as an independent entity that the Egyptians had their eye on. This document is the earliest recording of the name "Israel" as a place or group of people occupying a place. In contrast, the earliest recording of the name "Palestine" as a place comes from Herodotus' Histories, written 750 years later.

Before that the land was called Canaan. Major Canaanite cities such as Jericho and Hazor were destroyed in the 16th or 15th century BC, before the scholars place the Exodus, the so called "late" dating, which happened AFTER the Merneptha Stele records the existence of an established Israel. The conquest of Canaan couldn't have happened over night, and it couldn't have happened after Israel existed, so the late date of the Exodus is wrong. Can we place the Exodus around the time of the destruction of the Canaanite cities? Yes. The grain at the city of Jericho and other sites was burned along with the cities, not plundered, just as Joshua told his army to do. Any invading army would plunder the cities they sack, but Joshua told his men not to plunder the sites. The goods of the city belong to God, not the Israelites, so they have to burn, not plunder them. This is exactly what we find, and exactly what would be expected if Joshua destroyed the city, not some fictional people hundreds of years prior. The dates of the destruction of the cities is based on hard evidence, the dates of the Exodus is based on speculation from texts. Speculation is far from evidence. Speculation can be wrong, and the Exodus can be a 16th century event.

Before that? The Canaanites were some semi-nomadic pastoralist people living between the Egyptians and Hittites. They seem to have been there forever. Who were the Canaanites? No one knows. Abraham, the first Jew, came from Ur, near the Mesopotamian marshes, and died in Canaan. Canaan became his adopted home. His descendents lived in Canaan. The Canaanites and the descendents of Abraham comingled and became one, save for the difference of one group being monotheists. The Israelites were Canaanites when the Egyptians enslaved them. They returned to Canaan after the Exodus as it was their home. Why the destruction of Canaanite cities if they were kin? Probably to route out all the non-believers. It was a revolution, a civil war; one that the Israelites won.

What about the modern day Palestinians? Where do they fit in? Well, the British decieded to give the land of Israel to the Jews and the land of Jordan to the Arabs, but the Arabs want everything "from the river to the sea" and refuse to except their lot. Both the Jordanians and the Egyptians took "Palestinian" refugees after the 1967 Six-Day War. For decades the Jordanians and Egyptians did nothing. They didn't give the Palestinians their own state. When Israel gave back Jordanian and Egyptian land the Palestinians rushed back and demanded everything "from the river to the sea." The Egyptians and Jordanians bitched about how the Israelis won't give the Palestinians what they themselves would not give. The Arabs are hypocrites and liars. They hated the Jews since the Jews wouldn't accept Muhammad as a prophet. The Arabs took Syria-Palestine from the Romans and told the Jews to submit, but the Jews wouldn't. Jewish belief says that there have been no prophets since Malachi. They weren't about to accept that another prophet arose in the centuries since so the Arabs got pissed off and decided to hate the Jews forever.

There you have it, the history of the land of Israel going back to before the bronze age as well as the history of antisemitism. Newt Gingrich is the only candidate with balls enough to acknowledge this history, and that's why I support him.





*You don't get honoured with a joke name until you're elected.

06 December 2011

The Fear of Enlightenment

Alan Watts explains the fear of finding out you are already enlightened. What is the solution? The guru gives you work to do to wear down your barriers.
Runs 9:08

Death Comes Calling II

My new monitor just arrived: a Compaq FS7600e, which is square instead of rectangular like normal monitors. So far it's nice. It's a little bright because the bulb inside is new*, which I have to get used to again. The only problem so far is the smell. All new electronics have a smell, and this one has a particularly strong smell. It's a bit annoying but the "outgassing" as it is technically called will go away in two or three weeks. *And by "new" I think it was manufactured in 2006 and left in a warehouse because no one wanted it until now.

04 December 2011

Affluence And Apathy, or Why I Love Rarity

Rarity

I can say with the utmost confidence that, while other ponies and all their special episodes may disappoint, without any question, there has never been nor will there likely ever be a disappointing episode focusing on Rarity. Consistently she remains top notch, above and beyond others in excellence and grace. She stands as a beacon overlooking all the pageantry, bizarre little oddities (Over A Barrel), and endless parades of Dash getting away with absolutely everything like some grand scale karma Houdini. Unlike all the others, who may at times descend into madness (or "go cupcakes"), Rarity manages to hold onto her poise and grace while always finding it in herself to give to her fullest ability to anypony in need.

One need no other example than Sisterhooves Social where she put aside all comfort for the sake of her sister, going so far as to disguise herself as Applejack and get as dirty as possible. She did it all gladly for Sweetie Belle, who was an obnoxious, selfish jackass (like all, or certainly most, little kids). She was able to maintain her grace even among the diamond dogs worst attempts at breaking her. She never lost her head, she never sank to their level, she just bit her lip, bore the discomfort of their imprisonment, and used her wits to extricate herself from captivity.

Time and again Rarity reveals to us that she is no one trick pony like so many others. AJ is still the rough and tumble farmer's daughter, Twi is still the anal nerd, Dash is still the asshole Mary Sue, Pinkie Pie still teeters on the brink of cupcakes, and Fluttershy still warns us to beware the quiet ones. Contrasted against the others Rarity has a depth of personality that is unrivaled by the rest of the mane six put together. She has beauty, brains, and heart, sense and style, cleverness, compassion, and propriety all rolled into one fabulous package. I dare say Rarity is everything anypony could ever want in a girl. She'll go on a quest to slay the dragon and look stunning doing it. She'll work herself to exhaustion for her friends. She'll put others before herself and bear the slings required of the peace keeper. She may go overboard at times, but everypony does and Rarity is certainly not above apologising for her wrongs.

It is for all that that I hold Rarity up as an example for us all, especially in these troubled times.

The problem of the world today is the disease of Affluenza, which isn't really a disease, but neither is ADHD or depression, even though drug companies make billions off of both, so why not add one more, and one that is so troubling to so many millions?

First permit me to clarify. I'm not saying that there are not people who actually have ADHD or depression, just that they are not diseases and cannot be cured (or treated, since nothing in psychiatry is ever cured) like diseases with drugs. The psychiatry disease angle is a scam.

Depression is a mental condition in which anger is repressed and turned inward toward one's self. It is overcome by introspecting to uproot the anger (best when done under the auspices of a qualified therapist), not by blocking dopamine or seratonin. Taking drugs to fix depression is like taking drugs to fix an amputated arm. The best course of action for dealing with depression is a combination of cognitive behaviour therapy and lots of physical exercise (one British study showed that walking more than 30 minutes a day was several times more effective than any available drug at fixing depression, and walking alone was more effective than walking while taking drugs, indicating that the drugs actually worsen the symptoms of depression!).

ADHD and all its various permutations (the more types of disorder the psychiatric community can create the more money they can make selling people drugs) are just names for being a boy and not having parents who do their job. The first undeniable truth about the universe everyone learns is that boys and girls are different. It has always been for hundreds of thousands of years that boys and girls think and learn differently, and within the larger categories of boys and girls are a whole spectrum of sub-types. None are wrong or defective or diseased, just different.

Unfortunately, the pussification of America threw that undeniable fact out and replaced it with the idea that everyone is the same and has to be taught the same and if anyone doesn't fit into that narrow mold they must be diseased. Since America was pussified and only girls have pussies, that means that girls are normal. If girls are normal then, by definition, boys must be defective. No longer do boys and girls think differently, needing different modes of learning and discipline. Nope, everyone must be taught the same and they must be taught like girls. Since boys don't learn like girls, since they want to run around and rough house and compete and follow rules and have winners and losers*, then boys must be defective. If boys are no longer allowed to win and lose, if they can't run and shout and mes around then of course they'll look for outlets to their masculinity where it is deemed inappropriate. They don't need drugs, they just need proper masculine discipline and training so they can grow up into proper men. They need parents who get off their fat asses and tell them to sit down and shut up when in public (behavioural training). They need to be told to follow rules begrudgingly and most of all they need a chance to rough house with one another outside and express their natural masculine violent proclivities.

Getting back to the topic at hand, or society is afflicted by the dreaded disease of Affluenza and it is Rarity who can show us the way to overcome this plague.

In the past century, more so the past 50 years, mores the past generation, and the past decade, Western society has become more affluent. We don't have to worry about working for our food, the government gives it to us and the grocery store is always fully stocked. We don't have to have twelve children because eight of them won't die from measles or whooping cough. We don't have to write letters or look for pay phones or wait to see our friends, they are always at hand. Our lives in the West have become so easy that we have become bored and must now look or excuses to complain about things. We have to work to find a reason to bitch and moan about how "unfair" our lives are. Our blessings are so many that we must focus on the few areas of our lives that contain lack for fear of being overwhelmed with gratitude. We are the 1% in all of human history, holding ore wealth and opulence than kings and emperors of years gone by could ever dream of. This is Affluenza.

The problem stems from two unhealthy byproducts of extreme affluence: narcissism and apathy. We literally throw away enough food to feed the entire world many times over. No one ever need go hungry, just kill the warlords and give the starving refugees the garbage we won't eat.

In Sweet and Elite we see Rarity, an affluent pony, stand in stark contrast with a rather uppity fellow from Canterlot, Jet Set, along with his wife Upper Crust. Jet Set and Upper Crust exemplify Affluenza. Against them is Rarity and her new friend (and mentor?) Fancy Pants, both of whom can keep their heads despite their success (though Fancy Pants plays coy to get Rarity to display her good nature, almost as a master would his apprentice). Fancy Pants urges Rarity on to defend her friends at the Canterlot Garden Party, however uncouth, or downright destructive, they may be. Jet Set and Upper Crust, stricken with Affluenza, are appalled at Rarity's display of her loyalty but they are quickly shot down by Fancy Pants coming to her aid.

Rarity exemplifies how to be good affluent. She shows us the way out of Affluenza, minus the occasional theatrics if we may be so inclined. I would advise all of you, myself included, and especially the occupy pussies, to look to Rarity as the inoculation against the dreaded disease of Affluenza. She just may be the one to save our world from self-destruction.





*My friends and I would play space marines and fight aliens with sticks and books, not like we were visiting neighbours, and we accepted the rules of the tames as rules, sucking it up when we lost even if we didn't like it. We didn't demand do overs to boost our self esteem. We ran around and made lots of noise and fell down and got hurt. We may have cried but we knew we were supposed to be men so we got over it.

03 December 2011

Unemployed And Not A Pot To Piss In

The new unemployment numbers are in, and, surprise surprise, Rush* was right again. The official unemployment numbers puts unemployment at 8.6%, down from 9% last month. Zero and his cronies were willing to do anything to get it below 8%, because no president has ever won reelection with 9% unemployment. They got it to 8.6% and the .6 is never read aloud by the media so now everyone thinks unemployment is 8% and Zero is electable again.

Unfortunately, it's all bullshit math.

125,000 (seasonal) jobs were added, as happens every year late November until January when they're laid off again. However, to get the numbers to drop 0.4% close to half a million jobs would need to be created. How to solve this quandry? Fudge the numbers. You see, the official unemployment rate is what is called U3. It tallies people who have been looking for jobs for four weeks. What it doesn't count is people who have been receiving unemployment benefits so long that they expire after the 99 weeks, or people who give up looking for jobs. This number is called U6 and it is the true number of people who don't have jobs. The additional thousands came from the 315,000 people who are no longer receiving benefits because they have stopped looking for work. This 315,000 who are no longer officially unemployed according to the U3 definition is added to the 125,000 temp jobs that were created to give a total of 440,000 jobs created by Zero for the past month. That is how the number went down to 8.6%.

The real unemployment stats, the U6, is closer to 17%, which is nowhere near as bad as African brutal military coup nations, but it is still extreme for a highly developed, post-industrial nation. Since Zero has taken the oaf of office he has destroyed over 2.5 million jobs. That's Zero alone, not counting the jobs lost under Capital Bush. Still, think about it: one out of every six able bodied Americans doesn't have a job. This should be unexceptable. We need to stop hemorrhaging money. We need to cut everything in government. We need to vote Zero out of office and put anyone in his place, whether it be Newt Ingrinch, that guy with the hair, or whoever. Anyone is better.



*Not THAT Rush.

27 November 2011

We're All Soft Once

Alexander Tsiaras presents in under ten minutes the development of everyone from conception to birth using the latest imaging technology. Even though you were there when this happened you probably don't remember it (although Stan Groff has produced some evidence for his birth memory trauma theory, but that's a different story). Enjoy.

26 November 2011

MIMIC

The December project is the first of the GoreHäus comics. Titled "MIMIC" (all caps) here is the synopsis:

An experimental virus is loose in a lab, growing deadlier with every living thing it encounters. The researchers have to find and destroy it before it escapes.

How many pages can be finished before the end of the year? Stay tuned to find out. Cover below.

MIMIC

24 November 2011

Climategate Part Two

More hacked emails reveal that globa- oops! "Climate Change" (hide the decline) is fake. FOIA.org has released a zip file of 5000 additional emails* exposing the global warming conspiracy, with more waiting to be released at future opportune times. Even though the evidence is completely damning and climate change has now and forever completely been proven to be a hoax, this additional release makes for a nice gift of egg on the climate "scientists" faces. Whilst counting your blessings this Thanks Giving make sure to add Climategate 2.0 to your list.



*The Urban Mystic, Irked-Confusion Studios, and all contributers are not responsible for the content of linked files or any potential damage said files or your own stupidity may cause to your computer.

21 November 2011

Death Comes Calling

Like everything else in the universe my monitor died. It came with the computer in April 2003. Like its predecessor it lasted eight years (surprisingly). It wasn't the best monitor in the world. Lights reflected in it a strange pink colour, the glass was the most delicate thing in the world and the act of breathing on it caused smudges to appear that had to be cleaned almost daily, it was too big to fit with my cabinets so they had to be taken down, and it weighed about 60 pounds. Unlike the previous one, an IBM which just refused to turn on one day, this one, an HP model, turned on with half the screen completely black and the other half doing the Hula. At least it had the decency to tell me it was dying.

Relying on a stopgap replacement for the time being I checked the net to discover, to my horror, that nearly all manufacturers have stopped production of CRT monitors in favour of shitty LCDs. The problems with LCDs are legion: the viewing angle is practically non-existant, each pixel has to be viewed at 0 degrees (normal to the pixel), so to avoid distortion you either have to constantly move your head around or sit 20 feet back (because of the way the human eye works 20 feet is practically the same as infinity), at which point I won't see anything and will have to knock a few walls down; most LCD monitors use twisted nematic displays because they're cheap, but TN monitors can't produce anything resembling colours accurately, which is essential for someone working with graphics. There's so much crap wrong with them here's a link for more information.

Having worked with LCD monitors before and getting very bad headaches and eye strain from looking at them I can say that avoiding one at all costs is par for the course of looking for a replacement. An interesting question arises: if LCD monitors are so horrible how did they come to dominate the market? The answer is simple, and comes in two parts:

1. They're smaller! Now marketing geniuses realise that the average consumer can't find his bunghole with both hands. A little trick, like calling a war "kinetic military action", can sway a lot of idiots for something that they would normally despise. The people who make computer monitors decided to rely on the fact that LCDs are a lot lighter than CRTs so consumers are willing to give up a product that is superior in every way for some POS because they won't get a hernia having to perform heavy lifting. LCDs are also thinner so you can put a lot more clutter on your work station and pay attention to it instead of doing your job.

2. They're cheaper to manufacture. CRTs require technology and components and things to manufacture. There's an X-ray gun, and leaded glass, and a high vacuum, and lots of other stuff. LCDs are just plastic and wires. Also, since the image "quality" is so shitty on LCDs the company can save a lot of money by making loads of them and phasing out their more expensive, high quality CRT monitors.

If LCDs are the problem, what's the solution? Well, it's not impossible to find CRTs floating around, probably in the "Beyond" section of Bed, Bath, & Beyond, or The Twilight Zone, or the Internet, although in eight more years when that one breaks I'll have to get some POS LCD, right? Well, that article linked above (and again here) talks about in-plane switching (IPS) LCD monitors that are much more expensive and much rarer but aren't all bad. Then there's the OLED or "organic" light-emitting diode, which, according to the other wiki, can procuce comparable image quality to CRTs for about $3000 a unit! I'll keep you informed on this unfolding saga. Next time see pictures of the deceased.

Buddha Loves That Mean Green

By which I mean money, not weed (although Shiva would care to disagree).

Golden_Buddha
At current gold prices Buddha's net worth is estimated at $30,4367,085 - not bad for a guy who lived as a wandering ascetic for 51 years.

Trump_The_Global_Superbrand
Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to Think Big and Kick Ass at $2.7 billion.

Up at UD is a story about the difference between Buddhist meditators (yo) and ordinary mortals. Whereas an ordinary mortal would only accept a crappy gift from a rich friend 25% of the time, a Buddhist meditator would accept the same crappy gift 50% of the time. The reason, according to the article, is that meditation changes the way the brain works so people use reason instead of emotion. A reasonable person would think "hey, better than nothing," whereas an emotional person would think "son of a bitch could afford more, screw their gift!"

It's a short story and that's pretty much all it says.

17 November 2011

Stupid Economists

Niall Ferguson is at it again. If you recall, previously he warned that the Muslim Brotherhood would take over Egypt and the lives of the Egyptian people would be much less free and suck much more post Mubarak. He was right. Now he's saying that government spending won't save the economy, it will make it worse. The way to prevent catastrophic collapse is to overhaul the bloated tax code. He uses Republican Paul Ryan's plan as an example of what needs to be done. The video is four minutes long. Enjoy.

16 November 2011

The Games We Play

When I was a kid I often thought life was like a video game. Everything seemed contrived and I set out to have fun playing it. Now I spend less time focusing on what, in 2006, I called "The Game of Life," but the thought does periodically come to mind, as it has at this 3 AM listening to the rain outside my window. Now, while I am not suggesting that the purpose of life is a game, that we are here to play, the case can be made that, fundamentally, that statement is accurate. It seems to me that there are many, many levels to the Game of Life.

In 2008 I was drawn to the notion that, like it or not, and most of the time it is not, we are always playing and never living from a position of authenticity. We are never living from a position of the true self, but instead are always putting on masks and hiding from the truth.

We are always lying, all the time, even, and I would say especially, with ourselves about who we are. We create a series of intersubjective rules where certain actions, behaviours, mannerisms, appearances, styles of dress, professions, and patterns of consumption will define us as a "winner" and other actions etc., will define us as a "loser." We are always trying to win this game we are playing with other people and with ourself. It may get us somewhere and there may be some temporary benefits to playing this game, but the real effect is seen in the anxiety it creates; the sense of shame and inadequacy we feel, the depression, the anger, the confusion all from this drive toward inauthenticity. It is no surprise that we are the most heavily medicated people in all of history. We damage ourselves psychologically so much and we are taken to believe, through clever advertising, that the cause to our problems are external to our own minds (be they society, our brain, the 1%, etc.) that we become drug addicts and shell out loads of money to either the cartels or the government's favourite pharmaceutical companies, who are deeply in bed together and working to create a drugged society.

As a result of this game you do not have one self. You create a new persona for every person you interact with. There is the self you present to yourself, the self you present to me, the self you present to persons X, Y, and Z, etc. All of this is a fiction. It is a mechanism of avoiding the truth. Maybe we cannot cope with who we are, cannot accept who we are. We are too damaged and so we play hide and seek with ourself. We erect boundaries and hide everything we cannot stand about who we are and it is this lie that is fundamentally the source of our problems. We invest so heavily in maintaining the lie that the lie consumes us.

Life is a game and it is one that we play to avoid ourself. Now there are some people who have uprooted this lie and are living from authenticity and there are more who have tricked themselves into believing that they are being authentic, but this is just the smallest percentage of the population. Most people will never even become aware of the lie. They cannot handle the psychological shock. For those of us who are aware that we are playing there is a long road ahead to get out of the game. Meditation cannot free us because it ignores the lie completely. In samadhi there is nothing arising, including the lie, but once we come out we are right back in the same pattern of self-deception (which is why so many great Eastern masters came to the West and became entangled in problems with drugs, money, or sex: they were fine in the ashram where no temptation existed, but back in society where temptation abounds they have no psychological mechanism for dealing with it. It's a lot like the alcoholic who doesn't deal with alcohol, he just avoids it. Avoiding temptation is not the same as overcoming it.). We have a Shadow, and that is what Western psychotherapy works on. We must integrate East and West to uproot the lie and start living from authenticity.

11 November 2011

11.11.11

It comes once every century (twice if you're using a 12 hour clock!): 11:11:11 on 11/11/11. In under 5 minutes I talk about the end of the First World War, the experience and value of the soldier, and what we can learn from them and from history.





P.S. The video was shot on 11 November, and posted here on the 12 @ 1:31 AM, but the time stamp has been changed to reflect the theme of the post.

08 November 2011

Happy Birthday Baby 7 Billion

31 October 2011 was officially declaired the Day of Seven Billion by the UN (given a 12 month margin of error!). While no one can know who exactly the seven billionth person is one group chose this girl from India to protest the killing of baby girls in that part of the world. If you've been following this series you'll know that there are 7 men in China for every woman, which is why the Chinese economy will collapse before the end of the century. The situation is better in India and other Asian countries, but still highly problematic.



The Chinese government celebrates the grisly fact that their one child policy has resulted in the "elimination" of 400 million people since it was instituted, making it more devastating than the Black Death (150 million); both World Wars combined (80 million); Hitler, Stalin, Chingis Khan, and Timur combined (110 million); and falls in the middle of the estimated deaths from Smallpox (300-500 million). Fuck you China, fuck you very much.

05 November 2011

Europe Dies

Like the Oracle says in the last Matrix film "everything that has a beginning has an end." Seems as if the end has come for the Eurozone (I'm on the record as of May 2008 saying that the Euro sucks and that the success of the Eurozone is a fiction that is artificially propped up by government intervention). Greece, the very place where all this started in 2010 when the world went mad, has crystalised into a stone that is dragging the entire Eurozone with it into destruction.

The very government of Greece is teetering on the edge, their military being decapitated for unknown reasons. Billions around the world were wiped out in the markets as fears of a coup arose. According to the story one Greek official (unnamed) is on the record as saying "It’s all over. The government is about to collapse."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pissed at how Germany is carrying the weight of the Eurozone and its endemic bailouts of all the failed countries. Pussies in Greece (which used to be the toughest bunch of people on the planet, producing the Spartans, Socrates, Alexander the Great, and Plotinus, all while wearing skirts no less, before turning into the biggest welfare state on the planet) have made Merkel as Hitler posters because she is the only sane leader in the EU and realises that this whole EU experiment in keeping something huge and complicated going as long as possible for no other reason that to justify the fact that it is very expensive and has been going on for a long time.

From The Independent: "The international economy is on the brink of a deep new economic crisis that could cost millions of jobs around the globe and trigger mass social unrest.... The UN agency warned that it could take until 2016 for global employment to return to the levels of three years ago – and that anger could erupt on the streets of Europe and other continents as a result."

If the Greeks were right (the classical Greeks, not the modern ones) and madness is contagious, and 2011 has been very good evidence that it is, we could be looking at something much worse than the end of the Eurozone. I don't like speculating about these sorts of things, but maybe the Mayans were right and the world will end in 2012. Not from some natural cataclysm, but from humanity's own hubris.

29 October 2011

Integral Politics II

Remember Integral Politics and the promise of Integral Politics II that eventually morphed into Why Study History? Two days ago I shot 31 minutes of video that could be called the sequel to Integral Politics. In 9 sections I look at the Left/Right dichotomy, the foresight of the founders, libertarians, why communism never works, what can be learned from listening to different perspectives, and political movements and how they are coopted. Divided into three parts.

Part One
Left & Right & Everything Inbetween
Why Communism Doesn't Work
  Other Wiki's Page on Plymouth
  Hub Page on Plymouth
Equally Wrong Equally Right?
As Much Government as is Necessary
  In case you're wondering "the others" after Voltaire is Jean Jacques Rousseau, who had at least four illigitimate children.

Part Two
Changing Social Identities
  The two functions of religion: "legitimacy" and "authenticity." The legitimacy that religion provides "has historically been the single greatest "social glue" that any culture has." From Ken Wilber's"Spirituality that Transforms"originally published in What Is Enlightenment? magazine.
  "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
  It's not known if Einstein actually said this or not. Apocryphal though it may be, the sentiment is accurate.
Declining Religion & Handouts
  Religious people are more charitable than secular people, including giving to non-religious charities.
  From the Hoover Institute, 2003: Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money and 23 points more likely to volunteer time.
  Psychology Today, 2009

Part Three
Less Government = More People Helped?
The Genius of the Founders
  Medical uses for marijuana (cannabis)
Tea Parties and Occupy Wherever
  Student loan debt from USA Today

26 October 2011

This Is A Story About A Whale

Darwinists say that the whale is the best example of evolution in action. The whale started out as a bear, or cat, or hyena, or hippo, depending on who you ask. Over time fossils were found and the people who run the museums drew flippers and flukes where none were discovered, and added arrows that were never found to demonstrate how whales evolved from creatures that are now acknowledged to not be whale ancestors. This makes you think, if the whale is the BEST example of evolution how did the idea ever get off the drawing board and into the outdated highschool text books?

Video runs 9 min.

Whale Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence from Philip Cunningham on Vimeo.

23 October 2011

Why Dawkins Doesn't Debate Craig

Dick-to-the-Dawk-to-the-PhD won't debate William Lane Craig because he's scared there's a huge likelihood that he'll lose, but instead makes up fake reasons like: "I'll only debate members of the Church establishment and not professional debaters," and "Craig believes in genocide because he's a Christian." Other atheists are calling Dawk out on being a pussy. This guy (don't know who) posted two videos showing Craig destroy Dawk's fellow nay-theists Peter Atkins and Sam Harris with the remark "I think the real reason for Dawkins’s refusal to debate Craig is plain enough to see."

Here are the videos below:


Atkins


Harris

19 October 2011

The Pussification of America

George Carlin did a routine on what he called "the pussification of America," a condition brought on by too much politically correct BS. I got to thinking in the shower, where I do most of my thinking. It started with the obvious paradox: nearly everyone in the country is on some diet all of the time and is more "health-conscious" than ever, yet a full third of all our citizens are obese. Never have I seen this many fat people in my life, and this is in spite of the fact that no one is allowed to eat salt or trans fats, or carbs, or meat, or whole milk. How the hell are they getting that fat then? Do people assume that since food is now low fat that they can eat ten times more?

This reminded me of something in the book Generation Kill. One of the Marines was a Mexican who liked to go off about how he disliked white people even though all his friends were white. He made a good point when he said that being poor in America was different than being poor elsewhere. Poor people in America have a house, or at least an apartment, a car or two, plasma TV, high-speed Internet, iPhone, iPod, i-whatever else, HD digital camera, etc. Also, poor people in America are obese. Poor people elsewhere are walking skeletons, like in Ethiopia on those Feed the Children commercials, but poor people in America are obese! How does that happen?

When you think about it, for 99% of human history only the tippity top of society could afford to get obese; less than 1%. The poorest people in America are obese, which puts them at the top richest 1% of all people in all of human history. Think about this: Louis XIV of France, the God-Emperor of all the world who built the largest palace on the continent and bathed in champaign and dressed in solid gold never used a toilet. His entire life, Louis XIV, the richest, most powerful man in all of Europe never used a toilet. He had to shit in a box and have someone dump it out a window. Louis XIV didn't have refrigiration in the summer, he didn't have heat in the winter, he didn't have a cure for measles. He had no electricity or motor vehicles. He had no means of keeping famine or war or plague from devastating his country. Louis XIV, the absolute ruler over millions, didn't live as well as poor people do in 21st Century America!

In spite of all this, the pussies at Occupy Wall Street* are still complaining! They claim to be the voice of the 99% against the top 1%, yet they are the top 1%! The people occupying Wall Street are among the top 1% of richest people in all of human history! They got used to getting a free ride from their bottomless mommy-government and when the tap got turned down slightly they started throwing a tantrum. They all have iPhones and iPads and HD digital cameras. They all have adequate nutrition (weren't they eating smoked salmon in their tents?). They have one of the best sanitation systems in human history, no threat of war now that there's an all volunteer military defending a nation protected on two sides by oceans. They have the best healthcare system on the planet, the one responsible for every last major medical advancement in the past thirty years. Think about it. The OWS pussies have it better than my ancestors did when they came to this country 100 years ago to escape being peasant farmers in Italy. There's child labour laws, civil rights, gay rights, womens' rights, free education till your 18th birthday, food stamps so poor people don't go hungry, indoor flush toilets, vaccines that save millions of children from previously fatal diseases that have vanished in the Western world. Hundreds of pages can be written about all the blessings these pussies have and only a couple on the troubles they face, yet they still are not satisfied! The selfishness of these people, shitting in police cars, mating under tarps, trying to keep a third of all employed New Yorkers from working**, assaulting the police to provoke retaliation and win sympathy like wife-beater Rodney King. The selfishness of the OWS pussies is disgusting.





*A group of activists believing that by yelling loudly enough some slogans they don't fully understand about some economic concepts they don't even begin to comprehend, they can change an economic situation they don't really like into a better one that they haven't quite defined yet.

**A third of all people in NYC are employed in some fashion by Wall Street.

18 October 2011

An Incident at a McDonalds

Okay, there's some harpy shouting "STOP!" throughout the video, but ignore her.

Basically a very rowdy customer (a colossal bitch) berrated a McDonalds' cashier for some minor mistake, hit him, jumped the counter and he ran. He returns with a whup-ass stick (it looks like a crowbar) and does something to her her parents forgot to do. Her bitch friend jumps the counter too and she gets what's coming as well. Absolutely, the man was defending himself and the customers got what they deserved. Cashiers take way too much shit from way too many assaholic customers as is. These two bitches went too far and the cashier went Michael Douglass in Falling Down on their asses. Of course the cashier was charged with felony assault. REGARDLESS of his background (he did kill someone once and paid his debt) his actions were self-defense and completely justified. Guaran-damn-tee if the two customers were MEN this wouldn't even be a news story, but because they were women and we live in a gynocracy the big bad man has to be punished. Boo hoo, call the wambulance. Watch the video below and see the whacks of justice being delivered in the name of every cashier who is abused by customers.

15 October 2011

Zombie Muhammad

Zombie_Muhammad
Atheists attending a Halloween parade in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania* encountered trouble from the religion of "peace" (actually it's "piece" as in what they cut you up into if you piss them off, but it's a homophone and often gets misspelled). An atheist dressed as zombie Muhammad was harassed then brutally attacked by one or more peace-loving Muslims who wanted to kill him for being an infidel. It should be noted that none of the evil, Zionist, great Satan Catholics standing around attacked the atheist dressed as the zombie Pope who was looking for little boys to rape, just the peace-loving Muslims. Only two atheists actually attended the parade, which technically makes this the second smallest parade ever (Miles Gloriosus IS a parade, and he's just one guy!). I guess atheists (or Pennsylvanians?) don't like Halloween, which is cool; I don't care for it much either. It's like the welfare holiday.

Let me school you on the First Ammendment. This is America, not Persia where homosexuals are murdered, not Saudi Arabia where it is illegal for anyone who is not a Muslim to be a citizen of the country. America is a secular nation with secular laws that say: "you do not have the right to not be offended." If you don't like that, go fuck yourself. You don't have the right to replace US law with Sharia law.

Below is the video of the event.





*The place vampires come from.

09 October 2011

7 Billion People Part Two

Robert Kunzig writing for National Geographic has put out a decent article on the approaching birth of human number 7 billion. Decent because, while it says that poverty is the real problem, not population, and that Malthusian alarmism is nuts, it does toe the party line on globa-oops! "Climate Change" (hide the decline)*. The article is two pages (there's a little "continue" button at the bottom). Some gems include:

"THE ANNUAL meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA) is one of the premier gatherings of the world’s demographers. Last April the global population explosion was not on the agenda. “The problem has become a bit passé,” Hervé Le Bras says. Demographers are generally confident that by the second half of this century we will be ending one unique era in history—the population explosion—and entering another, in which population will level out or even fall.

But will there be too many of us? At the PAA meeting, in the Dallas Hyatt Regency, I learned that the current population of the planet could fit into the state of Texas, if Texas were settled as densely as New York City. The comparison made me start thinking like Leeuwenhoek. If in 2045 there are nine billion people living on the six habitable continents, the world population density will be a little more than half that of France today. France is not usually considered a hellish place. Will the world be hellish then? "

and

"But one can also draw a different conclusion—that fixating on population numbers is not the best way to confront the future. People packed into slums need help, but the problem that needs solving is poverty and lack of infrastructure, not overpopulation. Giving every woman access to family planning services is a good idea—“the one strategy that can make the biggest difference to women’s lives,” Chandra calls it. But the most aggressive population control program imaginable will not save Bangladesh from sea level rise, Rwanda from another genocide, or all of us from our enormous environmental problems."









*Because the earth hasn't warmed since 1998. In fact, the global temperature has decreased, markedly, since then. More than half of the climate stations in Siberia had to be ignored because they showed cooling, not warming, while climate stations on airport tarmacs and near heat exhaust vents were given "Mike's Nature Trick" to make it look like the earth was heating up. Seriously, after Climategate, if you still believe that humans are changing the climate you're a fucking retard, in plain English.

08 October 2011

Freedom of Smoking

Classy_Ashtray_Cigarette
Have you noticed that, for several years, the government has been trying to take away our freedom of smoking? Just because I elect not to exercise this, I'm going to call it a privilege, that does not mean that I am not still irked by the grotesque actions the government is taking with regard to smoking. Cigarette prices grow ever higher - twice, or more, the price of a gallon of gasoline, a far larger quantity of a far more useful commodity. Where before smoking was permitted everywhere, the non-smokers relegated to some paltry, isolated, ill-fashioned areas, now the roles have been reversed. That is not to say I am not happy with the new arrangements at resturants. Putting the non-smoking section in the back, accessible only through the smoking section, seemed to defeat the purpose of having separate sections at all. I'm glad, thrilled even, that I no longer come home having to shower and wash my clothes, but couldn't they just switch the locations and relegate the smokers to the oft forgotten back room, away from the entertainment and exits?

I'm glad for the waiters, already a thankless profession (ruined by Starbucks - whose coffee tastes foul, I might add, and is rather pricey - who ask for tips for their "baristas" when I could just as easily pour my own; now with everyone expecting a gratuity the gesture has forever lost its meaning, a gift for exceptional service, and has become just another bill), who no longer have to breathe the foul clouds of their patrons every day. Still, glad as I may be, this never was about me but about all of us. The problems I had were not with smoking but with courtesy and that is something that cannot be legislated.

You can't smoke in bars, you can't smoke in parks, you can't smoke in cars if children are present - a caveat some try to push on smoking in your own home! More and more there are fewer and fewer places to light up these ever more expensive things. Campaigns are being waged to replace the Surgeon General's warnings (the Surgeon General is technically an admiral) with pictures of dead people. Not just dead people, but putrid, puss oozing, zombie-like dead people, to scare consumers away from cigarettes. I'm pretty sure most smokers know the risks involved with their passtime; you don't have to rub it in.

Some people want to smoke. Some people never have any serious health effects from years of lighting up. Their habit hurts no one and benefits the government millions of dollars in taxes. Why work so hard to kill the golden goose? Why shift from one extreme of everywhere unlimited smoking to the other extreme of no smoking anywhere? Why not, as the Buddha would say, persue the middle way? A way of common sense, common courtesy, and maturity with regard to smoking? $8 per pack is bad enough. Can we at least stop pushing tax payers who already have nowhere to go by letting them enjoy their tax paying hobby without bankrupting them? Can't we have just a little more freedom of smoking?

05 October 2011

7 Billion People

The Earth's population will soon reach seven billion, but that really means the population growth rate is slowing.

29 September 2011

60 Things I've Learned from the Movie "Megafault"

1. Earthquake killed ten miners instantly but took its time to chase the foreman, even waiting for him to get in his truck
2. An earthquake movie is sponsored by Quaker Oatmeal
3. Earthquake in Kentucky knocked over the Washington Monument but none of the windows in Washington shattered and nothing in the hundreds of miles between the two places were damaged
4. Earthquakes don't "move" and they don't have "paths"
5. When the foreman is rescued from his truck five hours later he can still run faster than anyone else even though he hasn't moved that whole time
6. After the foreman is rescued the earthquake comes back and chases him some more
7. Earthquake tries to suck a helicopter from the sky
8. Only buildings in the "path" of the earthquake get destroyed, all surrounding buildings are spared
9. Earthquake can toss a car like a toy in a wind tunnel but can't even shake the people trying to outrun it on foot
10. Buildings break into large jagged pieces like in children's drawings
11. When planes lose contact with the control tower they immediately crash because they're "flying blind" even on perfectly cloudless days
12. The earthquake is very slowly moving across the United States and will split it in half
13. Earthquakes do not work that way
14. When planes lose contact with the control tower the "transponder" causes the engines to explode, even though they're not connected and a transponder is just a radio transmitter and you can turn it off with no ill effects to the plane
15. A satellite from 1989 has a beam that can instantly freeze the water table of an area, causing an earthquake, somehow
16. "Megafault" is the least accurate movie ever
17. "Megafault" is the most cornball movie ever
18. Earthquakes can chase things with fireballs
19. "Stop the truck!" "I can't there's an earthquake on our tail!"
20. Government building is built on a "gyroscope" so earthquakes can't get in
21. The people who made "Megafault" (The Asylum) don't know what words mean or how anything works
22. "Megafault" is less accurate than the movie where an electric demon brought a black hole to earth ("The Black Hole" 2006)
23. There's only one seismologist in the world and she's the main character
24. The only things that can stop an earthquake are another earthquake or the Grand Canyon because it's already a hole in the ground so it absorbs earthquakes
25. A helicopter can outrun a laser
26. Earthquakes are only as fast as whoever they chase
27. When a laser shuts off the beam sucks back in
28. Thermodynamics means nothing in the world of "Megafault"
29. "P-waves have dissipated to 40" doesn't mean anything
30. Earthquakes can be frozen
31. A geologist said "mantle, what mantle" even though he's 60 years old and should know the earth has a mantle by now
32. Destabilizing the mantle with an ice laser causes people to spontaneously combust, leaving all their clothes unsinged.
33. An ice laser can set off a volcano
34. SyFy movies are even much worse than SciFi movies
35. "Why can't we move the Grand Canyon?"
36. One miner created an entire series of interconnected coal mines in Wyoming
37. Coal mines do not work that way
38. It is possible for one team, given only two hours, to fill 35 mines with a few crates of explosives and create a canyon
39. Earthquakes like to follow certain people and kill others who just appear in one scene instantly
40. "You can't outrun these explosives" but he can outrun five earthquakes in one day
41. 20 million tons of TNT
42. 20 million tons of TNT looks like a few small crates
43. Earthquakes really hate certain people
44. "Megafault" ends with a satellite image of a hundred mile deep split in the country
45. In movies redemption = death
46. In "Megafault" redemption = death
47. To make up for his crappy life the foreman had to die to save the world
48. The Asylum made "Megafault"
49. The Asylum made "Megafault" so that explains but in no way excuses it
50. "Birdemic"
51. "Birdemic" is a zero-budget 2009 ripoff of "The Birds"
52. "Birdemic" is even worse than "Megafault"
53. The miner foreman is appropriately named Boomer
54. "Megafault" is a mockbuster of a made for TV movie "10.5"
55. Even though "the President" is mentioned throughout the first half of "Megafault" he never makes an apperance in the movie
56. The whole meeting "the President" theme of the first half hour of "Megafault" is mysteriously dropped and never mentioned again
57. The Asylum had to contact NASA to calculate how bad "Megafault" is
58. "Megafault" has more stupid things than "Paycheck"
59. Good actors are willing to perform in crap movies
60.

25 September 2011

The Return of Harmony Part 2 (of 3)


Not really, but it should have been. As a five part series finale this could have been the most awesome thing ever, but as a two part season premier, not so much. One hour of material was crammed into 22 minutes of show and with predictable results. The most powerful villain in the world was defeated in a deus ex machina way and turned back into stone as if that were the default setting of the Elements of Harmony.

Luna didn't appear (although Derpy was in the crowd at Canterlot). She was banished for 1000 years, but that wasn't punishment enough, so she was banished for the rest of Season One and the start of Season Two - the most siginficant event in the history of Equestria. Some ponies can't catch a break. She and Celestia just sat by and did nothing while Discord was on the loose? They could have at least helped (in a way other than returning Twi's letters).

If Twi could use her magic to undo Discord's negative effects on her friends why didn't she do so in the beginning? It would have been better if they had to overcome their changes with at least some struggle, if not two additional episodes worth. Part one seemed to be building up for something that never happened.

Now that the Mane 6 defeated Discord who would ever oppose them? They've only saved the very fabric of reality, they should be heaped with praise, their every whim delivered. You want everything for free for the rest of your life? No problem, you only saved reality. How could they possibly get repaid? I'm actually disappointed by this turn of events. Where do you possibly go from here?

The whole Cutie Mark Crusaders subplot was never resolved. It was just dropped like one of Discord's many non sequiturs. Were they there to demonstrait something? Were they there to serve as foreshadowing? Did their petty arguing actually free Discord? The world may never know.

This episode tried to be the greatest thing ever but was left wanting.

That's not to say this episode was bad, merely rushed. I would have to give this episode a comparatively low rating of 9.0 (out of 10.0). Not bad, like Over a Barrel, but not fantastic like Suited for Success or The Cutie Mark Chronicles.

Some very good parts of this episode include:

*Derpy was there, although she wasn't derping
*EVERYTHING about Discord
*Mean Fluttershy standing up to mean Pinkie Pie (at least somepony did it)
*Twi's balloon is back!
*When Discord fills the glass with chocolate milk he fills it from the top down, then drinks the glass and throws the glass-shaped milk away! And it blows up!
*The way Discord sits on his throne (see top picture)
*Twi handing out all the EoH necklaces and when she comes to her own she calls it a "big crown thing"
*Spike is the new Rainbow Dash
*Applejack eating apple cores and they get more complete with every bite
*When the Mane 6 originally attacked Discord with the EoH he puts a bullseye on his chest
*When they attack Discord the second time he says "friend me"
*Discord saying to Twi "Maybe the magic of friendship can help you."

22 September 2011

There Can Be NO Peace with Israel...

...Until the Palestinians stop rejecting it, as they have done habitually since the very beginning. The only solution to the Palestinian problem is for the Palestinians themselves to give up their asinine, historically false, and genocidal goal of gaining everything "from the river to the sea."



20 September 2011

Palestine to UN: "No Jews Allowed"

The South Syrians (Palestinians) are going to the UN, at the same time as Zero, whose very presence is closing down the city at the cost of millions, where they will be arguing for the existence of their state. Much like a child's club house the Palestinian state is posting a huge sign on their border: "NO JEWS ALLOWED".
Runs 11:13

19 September 2011

Marine Sergeant - A True Hero

On 15 September the President awarded Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 36 of his brothers in arms. He disobeyed orders and entered an Afghan kill zone five times to save the lives of 13 Americans and 23 Afghanis, as well as recover the bodies of 4 of his friends. This is truly moving. Words cannot do justice to his brave deeds.

17 September 2011

The Return of Harmony

Discord_Statue

Today was the long awaited premier of season two of FiM, and we got to meet the awesome villain Discord and learn that Equestria follows the same basic rules as most creation myths.

If we recall #69 on the list: Celestia needs the Elements of Harmony to defeat her sister, so even though she's older she's the weaker of the two.

From this we can know the following: (101.) Since both Celestia and Luna together needed the Elements of Harmony to defeat Discord, that makes Discord the de facto most powerful being ever introduced on the show. Not only did he precede the sisters as ruler of the world, he also held that position since deep antiquity and is possibly the oldest being yet introduced.

Next is the issue of the Elements of Harmony themselves. Who or what created them, or have they always existed?

The story presented in today's episode is one with a great deal of staying power. The world exists from an infinite past in chaos; out of the chaos are born the gods, the gods do battle with a great dragon, slay it, and then build the world from its remains. A lot of ancient myths follow this pattern with only slight variation (the Babylonian story of creation with Marduk fighting Tiamat follows it directly; the Greek Theogony details how the gods came from the premordial chaos: Kronos defeated his father Uranus, bringing about a golden age like when Celestia and Luna ruled together, then he overstepped his bounds and Zeus defeated him, like when Luna became Nightmare Moon and had to be defeated by her sister). This chaoskampf (conflict with chaos) appears throughout a very large number of the world's creation stories (including the Bible where, in Job, God tells Job how he fought Behemoth and Leviathan at the time of creation, trapped them, and how they will be destroyed in the eschaton, like how Discord was fought and trapped in stone, though we don't know if there was ever the intent on destroying him at the end of time), and plays out rather nicely in The Return of Harmony.

My only problem with this episode is that it is only a two-parter. I could stand to watch a separate episode dealing with how Discord affects each of the mane six. He is insanely powerful and insanely cool and I don't think two episodes do him much justice.