Monday, December 04, 2006

Never Enough Prophet Insights Department

The wisest words I've read in Wired yet:
Prophecy, I've come to realize, is a complex meme. When prophets provoke real trouble, bring confusion to society by sowing reverberant doubts, spark an active, opposing consensus everywhere – that is the sign they've hit a nerve. But what happens when they don't hit a nerve? There are plenty of would-be prophets in the world, vainly peddling their provocative claims. Most of them just end up lecturing to undergraduates, or leading little Christian sects, or getting into Wikipedia edit wars, or boring their friends. An unsuccessful prophet is not a martyr, but a sort of clown.

I can only add one thing to this, but you can't hear me honk my red nose from here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Never Enough Gender-Bending Bulldada Department

Courtesy of Boing Boing, here is a weird story of woman-clubbing cavemen and misogyny and an absurdly strong and sexy hillbilly amazon and some interesting gender-bending angles. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but I must admit there's something wonderful about it all.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Never Enough Medical Surprises Department

"Well now, if I gave 'em my money, I would be a SubGenius."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"But what would happen when I woke up the next morning and started breathing?"


You may have heard that old recording of the guy calling into the talk show in the 80s when Stang and Drummond were on as guests. And maybe you laughed at his comment. But I bet you didn't fully get that last line. "Started breathing"? Huh? I know I didn't get that bit.

Until now.

St. Thea urged me to go to the doctor because I had a lot of symptoms of sleep apnea, a disorder where you stop breathing while you sleep. It's actually fairly common, but most people have a fairly mild case of it. But in more acute cases, it can lead to lethargy, trouble handling stress, depression, anxiety, and a dozen more symptoms which sounded disquietingly familiar.

So it was that I let a cute Russian girl glue electrodes to my head, tape them everywhere else, and install special straps to measure chest activity, leg motion, and blood oxygen levels. And I slept--or tried to--while in this get-up. Oddly enough, it was the *pillow* that made it hard to sleep.

The next morning, Thea was comparing the glue in my hair to the aftermath of a bukake filming, for which she suffered mightily, giggling despite herself. Or maybe BECAUSE of herself. Hard to tell with that gal, some days.

Two weeks later, I had the results. Boy howdy. They showed me the graphs of my breathing, brain activity, pulse, etc. And then they showed me the average number of times I stopped breathing in my sleep, per hour.


Every 45 seconds, as I relax into sleep, my windpipe closes up, and my brain has to jolt me "awake" enough that I open up my windpipe again and resume breathing. Then I try to relax again, and get zapped once more. Relax--ZAP. Over and over. Based on that, it's a wonder that I've ever had a good night's sleep.


Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Well, the proof is in the sleeping, and for the time being I have become partly cybernetic, wearing a soft silicone mask over my nose while a CPAP machine maintains air pressure--not so much that it's uncomfortable, but enough that the windpipe never closes off. Your lungs get a workout the first few nights, and then you hardly notice it, beyond the fact that you have a mask strapped to your face, and its tendency to make you make weird noises now and then. More on that later as experiments permit.

But LO: I can wake up and not feel like I've been buried under warm Silly Putty. I can wake up without threatening all annoyances with endless suffering. I can deal with issues without feeling overwhelmed. Most importantly, I can decide NOT TO TAKE CRAP FROM ANYONE. It's not perfect yet, but it's been utterly amazing how much easier it has been to NOT act like a total emotional mess, just in the past week since I started using the CPAP machine.

And maybe it's just all the oxygen I'm suddenly breathing, but it seems like I'm bobbing lazily in a warm, clear ocean of slack, IN COMPARISON.

It makes me wonder if I should rewrite that "Misanthropes Anonymous" bit I wrote almost a decade ago.

...NAH. Humans still suck.

(Slightly edited version of my alt.slack post on September 20.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Never Enough Blunt Talk Department

DemFromCT got it right on the DailyKOS front page. We're not dealing with terrorists that are easily demoralized with a single show of force. Indeed, our own failures to live up to our own promises of swift victory are more inspiring to them than any extremist rhetoric. We said that we'd have Iraq "liberated" quickly, only to find ourselves having to dig in. We said we'd make Iraq into a model for the entire Middle East, only to make it the worst possible example. WE did this, not terrorists or insurgents. Our elected officials--who we elected, as a nation, no matter who you individually voted for in 2000 onwards--make pie-in-the-sky claims without any backing in reality, and we act surprised and disgusted at how it turned out. WE as a nation are to blame for enabling extremists to call us on our own bullshit. We say it'd only take a couple years; they say that they'll make it last a decade. We admit it'll take a decade, and they say they'll make it last half a century. And on it goes. Why not? The very people inspired to fight us in Iraq are generally impoverished with bleak prospects and a future rife with oppression and brutality, in part because of our enabling their leaders in the name of "realpolitik"--itself as much a conceit as any neocon pipe dream. They have nothing to lose, but we do.

Cut and run? Sure--cut our losses and run for office.

Never Enough Absorbent Meditations Department

This morning on the bus I saw a man read a book with this chapter title: "The First Meditative Absorbtion". He was highly distracted, looking around any time anyone so much as adjusted their buttocks on the seat. I guess he needs it. I get into trouble when I do that at home, mainly because others are usually talking at the time. I can't help it if I'm a natural for First Meditative Absorptions, especially first thing in the morning while in the bathroom. I do find, however, if I do it at work, people don't seem to mind so much.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Never Enough Resurrections Department

And you thought I was gone forever, no?

No--just a huge chunk of my data, and my ever being able to trust any web hosting company willing to let WebHostPlus buy them out.

On the other hand, I have been starting to produce audio again. I'm almost tempted to start a podcast, but not quite. As is, later on I should be posting links to various new works. Or, check out for some fast relief.

Pardon the mess, BTW.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Never Enough Double Standards Department

"Are you an Al Sharpton Democrat, or a Bill Clinton Democrat?"

Translation: "Do you support the founder of the glorious DLC, or do you support that uppity black guy that embarrasses me?"

And the Lieberman campaign claims that the "angry left" is going against him as a test of ideological purity. How much more of their own hypocrisy will they blithely expose, and how much do they really think avoids notice?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Never Enough Renamed Food Department

No more Freedom Fries--it's back to french fries (named after the way you cut them, NOT after the country) and french toast (because "pain perdu" sounds more like torture, EVEN IF YOU KNOW FRENCH. "Lost bread"--how Gallic can you get?!?)

So now I gotta dump all those damn Freedom Ticklers I was selling to College Republicans. Maybe someone can rename them something--I don't know what, offhand.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Never Enough DUH Moments Department

My blogpal belledame222 hits the proverbial nail right on the head:
If one keeps talking and talking and talking about the almighty Penis (and its straight, oppressive owners), one is implicitly suggesting that it is, in fact, more important than anything else. Even if one does it in exclusively negative ways. [her emphasis]

I tell you, belledame222, that took balls. Um, I mean vulvas. I mean to say, that your ovaries hang low. Er, no, what I'm trying to say is, you've got a big set of, uh, tits?

GUTS. Yes, you have guts.

Ever get a feeling that it's going to take a lot of language evolution, just to get metaphors that don't keep us talking and talking about O Phallae?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Never Enough Outraged Mothers Department

Brendan Nyhoff has noticed that Rep. Nancy Pelosi is using the metaphor of a lioness to describe being tough as a woman. Apparently Brendan thinks it's silly. I'm not so sure. While not a huge fan of Pelosi, I do know that I relate to that metaphor greatly. Indeed, I've used the "mama bear" metaphor for many years now to explain how women are not automatically submissive or weak on defense. After all, you wouldn't dare breathe hard on a bear cub for fear that its mother will tear your throat out. The only difference between a human mother and a mama bear is that humans are socialized--domesticated, I'd go as far as to say--and so are not immediately prone to resolve dangers through pure violence. But don't presume that this domestication means we won't use violence when necessary. History is laden with examples to the contrary.

Brendan, I'd be careful calling Pelosi's metaphor "silly". :)

Never Enough Lame Excuses Department

Well, maybe not lame, but not feeling all that well either. This place we're in is falling apart faster than the House of Usher, and it's taking our health with it. So if you don't see a post from me for a while, just wish me well and hope that we can move to a better place as soon as possible.

Never Enough GOP Spasms Department

Democracy has long been a delicate dance on the fine line between anarchism and fascism. On one hand, a nation must be united in order to be effective in meeting its own needs and in working in tandem with other nations; on the other hand, the individual spirit must be respected and nourished for a nation's citizens to best express its union in their own unique way.

The Republican version of this dance over the past half-decade has been, to be blunt, spastic. They approach totalitarianism by declaring that the President has unilateral power during times of undeclared, pre-emptive war, and claiming that all who object are sympathizers with terrorists, or worse, outright traitors. And yet, they also show a disdain towards democratic rule and its prerequisites--including but by no means limited to taxation. This they do by stripping away progressive taxation; weakening protections for consumers, workers, soldiers, and the environment; creating security mechanisms that do not work at best, and hinder or prevent actual security at worst; holding prisioners without charges in violation of federal law and international treaty; allowing torture; and ignoring the Constitution when convenient. In short, they respect power and abhor governance--they allow for obscene concentrations of power while disregarding the rule of law.

I'm not saying that all problems will be resolved by voting Democratic. Indeed, even if the Democratic Party won a majority in one or both houses of Congress, the fight would merely be joined--remember the vicious way the Republicans acted while Clinton was in office. But it'd at minimum be a much better balance than the current situation, and maybe, just maybe, some traction on truly important issues can be gained.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Never Enough Prostitution Insights Department

I'm glad that Pat Oliphant noticed the parallel between the GOP's growing prostitution scandal, and the GOP's answering high gas prices with $100 checks. They really do think everything is for sale, don't they? Well, who am I to shatter their illusions? OK, Republicans: My vote is for sale. Here are my terms:
  • $1,000,000,000,000 (yes, one trillion)

  • lifetime dictatorship over the GOP--no Republican politican can make any statement without checking with my viziers and voivodes first.

  • $1 million/year paychecks for my chief advisors, Suzie Bright and Robert Anton Wilson

  • a eco-friendly, sustainably-powered palace next to the Capital Building

  • 1000 black metal CDs

  • a huge sound system for blasting said CDs at the Capital Building

Pretty humble requests, no?

Update: Apparently Rush Limbaugh agrees. Let me repeat: Rush Limbaugh agrees with Pat Oliphant.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Never Enough Waste To Fuel Department

A company called Xethanol is currently looking for sites to turn biomass into ethanol. By "biomass" they largely mean waste that has already been abandoned or landfilled, so we are looking at removing waste and converting it into fuel. As there is increasing dispute against using switchgrass as an ethanol source, and since corn ethanol is incredibly wasteful, I'm intrigued to see if Xethanol can prosper with using abandoned wastes.

Never Enough Health Insurance Department

I know this week is going to be a big, busy one for a lot of progressive groups. But as for myself, I plan on participating in Cover the Uninsured Week. If you've ever been without health insurance during a major illness or while suffering from a chronic condition, you know how important universal health care can be. So please take time this week to write your members of Congress and your local newspapers, share your stories if you have them, and make your voices heard.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Never Enough Heteronormative Religionists Department

Lately I've been reading Amin Maalouf's In The Name Of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong, a thin but thought-provoking text from a decade ago that I've been reading as research into one of my long-term projects. It did occur to me, in light of Blog Against Normativity Day, to write about identity and violence in terms of heterosexual and non-heterosexual identities, and religion's role in it all. Identity being tied to one's affiliations, it's instructional to start with example what makes up affiliations:

"What determines a person's affiliation to a given group is essentially the influence of others: the influence of those about him — relatives, fellow countrymen, co-religionists — who try to make him one of them; together with the influence of those on the other side, who do their best to exclude him." (p. 25)

While sexuality may be pre-determined, affiliation is learned through friend and foe alike. Think about so-called "ex-gays" that deny their native sexuality because they came to the realization that said sexuality is evil. While one may wonder if some ex-gays might have a single bad encounter that drove them from a queer identity, don't think that they only recently came to that conclusion. In a heteronormative society, where people are assumed and expected to be heterosexual, homosexuality is automatically banned to the realms of the Other, and it's easy to accept this judgement, especially if a religious leader describes homosexuality in loathesome and fearful terms, climaxing with the threat of God's rejection and eternal punishment. Only the creation of the Gay Pride movement, in the wake of Stonewall, formed an effective counter to this heteronormative judgement. Before then, few defied heteronormativity without guilt and shame. Those who knew they were gay were often left to masquerade, sometimes as married heterosexuals with furtive affairs, sometimes as committed bachelors and spinsters who had companions or roommates — with whom they had furtive affairs.

Likewise, heterosexuality becomes a part of one's identity, albeit usually not in the fore unless challenged either directly with taunts, or else indirectly through contrast. To further quote Maalouf:

"The apprenticeship starts very soon, in early childhood. Deliberatey or otherwise, those around him mould him, shape him, instil into him family beliefs, rituals, attitudes and conventions ... and also certain fears, aspirations, prejudices and grudges, not forgetting various feelings of affiliation and non-affiliation, belonging and not belonging.

"And soon, at home, at school and in the next street, he will suffer the first knocks. By their words and by their looks, other people will make him feel he is poor, or lame, short or lanky, swarthy or too fair, circumcised or uncircumcised, or an orphan ...." (p. 25)

...And don't forget fag/dyke or straight.

So if it is the nature of heteronormative society to challenge its own commitment to heterosexuality as a means of reinforcing it, especially for males brought up to be more openly prone to violence, then it becomes clear that heterosexual attitudes must be modified until they are less and less of a threat to anyone — including, and especially heterosexuals. I believe that advances in knowledge, global communications and free travel have done much to lessen the need to maintain heterosexuality as the status quo and, in contrast, treat homosexuality, transgenderism, and other excluded forms of sex/gender expression as "deviances" to be shunned as weird, insane, depraved, fatal and damnable. Even so, there are no guarantees of constant progress or safety and every reason to believe that the tides of history do occasionally shift aganst those of us putting our queer toes into the waters, and threatens to pull us under.

"Take the case of an Italian homosexual in the days of fascism. I imagine that for the man himself that particular aspect of his personality had up till then been important, but not more so than his professional activity, his political choices or his religious beliefs. But suddenly state repression swoops down on him and he feels threatened with humiliation, deportation or death. It's the recollection of certain books I've read and films I've seen that leads me to choose this example. [emphasis added] This man, who a few years earlier was a patriot, perhaps even a nationalist, was no longer able to exult at the sight of the Italian army marching by; he may even have come to wish for its defeat. Because of the persecution to which he was subjected, his sexual preferences came to outweigh his other affiliations, among them even the nationalism which at the time was at its height. Only after the war, in a more tolerant Italy, would our man have felt entirely Italian once more." (p. 14)

I find it curious that Maalouf feels the urge to explain why he chose this example. Is he asserting his own heterosexuality in the face of talking about identity in the case of homosexuality? Does this reinforce heteronormativity? What of the phrase "sexual preferences" — does Maalouf now, a decade after writing the above paragraph, think differently of homosexuality than he does now?

And yet, his point here is well made. Each of us is an amalgam of allegiances, and each allegiance forms a portion of the individual's identity; but attack one allegiance and it comes to the fore, seeming to be the most important part of that identity as long as the individual feels under attack. The religious right complains that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered insist on being, to use the common expression, in their face when it comes to their sexuality and gender expression — and yet, would it even be an issue if these same right-wing religionists weren't constantly attacking the very ones over which they complain? Would there be gay pride rallies if there wasn't an emphasis on shame in our culture over one's sexuality? And for that matter, what if the religious right didn't feel as if their way of life was under attack? Would they bother to attack in defense of their identity?

I little doubt that heteronormativity can be relieved by more visible, sympathetic, dare-I-say mainstream presentations of queers. But were I to choose to go this path — and I likely would not — would the challenge to heterosexual norms result in more violence and hatred? I tend to doubt it, but I cannot rule out the possibility of another Shepherd, another Araujo — or perhaps worse still.

"We have only to review the events of the last few years to see that any human community that feels humilated or fears for its existence will tend to produce killers. And these killers will commit the most dreadful atrocities in the belief that they are right to do so and deserve the admiration of their fellows in this world and bliss in the next. (p. 28)

So why is religion so important in this equation? In the case of heteronormativity, Abrahamic religion would appear to be a reinforcement, its rules on sex and sexuality borne out of a need to form an identity distinct from the other monotheistic Semites in post-Exile Asia Minor, who often used sex of all kinds, with all sorts of gender transformations and transgressions, as a path to their divinity. Hence, three major world religions can claim laws against homosexuality, crossdressing and pretty much any non-procreative sex between husband and wife, and thus form an identity based on sexual taboos. The more modern theological invention that procreation is the only divine aspect of sex, and all else is sin and obscenity, only justifies an identity that is challenged not just by the behavior of the LGBT community, but by science, birth control, sex education and increased cultural significance on pleasure. In the West the religious view on sex is gradually giving away but is moving faster by globalization and its resulting cultural cross-semination, and this along with other modern pressures whips extremist reactionary thought into a bloodlust.

"The ever-increasing speed of globalization undoubtedly reinforces, by way of reactionk, people's need for identity. And because of the existential anguish that accompanies such sudden changes it also strengthens their need for spirituality. But only religious allegiance meets, or seeks to meet, both these needs." (p. 93)

"It is not enough now to separate Church and State: what has to do with religion must be kept apart from what has to do with identity. And if we want that amalgam to stop feeding fanaticism, terror, and ... wars, we must find other ways of satisfying the need for identity." (p. 96)

It seems that the only real way to strip identity from religion, however, would be to strip away all those things that make it religion. Let's face facts: The word "religion" may well derive from the Latin "religare", to bind again; and does that not describe a spiritual community somehow? Without common rituals, dogma, theological points of view, etc., what is left but an anarchism of spirituality? Despite Maalouf's insistence a page before that he is not arguing for the abolition of religion, it's hard to see how religion would survive the destruction of its ability to create identifications. Still, one might wonder if it's possible to create a sense of identity that is spiritual in nature but still stripped of the negative effects of religious overidentification. Religious humanism, maybe? Ah, but that's under attack by the religionists too, and for the same reason homosexuality and its fellow travellers are under attack — because they think they were attacked first.

"[E]veryone nowadays [feels] himself to be living to a certain extent in a minority, in exile. This is because all communities and cultures have a sense that they are up against others stronger than they, a feeling that they can no longer keep their heritage safe. Looked at from the South and the East, it is the West that dominates. Looked at from Paris, it is America that holds sway. But if you go to the United States, then what do you see? You see minorities reflecting all the diversity in the world, all needing to assert their original allegiances. And when you have met all these minorities and have been told a hundred times that power is in the hands of white males, or of Anglo-Saxon Protestants, you suddenly hear the sound of a huge explosion in Oklahoma City. And who are the people responsible? Some white male Anglo-Saxon Protestants who regard themselves as members of the most neglected and despised of minorities, and who believe that globalisation is sounding the knell of 'their' America." (p. 124)

Hence, a heterosexual's insecurity does not simply come from the internal challenges to his/her own heterosexuality; it is also because he/she feels his/her world changing into something he/she doesn't recognize — no longer is sure of his/her own place in it. From that point of view, a Gay Pride rally is a palpable sign of that change, and therefore a threat. But contrarywise, the Gay Pride rally arose because, as a persecuted minority, LGBT folk felt a need to carve out a place in that world. While it may be worrisome that heteronormative extremists feel a need to reproduce in excess in order to maintain their numbers, generally speaking their time is short. Eventually their children will be exposed to a greater slice of the world, and may in time discover the contradiction between the wonders of modernity and the values they were taught. They may yet conclude that there are greater values than those they were taught, and increasingly come to regard the LGBT community in the light of shared humanity. Meanwhile modern heteronormativity gives way to a world where hatred and fear of homosexuality no longer remain viable options.

"So who does the world really belong to? Not to any particular race or any particular country. [Nor any particular sexuality. — Lil] More than at any other time in history it belongs to all those who want to make a place for themselves in it. It belongs to all those who endeavour to understand the new rules of the game, however bewildering they may be, and try to use them to their own advantage." (p. 124-5)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Never Enough Blogging Against Heteronormativity *GASP* Department

Saturday, April 22 is Blog Against Heteronormativity Day. I plan on making a post then, and I encourage others to join in if they have chafed against the presupposition of heterosexuality in our culture.

It is being hosted by blac(k)ademic but you can find more information, along with BAHD badges, at Bitch | Lab.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Never Enough Erotic Cannibalism Department

Lady Divina
Originally uploaded by mephistosdreams.

A major characteristic of (post-(post-))modern art is in its use of transgressive imagery. But as art became "pop", transgressions become mainstream, and so the transgressive artist must come up with new ground for transgression.

So hey, why not combine two transgressions in one piece?

So... we have a beautiful and sexy woman that most would envy, or desire, or both. And she's dressed in glistening black latex, but leaving both face and breasts somewhat exposed and in clear view. Even if you dislike latex, you must admit it's erotic in an animalistic way.

The glistening is due to blood, which has been smeared all over her face, breasts, and hair. And she's eating a heart.

Now, I'm not claiming the picutre is high art at all. It's tempting to state, "Yes, yes, eating the heart symbolizes the loss of love, I get it, let's move on." And it's easy to dismiss this photo by dismissing the transgressions: "Fetish wear? Cannibals? Those fads are SO last year. We're into flip-flops and senseless wars now!"

But hold that thought for a moment. Take a moment to really look at this photo. The execution is marvelous--beautifully composed, properly lit, and remarkably simple. Her expression is both crazed and lusty, forcing you to wrestle between disgust and desire.

Now, of course, there's the whole matter of eating. Carol Adams has made a career criticizing the use of meat as sexual metaphor, and I'm sure she'd consider this picture to be vindication of her theories. Whether or not she is right, cannibalism metaphors have been used to describe oral sex for almost as long as oral sex has existed. Throw in the mass quantities of blood--a fluid that mainly differs from semen in the types of cells in it--and it would almost seem like bukkake. (Not work-safe; no nudity.)


Ahem. Sorry, I realize we live in a culture with a weird fascination with death. I also know that cultures all around the world have had their fascination with death. But no matter what, unless you have a fetish for cannibalism too--and I won't rule that out--chances are you're still wrestling between desire and disgust, and all attempts to analyze fail to take away the desire or the disgust. In that it succeeds so well in inspiring that conflict internally, it's successful as art, despite its subjects.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Never Enough Free USEFUL Apps Department

macZOT! is currently offering a deal for us Mac users: For each blog post promoting this deal, they'll knock $0.05 off the price of AppZapper 1.3, an uninstaller that will thoroughly remove ANY traces of the previous program--library files, preferences, caches, EVERYTHING. For some programs, you could easily free up megabytes this way, and even at the current price ($9.30) it's a steal. But I'm hoping the price will drop further still....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Never Enough Song Uploads Department

I just uploaded two of my audio experiments to my MySpace Music profile. These two should be fairly accessible, and I hope you enjoy.

Older material (rant and music) can be found at

Never Enough Proto-DEVO Department

Courtesy of the Wired Music blog, I came across a 60s mod band called The Monks, which to my ears reminds me a lot of early DEVO. I especially liked the first song, during which they had up to three band members tapping on a single guitar's strings and making quite a wonderful racket in the process. Just what I needed to hear today....

Never Enough Tummy Rant Abuse Department

Years ago, I had enough of listening to complaints among SubGenius men about women that didn't look sufficently like supermodels--an absurdity beyond its sexism since SubGeniuses are supposed to be "Superior Mutants" and therefore, presumably, interested in mutants, e.g. people who didn't necessarily look normal. So I wrote my Tummy Liberation rant in response, and got rave reviews from other SubGenius women. (Note: The rant uses quite a bit of SubGenius jargon; post a comment if a particular word isn't clear.)

Fast-forward a few years, and it looks like some site has linked to the Tummy Liberation rant. That'd be wonderful, if it were a legitimate site and not one of those obnoxious "link directory" sites--in this case, it's called EZ e Diets, and I refuse to link back, but here's what my link looks like:

It's bad enough that they linked to this rant; it's worse that they'd choose to quote from the one line that, out of context, is easiest to misconstrue. Feh...!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Never Enough Old Devival Footage Department

For those who wonder about devivals, here's a few illustrative examples from my first.

We're doing a 10th Anniversary devival in 2008. It can only get weirder from here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Never Enough Spermatogenocidal Gameteoroids Department

There's many reasons why I like GrrlScientist's blog, but here's my reason for today. Praise "Bob", those peen worms hit you right in the scronad every time!

(Sorry, Grrl, but that word is "scronad," not "scronat"--ask Stang sometime. The key is to be found in word-splicing, see, and I'm sure you can guess which two words were spliced here....)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Never Enough Bloody Marketing Department

...Meanwhile, over on GrrlScientist's blog, the subject is raised: Do marketing people think women are such stupid ninnies that they need inviting pink packaging and nonsensical advice along with their feminine hygiene products?

I paraphrase, of course. GrrlScientist is quite eloquent, and quite annoyed.

Anne Waldman once read a review that claimed women poets essentially wrote about their periods. So, she decided to write a poem about periods (MP3 LINK) for a change. Damn, but ain't it the truth though.

(As a complete aside, do check out her Feminifesto. Powerful stuff!)

Never Enough Extra RAM Department

For my birthday this year, I asked my friends for new RAM, so that my crawling 256Mb machine might be a bit more responsive. It came today, and now I'm running at 768Mb--3/4s of a gigabyte--and using Firefox with iTunes. That may not sound like much, except previously the combination would bring my machine to a crawl. Now it's flying. Have I mentioned that I like my friends a lot? Or that RAM is cheap and easy to install?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Never Enough Rapid Evolution Department

A follow-up to my previos posting: Species, having to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, are evolving faster, supporting the Punctuated Equilibrium hypothesis and encouraging me to go up to the Discovery Institute's offices with bullhorn and scream, "IN YOUR FACE." But then I remind myself that, despite rapid evolutionary changes, many species are still dying out, and I sober up very quickly.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Never Enough Creationist Fuzzheads Department

Last night I found a link to a site that tries to convince college students that God, not evolution, was solely responsible for creating humans. Realizing my biases--extreme skepticism at religious hucksters persuing dubious claims that are not verifiable--I didn't expect to be convinced. But I didn't expect to be as annoyed as I was after I got to the heart of the argument. The weakness of the argument they present is only exceeded by their deceptive attempts to convince others of how right the argument is.

The site used a variation on the old theme, "If there's a watch, there must be a watchmaker." The argument was that, if you had a bag full of watch parts and shook it up for a long time, it'd never spontaneously combine to form a watch. Therefore, it's argued, it's ridiculous to claim that inanimate matter could ever spontaneously combine to form life.

Poppycock, balderdash, twaddle, flim-flam, and bullshit. In that order.

This comparison between watch parts and volatile chemicals is weak. Watch parts do not ever spontaneously combine, obviously. But hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen--the most plentiful elements in living creatures--are highly volatile, and do spontaneously combine when mixed together. Elements combine to form simple molecules. Simple molecules combine to form complex molecules. (Likewise, complex molecules also break down into simpler molecules, a key point that's important for life as well.) Some molecu l es even serve as a catalyst for creating more complex molecules, or for breaking them down into simpler molecules. This happens all the time, across the cosmos, which is littered with hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen compounds.

We have even found that amino acids can form readily in deep space, and may be present in comets. They may also show up in meteorites which may or may not in turn come from comets, although there is some controversy on the subject. This is not to say that life necessarily originated from amino acids created off-planet, but that amino acids are so abundant that it hardly matters where they came from.

Amino acids are the building blocks for DNA; it does not take much imagination to see strings of amino acids combining to form longer and longer strings of DNA, or for enzymes (more primitive, chemically, than amino acids) to break the DNA apart and recombine them with still more amino acids--and, due to the nature of DNA requiring matching pairs of chemical bonds, the effect is to create duplicates of the original. And because DNA gives instructions for creating various proteins, enzymes, and amino acids, they define all the basics for life. Errors creep into the DNA a bit at a time, and viruses (DNA wrapped up in an envelope of proteins) interject their DNA into the strand. Over time, this causes considerable change. And thus the mechanisms of evolution are put into effect, as they have been for nearly four billion years.

Admittedly, this description is oversimplified, but based on all known information, it is correct in substance. There may be reasonable differences between biologists about exact details but none of these details are critical to the argument. There are too many similarities between various forms of life--shared genes, enzymes, organ design, etc.--to be so cavalier as to blow off evolution as contrary to "common sense."

Sorry, but REALITY defies common sense: You may believe that, say, your desk surface is solid, when the impression of solidity comes from the interaction of forces at the atomic level, keeping objects from falling through. You may see the sun rise and set, but you know that's an illusion caused by the earth spinning on its axis. You may insist that the universe is but thousands of years old, but we know how fast light travels and, through parallax, we can determine how far away stars and galaxies are, and therefore, we know how long light has been travelling from the stars and galaxies--if we're talking about far-away galaxies and quasars, we get figures in the range of billions of years.

So, would you rather place your trust in a system designed to create testable ideas which can be verified by hard evidence, or in "common sense" based on a rather provincial and literal interpretation of a heavily-modified book like, oh, the Bible? The answer: Science doesn't need trust. It has evidence, testable hypotheses, and accurately predictive theories. And that's all that I need to accept it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Never Enough Insane Child Custody Cases Department

I've known Rachel Bevilacqua ever since she and I attended our first SubGenius X-Day event, way back in 1997. In all that time I've known her, she's always struck me as a very sweet woman and a good friend, with clear-cut ideas of propriety and motherhood, and how NOT to let her SubGenius performance art interfere with that. Therefore, you might imagine I'd be more than a little dismayed to get a call from her recently, letting us know that a judge has stripped her of custody of her child, Kohl.

This is not the first time that SubGenius has been used as ammo in an ugly custody battle, especially when a conservative judge has been involved. In this case, however, the situation has been taken way out of context, and it certainly does not help that her ex claimed falsely that he could not reach her and that he considered her a kidnapping risk. Nor does it help that the judge's reaction was so extreme. However, given that the Church's most important rule is, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke," and that our own holy texts have the word "LIES" on practically every page, it's somewhat hard to believe that some people will take what we do that seriously. But obviously they do, and Rachel needs your help. If you can make a donation to her legal defense fund, that would be deeply appreciated; donation links are available at both Rachel's blog and on the SubGenius page linked above. And no, I can personally verify that this is not a scam, despite what some might suspect.

More details can be found at Bartholomew's notes on religion, as well as at Rev. Ivan Stang's personal blog. A "funny" take on the situation can be found--where else?--at Jesus' General, where they have been making the unfunny "funny" for years. The situation is also mentioned on Boing Boing. It looks like news of this story is getting out there, but please help spread the word. Thanks.

Rachel and Kohl, you're in our thoughts, and we hope you two are reunited soon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Never Enough New Music Department

I've been craving new CDs for months; thanks to both Yule and my birthday (yesterday for those keeping score at home) I finally got a few:

Ludicra - Another Great Love Song: Brilliant post-black metal from San Francisco featuring two women with savage voices, needle-sharp lyrics, and a sound that forges new territory even as it remains true to its black metal roots. Extra points for the buried, distorted sample from "Tainted Love" in-between tracks "Why Conquer?" and "In The Greenest Maze".

Ulver - Blood Inside: The Norwegian black metal band that reinvented themselves as a high-brow electronica outfit continues to astound and confound expectations, with tracks that go from angelic sublimity to surprising heaviness, all without breaking stride. Ulver has always been brilliant but a little inconsistent; all the more surprising, then, that this is one of their most consistent recordings in a decade.

Various Artists - Neurot Recordings I: This is a sampler of recordings from the label that brought Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot to the world--a label dedicated to the exploration of sounds from a post-hardcore, post-metal direction. From the bass harmonics of Vitriol to the distinctly Asian cacophony of Zeni Geva, you are practically guaranteed an exposure to new sounds regardless of how broad your tastes.

Blut Aus Nord
- Ultima Thulee: A solid but not quite distinguished first-time effort leaves the barest hint of their later experimentation with Godflesh-inspired ambient discordance. A worthwhile historical addition to my collection, but not necessarily for others....

Samael - Reign of Light: It'd be tempting to compare Samael to Rammstein, except (a) Samael's been around much longer; (b) they write much better music; and (c) their lyrics appeal to the mystic at heart. After some of the disappointment of Eternal, it's a joy to hear Samael put some backbone back into their music. Reign of Light may not exceed Passages as their greatest album, but it gives me hope that they're still striving to excel.

Peccatum - The Moribund People: An EP of three mere songs makes for more interesting listening than most LPs. Peccatum sticks with their moody and sophisticated sound for this album, and they don't disappoint. The only problem: This EP should've had more songs on it! But at least the EP comes with a video for the title track, so all is well. HIGHLY accessible.

Opeth - Ghost Reveries: Simply the most brilliant album from the most brilliant band ever to come out of Sweden. Honest. To call them a death metal band is to disregard the purity of the singing, the smoothness of the mourning guitars, the profound influence of prog-rock, the touches of folk and classical music, and the amazing ability to draw non-metal fans into their circle. But to ignore the death metal elements is to commit a grave disservice: The metal elements, seemingly sparse, have so much more impact as a result.

Never Enough Server Downtime Department

For the two people who might've noticed this site was down, blame it on a dumbass hacker whose asinine attempts made my web host temporarily suspend my account until they could ban the hacker's IP addresses. For the hacker, should he/she be reading: PBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBT.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Never Enough Court Philosophy Department

When I was in high school, we once read A Separate Peace by John Knowles (summary here) and, being intrigued by the mock trial at the end of the novel, our teacher had us conduct our own mock trial. Was Gene, who was responsible for Finny's leg-breaking fall, ultimately responsible for Finny's refracturing his leg, which led to his death? Was Gene guilty of manslaughter?

I took the challenging and unpopular role of defense attorney. It was quite difficult, given how most of the class was convinced of Gene's guilt prior to the mock trial. Members of the senior class were selected to form the jury; they too had read the book but were more detached, and therefore more impartial. There were times when I thought the classmate playing the judge was nearly disgusted with my role. There was a bit of tension, to be sure, between myself and much of the rest of the class. But in the end, the jury reached a verdict of Not Guilty.

The response of the class: It showed them how "flawed" the "court system" was. Excuse me? What court system? Our mock court was less sophisticated than any court drama on TV. There were no rules of evidence; the jury knew about the "case" in detail and in advance; the judge was hostile towards the defense; there was no concept of "innocent until proven guilty"; and we were all ignorant of even the basic precepts of law. So, what "flaw" in the system was exposed? The only similarities between our mock trial and the real thing was the basic structure: a judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a jury. Which was flawed? The presense of a defense attorney? A jury that could be convinced of the defense's case What, exactly, was the objection?!? Alas, none of my classmates could tell me what was wrong with this--a mock trial.

I really have to wonder how they would have reacted--or how they did react--to the real thing. Justice, like democracy, is messy, contentious, and highly frustrated. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it's the worst system possible--with the exception of all the others. But we've allowed horror stories of shyster lawyers and runaway civil cases to color our vision, and lead us to see more corruption and injustice than actually occurs. The best we can do is to remind ourselves that, for all the hassle and heartache that comes from judges, juries, and attorneys, we can only do our damnest to make sure justice is served with fairness and impartiality.

And yes, this has everything to do with the trial. It's over, and our verdict has been served. But more on that later--I'd rather digest things before posting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Never Enough Jury Observations Department

Today I was selected to serve on a jury--and of course I cannot comment on the case itself. But, I was intrigued with two elements of being on a modern jury in Washington State. First, jurors are allowed to take notes during the trial, as long as they do so using the notepad provided by the court. You must leave the notes behind when leaving the courtroom, but the jury gets to use the notes during deliberation. That's an incredible addition to the jury's resources. But, that's not as great as the ability to write questions for witnesses. The bailiff gathers the questions--written on sheets with cover sheet, so other jurors can't see the questions--and then the judge shares the questions privately with the attorneys before deciding which questions should be allowed. Aside from clearing up any questions we might have about the case, the interactivity certainly makes one feel much more involved.

I'll mention the case itself later--once there's a verdict. (No names.)

Never Enough Bug Porn Department

Some people wonder how I wound up a SubGenius minister. Wonder no more.

Actually, this video link may well make you wonder more. Sorry, that's not my problem. Blame it on your local micro-Conspiracy. I do--every single day.

More SubGenius videos available here. I recommend "The Day of the Subgenius" [sic] by The Bolex Brothers, or maybe the SubGenius commercial for those with shorter attention spans. (If you look carefully, you'll see my hand among the lab-coat wearing zombies.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Never Enough Kick-Ass Boots Department

After looking over the "shoe obsession" posts at Daily Dose of Queer, I figured there's no reason to hold back on my favorite footware obsession: Boots. Boots, of all kinds, from the practical to the faboo to the dangerous, make my world go 'round, and if I had limitless income, I would certainly have an impressive boot collection to match.

First, there's what I typcailly find to be my favorite boot: Flat soles, soft leather, convertible (although I usually wear them uncuffed), and surprisingly durable for such a cheap boot. One pair survived dew-sogged, overgrown fields; mudholes; firepits (including a hot piece of iron that seared the plastic sole); and constant wear day in and day out.

Of course, I kind of wish I could afford something that's even more durable, and maybe a little butchier, for those "hey-look-at-that-dyke-with-the-killer-boots" days. Something like these. They look awesome, and yet they're utterly practical. They cry out for serious butt-kicking, followed by a loving polishing. Ah, yes.

Until that day, I'll have to settle for my beat-up pair of Corcoran side-zip jump boots. They're quite worn at this point, not looking nearly as nice and shiny as the ones on the link, but they're still handy for those metal/punk shows where toes might get squished.

I haven't worn western boots since high school, but that doesn't keep me from dreaming. Think about it--black doeskin cowboy boots...! They must be so nice, so comfortable, and yet so handsome--it brings the hick out in me, it shore do.

Let's not neglect these lovely Renaissance boots which I own and love.

I'm still looking for the perfect granny boot, of course.

So, where are the high heels? In the bedroom, of course. Heh heh.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Never Enough Japanese Weirdness Department

I must say, I like the Japanese. They revel in their weirdness. Take this music video, courtesy of my clenchmate Rev. Exile, which isn't weird because of the ironically crossdressed singer or because of the variety of his backup singers/dancers. It's the inexplicable appearance of James Brown, sassing the crew and failing to dance well with the rest of the crowd. Let me repeat: James Brown. Failing to dance well. This--this is a sign of the EndTimes.

The clip inspired me to search Google Video for Japanese videoclips. For instance:

What a way to spend a Sunday....

Monday, January 02, 2006

Never Enough Stop Motion Animation Department

Per Boing Boing, a photographic essay cum stop motion featurette on the seasons in Norway. Nothing like a slice of eternity to make you appreciate eternal beauty.

Never Enough Leather Cuties Department

No Pity
Originally uploaded by Szmytke.

I don't regularly blog solely about pictures, but this picture was so adorable! Those tough leather gloves! That bad-ass hat! Those doe-like, freckle-embellished eyes!