I was bitterly tongue in cheek about our nation's worship of the Great God Gun and the child sacrifices we'll be making periodically from here on in, but post-Moonies are makin' it real.
My Todo list has barely been below 30 items since Christmas break, and it's been brutal getting to Inbox Zero (just for "Important + Unread"). It's getting kind of discouraging...
I feel like it's inner child afraid of little ego-depleting failures at every turn...
Man, there's like no half-assed armchair quarterback "solution" Trump won't throw out there, huh? Let's take away guns ask questions later one day, death penalty for drug dealers the next. He's like the really drunk guy who's got "answers" for everything.
- Too Many Rappers (New Reactionaries Version) [feat. Nas] (Beastie Boys & Nas) Sonically rich... striking and melancholy that MCA revised his verse with lines like "Stay up all night, and I MC and never die / Cause death is the cousin of sleep" to "Like a Nexus-6, comin' home to roost"
- Soul Bossa Nostra (feat. Ludacris, Naturally 7 & Rudy Currence) (Quincy Jones) Heard about this album in those recent interviews he's been doing - fun version of a song School of Honk does.
- Bang! Bang! (The Knux) These guys deserve a lot more attention, amazing flow.
- Sanford and Son (feat. T.I., B.o.B., Prince Charlez & Mohombi) (Quincy Jones) like Soul Bossa Nostra - finally looked it up, that amazing didgeridoo-like sound from the original is a bass harmonica
- Ding Dang (From "Munna Michael") (Javed Mohsin, Amit Mishra & Antara Mitra) Looking for Brian Wilson I found Bollywood, and how.
- Do You Love Me (Single) (The Contours) So popular when I was high school (I guess because of "Dirty Dancing", I was surprised it hadn't made it into my collection before this...
- So Long (Fats Domino) I think Alan Freed played this as a farewell when his pioneering rock and roll radio show was shut down
- Blood Makes Noise (Suzanne Vega) Missed this song back in the day.
- Want It Back (Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra) Great video, and not just because of the nakedness
- Ain't I (Lizzo) Raw.
- Opps (Vince Staples, Yugen Blakrok) Hiphop the "Black Panther" sound track.
- Which Side Are You On? (The Freedom Singers) Looked for a version, something BABAM might want to put in their playlists.
- The Jabari, Pt. II (Ludwig Goransson) Cinematic stuff from the "Black Panther" sound track.
- Space Lord (Monster Magnet) Southern rock, I guess?
- When My Dreamboat Comes Home (Mr. Boogie Woogie) Looked for this song when New Magnolia was going to do it. Mixed feelings that the version I picked turned out to be so Dutch...
I'm not the biggest basketball fan but Lebron's nutmeg and James Harden's "what are you doing" stare were both pretty great
"From the makers of I Can't Believe It's Not ButterTM, Introducing:
-It Might Be Bread
-Let's Just Say It's Cream Cheese
-It Almost Tastes Like Jam
-Sure, it's 'Maple Syrup'
-Smells A Bit Like Eggs"
"I never knew a blacksmith who was in love with his hammer."
--Max Wilkinson. (Vonnegut cites that after Renata Adler defining a writer as somebody who hates to write.)
Marking Trump's 100th Day at a Trump Golf Club as President. "Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf". Our reality tv show prez is so far beyond satire it's crazy.
Blender of Love
Damnit Mark Hamill the line mighta worked if you said "droid discrimination" not "robot discrimination"
For some reason the metaphor of trying to pick up dog poop by use of a pair of tongs also made of dog poop comes to mind.
--Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. Vonnegut paraphrases this as "one sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education".
"[skydiving on 1st date]
ME: [shouting] Hey, I guess we're really 'falling' for each other lol
HER: [continues falling and never opens chute]"
--Yascha Mounk, Why Isn't Trump President for Life Yet?
A certain part of the population is just enamored of the "tells it like he sees it" act - even when they don't agree with it. If he had more than a fifth grader's understand of ANYTHING - any of that human grace for learning and growth that says 'gee maybe I don't know everything about everything already', he'd be much more dangerous, and between showing what can be done in our divided, meddled-with nation, as well as exacerbating the divisions and of course not doing anything about the meddling, he's setting the stage for worse to come.
"You play the cards they deal you."
--Dick Coyle, fellow-P.O.W. with Kurt Vonnegut
"Gentleman know of the void, but do not speak of it lest they alarm the lower classes, who might run amok. "
FFS, comedy central, if you're going to hog your stuff (like Vonnegut on the Daily Show in 2005) and keep it off Youtube then at least stream the crap properly. DAMN.
Seriously, it's like they're using the same servers they were in 2005.
Oddly better in Safari than Chrome
Give us this day our daily bread. Oh sure.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Nobody better trespass against me. I’ll tell you that.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are the merciful. You mean we can’t use torture?
Blessed are the peacemakers. Jane Fonda?
Love your enemies – Arabs?
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. The hell I can’t! Look at the Reverand Pat Robertson. And He is as happy as a pig in s**t.
--Kurt Vonnegut, a piece I assume he assembled but only got to read a bit of on his Daily Show appearance in 2005
The humble PDF as the worlds most important file format
What's Happening Mr. Silver? was a psychadelic TV show on WGBH by a Tufts instructor The thing about getting people to set up 2 TVs to 2 different channels and then playing with that is kinda mindblowing. Funny how much lore you mighta missed if you went to Tufts in the early 90s...
I Felt Despair About Climate Change--Until a Brush With Death Changed My Mind
Here's a story of how illness - and the more imminent than usual threat of death - can reshape our views on more global matters.
It can feel like a bummer when a kind of existential equanimity is our consoling philosophy; when we change our focus from our own mortal plight to humanity's fate, we kind of hope that the boundless futurist optimists are right, and that collectively, at least, the universe may be our oyster. But there are no guarantees. And even if civilization or even our species as we know it fails, we will have been here, and that matters as much as anything can matter.
Being able to spontaneously pick and start watching nearly any movie for a reasonable fee from one of a couple streaming services is an under-heralded wonder of the past decade...
Many of us mourn the passing of the local video store - especially the independent and funky ones, but still, this is a pretty sweet deal.
Funny thinking about some of the milestones to get here - Netflix DVDs in the mail or calling your cable company and having them descramble a channel with a fixed movie starting at a fixed time.
Of course Netflix streaming changed from "gee nearly as good as the DVD selection" to the Showtime / HBO model of "a few big films, some decent original content, and tons of filler"...
"Lady Bird" was the movie in question. It was pleasantly nostalgic, but... I dunno, I could see why it didn't get much Oscar love.
(Shout out to folks who have struggled with more serious vertigo issues, which can be truly debilitating)
The multiplicity of religions is a big part of what drove me from Evangelical Christianity - or as I put it then "The world has a billion devout Moslems. Here I am, sweet talkin' son of a preacher man, trying to be a good Christian, but if I had been the sweet talkin' son of an Imam, wouldn't I be trying just as hard to be a good Moslem?" (This was before Wikipedia so I wasn't even sure if Imams could have kids, but you get the idea.)
The way Christianity was presented to me as uniquely True - "No one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:16) - meant that it had some 'splainin' to do. God "letting" all those other religions happen just didn't make a lot of sense, and hits that "God is all knowing, God is all loving, God is all powerful, whence evil?" (Epicurus) conundrum pretty hard. (That "well, As the stars are above the sands, so our God's ways above ours" (Isiah 55:9) always felt like a cop-out!) Later, when I see ecumenical and cross-faith outreach, and hear politicians calling for unity among "people of All Faiths" (and leaving out Freethinkers and Skeptics) -- it was hard to parse that without being dismissive of their intellects and skeptical of their intentions.
That was the early days of my almost-OCDish need for me to only embrace that which is likely to be objectively verifiable as true, or to clearly demarcate my level of uncertainty about it, the "known unknown" factor. And so I shared Vonnegut's view "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile" and I demanded an adherence to Objective Truth take priority over adherence to God, even.
And so years passed. I became aware that my faith, while not fundamentalist, had been pretty brittle, and maybe I'd lost something leaving it behind. I tried to find that in the UU, which in its liberal New England form seemed to offer the fellowship without demanding sacrificing skepticism, and maybe provide insight into those other religions, and the commonalities in the human experience they might all share. I've kind of drifted from them as well (save for a "Science and Spirituality" reading group I still attend) - but I think I have found much of the sense of community and purpose in activist Band music (heck, the School of Honk meets Sundays, takes to the streets with horns, and constantly invites people to join them - very Salvation Army like!)
So this morning's new thoughts: (ironically I was going to say "revelation", but only to the sense of my subconscious mind bringing some thought to my narrative self...)
Lately, I see more references to Jonathan Haidt's "Mortal Foundations" theory; that historically - maybe even biologically - there's a split, with liberals concerned much more strongly about the foundations "Care" "Fairness" and "Liberty", and conservatives concerned about those things, but adding in foundations of "Loyalty" "Authority" and "Sanctity" - which are values that many liberals also dig, but as means to other ends, and especially not as law-giving principles for their own sake.
(Maybe the single most telling question in the Left/Right 20 Questions Quiz is "Which lesson is more important to teach to children: Kindness or Respect?")
Pondering in the shower this morning, I just realized how Moral Foundations theory explains the promotion of Faith - it's just a clear signal that you're on the same page of all those conservative foundations: "Loyalty" to the group, accepting the "Authority" of the church and other systems in that tradition, and the whole "Sanctity" of not asking so many damn questions, kid. In some ways, the more outlandish the claim, the bigger the opportunity to signal adherence- the BUG (of extreme unlikelihood and contradiction of experience and sense data) is a FEATURE (of believing it anyway.)
If you read "The Righteous Mind" you do hear Haidt talking about his Jewish Liberal roots but sounding like he finds the extra-facets of the conservative set of foundations as worthwhile - maybe in some ways superior. Certainly they are time-tested and intuitively they would seem to build stronger and stable societies. I guess it comes back to the terms "conservative" and "progressive"; the 6 foundations might be good for stability, focusing on the 3 though gets you a society that's ready to make progress, and better live up to the idea of fairness for all.
I have no idea if these are for a project or just riffing, but Paul Robertson is about my all time favorite pixel artist
Relationship Status: This Girl made me laugh and laugh
French Toast Alert System Some of my buddies seem to be relying on this (currently in prep for NOREASTERGEDDON 2018 III) and maybe it manages to be the supplement for weather stuff I've been looking for - just tell me as early as possible if something disruptive is foreseen...
Liking or not liking Political Strongmen is now, sadly, a Partisan issue. I was thinking about this: with the consolidation of power in China by Xi Jinping, and Trump joshing about president for life roles, and digging dudes like the Phillipine's Rodrigo Duterte (and apparently taking orders to ditch the Secretary of State from Russia) -- combined with "MAGA" - what makes America great is that we do this as a system, not as big tough individuals. It was considered amazing when George Washington stepped down after a second term - people on the other side of the Atlantic figured it was just a power grab for another kind of dictator. Conservatives don't get that. They just see the system itself as like an incorporated dictator, I guess, so might as well put a know-nothing failed-businessman precocious fifth grader of a reality show star in the role instead.
"A system is never the sum of its parts. It is the product of the interaction of its parts."
--Dr. Russel Ackoff
https://nextdraft.com/ is the most worthwhile newsletter of the day.
gonna be in a pickup band to close out Jon Batiste's second set with some folks from School of Honk, so that's pretty hip
not JUST 2 beers and a moscow mule talking- this is one of the best shows ever. between variations on fur elise and thoughtful gentle covers of round midnight and st james infirmary and wonderful world i'm fricking reliving my musical youth.
Footage from School of Honk meets Jon Batiste
[finishes binge watching "Black Mirror"]
Hold My Beer...
as if losing Ryles (after Johnny D's) didn't suck enough, what the hell is this about??
For the first time in my life I noticed St Patrick's day is always a preview of the day of the week for my birthday. Huh.
Incidentally a while back I made a "figure the day of week for a date over years" toy tool : https://kirk.is/2005/06/19/
Also the typo-fixing mechanism is way too aggressive.
Poking around at least I found a way to display the entire URL. Hiding that and just showing the site name was a weird design default.
From my devblog, Graphic Designing in Code
I'm trying to think if this back-propagation of the way an AI sees - how its expectations of what is there to be seen controls what is seen, how it's interpreted - says something profound about the human's way of observing the world or if it's a mere superficial parallel. (more info here)
"Life is just a really complicated exam, in which most people fail by copying from others, not realizing that everyone has a different question paper."
Is it just me or would like, schedule siesta/naptime make life like 8 times better? Melissa's old company had a nap room... my current company doesn't have that kind of culture really...
I found a cool Rolling Stone chat with Yankovic and Miranda and was excited by "RS: Is your band on it?" "Yankovic: They are. My drummer, my guitar player plays banjo on it. My bass player plays bass, though the bass is overwhelmed by the tuba, which is playing the same part."
from The Exact Moment Dogs Realized They're Going To The Vet
Love this song, and a great video - the making of is why I'm posting it though.
Look in my sunglasses and see the stilt walker who was boogying in front of us the whole way...
And to cling to such a claim (of perfected knowledge of the Truth) and end up being Wrong would be an unforgivable sin.
"Keep the company of those who seek the truth- run from those who have found it" --Vaclav Havel (or more likely André Gide.)
This also drives my pseudo-martyrdom, my typical willingness to sacrifice bits of my own comfort and resources if a best guess of The Truth says that a greater good would be served by my doing so. So I am compelled to sacrifice up until the point that says a best guess would say hey, I'm worth something too, and what I'm giving up might be (Objective Truthfully) of more value to the collective world with me than meeting that other need.
I suspect that this driving force has been with me since my teenage years, but only in the past few am I so aware of it. (Also, I'm reviewing https://kirk.is/2017/10/21/ as another, even more long-winded exploration of some of these topics.)
(I think it's telling that Grammarly urges me to say "the best" and not "a best". No way man. There's no single best because life has too many spectrums to measure stuff on.)
As a left leaning person, what do you like about conservatives? I thought this was gentler and more thoughtful than many things I've seen on Quora and FB.
CNN: Where fat goes when you lose weight - spoiler: it's not converted straight into energy (i.e. we don't have a Fusion or Fission reactor in us...), it's not just pee'd or poo'd out, it's not converted into muscle... instead it's turned into CO2 and water! 10 lbs of fat turns into 8.4 lbs of CO2 (and I admit it's always weird to think of the weight of a gas...) and 1.6 of water.
This is kind of a delightful fact, and a nice mirror image of what I learned in 2013, how trees build themselves out of air (and some minerals from the ground, and I think water.) In both cases, the conversion back and from of air with more solidish stuff defies our intuitions.
Janelle C Shane uses a neural net to generate new Dungeons and Dragons monsters:
- Cat, Stone
- Vampire Bear
- Kick Spirit
- Purple Bird
- Slug, Spectral
- Wolf, Chromatic
Because I believe in giving back, I have put the Knux' 1974 on Wikipedia's List of songs named after dates. (I'm partial to 1974 for obvious reasons, so when I thought of Smashing Pumpkin's 1979 and Prince's 1999 I figured there's gotta be a list...)
"They're both better after a couple of beers."
--Carrie Fisher, on similarities between Paul Simon and Harrison Ford
I love some of the old NES video game music, like Mega Man series and of course the Mario stuff they explore "what makes it sound fun" here...
SPOILER: it can have a lot to do with the same stuff that makes New Orleans Street Band music fun. (Insert wistful dream to get more competent about arranging music here... I think videos like this might help a little bit)
Watchful and wise --
Clever little hands
And big kind eyes --
Look for signs that the world is good,
Comport themselves as good folk should.
They wonder at a father
Who is sad and funny strong,
And they wonder at a mother
Like a childhood song.
And what, and what
Do the two think of?
Of the sun
And the moon
And the earth
--Kurt Vonnegut (Untitled Poem in a 1961 to his friend Knox Burger)
Would any of my friends named Robert please let me call them "Broccoli Rob"? I just learned how to pronounce "Broccoli Rabe" last night and I'm afraid I'll forget otherwise.
Bitrot almost claimed Stephen Hawking's voice before his death, but some devoted engineers saved it.
I gathered some links about the UI in the Blade Runner remake... dealing with the past's view of the future is such an interesting design probem, and if the path from skeumorphism to flat deisgn is followed by "fuzzy 80s future look" I would be ok with that.
Later I've noticed times when some people a bit to the left of me, or far to the right, seem to be indicating that you have to change something at its core, and then the good interactions you're hoping for will follow. (The anecdote for the left is how to get a band to lean into being diverse and welcoming, and for the right - I've even seen it in a scholarly way of presuming that understanding the Latinate roots of a word was more important than understanding the vernacular usage of it. But I also feel the right's view that "the apple don't fall far from the tree" and justifications for racism by lumping people into the worst stereotypes of their class has the same top-down thinking.)
Me, I dunno. I have no knack for observing personal growth in myself or others. People's behaviors or abilities may change for the better - statistical clear improvements - but I never get a sense of when that can safely feel like an internalized improvement. For instance, dieting never becomes easy, it's always a matter of gumption and leading myself way the hell away from temptation, because frankly if the delicious food is right there I'm gonna eat it. New eating habits never form and so constant vigilance is the requirement.
Further thought: On the 2013 post (man I hadn't shut down my comments section because of spammers by then?) an anonymous commenter wrote "And Somewhere in the salvation army, an angel just spit in its soup." Which is funny, because I had been thinking about how The Salvation Army really is about people being redeemed, through the life changing power of Jesus Christ.
I guess it's telling that both they and, say, AA look to a supernatural power as necessary for making a true change.
Given my current skepticism, I'm at least heartened by pondering on how insanely powerful the Placebo effect is in medicine.... It's too bad we don't respect placebos, because a belief in God is a powerful psychological bending thing, and that's true, for good or for ill, regardless of the supernatural truth behind any given belief...
The sun is probably the closest thing we’ll ever have to a true Eldritch Abomination. Hear me out here-
- Older than recorded history; was here longer than any of us and will be here long after we leave. Has a finite beginning and end but is still incomprehensibly ancient
- Burns itself into your vision instantly and can blind you if you look for too long
- Further prolonged exposure can cause cancerous growths
- Non-humanoid shape floating through space; colossal flaming tentacles angrily lash out on occasion
- Sort of just appeared one day and is now surrounded by the corpses of its stillborn children
- People used to sacrifice other people to appease it
- Pretty sure it screams at us sometimes
My sweet Melissa works in the same building as me - in fact her company's "Beer Garden" is an atrium visible from our office area and she left me this message...
"There's not a lot of money in revenge."
--Inigo Montoya, "The Princess Bride"