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I just want to say – you know – can we, can we all get along? Can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids? And ... I mean we've got enough smog in Los Angeles let alone to deal with setting these fires and things ... It's just not right. It's not right, and it's not going to change anything. We'll get our justice. They've won the battle, but they haven't won the war. We'll get our day in court, and that's all we want. And, just, uh, I love – I'm neutral. I love every – I love people of color. I'm not like they're making me out to be. We've got to quit. We've got to quit; I mean, after all, I could understand the first – upset for the first two hours after the verdict, but to go on, to keep going on like this and to see the security guard shot on the ground – it's just not right. It's just not right, because those people will never go home to their families again. And uh, I mean, please, we can, we can get along here. We all can get along. We just gotta. We gotta. I mean, we're all stuck here for a while. Let's, you know, let's try to work it out. Let's try to beat it, you know. Let's try to work it out.
Rodney King, May 1 1992
It's too bad "can we all just get along?" (often munged to "can't we") is so often used in a mocking way; it's a sincere sentiment.

May 2, 2022

I don't post these often but, heh:

Wordle 317 2/6

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Romans 12:15 (KJV)

The opinion to kill Roe v Wade has been drafted and leaked.

May 3, 2022

Been engaged in some e-correspondence about weighty topics - philosophy and spirituality and whatnot.

In trying to explain how we have something like an absolute moral law without a out-of-the-system lawgiver, I turn to a very UU idea of emergence. I think value and morality are properties that start to appear as connections (with others, and/or taking into potential future connections) are made. The preferences that the group members have there form the basis of "getting ought from is".

Nothing meaningful exists in isolation: a weird pocket universe with a single inhabitant would have no need for morality, the concept wouldn't make sense; "do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" would be about the best you could do.

But as more beings get added, the need for morality emerges, because there is a need to reconcile competing preferences.

Another way to to look at it, borrowed from the UU: economics, say, is based on group psychology, which is based on individual psychology, which is based on neuroscience, which is based on biology, which is based on chemistry, which is based on particle physics. Going the other way, each level adds complexity and rules - or rather, observed approximations of behavior, and in general you can't model and make predictions from the lower levels up (trying to get a workable model of economics from chemistry, say) But there wasn't a supreme economic lawgiver, nothing outside of the system that determined how money must move, just ideas of how it does move.

There are some ideas I'm trying to sneak by here. The implications that morality, the sense of "should", is conflatable to an aggregation of preferences (including preferences that emerged from the groups and didn't exist as individual preferences) is not yet a firm foundation. (Like how much does it depend on people being able to know whats best even for themselves...) And I still have a strong sense of directionality to morality; a hunch that every moral decision has an outcome that is more moral and one that is less moral, i.e. more or less in tune with the ultimate larger group preference. But as always I lean into the uncertainty of knowing which is which; most moral dilemmas don't feel like good vs evil, it is a choice between two competing "goods", and knowing which one of those two goods is ultimately more in tune with the greater group's good is clouded with uncertainty.

Anyway. I realized I can google up some articles with "morality as an emergent property" and find some papers that explore the idea, and while they're not as jargon-laden as other bits of modern philosophy I've seen there are enough words that might have specific meanings that I get a bit lost. (And I'm sure my own rambles might not be that easy to follow either...)
Gay Marriage is next.

The Alito leak basically implies only things "deeply rooted in the Nation's history and traditions" as what deserves protection under the 9th amendment's unenumerated rights protection, and i guess everything else falls to the states.

So fuck women's rights to their bodies, fuck gay marriage, but hey - owning a person as a slave is A-OK by this standard. Certainly was a lot of history and tradition around that in 1776!

Also: Fuck the idea that we are a nation - one that respects individual liberty, and can make moral corrections as a nation - and really we are just BlueStateLandia and RedStateIstan, and the civil war was for jack shit.

May 4, 2022


my hair is a bit meshuganah but my mom's new glasses are suspiciously similar to mine 😃

May 5, 2022


This is the problem. Conservatives assume everyone is like them but with different priorities. They think the opposite of authoritarianism is queer authoritarianism, and the opposite of colonialism is the colonial oppression of white people. It doesn't occur to them that people who aren't on top of an oppressive regime could want anything other than to be on top of an oppressive regime.
Lately I've been increasingly troubled by authoritarianism. Especially as I start to figure that every system of values and relationships we are part of emerges and unfolds from simpler things. Since things aren't handed down from on high, the presumption that someone absolutely knows the best interpretation of how things "should be" is galling, yet some people make a lifestyle of it.
In Cree, they don't say "hippopotamus", they say great thick skinned thick thighed big mouthed two toothed underwater swimming pig and I think that's beautiful

May 6, 2022

For an academic grading scale, A,B,C,D,F is really dumb.

May 7, 2022

in Wizard of Oz's twister scene, Dorothy sees a pair of men rowing a boat in the windtossed sky, and giving her a friendly tip of the hat. I want to know their story. Did they also land in Oz? What happened then?

Happy Wake Up The Earth! Photos via Greg Cooland and Deborah J Karson, cmg, and Jennifer Taub:

Not sure those last ones are me at my band best but still. Good to be able to swap layers, either JP Honk Purple or School of Honk dots on top. My alabaster legs though...

May 8, 2022


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april new music playlist

Surprising number of songs based on bands I'm in pondering playing them, but I don't think any that I actually played.
If We Were Vampires
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Folksy, saddish song playing the "well if we're vampires we'd be immortal but we're not so let's make the most of what we got."

Mahna, Mahna
The old "muppet" song - some folks on JPH want us to try an arrangement maybe sometime.
Jesus Walks
Kanye West
Big hiphop.
via this tweet.

Phone Wallet Keys (Single Version)
Adam Sandler
Comedy rap.

Dispatches 1
Blue Man Group
Cool percussion but I keep expecting it to turn into "Magic Carpet Ride"
Inspired to for more Blue Man after this Vulture Oral History of the show.

In Your Head
Isabelle Brown
Nice modern fast R+B
on the Hulu show "Woke"
Blue Man Group
Cool didgeridoo-ish noise in it... Blue Man Group really pursues cool noise making.
I've Found a New Baby
Ted Lewis and His Band
Old Time Jazz.
Another thing folks in the band would consider trying to arrange.
Lost at Sea
Oshima Brothers
Sad modern pop, a bit like The National
via This American Life
K-Pop! School of Honk is thinking about trying an arrangement.
Liquid Dance
A.R. Rahman, Swapna Madhuri, Palakkad Sriram
Really cool blend of modern electronic and that one classical India form, the vocal percussion they do.
Mentioned on a "Strong Songs" podcast episode.
Sting Ray
The Jazz Crusaders
Some nice fast jazz. New Magnolia Jazz band messed with this a bit, I think because the leader thought it was near my own "Space Cadet" bassline.
Fried Pork Anus Boxer
Very brief comedy interlude I mp3'd up for Melissa from John Hodgman's Hulu cartoon series.
Stand By Me (Live from the Late Show with David Letterman)
Tracy Chapman
Really nice cover spotify introduced me to.
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27: No. 2 "Moonlight Sonata": I. Adagio sostenuto
Steve Anderson
More or less straightforward version of the classical piece, though I think with a subtle choir.
Originally I was looking for Pianist SHOCKS Audience With Moonlight Sonata Dubstep Remix but you know I think the simpler form works allright. It is a moving piece.

The Way I Am
Ingrid Michaelson
Oh, such a sweet modern indie song.
From a Melissa playlist.
A Tribe Called Quest
Classic Hip-hop.
Via Strong Songs episode on "So What"
What Time Is Love?
The Williams Fairey Brass Band
Odd Brass cover of KLF's techno hit.
The Ballad of Kami Jean
Mama Digdown's Brass Band
NOLA street band stuff.
One of the songs I was asked to study up on when I swung in with Second Line Brass Band.

About half way through Karen Armstrong's "A History of God". The reminder that the USA's weird interplay of religious naturalism vs fundamentalism - and a notable lack of mystery and mysticism with both - is pretty damn idiosyncratic, historically speaking.

Honestly I am legit surprised there aren't more religions based on worshipping the sun, that true giver of life. Or as an old Tumblr Post had it:
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
I was going to say that almost all energy on the planet comes from the sun. Though geothermal - the way the heart of our planet is the superhot ball of metal, around 8-10K F - seems like another Eldritch horror.
"We could sell out and take a capital gain. Then again, the market's going up on Tabletop. We could hang on and make some real money. On the gripping hand, inflation's running wild on Tabletop. Lets get into something else."
"All of Pitchfork River, at least. Top to bottom, hill to spill, they've taken up that three-sided Aristotelian logic."
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, "The Gripping Hand".
So characters in this science fiction novel have noticed an idiosyncratic speech construction: "on the one hand X, on the other hand Y, gripping hand Z" where the final point is the overriding decision maker, and the characters realize that it means the extraterrestrials (with humanoid but asymmetrical bodies, with two small arms and one larger one) are having a big culture influence on the human colonists.

For some reason the phrase has always stuck with me - I always assumed "Aristotelian logic" was that idea of thesis, antithesis, synthesis though I guess that's more Hegel's dialectic, and Aristotelian is more that "If P then Q, If Q then R, P, so R" stuff.

May 10, 2022

Oh, thanks construction across the street, giving me a chance to appreciate my new-ish noise reduction headphones with that generator or pump or whatever it is endless whine.
I remember seeing this version of the Beatles Come Together as a Flash Video way back when - not sure what the story is behind it but I dig it...

May 11, 2022

Thinking about how the Bible's Numbers 5:11-31 provides instructions for abortion (albeit I case in case of suspected infidelity). And that Matthew 5:17-19, Luke 16:17, and John 7:19 refute the idea of NT stuff just putting aside the old law. (And there are other Bible versus supporting the idea of life showing up later via breath, and/or after being knit together in a womb, not this moment of fertilization or conception non-sense as a measure for personhood.)

Of course, I'm not gifted with faith myself and lean towards the agnostic, and I know we live in a culture that has many different religious traditions. If as a culture we can't tell folks they must sign up as organ donors, because bodily autonomy is that important, then we can't force a woman to accept a clump of cells as something worthy of taking over her body for the better part of a year. It is none of your business, you are not a hero by making this decision for them.
Daring Fireball reported on the farewell of the iPod Touch. I remember being blown away by how slender the first generation was - like Gruber says, it was hot on the heels of the first iPhone, but the thinness of the iPhone-minus-the-phone-part was a glimpse of the future of Apple form factors: in 2007 it was astonishing that a capable web browser could work on the thing.

Of course this closes the door on the iPod in general. I write about getting one in 2004 - ripping my supply of CDs into my own library actually kept me stuck with Apple ever since. (And I still don't quite get the appeal of streaming... owning music, but selecting it by the single song, is musical nirvana to me.)

But my favorite was the iPod Nano I bought in 2007:

It was such a perfect minimalist piece of hardware... just thick enough to fit a headphone jack, that terrifically satisfying scrollwheel, and a nice little screen to help with navigation.

Every once in a while I get the urge to try to be less online, go back to the less-connected time before the iPhone, maybe go back to the simplicity of a PalmPilot... But at the very least my pockets would be full of an iPod, a camera, a PDA, a regular cellphone... not to mention needing a GPS for my car...so just wishful thinking.

May 12, 2022

If you die at the top of a water slide, the park employees will probably debate how to properly move your body.

Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.
P. T. Barnum

May 13, 2022


May 14, 2022


May 15, 2022

this is a good metaphor.

i really hate challenge for its own sake, but the thing is, life is challenging so it's good to have your challenge muscles built up a bit....

May 16, 2022

JP Honk had one of its most prominent gigs ever closing the Harvard MayFair yesterday...

May 17, 2022

There's a tweet that goes "every time i drink milk i remember my roommate who used to put powdered milk in his milk so he could drink 'more milk per milk'."

I just watched "Everything Everywhere All at Once". This movie is about the most milk per milk I've ever seen.

I am pretty sure that "Thw Multiverse" is the defining Zeitgeist of our moment, and it troubles me. It's a mood of worn old comic writers having rung out the realm of the normal narrative arc so thoroughly that regular storytelling isn't enough, and we have to all the stories at once.... and of a population having ingested so much "this is the darkest timeline" that we're down to a hope that somehow someone emerging from a whirlwind of parallel possibilities will save us.

I mean, this is Trumpism vibe. The vibe of Fuck a system of studious people looking to build a system for society, it ain't dealing me a post-WW2-prosperity Boomer-wealth hand, I'm gonna vote for this reality show, ex-WWF-huckster, rich from his daddy's wealth (the guy who could actually lose money owning a casino), pussy-grabber who promises to shake shit up and deliver liberal tears wholesale. And then when he loses, and not just in the popular vote (as Republican Presidents always do) but in the electoral college, I'll buy into his vision of a multiverse where really he won, and it's just like these sneaky "agents of Hydra" beancounters or whatever the fuck who somehow switched things up.

I'm definitely worried about election 2024. These two old old men duking it out, and with some facile narratives that show Biden holding the bag for inflation and whatever comes next in this not-post-COVID age - it's going to be tough, and Trump could win, and our nation would have to stand up to another go round of shitty judges shitting on women's rights and telling us bald-faced bribery is "free speech".

My solace with that possible upcoming dark twist will be as it always is, this line from Tom Robbins:
Tennessee Williams once wrote, "We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it." In a certain sense, the playwright was correct. Yes, but oh! What a view from that upstairs window! What Tennessee failed to mention was that if we look out of that window with an itchy curiosity and a passionate eye; with a generous spirit and a capacity for delight; and, yes, the language with which to support and enrich the things we see, then it DOESN'T MATTER that the house is burning down around us. It doesn't matter. Let the motherfucker blaze!

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, says wealthy candidates loaning their campaigns large amounts of cash is an essential part of the democratic process. He describes loans in excess of $250,000 as a key tool "to jumpstart a fledgling campaign or finish strong in a tight race." Massive personal loans can be "a useful tool to signal that the political outsider is confident enough in his campaign to have skin in the game, attracting the attention of donors and voters alike." Not allowing these loans to be paid back in full with money raised after the election, Roberts argues, risks "inhibiting candidates from making such loans in the first place."
Roberts writes that "influence and access" are "a central feature of democracy--that constituents support candidates who share their beliefs and interests, and candidates who are elected can be expected to be responsive to those concerns."
What? A Republican appointed judge supporting the rich getting richer? Whodathunk.

Like spending money is free speech... and we must also protect LENDING money? Like if a candidate spent their own cash, fine, but expecting to be frickin' paid back? Like loaning money to oneself is some sort of fiduciary peptalk, and therefore we must allow it all levels. Huh. .. and "skin in the game" must be allowed to be super thin, apparently.

May 18, 2022

Just finished re-reading Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" for my science and spirituality reading group

I found myself moved and a little weepy, though I can't pinpoint on a reason why, any singular epiphany gained or tragedy observed. Optimistically it's just some kind of emotional growing pain.

One summary I'm making for myself: **the meaning of everything is something drawn out, not uncovered or handed over. It is a creative process; it is cooking and not merely foraging.**

(I guess this ties in well with the philosophic theme I've been exploring lately: *everything of value is emergent*; all value is merely potential until it has arisen out of connection and interaction. And similarly value and meaning can never be bestowed from on high; it is a bottom-up process and not top-down.)

But meaning so developed isn't just "made up", which is one accusation my inner-skeptic will use to challenge it. Whatever our meaning grows into, it must have its roots in whatever concretely IS.

Faith then is a matter of accepting the truth of meaning that has grown for oneself, even if it lacks definitive validation. It's putting aside the nagging worries of "oh you just made that up" and accusations like "well you could have said anything".

I need to grapple with this some more. See how it plays with other themes I've been embracing; the idea that there's a (forever uncertain!) objective ultimate Truth, even if its presence is only implied from the sense of directionality, (better/worse) that we have which is necessary for us to reason our way about any two competing smaller truths.

(And also to reconsider: my disdain for concepts embodied in phrases like "Well that's My Truth". Does that idea, which never seemed resistant to accusations of "just making it up" -- especially since it seems to cover objective empirical reality as well as subjective senses of how things should be -- become more palatable for me if I frame it as "well, that's the Meaning I've grown about it"? Is it just semantics or what are the crucial differences?)
Sometimes the other men invented amusing dreams about the future, such as forecasting that during a future dinner engagement they might forget themselves when the soup was served and beg the hostess to ladle it "from the bottom."
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"
This anecdote stuck with me from the first reading - the idea being at the concentration camps, any thing of substance in the watery soup (such as peas or potato) were at the bottom, and so the server had some control over what was given to the other person.
To draw an analogy: a man's suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the "size" of human suffering is absolutely relative.
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"

Does this not bring to mind the story of Death in Teheran? A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered tered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, "Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?" vant?" "I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran," said Death.
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"
(He notes that some concentration camp inmates adopted a practice of deliberate passivity. I recognize that urge in myself, though I'm not sure the "I don't want to be responsible for things going worse" is a healthy way to be:
The camp inmate was frightened of making decisions and of taking any sort of initiative whatsoever. This was the result of a strong feeling that fate was one's master, and that one must not try to influence it in any way, but instead let it take its own course. In addition, there was a great apathy, which contributed in no small part to the feelings of the prisoner. At times, lightning decisions had to be made, decisions which spelled life or death. The prisoner would have preferred to let fate make the choice for him. This escape from commitment was most apparent when a prisoner had to make the decision for or against an escape attempt. In those minutes in which he had to make up his mind-and it was always a question of minutes-he suffered the tortures of Hell. Should he make the attempt to flee? Should he take the risk?

"Was Du erlebst, kann keine Macht der Welt Dir rauben." (What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.)
Poet quoted by Viktor E. Frankl in "Man's Search for Meaning"

And in another paper she expressed the hope that logotherapy "may help counteract certain unhealthy healthy trends in the present-day culture of the United States, where the incurable sufferer is given very little opportunity to be proud of his suffering and to consider it ennobling rather than degrading" so that "he is not only unhappy, but also ashamed of being unhappy."'
Edith Weisskopf-Joelson quoted by Viktor E. Frankl in "Man's Search for Meaning"

I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility sponsibility on the West Coast.
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"

But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"

From this one may see that there is no reason to pity old people. Instead, young people should envy them. It is true that the old have no opportunities, no possibilities in the future. ture. But they have more than that. Instead of possibilities in the future, they have realities in the past-the potentialities they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized-and nothing and nobody can ever remove these assets from the past.
Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"

from "A History of God"

For reasons that we do not entirely understand, all the chief civilizations developed along parallel lines, even when there was no commercial contact (as between China and the European area). There was a new prosperity that led to the rise of a merchant class. Power was shifting from king and priest, temple and palace, to the marketplace. The new wealth led to intellectual and cultural florescence and also to the development of the individual conscience. Inequality and exploitation became more apparent as the pace of change accelerated in the cities and people began to realize that their own behavior could affect the fate of future generations. Each region developed a distinctive ideology to address these problems and concerns: Taoism and Confucianism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India and philosophical rationalism in Europe. The Middle East did not produce a uniform solution, but in Iran and Israel, Zoroaster and the Hebrew prophets respectively evolved different versions of monotheism. Strange as it may seem, the idea of "God," like the other great religious insights of the period, developed in a market economy in a spirit of aggressive capitalism.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

Who then knows whence it has arisen,
Whence this emanation hath arisen,
Whether God disposed it, or whether he did not,--
Only he who is its overseer in highest heaven knows.
Or perhaps he does not know!
The Hindu Scripture Rig-Veda 10:29 on the mystery of why there is something rather than nothing...

Religion starts with the perception that something is wrong [...] Effectiveness rather than philosophical or historical demonstration has always been the hallmark of a successful religion
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

Indeed, God is dependent upon man when he wants to act in the world--an idea that would become very important in the Jewish conception of the divine.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"
That idea is so lovely - and so foreign to the simplistic version of the "Judeo-Christian" God I was taught, where it would be blasphemy to think of Omnipotent God as dependent on anyone or anything.

You know what? I take it back. Hearing some of the God-ish justifications given for passing anti-Abortion, Fertilization=Human bullshit passing Oklahoma? "We believe that God has a special plan for every single life and every single child" -Stitt -- clearly thinking like you are a conduit and manifestation of God's Will is fraught, and can be used for good or for evil. it's not all just cute and pleasant little mitzvahs, it's bodily-autonomy-violating bullshit, and we do not live in a theocracy.
The Greek God could be discovered by human reason, whereas the God of the Bible only made himself known by means of revelation. A chasm separated Yahweh from the world, but Greeks believed that the gift of reason made human beings kin to God; they could, therefore, reach him by their own efforts. Yet whenever monotheists fell in love with Greek philosophy, they inevitably wanted to try to adapt its God to their own. This will be one of the major themes of our story.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

In about 178 the pagan philosopher Celsus accused the Christians of adopting a narrow, provincial view of God. He found it appalling that the Christians should claim a special revelation of their own: God was available to all human beings, yet the Christians huddled together in a sordid little group, asserting: "God has even deserted the whole world and the motions of the heavens and disregarded the vast earth to give attention to us alone."
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

A distinction between esoteric and exoteric truth will be extremely important in the history of God. It was not to be confined to Greek Christians, but Jews and Muslims would also develop an esoteric tradition. The idea of a "secret" doctrine was not to shut people out. Basil was not talking about an early form of Freemasonry. He was simply calling attention to the fact that not all religious truth was capable of being expressed and defined clearly and logically. Some religious insights had an inner resonance that could only be apprehended by each individual in his own time during what Plato had called *theoria*, contemplation.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

Within the soul there are three properties, therefore: memory, understanding and will, corresponding to knowledge, self-knowledge and love. Like the three divine persons, these mental activities are essentially one because they do not constitute three separate minds, but each fills the whole mind and pervades the other two
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"
The book has long passages outlining the vision of the Trinity, which honestly to me feels like on of the more arbitrary and ad hoc aspects of modern Christianity.
In the same way, the scientific vision of our own day has made much classic theism impossible for many people. To cling to the old theology is not only a failure of nerve but could involve a damaging loss of integrity. [...] Yet the ultimate failure of [the Faylasufs'] rational deity has something important to tell us about the nature of religious truth.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

One of the problems of ethical monotheism is that it isolates evil. Because we cannot accept the idea that there is evil in our God, there is a danger that we will not be able to endure it within ourselves.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

Luria identified anger with idolatry, since an angry person is possessed by a "strange god."
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

Mendelssohn saw life without God as meaningless, but this was not a passionate faith: he was quite content with the knowledge of God attainable by reason. God's goodness is the hinge on which his theology hangs. If human beings had to rely on revelation alone, Mendelssohn argued, this would be inconsistent with God's goodness because so many people had apparently been excluded from the divine plan.
Karen Armstrong, "A History of God"

To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself to us as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms--this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men.
Albert Einstein

Don't know if I posted "everything in this picture is now in your pocket", how one smartphone does all this stuff like someone raided a Radio Shack, but I love it.
There's also this ad via this huffington post 2014/2017 article

If you hear a human ask, "What could go wrong?" Do NOT involve yourself. If you hear one ask for their beer to be held, leave immediately. If you encounter a man named "Murphy" that no humans seem to see, RUN.

...the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean of the Ukraine. Heh. (...iraq too - anyway.) 75. Uhh...
What's really cool is Trump is even older, and Biden older than that.

May 20, 2022



Open Photo Gallery

May 21, 2022

Really wrestling with if I want to reconfigure my office, maybe get the big ol TV (for the atari) and other video game stuff out just to have more room. It's weirdly tough to put away, like I've definitely tied some identity into being the guy with old video game crap well at hand. But in honesty I have barely touched any of it this last year!

If we had a bigger place, like some places I've rented where I basically had a whole "game room" for myself, maybe there wouldn't be so much of dilemma...

But it's making me wonder, why the only gaming I'm doing is the Switch stuff with my super niece. I guess band (and porchfest websites?) has moved into the space (both in terms of hours, and just in terms of mental mojo) that games used to hold for me. And overall that's a clear trade-up, but still: I think video games are a truly special art form. For the first time in history we're able to mechanically put ourselves into responsive narratives. Each game is a microcosm, a new world, a new set of potential interactions, and I would argue that represents a more important diversity than almost any other kind of hobbyist collection. (Somewhat mitigated by what emulation can offer in giving 80% of the experience in like 8% of the space....)

FOLLOWUP. I posted this on FB. Liz posted something that encouraged me to dive a little more deeply into why I think games are so interesting, and not just another pastime:
I'd still hold to the idea that video games are a unique form. Sure, like with books, there are plenty of trashy and overly-genre-based works, but they offer a type of involvement- and each game has the chance to offer truly novel sets of interaction- that bring it closer to, say, performing music (like a piece that someone else wrote) than to say watching a movie or even reading a book.

Over the last 5 years or so I've identified "interaction" (and the emergence that can happen with interconnected system with interacting components) as THE key to my philosophical understanding of the universe- and no form better exemplifies playing with the creation of types of interactions more than video games. So while it's good not to yuck anyone else's yum, i'm going to stan for video games more forcefully than say TV.
Maybe more significantly my ex Mo wrote
I've become known at work for saying "the process should serve us rather than us serve the process" and the same goes for space. We evolve as humans. Your space should evolve to serve you rather than holding space for something that no longer serves you. Lol that sounds deeper than intended but it is a useful mantra.
My response was
heh. i guess for me is a feel that people's cores don't evolve much, but different potentials that have always been present may unfold (arguably that can sometimes be a distinction without a difference)

I appreciate the encouragement that a space can reflect personal evolution.

But to the extent it is an evolution, it always feels like the chance for de-evolution as well. To quote an old Arlo and Janis comic:
"As I get older, I don't enjoy the same things I once enjoyed. But I enjoy new and different things!
I just don't enjoy them as much as I used to enjoy the things I no longer enjoy."

(That said I probably enjoy band stuff about as much as video games- but i still miss them, from playing games alone, with a bunch of friends over, or even making them. It was a fairly rich activity for me in social and creative ways)

Anyway you more than most people had to interact with my intuitions about personal evolution (even before they were as understood and caraloged by me as they've become) and so / but we can leave it there for now.

May 22, 2022


Open Photo Gallery

New disappearing dots illusion So trippy. The brain sees what it... wants? to see.

May 23, 2022

What are the tritest yet probably kind of profound expressions you know? I was just thinking of
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
(Attributed sometimes to Dr. Seuss but that is suspect.) The version Marvel cribbed from Seneca the Younger "Every journey has an end" sounds a little less corny.

And I'd put the Serenity Prayer ("God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference") there too.

I think all of these - hokey as they might be - get to one of the two central points of Buddhism, acceptance and non-attachment.

Its been pointed out to be that I focus a bit too much on that point, and maybe not enough on the other point of compassion. I guess one too well-worn phrase for that is "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle".
All those AA/12-step slogans that people put on bumper stickers--"Easy Does It", "One Day At A Time".
Matt McIrvin

If there's wet dreams then there's probably wet nightmares

May 24, 2022

Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, marks at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to a CNN count.

Excluding Tuesday's shooting, so far in 2022 there have been at least 38 shootings in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, resulting in at least 10 deaths and 51 injuries.

The Texas shooting is the deadliest US school shooting since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, when 17 people were killed.

Tuesday's shooting is the deadliest shooting at an elementary school since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 26 people in December 2012.

Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind

Enough of this fucking whirlwind.

May 25, 2022


May 26, 2022

I'm going to have a quick visit today with my cousin Ed Scheinfeldt (since I'm visiting my buddy JZ in Austin TX...) Ed is into Ancestory.com type stuff, and while I'm not ready to fully dive into it yet, I used what he shared with me to dive a bit more into my mom and dad's sides...

Open Photo Gallery

Open Photo Gallery

Austin Bound

Huevos Tostados at "Snooze"

The Driskill Hotel

These electric scooters where everywhere. Rent via app, fun to take in the bike lane!

Cousin Ed and Mary



May 27, 2022


May 28, 2022

Both Star Trek The Next Generation and the movie "The Goonies" have a character named Data.

May 29, 2022


Went back to my old tropes of having kids direct a virtual toy I code up - in this case a lil' fish..... Cole designed most of the fish and bubbles, his brother Carter suggested the seaweed.

Also, the boys kind of like folding paper in general (like just casually) and really got into those old school "fortune tellers" I showed them...
There is much happening, but there is not much going on.

May 30, 2022


Open Photo Gallery

JZ and Maverick

JZ is 40

Tree at Inner Space Cavern

Inside Inner Space Cavern

Kayak beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge

Walking to Bat Bridge (Congress Avenue Bridge)

Crowds at Congress Avenue Bridge / Bat Bridge

Selfie on the Bridge

Took my call with Cora at The Dinosaur Park

Still from a video inside the Car Wash

Schmidt and Leeloo

Austin loves its guitars

Inside the Museum of the Weird

Fish at the Austin Aqua Dome

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, it penetrates it. It's immovable, not impenetrable.

May 31, 2022

"color" is absolutely one of those words that looks like it can't possibly be spelled correctly if you look at it too much.

Though I guess folks from the UK might say there's a reason for that, come to think of it.

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