May 19, 2017

Excerpts from "Selfish, Shallow, an Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids"

To be ridiculously sweeping : baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lowercase gods of our private devising. We are concerned with leading less a good life than the good life. In contrast to our predecessors, we seldom ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose ; we are more likely to ask ourselves if we are happy. We shun self - sacrifice and duty as the soft spots of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture, or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and we're not especially bothered with what happens once we're dead. As we age -- oh, so reluctantly ! -- we are apt to look back on our pasts and question not did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun.
--Lionel Shriver, from"Be Here Now Means Be Gone Later"

I stress this because it's often claimed that having kids makes people more conscious of the kind of world they're creating or leaving for their offspring. That would be why, in London, a city with excellent public transportation, parents have to make sure they have cars. Many of these cars come speeding along my street on their way to the extremely expensive private school on the corner. You can see, from the looks on these mums ' faces as they drop off their kids at this little nest of privilege, that the larger world -- as represented by me, some loser on his bike -- doesn't exist, is no more than an impediment to finding a parking space. Parenthood, far from enlarging one's worldview, results in an appalling form of myopia. Hence André Gide's verdict on families, "those misers of love."
--Geoff Dyler, from "Over and Out"

Of all the arguments for having children, the suggestion that it gives life "meaning" is the one to which I am most hostile -- apart from all the others. The assumption that life needs a meaning or purpose ! I'm totally cool with the idea of life being utterly meaningless and devoid of purpose. It would be a lot less fun if it did have a purpose -- then we would all be obliged ( and foolish not ) to pursue that purpose.
--Geoff Dyler, from "Over and Out"

Who could blame anyone, child or adult, for wanting to enrich his experience by sharing it with a friend, a caring witness? We all want that. We all want someone to say, "That thing you love is so interesting and worthy that I have to love it, too." Children's needs and desires are not so different from adults ' needs and desires; the only real difference is that, unlike adults, children are not yet bridled.
--Rosemary Mahoney, "The Hardest Art"

Reproduction as raison d'être has always seemed to me to beg the whole question of existence. If the ultimate purpose of your life is your children, what's the purpose of your children's lives? To have your grandchildren? Isn't anyone's life ultimately meaningful in itself? If not, what's the point of propagating it ad infinitum? After all, 0 × ∞ = 0. It would seem a pretty low - rent ultimate purpose that's shared with viruses and bacteria. The current human population is descended from a relatively low number of ancestors after a series of population bottlenecks in the late Pleistocene. Most human beings back then presumably felt their lives to be just as important and meaningful as we do ours. Is their existence negated just because they left no descendants?
--Tim Kreider, "The End of the Line"

Yeah i know the animals were problematic but I am straight up bummed Ringeling Bros Barnum and Bailey is hanging it up, glad I got to see The Greatest Show on Earth

May 19, 2016

Trying to figure out why my page for the Somerville Porchfest was looking wonky - the "Music Genre" selector was stretched to an ungainly degree. Apparently, up 'til now we haven't had "genres" such as "definitely not 'country' per se - but instead classic country" or "post MAN-o-pause-al rock super group"

Note to self: bands are bad at taxonomy.

RIP Guy Clark
"Trying to read ancient literature (such as the older strata of the Hebrew Bible) without retuning our minds to lower-spectrum settings is a plain mistake--like listening to an old recording at the wrong speed, or watching a movie at the wrong frame rate, in the wrong aspect ratio, that's been dubbed. The brain doesn't change over the centuries, but the mind does, subtly, as habits of thought and the qualities of consciousness we cultivate change."
--David Gelernter, "The Tides of Mind".
This harmonizes well with what I read from Karen Armstrong (see ), her points how in earlier centuries, religion kind of hitched its wagon to science, but when science pulled away religion doubled down on being literally factual, which is just nuts.

Gelernter also mentioned the child development researcher's koan "Is milk bigger than water?" which is kind of stuck in my head.

May 19, 2015

"To animals, war is a cosmic horror story. Indescribable beasts lay waste to everything for reasons they can't fathom and have ungodly powerful methods of attack."
--Yuli-Ban in /r/showerthoughts

May 19, 2014

When I consider what would get me to justify buying a nextgen game console, "Photorealistic Katamari Damacy" tops the list.
"So, I fail to see how femininity is weak when masculinity can be defeated with something as simple as painted fingernails on a dude."
-- -- such a good thought about the "I $*@$in' Love Science" crowd...
from the NY Times -- What You Learn in Your 40s

May 19, 2013

Tried to run a bit faster this morning. My first fresh 5 minutes led to roughly 11.5 minute miles, but at the end of ten minutes it was only 12.5 or so. I guess I have more empathy for my 10 minute mile running high schooler. Also given the relative warmth of the day and pushing it, I got reminded how my head becomes a giant pinkish heat radiator when I do exert myself like that... I'm not sure if I'd seen that for a while.


May 19, 2012

--Amber drew and colored this heart on the paper tablecloth at Full Moon restaurant.

eurotrip day 5travelphotos

(1 comment)
May 19, 2011

Europe of the Moment
Our final full day in Paris...

Paris has some mean looking pigeons including these bruisers near the L'Orangerie.

L'Orangerie, the old greenhouse for the Louvre, has two magnificent oval rooms for viewing Monet's Waterlilies. Here an artist was painting a work in the second room. The work appears to be some kind of Impression of Impressionism, sharing the colors but damn little of the form. Metaimpressionism?

Near Belleville, Amber noticed this rather scorched apartment building.

After a rest, we headed out to Sacre-Coeur. Pretty!

It was probably the most tourist-y space we went to save the Louvre... a ton of street performers, including this guy doing tricks and acrobatics with a black soccer ball or somesuch.

I'm sure someone has pointed out the poetically just descent from the Sacred to the Profane, going from the basilica at the peak down to the Red Light District. Here is the famous Moulin Rouge windmill, though the shot is a little off because it's not night.

Finally, back to our temporary home away from home for a final night. We had one meal here at Le Pure Cafe, and drinks another night. Talk about picturesque... during the day today the street had been blocked off for a full film crew with crazy lighting rigs and stinky generator trucks filming at tables in front.

romance, she is all around us

May 19, 2010

Last month BK posted this quote on the Blender of Love
"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
--This is a speech from the movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin based on a book of the same name.
Also, Amber found this on one of her favorite tumblrs:

Not sure what I think of committed love as being "empty" but still it's kind of a neat infographic.
Amber thinks near ubiquitous DVR + stuff like Hulu means less common talk about big shows. Or it's the fragmenting audience?
Tip of the Day: if IE seems to be insisting a div be taller than the height you set for it, try cranking down "font-size" as well...

followup to that "Dinner with Cupid" Boston Globe blind date from last year. I have "self-described chatterbox" ways!
For years I've been bummed about how little noise I make when I blow my nose; Amber says the trick is to nasally inhale first. INHALE? Whoa. Have I been missing out this whole time???

what's coming out of YOUR wallet?

May 19, 2009

The exploration into cardholders' minds hit a breakthrough in 2002, when J. P. Martin, a math-loving executive at Canadian Tire, decided to analyze almost every piece of information his company had collected from credit-card transactions the previous year. Canadian Tire's stores sold electronics, sporting equipment, kitchen supplies and automotive goods and issued a credit card that could be used almost anywhere. Martin could often see precisely what cardholders were purchasing, and he discovered that the brands we buy are the windows into our souls or at least into our willingness to make good on our debts. His data indicated, for instance, that people who bought cheap, generic automotive oil were much more likely to miss a credit-card payment than someone who got the expensive, name-brand stuff. People who bought carbon-monoxide monitors for their homes or those little felt pads that stop chair legs from scratching the floor almost never missed payments. Anyone who purchased a chrome-skull car accessory or a Mega Thruster Exhaust System was pretty likely to miss paying his bill eventually.

Martin's measurements were so precise that he could tell you the "riskiest" drinking establishment in Canada Sharx Pool Bar in Montreal, where 47 percent of the patrons who used their Canadian Tire card missed four payments over 12 months. He could also tell you the "safest" products premium birdseed and a device called a "snow roof rake" that homeowners use to remove high-up snowdrifts so they don't fall on pedestrians.

--Charles Duhigg, NY Times What Does Your Credit-Card Company Know About You?. It's kind of funny how stereotypical this stuff seems, and now I REALLY want to see the bug tough biker guy who goes ahead and buys the premium birdseed.
iPhone does some useful tricks to disguise app switching lag- tho at times I'd say it needs an "hourglass" cursor, but Apple would HATE that.
Haven't said much but man... what a bummer of a time for the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox. Bruins might have the least excuse though.
"I've been growing my beard for charity. Was I supposed to tell anyone about it first?"
--Marty Moon's twitter (character from Gil Thorp)
RAGING AT THE MACHINES,Good mother loving crisco damn it, why are ALL SERVERS rhino sucking MAESTROS at obfuscating stupidity? HATE HATE HATE

alien bill has a posse

May 19, 2008

Much fretting over the layout of my new place. More on that tomorrow I guess...

Homage of the Moment
--Jeremy added this to my facebook "fun wall" (it's kind of amusing watching it draw in there, it replays the strokes he used.) He draws a mean looking 'Bill! (Here's a explanation of the reference, though I think it has been pretty exposed by now...)

Passage of the Moment
[My mother] had more different expressions for gaits than anybody I have ever known: hightailing it, lightfooting it, hotfooting it, highballing it, going at a dogtrot, coattails in the breeze, with coattails flapping, lallygagging, traipsing, sashaying, moseying, ploughing along, parading along, prissing along, frisking along, flouncing along, shooting along, barreling along, galloping along, poking along, dragging along, trucking along, breezing along down the avenue, waltzing right in, shaking a leg, going zrooop, going lickety-split, going at a dogtrot, going like a house afire, going like a crazy man, highlining, flying low, burining up the road, making a beeline, going dancing by, slewfooting. Many of these were judgemental. She didn't approve of breezing along the avenue; she didn't have time for it; but you could tell she liked the idea.
--Roy Blount Jr, "Be Sweet", his memoirs and middle-aged recollections of his parents. Over all it's kind of a negative viewpoint, and the book never really jells.

Link of the Moment
Cleveland Proms. I wonder if it's a bigger part of the deal in that part of the country? I know for the midwest (in general I think) it's important enough to lose the article. You are "going to prom" not (necessarily) "going to the prom". (Hence the Pretty in Pink "What about prom, Blaine? What. About. Prom.")

moving can be unsettling. having good questions about "which room for what" makes it even tougher.

what is this?

May 19, 2007

Here's a photo I took...

Any guesses as to what it is? Guesses to the comments section!

I might put up a larger version on my desktop wallpaper page after people take a stab.

ANSWER: (highlight with the mouse or hit Ctrl-A to read):
it's simply the inside of a cheap umbrella. The droplets are actually on the other side of it, lit by the sunlight behind.
Hope that wasn't too anticlimatic!

fly me to the moon, shake rattle & roll, etc.

May 19, 2006

Yesterday morning I had the end of a dream where I was walking on some kind of campus w/ Evil B. The moon was HUGE, low over the horizon and I could see all this detail (I think the fact that the moon looks larger the lower it is has sunk into my subconscious, which tends to exaggerate it a bit) I admired it for a moment but then it suddenly leaped to the left, then up... I just had time to process "Oh crap, that's not just the moon, something bad must be happening to the earth", then I heard some shouts and yells and was engulfed in heat and red light. I had just enough time to utter a prayer to the Universe of "thanks, I've had a pretty good run" before waking up.

I've been remember dreams a bit more often lately. On the one hand I'm grateful for that, because it seems like a way of "reclaiming" some of the value the need to sleep for so much of a 24-cycle takes away. On the other hand, I think I'm waking up more frequently in the morning hours, which is why I'm remembering stuff, and I don't think that that's good.

Video of the Moment
Not The Nine O'Clock News on Animal Communication... funny!

I like distinction Bill the Splut makes:
"funny" is when I laugh, "amusing" is when I just smirk
That seems useful but I'm not sure if it's universal enough to use without explaining it every time. But it's better than "I actually LOL'd!"

Photo of the Moment
--I thought this photo would be cool when I took it a few days ago, but now it just looks like a bad photoshop filter.

"sith! sith!" "yeth?"

May 19, 2005

I'm going to see what might be the final Star Wars movie today! (And although, judging by the lack of comments, my retrospect tool didn't make much of an impression, it did tell me that it's 3 years to the day since I reported on watching "Episode 2".) Personally I do hope they do Episodes 7-9, if they're anything like some of the comics and novels set in that time it could be interesting. Maybe anticipation of what is generally regarded as a decent Star Wars flick is coloring my memory of the past two...they definitely had their problems but I don't think they deserve to be as reviled as they are. On the other hand, R2D2 with booster jets is just frickin' retarded.

Newbies can check out Slate's Outsiders Guide to Star Wars, just a glossary of all the major characters and events, and poining out that accent = "bad guy".

Photoshop of the Moment
--"beepity beep whistle CRACK splat" by Chris from a Worth1000 Star Wars contest -- most of the other entries are clever mashups with different movies but I liked this one. (You know, I *just* got why it's called "Worth1000". Duhhr.)

Site of the Moment
Heh, someone from my UU church (who teaches a class I've gone to a few times) is starting I-Do-Yoga, yoga classes designed for people soon to be married, and the people around them. Interesting idea.

am i blueart

May 19, 2004

Image of the Moment

--More fun with yesterday's Scale2Xd filter. I have to get some new base images to play with, I use this one way too much...and now it's even worse, because I'm less inclined to use some of the nice shots of Mo I have. I'm not sure why I like this one so much...I guess having my eyes covered make it easier to mess with, plus it has some bold colors and an interesting pose.

Hmmm. Thinking about this now, I guess I'm kind of like some photoshop n00b just discovering filters...the fact that I have to do some semi-clever steps (reduce in size, tweak the palette reduction, saving as a .PNG, then running a command line program for the atual filtering) doesn't really change that...

Poem of the Moment
I phoned from time to time, to see if she's
changed the music on her answerphone.
'Tell me in two words,' goes the recording,
'what you were going to tell in a thousand.'

I peer into that thought, like peering out
to sea at night, hearing the sound of
waves breaking on the rocks, knowing she
is there, listening, waiting for me to

Once in a while she'll pick up the phone
and her voice sings to me out of the past.
The hair on the back of my neck stands up
as I catch her smell for a second.
--"Siren Song", Hugo Williams. I love that "tell me in two words what you were going to tell in a thousand" line.

News of the Moment
Texas...what a bunch of Yahoos. They want to deny the Unitarians tax-exempt status because it "does not have one system of belief". Jimminy frickin' crickets. Heaven forbid people be able to admit something besides blind "I just KNOW this is right" faith.

the mysterious allure of fur boots

May 19, 2003

Ugh, yesterday I prepublished 16 days worth of for my upcoming vacation, and now I'm burnt out on this stuff!

Quote of the Moment
"If you wish women to love you, be original; I know a man who wore fur boots summer and winter, and women fell in love with him."
--Anton Chekhov

Video of the Moment
This is an excerpt from a Star Wars fan video that's making the rounds. Some guys secretly released a homemade video of a chubby kid acting out his Star Wars lightsaber dreams. (Probably the kid was messing with some of the DIY lightsaber ideas that were going around a while back. (followup--I guess according to this NY Times article, the saber effects were added by somebody else later.) You know, we laugh because it's a dorky thing to do, and because the kid's chubby and throws in some gratuitous kicking, but he actually pulls off some decent lightsaber spins.
Heh. The snippet shown here almost qualifies as an example of small gif cinema, though it's a bit larger than I usually go for.

News of the Moment
"What you want to be strong is you want people to have confidence in your currency."
--Treasury Secretary John Snow. I'm no economist, though I'm vaguely in favor of a weaker dollar, just the idea of making our exports that much more attractive. Still, couldn't he have waited 'til after my damn trip to Europe to announce that we're pretty much ok about a weaker dollar?

Passage of the Moment
    "Is he a fairy?" Rosa was, at that moment, asking Joe. They were still sitting on her bed, holding hands.
    Joe was at first shocked by this suggestion, and then suddenly not. "Why would you say that?" he said.
    She shrugged. "He has the feel," she said.
    "Hmm," Joe said. "I don't know. He is--" He shrugged. "A good boy."
    "Are you a good boy?"
    "No," Joe said.
    He leaned forward to kiss her again. They bumped teeth, and it made him weirdly aware of all the bones in his head. Her tongue was milk and salt, an oyster in his mouth. She put her hands on his shoulders, and he could feel her getting ready to push him away, and then after a moment she did.
    "I'm worried about him," she said, "He looked a little lost. You should go after him."
--Michael Chabon, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay". I was struck by the decription of the kiss, "milk and salt".

sent in the clones

May 19, 2002

Saw Episode 2 yesterday...pretty good! It didn't have a lot of the big spaceship battles that I love in the original trilogy, but some pretty amazing ground combat. I'm sure the links I posted yesterday influenced my perception of the new movie to a high degree.

Link of the Moment
The Indie Game Jam (sponsored in part by Intel, interestingly) is pretty cool, though they don't have available downloads yet. They realized that a modern system can display tens of thousands of old school, DOOM-style sprites without breaking a sweat, so they got a bunch of programmers in one place, gave them a basic game engine, and over a long 4-day weekend let them go at. Looks like they came up with some pretty cool concepts. I've always liked games that used the "huge hoards of bad guys" fact, that was part of what I liked about some of the best Star Wars battles, the total chaos onscreen...

Quote of the Moment
"Damn everything but the circus."

girls are icky

May 19, 2001

Quote of the Moment
"That made such an impression upon me as a boy that I decided that no boy friend of mine would ever accuse me of licking the butter off his sandwich and I kept my promise."
--young devout mormon (from on kissing via cruel site. Women are like sandwiches, you know.

Proof that girls are evil:
First we state that girls require time and money.
Girls = Time * Money
And we all know that "time is money."
Time = Money
Girls = Money * Money = (Money)2
And because "money is the root of all evil":
Money = sqrt(Evil)
Girls = (sqrt(Evil))2
And we are forced to conclude that
Girls = Evil
--from a graphic file that's making the rounds

Link of the Moment
Interview with Douglas Adams on Atheism. Interesting points on the distinctions between Atheism and Agnosticism.

KHftCEA 2000-05.1 May

Love makes us poets and the approach of death should make us philosophers.
--George Santayana
Each day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little dearth.
--Arthur Schopenhauer
But what is all this fear of and opposition to oblivion? What is the matter with the soft darkness, the dreamless sleep?
--James Thurber
Haven't had much to say in the KHftCEA lately. And I've started a number of books (Hemingway, philosophy, Hunter S. Thompson, a few others) but nothing has really grabbed me. I've also been working on my mortality pages as well as trying to get that pocketC contest going.

Not sure if  I'm as relaxed about mortality as I think am. Ultimately, it should be a "who cares" kind of thing: I really like that Thurber quote. Unfortuntely, I understand suicide a little better

KHftCEA 1999-05.1 May

"Dixie to Cicero: The Jazz Migration" [...] Songs include: "She Be Big, Maybe Too Big Blues," "Can I Has Yo Fish?", and the classic "Wha's Dis on Yo Shoe?"
Really looking forward to this beer with Paul.  He's always played this odd kind of mentor role for me.  I'm not always sure what to make of that, but I'll really miss him when he goes off to Michigan.