Tuesday, July 31, 2007
If you think this doesn't affect you, consider that this is about who gets to control a critical portion of your COMMUNICATION CHANNEL to the world. In essence, if the corporation(s) who purchase this frequency segment practice monopolistic practices--a likelihood, since the FCC is likely to push forward with this auction WITHOUT the requirement of the buyer offering open services and open networks. I say its a likelihood the monopolistic companies will get this because Google or any other company that wants to "be nice" by making things open (a real incentive to innovation) is not going to be able to pony up the tens of billions of dollars to buy this space, and even if they did, they'd need to be cutthroat in their practices in order to make that money back--as a publicly-traded company, Google is kind of obliged to please their stockholders a little, though I remember in their IPO they had some caveats built into their stock system that gave them more leeway than a standard company would--I hope that still applies.
America is getting to a real point of falling behind technologically, compared to Europe and Japan. We're still apparently ahead of China and the developing world, but I wonder what it will take for Americans (myself included) to wake up. When we see Japanese people with flying cars, jetpacks, and a rich cyberspace that's not just another place for corporations to advertise at us, while we're still trying to figure out how to make our laptop connect to our iPod and have control over the songs we own?
Here's an Onion article kind of describing the path America is on (caution, stinging satire ahead): Earthquake Sets Japan Back to 2147. My favorite quote: "The United States' offer of $20 million and a shipment of steel, tractors, forklifts, and cranes was politely declined."
lyrics: 'I know what you're thinking. I haven't been drinking. ' -Crash Test Dummies
colors: Pringles can red.
mood: in-between. liminal if you will..
chant/prayer/mantra: let the kissing festival begin!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T
While walking the dog at 8 a.m., we passed by a guy smoking a big ol' stinky cigar, and then later, while walking to the BART station, parking their convertible automobile in a nearby parking lot, and i heard genesis' 'against all odds' blasting at high volume.
This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T
Monday, July 23, 2007
Meg Barnhouse, Ralph Ovadahl, and the Most Important Work of the Christian Community
When I was at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Portland last month, I enjoyed hearing Rev. Meg Barnhouse read from her new book Did I Say That Out Loud? The chapter she read from was called "If I was the Devil," and it rang so true that it hurt. (E, I bought you a copy. Maybe I'll send it next time I'm in a sending mood.)
This chapter was about the misplaced efforts of the Christian church. To loosely summarize:
"If I were the devil, I'd do my darned-est to get people not to help the poor and needy, or to build real connections based on an interconnected community. To that end, I will tell preachers to teach people that the important work of the church is to proselytize to people based on the Gospel (while disregarding the merits other faith beliefs), and to teach that saying "Happy Holidays" is a heathen message, while saying "Merry Christmas" is always more appropriate. And I would teach that certain behaviors are sins--including homosexuality, abortion, and stem-cell research. The people who faithfully follow my preachers will be picketing pride parades, abortion clinics, and department stores; Meanwhile, all of the social ills such as poverty, war, disease, hunger, and homelessness will go unchecked. Thank you, my work here is done."Today, I stopped by the website of the Care Through Touch Institute, and realized (not for the first time) how amazing that program is, so I'm leaving a permanent link to it at left. Another awesome program (there are hundreds, I'm sure, but I'll only mention two that I can speak from experience on) is Faithful Fools, an organization whose street retreats I've blogged about before.
Meanwhile, as one of (sadly) many led in some way by the devil described in Barnhouse's chapter, Rev. Ralph Ovadahl of Monroe, WI, is just preaching it loud and proud according to their shared interpretation of the Bible. During a rally in support of gay civil rights at the Wisconsin State Capitol, I met him once, and had a brief and frustrating "conversation" with him. Somebody snapped a picture and put it in the paper.
To summarize my thoughts on all this, some notes from my personal journal: "Every time you talk about Christianity in that way [as if the Bible of the Word has more authority than the bible of the heart], speaking in inflammatory terms [as if the inflammatory elements of the Bible are the blue chips among your religious practice], you're doing Jesus an injustice that [upsets me quite a bit]! It infuriates me. God it?! According to my theology, Jesus burned (and Christ burns still) for the good of humanity, and as a result of the bad of humanity. My fellow votaries and I are here for the purpose of bringing Christ back out of damnation, giving angels their voices, and setting the planet to a state of restoration resembling "apocatastasis." I aim for us to achieve this by the year 2025, the year in which I may die."
All I'm saying is... If we could just get the great mass of Christianity to depart from this (IMO) misguided morality-slinging contest, and toward participating as/with organizations with programs and policies reflecting the values shown in the life of Christ by creating connected communities which engender genuine security and well-being because we'd all know we have someone to turn to and to count on. If Christianity becomes that, maybe it would be worth salvaging. Somebody please tell me that's possible. Can I get an 'Amen' from a Roman Catholic representative? A Lutheran representative? A congregationalist? A UCC? A UU Christian, a Jew? A Christian Buddhist, a Mormon, a Seventh-Day Adventist, a Humanist, even? A Nirvana fan? Any others? Once Xtianity gets its business together and coherent we can present a unified message/covenant with Islam and the rest of the world. That's all I'm sayin, sis(bro*)...
*My sincerest condolences to all who have suffered in some way as a result of the man mocked by the linked site.
"Forced into a reign of faith
As will succumbs to predestined ways
Beliefs forged to achieve control
The suffering is endless"
Hollow Beliefs, by Ribspreader, from "Bolted to the Cross" (2004)
"Another blasted customs post,
Another bloody foreign coast,
Another set of scars to boast,
We are the Road Crew"
(We Are) the Road Crew, by Motorhead, from "Ace of Spades" (1980)
BTW, is there a "proper" bibliographical form, for when one wants to quote song lyrics as a source in a theological paper or blog? I guess there is now, though I suppose one could append the name of the "record" label, if there is one....
colors: still gray with rainbows....
chant/prayer/mantra: okay, okay, okay, okay, okay,....
Friday, July 20, 2007
Instructions for Using the Meat Puppets' Enhanced CD "Monsters"
Welcome to the Meat Puppets Enhanced CD (ECD)
Having Problems Playing the ECD? Need Information?
First, let's make sure you have all of the right gear:
12MB of ram (you"ll need more for the direct weblinks to work properly)
QuickTime version 2.5 - (See included installer)
4x CD-ROM reader
Color monitor set to 256 colors (minimum) or thousands of colors (recommended) and 640 x 480 resolution
Microsoft Windows 95
16Mb of ram(you'll need more for the direct weblinks to work properly)
QuickTime version 2.1.2 - (Click the Install QuickTime button)
4x CD-ROM reader
Graphics card that can display 256 colors (minimum) or thousands of colors (recommended)
Let's start with the installation instructions.
If you are having any problems, start here, read this, print it out if possible, and then try re-installing the program.
I'm not sure exactly what my point is, other than that as time goes by, things like this when dug up, will bring forth a feeling akin to that of reading the instructions for how to play those little cardboard record albums that used to come attached to cereal boxes, where you had to cut it out with a scissors and then find something to weigh it down so the friction from the mass of the needle/cartridge on the turntable didn't cause the lightweight plastic/cardboard disc to break free from the disc it rested on. For those born after the late-seventies, that already probably sounds a bit anachronistic, doesn't it?
Instructions might make perfect sense when they're written, but later, they either seem confusing and difficult, or like an obvious kludge that could've been done more elegantly. OK, how can we apply that to religion?
lyrics: "You angel, you." - Bob D
colors: beige, i've been organizing my computer stuff lately. blech.
mood: surprisingly okay, considering my dislike for plowing through files, hardware, CD-ROMS and such.
Friday, July 13, 2007
No Internet access at home for at least another week
- The power went out in our neighborhood last Friday evening, and when it came back up our DSL router was fried, or more likely, the AC adapter.
- I took the adapter to Best Buy store #499 to get a replacement, because they have an exclusive account so they're the only brick and mortar that sells the router-modem that AT&T/SBCYahoo supports.
- They don't have the adapters in stock, but I could spend $90 to buy a whole new 2Wire gateway. I said that was very crappy support and asked if I was going to need to pitch a fit. The guy I was talking to said "I wouldn't do that if I were you. I'm the manager of this department and we had a guy pitch a fit just a couple days ago, so I called security and had him escorted out." And he said that maybe I could find a suitable adapter in the Home Electronics department, which had an even further annoying tinge since they didn't, and wouldn't. Prick.
- So my support options for my broken product (which was behind a surge protector, even) are to do nothing and have no Internet access, to spend $90 on a brand new router even though the old one is probably still just fine with a new $10 AC adapter, or to be escorted out the door by armed guards.
- I went and used their restrooms, then played the demo of Guitar Hero on their Playstation2 for a while to cool down. John the Fisherman, by Primus. I got a "You Rock!" score.
- I left the store, and called my sweetie. We decided that what we had on our hands there is an abusive relationship between a corporation (AT&TYahooSBC and BestBuy) and us, their clients, where their solution is to ask for more money without giving any support.
- My sweetie did a google search for Oakland DSL ISPs and we came up with Speakeasy, which is less of a monolithic corporation than AT&T or Comcast, the two main ISPs. I put in the order a week ago, and it's going to be July 24th until everything is up and running.
- And the worst part of it all is that now that we're rolling along on the setup process, I found out that Best Buy (the place where I received threatening verbal abuse as a form of product support) has recently purchased Speakeasy. So we accidentally jumped from one frying pan into a remarkably similar frying pan.
lyrics: "I'm here for the kids." The Frogs, Gather Round for Savior #2.
colors: brown brown brown
mood: tired of being online.
ghufranaka rabanna wa elayka l massir
allah huma aoudo beekah min al khobti
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
"...Our entire system of justice relies on telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable," Bush said.
Is he being self-referential in that quote? Actually, it doesn't matter, who he's talking about. In no way shape or form can he actually mean that. This gets strikingly similar to the age-old paradox, "next statement true. last statement false."
I was thinking the other day while walking around with my sweetie in Bethesda, MD that perhaps the biggest problem with our American culture is that the 8th commandment is so thoroughly trounced on as to be irrelevant. (Commandment 8, for those who've forgotten, is "Thou shalt not bear false witness." We can talk about the others some other day.)
We expect our government to lie to us, especially during wartime. Consequently, the current administration couldn't wait to get us into a war situation, with George Bush even calling himself a "war president," which could be interpreted as "a president who works best when deceit and mistrust is the standard operating procedure."
We expect that corporations are lying to us in commercials about the effectiveness of their products to satisfy our needs, or to otherwise make us happy.
However, we expect individuals to tell the truth, EXCEPT when they're working in the capacity of some larger organization's agenda. Isn't that interesting?
lyrics: "Come on and take a free ride."
Edgar Winter Group
If you are a friend of mine, chances are good you will heed my recommendation to buy, beg, borrow or steal (thou shalt not, actually) a copy of Chuck Klosterman's book "Killing Yourself to Live." Its that good.
colors: grey with red, white, and blue
chant/prayer/mantra: love, and repeat.