Mar 19

Intelligence as curse and blessing

It’s True: Smart People Would Prefer You Went Away.

For me, it’s because it’s extremely difficult to talk to someone when they legitimately know much, much less than you do about nearly everything. Politesse only takes you so far — there has to be some possible connection.

What most people believe and “know” is some agglomeration of urban legends, myths, lies and half-lies they saw on CNN (or worse, Fox) and so we aren’t even standing on the same foundation. There is just nothing to talk about besides the weather and that gets old quickly (though I am not opposed to small talk).

Beyond a certain level, talking to most people is just painful for the reasons mentioned above. They are interrupting more important things I could be doing. And in my experience, about 99.5% of people fit this profile, so my lack of social desire has grown from this observation.

Mar 18


We already knew Tumblr is filled with whiny babies and their pustulant pestilence, but recently this woman’s photo was removed for being “triggering.”

Unlike 99% of fat people with their “conditions,” she does have a reason she’s a bit underweight — she just got discharged from the hospital after suffering a major illness.

Why aren’t the obese’s photos reported as “triggering” and “encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle?” Because they should be.

The woman was attempting to model a dress she was pondering buying. My verdict is that it’s a cute dress, but that Tumblr is full of ninnies and idiots.

Mar 18


People have told me that it’s impossible to day trade and consistently make money, and yet I’ve done it since I was 21 years old.

Conventional wisdom only works on the conventional.

Mar 18

The final

These space tourism posters are so great.

I don’t understand — will never understand — people who don’t support space exploration. Seems like a repudiation of a fundamental human urge for no good reason at all.

Yes, space is vast and inhospitable. We won’t by building Mars colonies any time soon. And we won’t be leaving the solar system soon. Perhaps ever*.


Just because something is difficult and doesn’t have obvious immediate rewards is the reason to do it.

The mindset of pulling back into our little shell and not seeing what’s out there over that vast horizon is the neoliberal outlook of only the next quarter mattering, the deification of immediate and tangible profit over any normal human desire.

People argue that it’s not economically viable. Even if that were true (which it isn’t), these same people will and did argue that it was inevitable that we parceled out billions and trillions of dollars to insurance companies, banksters (TARP), and either condoned or ignored outright financial calamaties like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Hell, we could have had a dozen Mars colonies for the amount of money we’ve frittered away on those frauds and debacles alone.

*Though most people have a real problem conceptualizing deep time. A 787 hopping halfway across the world in 10 hours would seem utterly incomprehensibly magical to a human from 200,000 years ago. What can we do in another million if we survive that long? Who says we will even have physical bodies or finite life spans then? Etc.

Mar 17


It’s wise for Sanders to stay in the race.

If Clinton is indicted, which is certainly possible, he’ll then be the nominee. He is smart enough to know this.

Mar 16

Desc and Diss

Describing something as a social construct and then dismissing that as meaningless is fucking stupid.

Nearly everything that humans care about, everything that defines their lives, is a social construct.

Gender, money, art, happiness and the pursuit thereof, love, success — every damn last one a social construct.

Social constructs are the analogues of physical laws, but applied to the human phrenic space. These constructs can be bent a little and shaped from nascence to near adolescence, but once established in most people they are as strong as carbon steel.

Inspired by this post, which I was thinking about again today.

Mar 16


Hypocrite liberals, critical of the drug war but perfectly ok with taking away much-needed opioids from chronic pain patients in the name of morality.

Over-prescribed? Maybe. But I’d rather err on that side than consigning millions of people to debilitating pain and thus condemning them to an existence bounded by constant agony.

As with abortion and reproductive rights, your morality and sanctimony should stop at someone else’s body.

Mar 16


Increasingly likely that Trump will be president.

Think he’s pretty much a shoo-in if it ends up being Trump vs. Clinton. No one is passionate about Clinton, not even her supporters — and millions of misogynistic freaks will turn out just to vote against her.

It’s going to be an interesting few years.

Let’s hope the Repubs pull some convention shenanigans and shoot themselves in the face.

Mar 15


Let’s talk about Carol some more.220px-CarolPeletier

She doesn’t like the person she’s become. She’s a killer — who has only killed to protect herself and her friends. But a killer nonetheless and now she’s having to grapple in the new calm — a reprieve from constant combat — with the realization that she’s finally found something outside the realm of enforced domesticity that she’s good at, and it turns out to be that her new expertise is as a ruthless incredibly effective death-dealer. A person who scares people. Unwittingly, with the best of intentions, but scares them nonetheless.

She sits alone on her bed and makes a list in her notebook of all the human beings she’s ended. And it’s 18 people, as far as she can remember. It could be more. She lost count.

She doesn’t like who she’s become even if it turns out that she likes the thrill of combat, craves the electricity it sparks across the skein of the world, lighting dark corners that should not be lit, never be lit.

Later when she’s captured and on the floor crying, her captors think she’s afraid. And in a way she is — but not of them. She’s afraid that she’s going to have to slaughter them all and she doesn’t want to. No, that’s not quite right. She wants to not want to. In her captor, the woman who is so hard, so jaded, that she’d murder another pregnant woman without a second thought, she sees herself or perhaps a future self if she continues walking her current path.

And Carol always gets the best lines. When her captor asks Carol, still under the illusion that she’s afraid of them, “Are you going to kill me, little bird?” Carol answers, “I hope not.” carol2

The wish is sincere, but Carol knows what she will have to do to escape and how it will play out. The people who captured her though dangerous are rank amateurs compared to her. And Melissa McBride being a great actor delivers the line perfectly, with the edge of threat admixed with the air of truth. The line steals the air from the room. That’s when her captors begin to get an inkling that they’ve not captured some affrighted little nestling but pure monstrous chaos dressed up like a timid housewife.

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Alicia Witt as Paula (Carol’s captor) in this episode is also just a wonder. She packs so much pathos and darkness into 42 minutes that it’s hard to believe. Just a command performance from Witt. Unbelievably well-done.

Carol is experiencing PTSD. She has a panic attack while being held, further leading her captors to believe she’s weak. But she’s panicking because she knows that she can and will kill them all. She was out of combat for long enough that a normal life seemed possible. She met a guy she liked. A guy who is a little afraid of her, but who likes her, too.

And then attempting to protect someone she’s thrown back into it again.

The situation forces her hand, but oh how her hand wants to reach for that gun, that knife, to strike that death blow, to pull the trigger over and over until everything in sight that was moving is forever stilled.

Carol has found her talent, or it has found her, but it turns out that like a lot of feelings and situations that just show up in life unbidden, it is antithetical to who we thought we were and who we want to be.

alicia-wittThere is, she knows, no way this ends well. She cannot go back to who she was. That person is long dead. But she cannot continue to be who she is. That is not a way to live, not even a way to survive but rather one where she is just the same as the walking dead — some very much corporeal ghosts she herself has created — all around her.

At the meta level, I am glad the writers of the show built up the mythos of the gunslinger and then are now tearing it apart — showing that it is a form of death worship, unsustainable if fascinating and exciting.

It was easier to pull this off with a woman character who even with our best intentions we still see as softer, gentler. And then we get Carol handing out death like a modern Abaddon. Then she has a Scrooge-like premonition of her future self in the form of Paula to further reinforce the idea that her prospects are not bright, that no one’s can be when death is all that is over the horizon. Having Carol’s captor also be a woman who is so broken by constant killing that she can’t even realize how broken she is also allows this idea the room it needs to breathe.

I could write books about this — but Carol is the most interesting, the most fully fleshed out and the most fascinating character I’ve ever seen on television. Melissa McBride should win all the awards for making her live. Carol is more real than some real people.

And The Walking Dead amazingly still continues to be the best-written, tightest and best-acted show on television by a damn far margin.

Fun notes:

  • It’s heart-wrenching when Carol stops and composes herself to impersonate the now-dead Paula on the walkie-talkie.
  • When Darryl at the end after Carol and Maggie have rescued themselves asks her, “Are you good?” and she says, “No.” Notice that it was not, “Are you ok?” It fit perfectly with something Darryl would say and has said, but also had a much larger meaning. So well done.
  • The last men Carol kills, she kills on the “kill floor” of a former slaughterhouse, which is where Carol and Maggie were being held. She literally had the enemy meet her on the “kill floor” by impersonating Paula. Dang.
Mar 15


BTW, I do not support Bernie Sanders because though I like his ideas, I think he would get utterly steamrolled by special interests and entrenched powerful entities behind the levers of government. For that reason I think he’d be even less effective than the utterly milquetoast Obama — thus a complete dud and waste of office space.

He’s the junior senator from Vermont and while that is not nothing, I don’t believe he has a good grasp on what it takes to run a country as large and diverse as the US.

That said, he’d be better than HRC because it’s extremely unlikely he’d entangle us in any foreign wars. She probably will, and also will be a complete shill for Goldman Sachs et al.

There are no good candidates in the race who have any chance of winning.