Oct 02

Federal

Here’s something most people don’t seem to know: Federal taxes don’t fund federal spending.

Here’s what happens to the money that you send to the IRS: It goes ka-poof! Essentially destroyed. If you were sending in physical cash, they’d throw it into an incinerator.

Yeah, this blows people’s minds and seems just wrong at first glance, but a sovereign currency couldn’t really work any other way.

More details here.

Oct 02

Team player

Near ‘Collapse,’ Minnesota to Raise Obamacare Rates by Half.

But, but but…Kevin Drum and Amanda Marcotte said this was lies, all lies, by those evil Obama-haters! How could this be?

Anyone who thought the ACA was anything but a giveaway to insurance companies with some completely accidental and incidental benefits to the average person was just wrong and delusional.

The question is did Obama know that he was being conned or is this outcome what he intended? Either way, hard to say it looks good for him or for the ACA. Either he was a rube or an extortionist.

I’m not a team player because that means you have to believe BS too often. That the ACA is groundbreaking legislation is the BS all Good Liberals must now believe.

Oct 02

Broke

The Series That Broke Your Hearts Out of Nowhere.

The death of Shannon Rutherford on Lost. Starts the series as a clueless, terrible person. Someone I’d want to be nowhere near, that I’d spend every effort to stay far away from.shan

She’s defined herself — and others have defined her — by her situation and physical attractiveness. Both matter a lot less in her new circumstances so she’s forced to change, to more truly become herself. To be better. Shannon caused me to think again about how much our milieu defines us and how everyone gets inaccurately pigeonholed by life, by how we look, by how we speak and then we come to live those roles even against our will. (And many people get really, really angry when we attempt to change.)

Inertia keeps us where we are, and it takes a seismic shift (being stranded on a weird funky-ass dangerous island, joining the army) for us to alter ourselves.

I thought to myself, “There’s no way a show like this is going to kill off the pretty blonde girl once she makes it past the first episode. That just doesn’t happen on mainstream American TV shows.”

Well, wrong.

dead

And just as she was becoming someone worth knowing, worth being. Great character because many Lost fans to this day hate her because of her “uselessness” despite the fact that she had a better character journey than almost anyone else on the show. She is what defines a compelling character: conflict, pathos, change, redemption, reflection. For these reasons and because Maggie Grace did an excellent job of portraying her, she’s one of my favorite TV characters of all time.

It reminded me in metaphorical terms that when we try to change, often the universe itself (in the form of other people for most of us) tries to keep pushing our heads back into the muck.

Oct 02

The surface

I realized very young that most people only barely examined the surface of things. I also realized I was just not that way early, too.

It’s mystifying to me for instance when someone can watch a film like Ex Machina and conclude that it’s just the same — with the same themes and conclusions — as other films with sexy, sexy robots. I literally sneer at those people unconsciously because I wonder how so much brain damage can occur in such a small space.

The film of course is completely a repudiation of all of those ideas, all of those cultural touchstones, and all of the contemptible patriarchy that causes such thoughtless art to be made.

Along with this of course is that most people (even very smart ones like Casey Johnston) are only dimly aware of history, of cultural moments and touchstones prior to 20 years ago or so (strangely, often including things that occurred in their own lifetimes? How does this happen?!), and have a complete blindness to their own assumptions.

Most people I think are constantly assuring themselves that they are right whereas I am constantly asking myself, “What if I were wrong? How would that look?” My opinions are strong but weakly held. With new evidence, my opinions change fluidly. Anything else would be intellectually dishonest.

Back to Ex Machina. It’s a good litmus test, I think. If your opinion of the movie is that it’s about how Caleb was so callously wronged or that it was about how Ava was portrayed thoughtlessly as a sexbot, you probably aren’t the kind of person I want to engage with because you have nothing to teach me. I’ve already been stupid and I don’t need to go back there again.

Oct 02

Pop Up

About a million adults assured me that by the time I was 30, I’d listen religiously to the same music I did when I was 16, would not ever try anything new, would never step outside of my comfort zone — just like them.

I knew they were fucking idiots even when I was 13, but now I’ve proven it with my life.

Sitting here listening to “Sweet Talk” by Kito and Reija Lee.

I listen to more pop and new music now than I did when I was 15. And I’ve done all the things nearly all those morons assured me that I could not do — at least those that I wanted to or cared about.

I’ve had an epic life. Just epic, and met a great partner because of it. Thank heaven I did not listen to any of those depressing doofuses. Thank heaven for this uncommon obstinate stubbornness I just seem to have been born with.

To all those North Florida dipshits and bullies and naysayers, fuck all of you. Every last one of you. You were shitting on me, but it turned out to be fertilizer. Joke’s on you now and forevermore, assholes.

Oct 01

Holtzy

By the way, I’ve been trying to figure out all the stuff that Holtzmann wears during Ghostbusters.

Those great glasses she wears? They are antique CESCO 24 safety goggles from the 1920s or so. Lenses didn’t come in yellow, apparently, so those are additions. But how cool is that? Not just hipster shit but real safety goggles. (So in the GB world she’s probably replaced them with her own yellow-tinted prescription lenses.)

holtz

cesco

Next up? Those driving gloves she’s wearing. I think she’s the only character I’d ever consider cosplaying, though that’d make many people angry I’m guessing.

Oct 01

Practice

Practice matters, but it’s not enough.

I’m a good shot. I’ve always been a good shot. When I started shooting, I was already a good shot. I could hit things even then that other people couldn’t hit. I got better with time and practice, but I was obviously good right away.

For instance, I was better than my father within a week of starting shooting even though I was seven and he’d been shooting for 25 years. I suspect my natural talent ceiling was very high, perhaps world class, if I’d pursued it as a vocation.

But math is the antipode. I started out poor and got worse with time. In high school, I studied far more than most of my schoolmates and performed far worse. There is no amount of practice that will make me excel or even be good at this field.

That’s just life.

When I brought this issue up with Hambrick, he noted that, in his introductory psychology course, some of the students who study very little do better than the ones who study a lot.

I could probably walk in and take the final exam of that class and score in the top one percent. Why? I remember things well. Has nothing to do with practice. Just another genetic gift I suspect. (My mom had true eidetic memory; I just have really good memory.)

It’s not fair that genes determine so much. But it seems to be the case. Welcome to an indifferent universe.

Oct 01

ExEx

Ex Machina is the only film about which I’d be tempted to write a book-length scene-by-scence deconstruction and historical contextualizing of.

Oct 01

SW

Bracelets you don’t want to wear.

I like “Soggy Waffle” and “One Cunt Wolf Pack.” Sounds like the bands that opened for Gwar when I saw them back in ’93.

These occur because the vendors don’t speak English very well and people who do speak the language order these as a prank and never pay for them or pick them up.

That’s just her collection of prankster orders.

Sep 30

Pist

Power matters. Attractiveness matters. Here’s one way to know how much: the stereotype is of the creepy nerd loser skulking in elevators, waiting to accost, assault and rape women.

The reality: most non-familial sexual assaults and rapes (outside of prison) are perpetrated by those with power, “attractive” men in fraternities, on the football team, on the basketball team or part of jock or jock-dependent subculture.

Creepiness and unattractiveness are synonymous to most. I call this Marcottism after its primary exponent, Amanda Marcotte.