Sunday, April 30, 2006

Texas crude

A county in Texas (of all places) has initiated a boycott of Exxon Mobil until "until gas is down to $1.30 a gallon". 72% of the residents of this rural county have said that they will support the boycott. On the plus side, obesity in the county should drop considerably as all that walking should burn off the burritos. On the other hand, wandering around for 40 years on foot will not bring them to the land of milk and less money for gas. While the oil companies are no doubt reaping windfall profits, they aren't the only drivers (no pun intended) of the market.

The flap with Iran over whether or not they can break the same non-proliferation treaty the US and the rest of the nuclear club has -- even though they never signed -- is one biggie. So is increasing demand from China and India. Then there's instability in Argentina and Nigeria. And, the Iraq war isn't helping any either. And there's market speculation to boot -- but hey, that's Capitalism, good, glorious, all-American Capitalism, at its best.

So, unless the boycott will resolve all those issues, these folks will be wandering the Texas brush following cloudy reasoning for generations -- or until their feet start hurting.

The Death of English, Pt I

Let's face it, English is a dying language, especially in the States where it suffers the slings and arrows of prose that is both tortured and tortuous. In an effort to sound oh-so-important, too many writers make verbs of nouns (I will partner with him...), adopt words and phrases that mean nothing, but "sound good" ("crosswalk", "airlift", "stand up", "ready-mode posture"), and take glee in writing in the style of this paragraph from The Oregon Health And Science University which I recently came across:

"Third generation strategy maps have been designed to overcome the limitations that have made balanced scorecards notoriously difficult to implement...The strategy map begins with a strategic goal, is followed immediately with a strategic value proposition and ends with a cause and effect systems diagram that outlines what needs to be done to achieve results."

I'm none to sure what that means, but to prove that meaning is irrelevant to writing such glittering gibberish, I have crafted the following from a pre-modern data source and applied the paradigm of post-modernistic information dissemination:

Upon the incipience of the temporal dimension a deific potency incepted the differentiation between the celestial and terrestrial planes.

However, the terrestrial plane was a vacuous paradigm devoid of structural expanse as a state of nonluminosity was superimposed upon the veneer of the chasmic substrate. Thus the non-corporeal synergy of the deific potency kineticized itself over the obverse plane of the accretion of hydrogen dioxide-based molecular cumuli.

The deific potency then undertook the initiation of a verbalized communicative strategy and noted that a systematic arrangement of luminosity needed to attain successful implementation.

Upon visual inspection of this systemic arrangement the deific potency percepted that it was of beneficence and implemented bifurcative dissimilation of luminosity and non-luminosity.

Thus the deific potency designated the luminosity to be a diurnal half-epoch of a durational length approximating a 12:1 structured schedule and the non-luminosity to be a nocturnal half-epoch of similar durational structure. The two half-epochal periods were agglomerated into the initial comprehensive epoch representing the successful fulfillment of both half-epochs.

Uggh. As Aeschylus once said, "A great ox stands on my tongue."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Is the Illusion of Reality the Reality of Illusions?

New-Agers, philosophers, Buddhists, New Age Philosophers (oxymoron?) and others desiring to lend an air of profundity to their musing are keen to note that Reality is an Illusion. In other words, what we perceive as reality is not really reality but is really just our perception of what reality really is, if, of course anything is (really). Of course, this is what I think “they” mean, but that just might be my perception. Hell, “they” might not even exist, they may just be figments of my faulty perception assuming that my doors of perception have yet to be cleansed…assuming I have such doors (they too may be an illusion), and assuming that I really exist. For all “I” know, cogito ergo sum may be better rendered as cogito cogitem ergo cogitavi cogito sim. Maybe.

In any case, I think the whole Reality is an Illusion bit is nonsense. But then, maybe that’s just my perception. But if reality is indeed an illusion, then how do I know that I “perceive” anything, I might just be making the whole damned thing up. In fact, I might not even be writing this, and you may not be reading it. Assuming you exist. Maybe you are yet another construct of my mind (assuming a “mind” is an extant entity – of course if it isn’t, then wasting one, especially if you never had one is no biggie). So if you really are a construct of my nonexistent, unperceived mind, the question becomes, why am I writing this at all? I don’t really expect a real answer because answers are just illusions too. Probably.

May the pieces of past understanding be swept away by the comfort of an illusion, OM Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi, OM.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What, pray tell, is a "skeptical point-of-view"?

On one of the projects in which I am engaged, I was "accused" by another project member of having a "skeptical point-of-view" (which means that my refusal to accept his age-old spiritual point-of-view is simply incompreshensible in his version of reality).

Of course, this appellation with which he labelled me leads one to the pose the following:

What is this "skeptical point-of-view" other than an oxymoronic neologism, a paradox, a contradiction in terms?

After all, "skeptical" comes from the Greek word ςκεπτικος (''skepticos''), which means "thoughtful, inquiring" -- the antithesis of a point-of-view.

Obviously, to many in these benighted times, this process of thinking, of inquiring, of refusing to accept things on blind, mindless faith alone is not merely anathema, but also ''bad''. This view, to me, would be the absurdist view, a viewpoint driven by fear of knowledge -- for knowledge, driven by thought and inquiry and inspection and the gathering of data, unfettered by the constraints of mythology, destroys mystery and is thus "uncomfortable" to those who revel in the warm, menticidal embrace of such mystery.

If this then is the "skeptical point-of-view" -- the desire to know things rationally -- I consider the other project member's intended insult actually to be quite the compliment.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Razing Grace

The other day, an older handicapped gentleman shuffled by cane-assisted, his legs barely moving, his breathing laboured, and after he had passed by, the usual “there but for the Grace of God go I”, hosannas and amens were unleashed into the crispness of the morn. Such a common thought, so respectful, so thankful, so humble. Or is it?

I mean, let’s think about this, “there but for the Grace of God go I”. Thus, “that would be me, were it not for the fact that God has blessed me; I am special, God loves me, and my God is benevolent.”

OK, the respect is born of fear, the humility nonexistent, and while the sentiment might be thankful, it is so more in a gloating way than anything else.

By extension then, the old, shuffling, wheezing guy is not on God’s good list, has not been blessed, but has been cursed in fact. Ah, what else could it be, what else could one conclude, in the Manichaean world of religious platitudes?

Interesting concepts, those of benevolence and grace. Amazing.

Iran is not Iraq

Every day it appears clearer that Iran is on the verge of developing or acquiring nuclear weapons, the fourth regional non-hyperpuissance to do so (after Israel, Pakistan and India, all of whom just happen to be US allies of the moment).

Thus, the Bushites are planning to attack the Iranians, "to convince them this is more and more serious." Of course, missed by the Bushites is that the issue became "more and more serious" because while Tehran yearned and learned, Dubya fiddled, hoping to gain imperial glory by invading a fourth-rate country with a fifth-rate military, accomplishing a mission that seems to have been the fulfilling of a vendetta against a single man, and plunging a poor but relatively stable country into a bloody civil war.

Well, let them plan. I hope though, that for the sake of our service persons they plan far better than they did for Iraq, as unlike that fifth-rate military power, the Iranians have a very real and very capable military. And, as bogged down as the US is in Iraq, a decision by the Iranians to retaliate and widen such a conflict into a full-scale war does note bode well for the US. (Neither does possible Iranian economic retaliation -- the turning off of the oil spigots).

Ah, but, why be a bringer of doom and gloom, I should look on the bright side: with Bush and Cheney and Rummy and Rice in on the planning surely all will go well, and we will be treated to another aircraft carrier photo-op, Mission Accomplished II.

Oh, one other question keeps nagging at the back of my mind: "what about North Korea?"

(See: )

Friday, April 07, 2006


Welcome to my blog. I'll be back later to post thoughts on a few things, but for now, I just wanted to get the blog started.