Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Horror, The Horror

Apparently The Exorcist has been voted the scariest movie of all time. Of course, such surveys are always to be taken with a grain of salt, but I just don't get this one. Or maybe I do. Maybe it is some sort of religious thing, where the pious really believe there is such a thing as "the devil" so they find the movie so scary because it is so "plausible."

I guess I just don't see it. I see the movie and, while I can appreciate it as a movie, I find it rather sad to see all the people who believe it is "real."

That said, I rather enjoy good horror movies. They really can't scare me anymore, but I still enjoy them as cinematic experiences. And apparently my two-year old likes them too. Now before you start calling social services, it is not like I'm making her watch slasher films. But 'Alien' and its sequels have been on cable at home and I've caught some of each and while my daughter pretty much ignores most programs I like to watch (she just plays) she will stop and watch the Alien movies with intense attention. I think she's going to be a horror fan. (Her mother can't watch horror movies - she gets scared - she said her mother would never let her watch them and would cover her eyes for any scary parts of movies she did watch - now she can't watch them). I think that is rather silly. They are just movies. My daughter is two and she seems to get that more than my wife. Now one movie I would NOT want my daughter to see is the end of Fast Food Nation - she ended up seeing part of that when it was on cable and I had no idea that it ended with showing cows being slaughtered. This was bad because my daughter LOVES cows, for whatever reason. My wife was sitting next to her and heard her say "uh oh, uh oh, cows, poor cows, uh oh" with increasing alarm before my wife noticed what it was and turned it off.

We do try to watch what we watch when our daughter is watching. I don't want her watching stuff age-inappropriate. It will be interesting to deal with the fact that we have like 200 cable channels when our daughter is older and figures out how to watch TV on her own. Right now she just likes watching her DVDs and Disney Channel. (And I try to limit how much TV she watches - my wife tends to like to just turn it on to make her happy - another reason I'm glad my daughter goes to day care where there is no TV).

Oh, and kudos to anyone who identifies what movie has the line that matches the subject for this post. (And even more Kudos if you can identify the book).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Taxes are Bass-Ackwards

At least when it comes to income taxes. We are a system supposedly of federalism, with at least a tacit recognition that local government is supreme in the sense that you have more control over local officials (and they are thus more responsive to you) because you live in the same community and also your vote counts far more for local elections than statewide or national ones.

Why is it, then, that when it comes to taxes, those officials with the least ties, the Federal, get most of the taxes?

Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't the 10% to 35% or whatever brackets of income tax be the taxes paid to your local township and the 0.5% or 1% be that paid to the federal government (with the state still in between there with maybe a 4% income tax, if any)? That would be a much better system, IMHO - then you would have much more control over how your tax dollars were spent. Then those stupid federal mandates for local governments would actually make a bit more sense (though I still think they are stupid).

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could be the one vote out of a few hundred or a few thousand that decides the fate of elected officials that spend your money instead of being one face in millions that is usually totally ignored?

Why should we send most of our money to some far off government and only a tiny amount to our local communities? That is just backwards to me. (Of course, there are property taxes, but that is a different discussion).

I'd like a constitutional amendment limiting federal income tax to, say, at most 25% of state income tax and limiting state income tax to, at most, 10% of city income tax. You don't need a limit on the city income tax because if that gets too high those city officials will be out on their asses come the next election. And you will know where they live (and it may even be next door to you).

Accountability would be so much higher. And we would get de-facto federalism back.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Promise

I haven't posted much recently. Mostly it is a time issue. And an energy issue. I do actually have a few things to say. So now I'm promising (myself mostly) that I will post on these over the next few days.

I want to post about atheism versus agnosticism. I want to post about a new logo for atheism. I want to post about something insane I've noticed about our tax system that I think is upside down (and I don't remember ever seeing mentioned before). I want to post about STDs and fearmongering moralizing. I want to post about misandry. And other things as well. Maybe I'll get through all of the above.

So I promise this, for the like, three people who read this regularly. I'm not quite dead yet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sex Post

There, that got your attention, didn't it? And no, this is not false advertising, because I am linking to an article that links sex differences to stone age sexual behavior.

Interesting food for thought. I wonder if this means that if monogomy ever becomes the norm if men and women will equalize in size (and lifespan) over time. Personally, I think I'd rather live longer. Note that what the article says also accounts for higher levels of male violence (against mostly males, but obviously, females can be victims too).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Atheism Posts...

Here's a few posts about angry atheists (that are a good read). Along with another about atheist janitors.

I would have my own comments if I had any time at all. Maybe later...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Swearing at $#&*^#$&*%^# Work

Here's an interesting article about how swearing at work is a teambuilding activity. I have to say, I think I've seen that in action, particularly on a really nasty IT project I did once where we were all herded like cattle into a room to work, a training room with no dividers. It was set up to have a computer class of about a dozen people. So we had 20 people in there. Such close proximity on such a nasty project led me to hear a lot of swearing from various people as they worked through the latest frustrations on the project. It did really bring us all together. We could feel everyone "share our pain" with each lovely four letter word uttered. Though I don't think I swore out loud much myself, I enjoyed hearing others swear where it was context appropriate. Freakin-A!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Interesting Article

Well, at least I found this article interesting. I found it reading the comments to this article bashing MRAs, which I found through this link at Thinking Girl's site. I have to say first that I agree with Kyassett - it looks like it devolved pretty quickly over there to bashing on BOTH sides rather than actual discussion, but then the article rather invited bashing. It is unsurprising. I often think that a lot of the put downs I see in things online are just about bullying someone to make the bully feel good about herself or himself. That article I'm sure made the author feel really good and superior. I'm sure plenty of others who read it also feel the same.

What caught my eye (and why I linked to it) in the article in question was mention of a book by Cathy Young where

She argues that Wolf’s “power feminism” can become exploitative -- women don’t always deserve more. She argues that the men’s movement according to Farrell is very close to being a male equivalent of victim feminism. She devotes an entire chapter to skewering conservative versions of feminism.

And every word builds toward her conclusion -- that we need a philosophy that’s not “pro-woman” but “pro-fairness,” and a politics that stresses not “solidarity with women” but “fairness for everyone.”

If we need a movement, she says, “it should be an equal rights movement -- not a National Organization for Women, but a National Organization for Gender Equality. . . . Such a movement would not ask, ‘Is it good for women?’ but, ‘Does it bring the sexes closer together?’”

And of course, that caught my eye because that is essentially what I said when I first posted My Views on Feminism (and subsequent posts after that). I still agree with that position, though I also don't think I'm going to be the one to convince anyone of that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Halfway There - But Still no Boy's Names

Well, we're at the halfway point in the pregnancy, more or less. About twenty weeks to go. And still, no boy's names. (Yes, most definitely a boy, as the latest ultrasound showed).

Perhaps I should get some inspiration from a blog entry from Andrew Sullivan.

Here's some boy's names...

Slab Bulkhead, Fridge Largemeats, Punt Speedchunk, Butch Deadlift, Bold Bigflank, Splint Chesthair, Flint Ironstag, Vault VanderHuge, Thick McRunfast, Blast Hardcheese, Buff Drinklots, Trunk Slamchest.

(Btw, I loved MST3K).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This also disgusts me

This is all over the blogsphere now. I won't link to everywhere that discusses it. One link is enough. It is incredible just how low the GOP media will go. It is just sad the double standard that they get away with.

We had Congress, including many Democrats, bowing down to the right-wing-controlled noise machine known as the MSM and voting to condemn a single ad in the NYT because it used a harsh word about a political figure, a general.

At the same time, Congress (and the GOP and the media) absolutely REFUSED to condemn much worse similar behavior by Rush Limbaugh. Proving that once again, the Dems don't know how to play political hardball and don't know that the game is rigged against them and that the ONLY way they can "win" at this is not to play.

And this is just worse - this is the right-wing smear machine going after a freaking 12 year old boy. It is just sick. That they would do this sickens me and proves to me that these people on the right are just horrible, rotten human beings right to the core.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This Disgusts me so much I almost lose the power of speech thinking about it

This article just gives a snippet of the whole article, and there is an even larger article about this in this month's Reason magazine that I think is a must-read (and it is too bad I did not see it online) because it is a disgrace.

This is part of the reason I loathe so many prosecutors - because of crap like this - if ANY prosecutors had an OUNCE of ethics in the whole state of Mississippi, this "doctor" would be in prison, and so would every single prosecutor who used him knowing he was full of it (and they all know it). Instead, this guy goes right on helping to convict probably many innocent people (and wrongly convicting even the guilty) and pretty much nothing changes. Sick sick sick. I am about to use a lot of four letter words, so I'll stop now.

Ok, I lied. The courts are all complicit in this - meaning the judges. They could have put a stop to him. They didn't. Not even with this latest ruling, where they should have reopened all of this guy's cases. It is all part of this bullshit thing within law enforcement that society seems to share - just trusting prosecutors and cops and everyone else on the law enforcement side of the equation simply because they have some government authority. You can see it in this where people are so shocked that a policeman could have been a perp. When the reality is, the authority of police officers attracts a lot of authoritarian dipshits to the job, and even the decent ones get forced into being dicks to cover for their "brothers in blue" up to and including testilying. Just sickening.

Yellow Ribbon Patriotism

I'm linking to this article not so much for the substance (which is depressing) but for the youTube link at the end of it that is awesome and pretty much says it all about Yellow Ribbon Patriotism - which is partly defined as those people who see patriotism in those who piss all over the Constitution, so long as those doing the pissing have an 'R' by their name and wear a flag lapel pin.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Infantilizing teens is bad?

I read an article offline about how the whole "teen angst" thing and problem with teen crime and so forth was a Western problem created by the extension of childhood past adolesence. It really struck a cord. I wonder if that really is the problem. The article's point was that it used to be that once you hit your teens, you were apprenticed and off doing adult things (and also starting a family) and so you were in the adult world, doing adult things with adult responsibilities, learning how to be an adult - and most teens did very well and rose to the occassion. And that now, teens are kept corralled in artificial places of stupidity (high school) where their peers are not adults teaching them how to be adults, but instead are other teens, and it is more like lord of the flies (combined with the fact that the teens are treated like children, with many schools having twice as many rules as most prisons or military life) (with such disgusting things as this going on).

So it got me thinking about my own children. I want them to grow up to be responsible adults. I want them to avoid the pitfalls of teendom (well, as much as possible). So perhaps one way to do this is to treat teens like adults at adolesence, in the sense of expecting them to behave as adults, having them work in a real job with adults, and getting them as much as possible out of the teen-world barbarity that is high school. Any thoughts from any experienced in the world of teen-raising?