Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome to the new machine

yO, we all know that nobody be hitt'n Atheist Meds anymore. . .

Check out Reasonable Pagan .com.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Twas the Night Before Chrismas Eve. . .

Twas the Night Before Christmas Eve,
And I'm kinda bored.

With fifty-one and a half hours to go,
before into my belly several beers get poured.


Guess I'm just not in a blogging mood.

December has seemed to race by. Yesterday, when Cin and I were cleaning up before having some family over today I found the little note I had sketched out with the title, 'Kitchen by Christmas.' I had done a little drawing of how I envisioned the kitchen might look after some renovation, and then had some bullet points about work to be done. I think the whole Idea came to me one morning as I was waiting for the coffee-maker.

Nice to find an old Idea-note and have seen it through to fruition.

In the last month and some change we have, repaired and painted all the walls (Northern Star, a nice Sherwin Williams color, a stately blueish-gray), painted the ceiling, replaced all the switchplates with groovy brushed nickel ones; puttied, caulked, primed and painted all the trim and baseboards ( with two coats of sexy oil-based white paint ) and made a few cosmetic alterations to the kitchen cabinets. That was step one. Next I divided the cabinets into four quadrants, prepping, priming, and laboriously applying two coats of that same said oil paint to each of them. Completely taking over the kitchen for a shift and then returning everything back to my 35 gallon tupperware storage bin where the materials were safe from marauding kittens.

Many nights in the last few weeks I came home a bit early from work to dive right into painting cabinets again. I can't believe I'm done and I can count the imperfections on one hand. The cabinets were old and mis-matched to begin with, if we were the kind of folks that just throw money at problems, I'm sure the entire cabinetry would have been gutted, for about $500.00 in materials and 80 - 100 hours of labor, we've come a long ways.

Hang some shelves, replace the hood fan over the stove, re-organize and clean like fiends. Feels good to be done.

Still got a window and a back door to paint ( I convinced Cin that it's too cold for the paint to cure ), and we measured for some new counter-tops this afternoon. No rest for the wicked, but I will be taking a few weeks off.

The old wrist has been acting up again, too much painting. . . Trying to lay off the typing till the carpel tunnel symptoms recede. Suppose I could mention that at my physical next month (having good health insurance is a trip), but I don't like doctors. That's a hold-over from my youthful rebellion, if I want to live my dream of staying gorgeous into my fifties I'll have to get past that.

Fifty-one hours to go before I shatter these contemptible chains of sobriety.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 60

Lo and behold, today is day 60 in my ten weeks of damned sobriety. That means I am at 85.7%, with ( in 2 hours 44 minutes ) only nine more days to go before I'm back on the sauce. That's only six work shifts, and only one more dry weekend. Yeee Haw!

To be frank, it has been a swell experience that has taught me quite a bit about myself. I'm planning on incorporating the system into my lifestyle as a fundamental part of my yearly cycle. A few ten week excursions in a 52 week year, that's got to add to the life expectancy of the liver. It is not easy, but it is not impossible either.

It messes up the destructive routines as well. Gets you to thinking about stuff. Like, some of the factors I got into about 'vangs and using Jesus as a drug in my previous post. Listening to Rhapsody 'Public Enemy' Channel - quality old school stuff by rhyme swingers who use their mikes to advance a position of intellectual understanding - this is all I think of when I think of Hip Hop. Anyways, I'm digging to The Disposal Heros of Hiphoprisy's 'T.V. . . .

On television, the drug of the nation,
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation . . .

few month back I had an interesting exchange of words with a fellow at work. He asked me what was up, and I replied, 'eh, it's after lunch, so I'm really just thinking about getting home so I can get drunk.' His response: 'good to know I'm not the only one who's feeling that way around here on a daily basis.'

Booze, cigs, television, evangelical 'worship'; ain't it all just an altered state? What percentage of our fellow sentient beings are really just craving an altered state - get through this so we can hurry up and get back to our high?

Like I say, it's got me thinking.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Highway of Holiness?

I heard just a few lines about this on the local radio's news round-up, and I had one of those, 'What the fuck?!?' moments. I found the article in a Twin Cities ezine, about how evags are embracing I-35 as a 'Highway of Holiness.' It seems like a truly harmless chuckle, but then you watch the video from Pat 'liberals petitioned Satan for 9/11' Robertson's 'news' program and it ain't so funny anymore.

More video of blank-eyed young people enthusiastically spewing nonsense about 'Jesus moving in their hearts' and 'being called to public displays of God's power.' Mobs of children and young adults of slightly below average intelligence who have been given permission to act outrageous in public. Mass hysteria with a bible in one hand. This ain't Jesus' ministry they be following; it's the Bacchae.

If only I could I'd grab one of those poor,hapless, misguided kids and smack them around a bit: "When did you people decide that Jesus was a narcotic? When did being a follower of Jesus mean jumping around and tweaking your fucking adrenal gland?!? I've read the New Testament and I don't remember too many scenes with the apostles, the guys who actually hanging around with Jesus Christ, hopping around and whooping it up on the His good shit."

"What are you doing when you confront a stranger and try to convince him/her (all too often a child) that they need to pray right fucking now to feel the power of God? Your 'spiritual experience' has been reduced to feeling good. You people have devolved your god into nothing more stimulating than a shot of liquid viagra. Your behavior is fundamentally revolting."

"You are not feeling anything even remotely fucking associated with the spiritual or the divine. What you are doing is making an ass of yourself in public, and then pretending that the shame and humiliation you feel when strangers are taken aback by your ridiculous behavior is actually Jesus taking over your body. You are being overwhelmed by something, dumbass, it's called the fight or flight response - a legacy from the not to distant past when our ancestors were both predator and prey."

"All the bullshit surrounding 'Revivals' and being 'Born Again' is just pricks who have figured out how to use social stimuli to invoke an adrenal response. You poor fucks have conditioned yourselves to believe that the all the endorphins and adrenaline surging in your bloodstream somehow proves 'God loves you.' All it really proves is that you are a product of evolution."

"Why don't you shut the fuck up and try a little experiment. Go try bungee jumping. Better yet, spend the day before searching the internet for videos of people dying during bungee jumping mishaps and then bring your mother along on the day of to constantly tell you that she don't think it's such a good Idea. If you survive, when you're in the middle of boing, boing, boing, really ask yourself if that experience is any different from the first day you were 'saved.'

"It is time to stop acting like a child. If you want to remain a follower of Jesus' teachings - and hey, for the most part they're pretty good stuff - you have to do so like an adult."

If only I could reach more of those poor kids. Damn I feel sorry for them as fellow sentient beings. I also dread the society we'll create when we normalize that sort of asinine, self-indulgent, masturbatory behavior.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prometheus Feels His Liver Consumed by Vultures

By now everybody knows, Torii Hunter has become a member of the Angels. Good for them, they now have more talent in their outfield than many teams (perhaps even our beloved Twins) have in their whole damn roster.

I'm sure many a Minnesotan passed a sneering out-of-town relative over the holiday weekend on the way to the beer fridge, repeating to him or herself the mantra of Twins Baseball. 'I shall not fear, fear is the team-spirit killer. I shall face the fear of losing our best players to ridiculously better funded organizations and let it pass through me. When it is gone only our scrappy, small market club with a big heart and a strong history of Central Division dominance will remain. . . I shall not fear . . . '

et now I read this at the Official Site of the Minnesota Twins: Twins and Yankees discuss Santana. The shock of being informed you have testicular cancer must pale in comparison to the spiritually devastating news that the Minnesota's shining star - our magnificent boon from years of solid Minnesota-Venezuela relations - may leave us.

I suppose, I've been reading that Santana after this next bidding war is anticipated to become the highest paid pitcher in baseball, so obviously that means he won't be playing for Minnesota anymore.

Damn the New York Yankees, that region's powerhouse economy and that team's superior negotiations over broadcast rights!

Ahw geez. . . I think I might need to take a sick day today. I'm too depressed to work.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Atheism as a Moral Imperative

Earlier this week I was roped into helping put up Christmas decorations. For the most part, I just hate putting up decorations in general - I'm not that kind of guy - but religious decorations celebrating the nativity really bug me. I got a bit irritated, maybe I was over caffeinated that morning; whatever. I excused myself for a few minutes, wrote down some angry notes, and then returned to participate with a level of enthusiasm that might have approximated good cheer.

My scribbled note:

It is the moral duty of every young man (and any young women who want to be more than property, but those who don't/can't aren't my concern, just as I don't feel any ethical responsibility for domesticated cows that cannot survive in the wild ) to reject religion in general and their own sect/branch in particular ahead of any other exercise in consciousness. This task must be undertaken before setting out to make one's fortune in the world, and before devoting oneself to the search for a truly meaningful romantic partnership. Failure to do so is a moral failing. One fails themselves, their society, their generation and the future . . .

Indeed, I channel the demon of hyperbole exceptionally well.

Skipping over the rough parenthetical outline of why I do not crusade for Feminism (not my job), I'd like to elaborate on this moral calling. Generation Y, Generation Next, Generation Me - whatever someone wants to call these young kids - they have a unique set of opportunities that sets them apart from any of the groups of young men who have come before them. There is also a unique responsibility, and Atheism is one name for that responsibility.

I'd like to make some grandiose statements here about societies and 'moments in time when young people had to make a choice.' That same demon of hyperbole wants we to weave evocative statements about abolitionists and slave owners, those who wanted to appease fascism and those who wanted to fight it; statements about critical mass and when it was necessary to demand 'no taxation without representation.' I can't do that with Atheism.

Atheism is just obvious.

It is simply a choice between maturity and retardation. In order to be true to anything, one must first be true to themselves. Every young man has to learn to stand up for himself, and in our current time Atheism is how you stand up for your own ability to think.

Let me be clear, this imperative rests upon your shoulders, not that of your parents or grandparents. They grew up in a different world. Even when your parents graduated from high school the exchange of Ideas was nothing like it is today. There was no internet, even ocean of books and periodicals has much less circulation and depth. Sure some pursued an education and the knowledge that naturally leads to Atheism, but to not do so is a different species of failure from the one that lurks over you.

There is a direct correlation between the number of hours of leisure time per day that your generation enjoys and the expectations of learning that are thrust upon you. With the internet you can access works of academia and the diaries of total strangers with equal ease. . .

I accuse anyone who grew to adulthood in the age of the internet and has not embraced Atheism of being a failure. A moral failure and someone who will be a dupe and a tool every day they exist upon this planet.

Just as the young person who witnesses violence in the home, or whose unemployed father drinks and smokes the family into poverty may be unfortunately predestined to be a economic or relationship failure, someone whose parents' utilize the same tactics of brainwashing Chairman Mao used might never escape spiritual failure. Since our society seems to have ceased trying to show empathy for the former, I'm done going out on a limb to the latter.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

UFC 78: Support the Draw

I'm mainly classifying this as moderate, cuz the UFC is filled with individuals who cuss with style. Even the President, Dana White, can often be overheard telling guys that they fought, 'a fucking great fight.' Clearly, the men who fight in the octagon are not using these words because they want to look tough.

My feelings on '78 were mixed. I was impressed by the caliber of fighters, but irritated by the crowd, some of the commentary, and the judgments.

Negatives first. Perhaps it is just the once notorious environment of 'Minnesota Nice' which I hail from, but I have certain expectation of my fellow human beings even when they are gathered into a huge arena to watch bloodsport. Similar to the revulsion I feel when some dumbass throws the visiting team's homerun ball back onto the field - cuz that's gonna show 'em - some of the crowd's antics at '78 were just fucking childish.

In particular, when Evans and Bisping were going at it, and the crowd started to chant 'USA!, USA!' What the fuck? That just ruined all the energy for me. Did we just win World War II? Did I accidentally flip channels to a Rockey sequel where Sly Stallone is making a comeback against a cartoonish Russian superman? Who let the spoiled college republican crowd in, to get fucking stupid drunk and shout meaningless slogans?

I'd say that the majority of the booing resulted in a crowd that simply did not have the sophistication to understand what was going on in the ring. Part of that lies in the fact, as I see it, that UFC is a pay-per-view sport over a live spectator event. Boxing is boxing cuz they have purposefully simplified it so that even some drunk fucker one hundred feet away can more or less grasp who's winning, who's losing. (More on this vein another time.) Even someone with a wrestling/jujitsu background can't make out too much of what's going on from the twelfth row. Submissions are the highlight of unarmed combat. A crowd that lacks the savvy to appreciate all the aspects of MMA should stick to boxing. Personally, I'm a big believer in the notion that the ignorant should shut the fuck up most of the time.

That brings us to Joe Rogan's commentary. I've learned a shitload about the modern ground game from listening to Joe. He's got good insight and has been making an effort for years to educate the audience on the science of having a solid guard. Even someone like myself with a judo background was well served my his commentary (grappling without a judogi to grab is a different sport, and even the techniques that remain the same are known to UFC fans by terms other than the Japanese I learned.)

I thought Joe Rogan was a bit off in his commentary on the Karo Parisyan v. Ryo Chonan fight. He seemed so eager to display his understanding of the upper body lock-ups Parisyan would use to set up a major outside or inside hip throw ( ko uchi gari) that I thought he missed the point. Ryo Chonan is Japanese and has obviously encountered the sort of 'gentle way' techniques in the past, as well as specifically trained to meet Parisyan's challenge. In my opinion Parisyan used a bit of the rope-a-dope strategy, allowing Chonan to devote a fair amount of his mental game to preventing a judo throw while he instead came at him with some 'back to basics' straightforward wrestling take-downs. I'd argue that a solid wrestling take-down defense and a strong defense against judo throws might even be mutually exclusive. Karo Parisyan will remain a fighter I'll always shell out the ching to watch mix up these forms.

Also, I would greatly prefer throws like we saw towards the end of that fight referred to as 'leg sweeps' than 'trips.' 'Trip' just sounds kinda vulgar. The key to that sort of throw is perfect timing. You sweep his foot out at the exactly a nanosecond before he shifts the majority of his weight to that leg. Too early, he just keeps his weight shifted on his other leg. Too late, and no amount of hacking at that leg will pry it loose. Whatever.

My final opinion here will combine my dislike of the scoring with my respect for the fighters. The various training schools successful programs, combined with the level of competition we're seeing (and I suppose, with Xyience nutritional suppliments) has resulted in a cadre of top tier fighters who are the all-around real deal.

Not just competent, but exceptional in all areas of MMA - aside from Houston Alexander's apparent gaps on the ground. Gone are the good 'ole days of a flashy kickboxer thrown into a ring with a college wrestler whose been in a bar room brawl or two. This ain't some '80s movie of one marital art style versus another anymore; those lopsided fights are still fun to watch but won't be headliners on pay-per-view. Under Dana White's stewardship we've seen an interesting combination of skills evolve to dominate. No fighter makes it very far anymore who does not master all of them.

It's much more than just the skills, however. The physical conditioning of these guys puts us all to shame. I remember just a few years ago seeing fighters, particularly the heavyweights, who wold totally hit the fucking wall after two rounds. Two big guys swaying back and forth, hands at their sides, mouths open and chests heaving. Now there was a time to fucking boo a boring fight. Fatigue can still play a role. It can slow down quick hands, it can cause that second hesitation when one feels an armbar clinching up. Just about all of the fighters we saw last night train full time. Another of the major factors that leads to lopsided ass whoop'ens simply no longer exists at this level of fighters.

That brings us to what the commentators call a 'strong chin.' I don't know if that's a combination of training and experience or just a benefit of one's genetic lineage. Some of these fuckers just seem to be able to absorb the kind of punishment that beats all. A few of the fights we saw last night featured men of phenomenal fortitude. Ryo Chonan, for example, how many elbows did he absorb? As the UFC becomes the elite MMA organization in the world, we are going to see less and less fighters who can get knocked out cold. True, no human being is invincible (although a few of those Russians over at PRIDE seem to be), but match ups where one fighter has a combination of striking harder, faster, and more true that results in a bloody knock out are going to be on the decline.

From what I understand of the modern UFC, much of the rules regarding the duration of competition is decided more for the safety of the athletes and to just slip under the legal bar for licensing in most states. I've also got too much respect for the fighters to want to watch the sport devolve into something where the men spend their forties on in a wheelchair addicted to vicadin (that's the NFL.)

So what is wrong with a draw?

The Bisping Evans contest is the perfect example. From what I saw, neither man inflicted any really significant damage on the other. Evans overcame Bisping's takedown defense with effort, but was not able to capitalize on that advantage. The UFC is not competitive Judo, contestants are not scored in real time based on the observable beauty of their throws. A good takedown can be like pulling a gun, if you don't/can't pull the trigger, it don't make much of a fucking difference.

Now takedowns/submission attempts and defenses do take an obvious toll in the realm of conditioning. Trying to prevent someone from throwing you to the ground can use up all the gas in your tank damn fast. Here I would say Bisping appeared to have an advantage by the end of the second round, yet Evans had enough to stay together and hold his defense up throughout the next five minutes. It was just fucking inconclusive.

So now we can argue back and forth about minor details of scoring; should takedowns be worth more than an escape?, do we get like boxing and start calculating the percentage of punches thrown versus landed? Fuck that, I like the Ideal of the octagon with Tina Turner in a ring-mail bra, 'two men enter, one man leaves!'

I'm not saying there is not a place for a decision fight. Sometimes those things are pretty obvious. The title fight of UFC 78 was not. That was a fight that needed another two rounds in order to truly define which of those men was better.

This is a problem that Dana White and the UFC will have to deal with. As the pool of fighters gets bigger, more and more of the guys at the top are going to be solid mixed martial artists with championship skills in all of the areas I've detailed. The UFC is going to see more contests that cannot be conclusively decided in three five minute rounds.

Regardless of what's fair for the fighters, that's more booing crowds and less folks shelling out $39.95 in hard earned money.


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