on Life, Law, & Society
Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, History, and Many Other Irreverent Topics
Musings on Life, History, and Society
Thinking About Reviews. I think about ways to guarantee my reviews are always increasing in quality, and briefly talk about the strange backlash that sometimes happen when a review gets reviewed.
Thoughts on Compulsory Military or Civil Service. Reasons why it may not be a bad idea, and might actually be a great idea. I have a lot to hash out before it feels complete, though.
A Smartass Talks about Inventions and Black History Month. I point out that several growing ideas of about who invented what is wrong. Sadly, this overshadows the real contributions a lot of these guys did.
Which is More Annoying? My play on the "Would You Rather?" games with a slightly different question instead.
Have You Ever Noticed, or Doug muses briefly about the news (8 Jul 2009). I make some random, but generaly true, statements about the state of the news.
...in which Doug muses on Soul-Mates (03 Oct 2009). Title pretty much says it all.
Daylight Saving EVIL (31 Oct 2009).
So, about the whole "Me and Christmas don't get along" thing (23 Dec 2009). I write about why I get so testy about Christmas, and how it's not just some Scrooge effect. Partly, sure, it was retail that did it to me. But it's also the sheer madness of the whole thing.
I feel angry about things today (mostly politics, but others too). What angers, and what makes me happy to balance it out. (1 Feb 2010). Things have been getting on my nerves as of late, some things that have bothered me (with some things that have made me happy to counter).
The Solitude Project (March 24 through June 24, 2010) (23 Mar 2010). I have begun to wonder the power of solitude in our day and age. However, rather than some project where you go completely without contact, or completely without social sites, or some other extremes, the plan is to merely redirect some of the energy spent on social connections back into self-development, quietude, and peace. To perform this miracle of the modern age, I will use a simple Quadrant system. The time spent upon secondary contact (meaning all contact not fully developed or fulfilling) will be fourthed. The new free time will have new direction.
McSweeney's "Letter to the Homeless Person Who Saw Me Lose It" (7 Nov 2010). About an unemployed man who goes off on a beggar and feels bad about it...and writes an interesting summary about assumptions.
The worst cover ever for a good album? The Death of "Hipster" as a pejorative? Is It Ok to Giggle at a Cock Trap? And other questions... (6 Dec 2010). Mostly [next-to-] last bit, when I talk about applying generic labels to alt-white youth. A few years ago, it was "emo". Now it is "hipster". Which makes it impossible to properly insult those who deserve it.
Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card about Individual Consciousness (1 Mar 2011). Chuck Lorre apparently released a vanity card when he talks about individuals versus the collective unconscious, and how the illusion of aloneness leads to self-destruction. People are trying to read a lot into it, but seem to be missing the point...
Today's Philosophy from the Internet: Life's Unfairness meets Racial Disparity in Madison County Schools (3 Mar 2011). Turns out that life is unfair, and that is totally not man made. Who made it? Now you just talking crazy talk...
Two Tuesday Paradoxes from the old NPR: Pastism and the Dignity of Intolerance (26 Jul 2011). There are a lot of weird paradoxes that mark our existence, and two of them are addressed in articles I read this morning. Let's see if I can talk about them without going all Philosophy 101.
My current favorite review of The Help (the book, but also the movie) (19 Aug 2011). Ha HA!
If this isn't a sitcom setup, I don't know what is: Black church owns building that houses White supremacist shop (13 Jan 2012) African American church owns the building that houses a shop that sells stuff designed to spread KKK memorabilia and Confederate imagery? If this was on NBC Thursdays, it would be single camera and would have long awkward silences. ABC Fridays? There would be a middlin' love interest added in with a constant laugh track going.
Why make monsters in history when history made plenty of its own? The Monson Motor Lodge incident of June 1964. (28 Feb 2013). Racism is a complicated thing, as is history, often beyond simple explanations unless we weed out all circumstances. One incident - the June 1964 pouring of acid into a swimming pool by James Brock - has recently been recast as particularly evil, an attack on children, and despite the visual evidence in front of them, many pass this along.
Ah, the spectre of cannibalism has washed up on Syria's shore. A glance back at the venerated boogey-man... (1 Oct 2013). Reports claim Syrian terrorists are eating the hearts of their victims. It sounds like a Catholic screed against the Jewish, though it might be true. Time to look back, a little, at how the West has often used androphagia as a stigmata against various brown people.
Musings on Copyright and Adaptations
On Doctorow v Le Guin, On Copyright. Some of my thoughts on copyright are located here. Also several of my ideas on what is wrong when some of the book crowd starts acting as though bookstores are closing due to piracy.
Copyright Ups and Downs, an archived and slightly annotated journal entry detailing a few steps forward and a few steps back, sort of a snapshot of what was going on March 2008.
J.D. Salinger['s Lawyer] Goes Public to Stop "Catcher" Sequel (5 Jun 2009). A Catcher in the Rye sequel was brewing. Did they really think they could do that? I look at some coverage on the issue.
Poetic License Raises A Star-Spangled Debate, or Rene Marie's Controversial Take on the National Anthem (4 Jul 2009). When an artist chose to sing a different set of lyrics to the national anthem, it brought up questions about what was expected of whom and when. Not exactly an adaptation, but fits closer here than anywhere. Also factors in aspects of Black History and culture.
Ever Thought How Weird Plagiarism Suits Have to Be Now-a-Days? (5 Aug 2009). Now that everyone can write just about anything they wish, how weird is it to think about copyright in this time?
Doug goes off on....DRM (Digital Rights Management) (8 Mar 2010). DRM, Digital Rights Management, the false belief that you can keep pirates from stealing your stuff without punishing your customers. Today's "Doug Goes Off" is about it and few ways that it quickly gets really dumb.
Overshadowed by the jail-breaking of the iPhone: a good thing about eBooks in the copyright ruling, too (27 Jul 2010).
Cooks Source vs File Sharing. Is it just me, or... (7 Nov 2010). On the way a blogger's info being stolen became, briefly, a bigger deal than ebook piracy in general.
Defending the sanctity of copyright, or purchasing the works of others for cheap settlement cash? (11 May 2011). A company buys up copyrighted items *after* infringement solely to obtain settlement money. An evolution of debt-hoarders and patent-trolls is in the mix.
Cengage sends DMCA notice to Wikipedia over Tonga article. Turns out the Wikipedia material under question came first... (28 Jan 2012). Cengage sent a DMCA takedown notice to Wikipedia to have elements removed from an article. After investigation, turns out the Wiki article was first. No harm, no foul, this time, but surely more incidents like this will happen in the future...
Yet Another Copyright Conundrum: When a cover gets coverage over the original. or, The Knife Game Song. (5 Mar 2013). While watching teens play the knife game to the beat of a catchy song is probably the sort of thing we do not want to catch on, it still has a certain anthropological charm. However, when an imitation outperforms the original, at least in news cover, what is the original to do? In the case of Rusty Cage's Knife Game Song, the cover got shut down.
Musings on Etymology and Semantics
Eleven language mishaps that Doug finds curious and wanted to point out... (19 Oct 2009). From the confusion about "a" and "an" to the confusion of what grammar means, I play around with the various roots of words and how we use them wrongly.
Could you or couldn't you care any less? British comedians harangue a particular American idiom... (21 May 2010). Rote phrases are weird. In fact, you might could say that they are idiots: dumb to the world around, atomistic particles infused with a modicum of meaning; but essentially endowed with an expected place and outcome, even when they stop having anything like that. Take Couldn't Care Less, which is now said in the States as Could Care Less, and ask yourself what that really means.
Sun Showers (9 Jul 2010).
Musings on Law, Statistics, and Regulations
Tried as an adult, the James Bulger murder (18 May 2009). A look at the notion of trying minors as adult based on the severity of the crime.
A Question on Lawsuits. I have some serious problems with the way most lawsuits are handled. This lays out most of them.
Same Sex Marriage Ban Upheld in CA, Questions about legal status (26 May 2009).
Lies, damned lies, and then there's statistics: the flavored cigarette edition (23 Sep 2009). Now that the old fashioned clove cigs are banned, was there really a reason for this? Or was it something insidious. I bring up enough proof to point to the latter.
If the First Amendment applies to Corporations, how about the others from the Bill of Rights ? The post that wasn't meant to be... (26 Jan 2010). Now that corporations have had their ability to donate unlimited funds protected as free speech, what else might come about?
The two moral codes given in Crime and Punishment Part III, Chapter V and the Nietzschean notion of the Superman (14 Mar 2010). Near the end of the fifth chapter of the third part of Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov and Porfiry Petrovitch (amongst others) get into a discussion about moral codes, stemming in part from a drunkden debate occuring at a party that Raskolnikov's friend Razumihin threw the night before. Both would be deemed immoral by many Americans today, but at their core they offer two different views of humanity worth considering, whether or not you agree they are worth adopting.
Tim James' 72% Increase in Work/Traffic Fatalities Due to Language Barriers is a Bad Statistic, or How Even Politicians Get Chinese Whispers (3 May 2010). Tim James, son of Fob, is running for governor and whether or not he will be a good one is a matter of many principles. One of those principles, though, the ability to find and respond to real facts, has already been compromised in my book when he choose to play a game of cite something that cites something that cites something that cites something, rather than look up the source himself. This is the numbers behind his now being requoted statistic of 72%.
My top 10 favorite quotes from Washington Times' idiotic "Women are becoming addicted to porn" article (13 Jul 2010). A good deal of this article deals with bad statistics and reasoning, hence why it is in this section.
Google Wave and Prop 8 both get axed on the same day: anyone else want to think up a conspiracy theory that ties this together? (4 Aug 2010).
A Nation of Hoarders, not Readers. On the question of the twin heads of codex consumption... (20 Feb 2011). Eric Forbes has a blog post [by Ng Je Enn?] about the benefits of reading versus the general trend of aliteracy in Malaysia. In it, the phrases hoarders not readers crops up. But with bookstores closing while libraries reach something like record circulation, what really *is* going on with literacy in this country (and others).
Forbes.com declares USA Today the biggest news source in the Southeast US! Sort of...ok, well...maybe not... (26 Mar 2012). According to Forbes.com, the most linked-to [and taken as most used] news source for much of the Southeast is USA Today. Fascinating.
Musings on Geography
Doug ranks the 50 states' mottoes from worst to best (in his opinion, of course) (04 Nov 2009). All the way from 50 to number 1, I rank my favorite state mottoes.
Musings on Discourse, Arguments, and Debate
NAWF - Never Argue With a Fundamentalist, The history and reasoning behind the phrase (25 Dec 2009). I discuss why I came up with the phrase and why I still stick behindit. Why you should to. Though I'm not going to really argue the point. *rimshot* Seriously, though, it will save you time.
The power of doubt in research (2 Feb 2010). I explore how self-doubt can be used for the good, in opposition to thousands of better written books (well, not that much better written) telling you it is the greatest sin. Not only can it be good, but it might just required for good research?
Rick Santorum after barely losing to Mitt Romney in Iowa? "Eh, basically a tie." Santorum after just beating Romney on a recount? "MANDATE FROM GOD!" (19 Jan 2012). The Iowa Caucus surprised everyone as Gingrich failed to deliver, Paul got closer than expected, and the neck-in-neck candidate was Santorum. On a partial, but mostly complete, recount [not all boxes could be certified], looks like the neck-and-neck was actually in Santorum's favor. Though minor, a reversal of phrases is always cute to read.
Some quick July thoughts on Education (25 Jul 2009). Some ideas that I have about ways you could change the education system. I imagine there isn't one that someone wouldn't object to, but they make sense to me.
Humanities and Liberal Arts Majors: How useful are they to have in higher ed? (19 Jan 2011). A NYTimes article talks about the decline in humanities majors, and discusses the great boons they offer. My question to my readers is...how useful are they in general? As a philosophy major, I sometimes wonder.
Bits of Data for You this Monday: States Ranked by Math/Reading Scores and Amounts of Average Snowfall of Various U.S. Spots (24 Jan 2011). Just linking to some data worth looking through. The first is a recent ranking of the 50 states (plus a couple extra) based on math and reading scores, and the other is a listing of average inches of snowfall. Which is presented in contrast to this year's heavy-as-hell snow storms.
Gingrich pulls another rhetorical hat-trick attacking college students as lobster-eating free-riders. And, why Santorum's "62%" statistic is more dangerous. (31 Jan 2012). Newt throws another generational wrench into the pipe line, blaming students for taking advantage of a free ride. While most have noted his own lack of paying his own way, I just want to point out a couple of other problems.
News, News Coverage, and other Press Musings
Musings on Money Matters
Five Gifts To Be Careful About When Giving. My personal advice on what sorts of gifts make better gifts than others, and when to be careful with the whole gift giving thing.
The Walmart Effect. While I never shop at Wal-Mart, it is interesting to question the pluses and minuses that Wal-Mart has brought to our society.
Some Numbers about American Healthcare (28 Jul 2009). Not sure how many of these numbers will be up to date by time you read this, but early in the Healthcare-Reform-Debate, I figured a little bit of sense was needed.
Doug's feckless monetarily and luckless arbitrarily (10 Aug 2009). Talking about credit, overspending, understpending, and what happens when monetary glitches do show up. Not so much a how-to guide as a "how-to-not" sort of thing.
At the core of our medical problems, the too many layers and not enough common sense... (22 Feb 2010). Though insured, I choose to be fairly open-eyed when it comes to medical conundrums. The following short account shows several indications of the lose-win nature of our current medical system.
Deeper into the Labyrinth
(Thoughts of an Overthinker)*
#1: Late Night Days
#2: Writer's Block
#3: All a Dream
#4: "I Hate Bigots"
#5: And Silence Once More
#6: A Question of Suicide
#7: No Mail Is No Bills
*For those curious about what the hell these little short bits are, they are mostly me playing around with irony of various bits, kind of comically at times and kind of poignantly at times. Takes these with a fair pinch of salt, if you catch my drift.
Doug Looks at Ben Franklin's Thirteen Virtues
#00 - Introduction
Stephen Colbert's White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech: Half-politically commentary, half-spoof; funny (though some have complained it was overly mean).
"The hidden is greater than the seen."