Monday, March 25, 2013

The Fresh Ten Commandments


Because it really seems most days that a lot of people misunderstand the original... Reposting from a Tumblr of the same name:


The Fresh Ten

Recent events have made it clear that we are suffering from a broken moral compass.  People today could use some general guidance.
Since the original ten commandments seem somewhat narrow and obsolete (too much focus on livestock, servants, and jealous god issues), here is a modest first draft of a fresh set. 
  1. You shall treat all people with respect regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.
  2. You shall not kill, assault, nor intimidate with threats of physical violence.
  3. You shall not rape, sexually coerce, nor intimidate with threats of sexual violence. 
  4. You shall cultivate intellectual curiosity, be open to new ideas, and  respect the scientific method.
  5. You shall not cheat, nor cheat others out of what is rightfully theirs.
  6. You shall not lie, deceive, nor spread lies about others. 
  7. You shall not steal, that is to say take or use what rightfully belongs to another person in a manner that causes harm. (Stealing is a trickier concept than it once was. How do you say yes to Fair Use and no to software patents?)
  8. You shall keep your promises.
  9. You shall not waste natural resources nor pollute the shared environment.
  10. You shall take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The art of artifice

This... drama... what people have an inclination to decoupage their lives with when they fear they're too plain to look at... That their very existence is dull...

It doesn't exactly increase their resale value on the market of day to day affairs, does it?  And half the time the original item was perfectly wonderful.

I need to avoid these... artistes.  The paste is very seldom completely dry and I have my own mess to contend with.

IT'S F__KING SCIENCE!


"According to a new study by British researchers, saying the F word or any other commonly used expletive can work to reduce physical pain — and it seems that people may use curse words by instinct. Indeed, as any owner of a banged shin, whacked funny bone or stubbed toe knows, dancing the agony jig — and shouting its profane theme tune — are about as automatic as the response to a doctor's reflex hammer."

Read more: ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

There are a countless "bad words" in any number of languages but there is one Universal Bad Word.

The F Word!

But never fear.  It is medicinal, the cure-all for any kind of physical, emotional, or spiritual pain.  

I'm MacGregor Rucker.  I'm not just the president.  I'm a client... or something like that.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Last Words


It's going to take a bit to process this, so perhaps this is a placeholder for now.  Contained herein, are the LAST STATEMENTS OF MEN EXECUTED IN TEXAS SINCE 1982.  Certainly not light reading for your morning coffee, but fascinating nonetheless.

There are a few final proclamations of innocence, and maybe that's to be expected.  It's how the media often portrays of those sentenced to death, led kicking all the way to the last minutes insisting that they've been wrongly convicted.  Many of them, however, express regret and resignation to their fate, and an unwavering belief in God, forgiveness and redemption.

Perhaps that's what they need to make that final walk?  I'm not sure.  I've never faced imminent death.  These entries are haunting, though.  They will, as stated above, take a while to process, but I do believe they contain a valuable message of some kind.

Maybe lost in prejudice and fear, there is something to be learned.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hello Guy Who Speaks to God?


It's me, MacGregor...

You don't know me, and I don't know you.  I'm not a Catholic, and not likely to convert any time soon.  Miracles happen, yes, but I'm just saying... Don't expect to see me out on your lawn.  

It is safe to say that I have no bearing in your life.  You will never have any reason to even suspect my existence.  I have no intention of changing that.

Yet everything you say and do from yesterday forward has a direct bearing on me and billions of other people around the globe.  It's weird how that works, but there you go.  Many of us, like me, don't really want anything to do with you but we're stuck with you and the impact of every word that comes out of your mouth except perhaps when you turn to one of the Cardinals over dinner and ask, "Can you pass the salt?"

This in mind, I have two simple requests, and that is all.  Perhaps you can consider them.

1)  Start protecting children.  End the silence.  End the secrecy.  End the conspiracy.  End the subterfuge.  It's safe to say at this point that most people, Catholic or not, don't care what the lot of you do between each other.  It's all good between consenting adults and very few people are making any real noise about recent events.  But really... protect the children.  Make sure your guys, whom I am certain are very much in the minority, are keeping their Goddamn hands off the children.  When they can't find it in their souls to do that, punish them with the short, sharp shock.  Turn them out and turn them over to the police.  Let them be punished to the fullest extent of the law and beyond.   Okay?

2)  Lets agree on one more thing.  Keep your Church out of our politics and we will keep our politics out of your Church.  Nobody is asking you to change the rules of your organization, no matter how much we believe them to be archaic and misguided.  Just stay the hell out of civil matters and legislation.  Let us be and if you really believe what we're doing is wrong, have faith that God will take care of us in His way.  Stop blocking civil unions between same-sex couples.  Stop trying to block same-sex adoptions.  Children need loving parents (see Request #1).  Stop blocking sex education that could prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease.  Stay out of women's rights for those who choose to live outside of your purview.  Save lives first, and then worry about souls.  Think about that for even just a moment.  If you believe that your God believes that dogged adherence to His principles is more important than life itself (which you guys are always talking about anyway), then perhaps you need to ask Him more questions.  Seriously.  Please.  Stay out of politics.  History has shown that you guys are just no good at it.  Stick to where your talents lie.  Okay?

That's it for now... Thanks.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meet the new boss


Same as the old boss?

Time will tell.  There will certainly be controversy, as there would have been in any selection.  History may be kind to Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, and obscure some horrible past events.  Or relentless media onslaughts may expose him like a frog in a dissection pan.

Or there may be nothing at all to tell beyond the regular stuff.  There will be controversy though, and it would be interesting to know what role he played in the years of the BRUTAL MILITARY DICTATORSHIP in Argentina.  It could potentially be uglier than Pope Benedict's Hitler Youth involvement, being that ol' Ben was just a child at the time of what appears to be... moral transgressions.  Cardinal Bergoglio was grown, and in a position to make a big difference and save lives.  We shall see.

It's is beyond redundant to point out that newly appointed Pope Francis I has been actively anti-gay in throughout his career.  (Is it called a career when you're in a religious order?) That really goes with the job description.  The major media outlets, it seemed, all felt it necessary to point out that he is a "theological conservative."

Duh.

That's really, I would imagine, what puts one on the upward curve in any religious organization.  Homophobia is really part of the job description, isn't it?

This isn't about being shady.  The upper echelons of the Catholic Church have made themselves an easy target.  If anybody ever needed a good housecleaning, it's the Vatican.  Yet it all happens at the expense of regular folks, doesn't it, and that's really the shitty thing about power and people in powerful positions.  Once you get up into that rarified air, you skate on nearly any manner of offense, and it's always at the expense (often a staggering expense) of the most vulnerable.  I do hope for their sake, for the benefit of the most vulnerable, that this guy choosing to name himself after Saint Francis of Assisi actually means something.

Some kind of change for the better.  Regular folks deserve more than they've gotten.

We shall see.


Sociology?


Every feel like you don't fit in?  Like you might be happier somewhere else?  Thinking of re-locating?  Well, just maybe this infographic can point you in the direction of people with whom you have more in common than a favorite baseball team.

TOP TEN INTERNET PORN SEARCH TERMS BY COUNTRY AND STATE

I'll tell you what.  You can call me immature but try not getting lost down this rabbithole for a while.  The regional differences in tastes is pretty incredible, and perhaps very telling.

Perhaps.

I tend to think so.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dora Explores Arizona... Not


Is this in poor taste?  Certainly, but so is our current immigration policy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH


A Few Good Men ~ Col. Nathan R. Jessup

The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.

Bull Durham ~ Annie Savoy

What do these three movies have in common?  Other than that they made a load of money, that is...  They all, at one point or another, ask an interesting question.  Do you want to know the truth, and have to deal with the responsibility of being in possession of said truth?  Deal with the consequences of how the truth will change everything?  Or do you want to live on in ignorant bliss?

I appreciate that sometimes Hollywood gets questions like these right, even if they're wrapped in a fatty burrito of... other stuff.

And there is no need to get into all High School Musical version of philosophy asking "what is truth?"  That question is for people who have already decided on the pill that will carry them back to Dreamland.  Truth is truth.  It exists independently of our opinions or perceptions or deceptions.  It just is.  We choose to seek it out, or we choose to leave it alone.  No moral judgments here.

You've got three great movies here, though.  Shop in some food and you've got the makings of a comfortable foul-weather weekend.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Cool or Tool?


Alternate Title:  Glasshole

Okay, I guess I've just given away my take on Google Glass, but Sergey here looks like a Right James here wearing them.  He looks like a middle aged letcher watching a high school cheerleading squad board a bus.

Don't get me wrong.  There is a sort of cool James Bond element to the idea of being able to record and/or broadcast events, or your whole life even online as it happens.  Then again, one only need browse a handful of User Video Blogs on YouTube to see how horribly boring most of us are.  And delusionsal.  And worst of all damaged.

And perhaps there is fodder here for screenplays in a kind of EYES OF LAURA MARS (CLICK HERE) possibility.  And certainly the serial killer behind the serial success of Saw 1 through Saw 22 would have been able to apply his craft more easily with this hands-free-dream-come-true.

Mostly though, when I think about Google Glass, I think about not just privacy AS THIS ARTICLE OUTLINES (CLICK HERE), but about just how much of other peoples' lives I want to see and know.  I could certainly be accused of over-sharing and crass digital vanity, but even my online exploits are NOTHING compared to what I see on social media.  As out there as I am (and I am), I've only opened the door a tiny crack when compared to countless others.

So it becomes not just a question of how much should one expose themselves, but of how much of other people should we expose ourselves too before it becomes... I don't know.  There is more than a small element of voyeurism between reality television and the internet.  The question also rises of how much more disingenuous and phony we will become when we know that our lives are being recorded for posterity.  I don't believe that we will ever just simply forget that the cameras are there and take them for granted and be sincere.  Hell, we've had a hard enough time being real sincere human beings without the cameras.  Shakespeare said that bit about life being a stage how many hundreds of years ago, and if you've doubted him until now, consider that he is now absolutely correct.

The last paragraph of the article asks how much is too much and when and where the backlash will start.  That is, of course, a rhetorical question as this technology thing is still a brand new development when weighed against the totality of evolution.

Many days I feel as if I'm already done.  It is with a queasy mixture of fascination and revulsion that I immerse myself in new technology.  It often seems wrong and dangerous and that may be due in no small part to my addictive nature.  Where the cocktail glass used to sit in my hand is generally found my cellphone.  Connectivity might just be the most heady intoxicant of all.

The answers just aren't here for me yet.  All I know is that Sergey Brio looks absolutely douchetastic in this photo.  And that's the last thing I will mention.  Born with the rise of technology and public living on the web, and maybe as a result of it, is this new Culture of Schadenfreude.  Consider how much of this technology is used to cut people down and make fun of them.  Agree or disagree, but something to keep in mind as you browse WorldStarHipHop and the like.  Not being self-righteous.  I live for digital shade.  Just something to think about.  My guess is that Google Glass will amount to little more than an easier way to put more garbage online faster and enhance the POV porn experience.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Generation of Dishonesty


It is true that nobody is ever going to accuse me of being easy-going or tolerant.  I do not suffer fools gladly, even as I am being foolish.  It's been a long process of learning to let go of a few things so that my days aren't spent in an apoplectic, purple rage.

It's probably dishonesty that gets on my tits faster than any other daily annoyance.  There is nothing that puts me off faster than a lie told in the interest of getting over on someone (usually me) or cheating someone.  Or a lie told in the context of an abuse of power.

This one isn't so bad.  I can't get my head around why someone would want to spin off a line of bull about BOOKS THEY HAVEN'T READ (CLICK HERE), but whatever.  Sure, people will tell white lies because.... well, I recall my first semester of college and my first English class when an aging Beatnik teacher was asking for a show of hands for who read certain books and who didn't.  There were a lot of hands going up.  Me?  Not so much.  Perhaps the other freshman were lying.  Perhaps they went to real schools and had real educations.  I was feeling pretty out of sorts.  Maybe a book about how to discuss books I hadn't read would have helped.

OR

It would have been yet another lie, extending me way beyond my safety zone where I would have to live in fear of being found out.

No, seriously.  Honesty.  It's easier.  I can attest to that.  It really does boggle me that this book exists.  Under what circumstances would one ever have to impress upon someone that they've read a book that they haven't?  I don't get it.

I guess there is the premise of Woody Allen's Zelig.  They were talking about Moby Dick and I said that I'd read it.  And that's how it all starts, this endless circle of trying to be someone you're not, successfully or unsuccessfully.

Blah... someone got paid to write a book on bullshitting, and I'm unemployed.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Irony & The Nanny State


I'm going to throw something out there as something unsweetened to sip on today.  The average New Yorker has vastly greater odds of suffering from diabetes or obesity related ailments than he/she does of being a crime victim.

Why are people squawking louder about Bloomberg's NEW SOFT DRINK REGULATIONS (CLICK HERE) than they have been about his overbearing, racist and ineffectual Stop & Frisk policies which have the police terrorizing young men of color?

Many of you voted for a man that would go to any lengths, including questionable, un-Constitutional lengths, to keep you safe.  It is ironic that all statistics show that what you need is protection from yourselves.

I think these new regulations are ludicrous too, but someone has to be true to the muse of truth and honesty here.  You get the government (and laws) that you deserve, to paraphrase someone or another way back when.  Deal with it.

If I were a musician, I'd do a blues album called 1st World Problems, and the first single would be called Sweetening My Own Macchiato.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

And once you have everything


Where do you intend to keep it?

Okay, perhaps this one is just too easy, but the "A" for Anarchy symbol has been misappropriated so many times by so many confused people that it stands to become the next Che-shirt.

I'm not automatically dismissive of anarcho-collectivist sorts.  There are usually some valid points in the rhetoric.  My fear is really just that the political philosophy is too easy to slip on and off like a T-shirt.  Do a lot of the self-proclaimed collectivists understand that many of them come from social classes from whom a lot of the stuff will be collected?  It's a bit easier for me because there is very little left to collectivize, or socialize, or re-distribute, or whatever that's called these days.  Some of us have a lot less private property than others.

I have my suspicions that many are going to be unwilling to dig deep into their own pockets and give up their royal standing in the sense that say, Peter Kropotkin did.  Yet it's not for me to do someone else's moral inventory.

I'm not holding my breath whilst I wait for the revolution.

Selah.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Don't Forget Me


Not to run a theme or anything, and this isn't necessarily about death, but about loss.  They're kind of the same thing sometimes except this kind you can recovery from, more often than not.

I love the hell out of this song.  It's one of the few Nilsson songs that truly moves me.  It shakes me right to my marrow, actually.

Ultimate Vanity: The Auto-Obituary


It has come as a relief, pushing forward into the business of being middle-aged, to find myself caring so much less about what others may or may not be saying about me.  Or if anyone is saying anything at all, for that matter.

Yet people do talk.  It matters very little where on the sliding scale of boring and banal you may live.  People do talk.  And it matters less and less to me as days grind on towards old age, or my imminent demise, whichever comes first.  This is due, at least in part, to the fact that I have been practicing conscientiousness and mindfulness.  I am trying more, for the first time in my life, not to step on anyone's feelings.  Those who know me may find that hard to believe.  Those who have only recently spent time around me and still find it hard to believe will just have to imagine how bad things used to be.  This new practice has, in any event, brought me to a more peaceful place.  I know, at least intellectually, that there is less reason for anyone to be talking.

Yet they will.  Some will be good.  Some will be bad.  Some of the bad will be utter fabrication.  Some will be true.  I may remember it, and I may not.

This talk used to be of monumental import to me.  I have even gone so far as to imagine my own funeral and who would be in attendance and what they would say and how I would be remembered.  It was in abject terror that I spent so many hours fretting these matters.  (And all the while I could have just changed my behavior, but that's another story altogether.)

I have even gone so far as to start writing my own memoir, with a preface that stated explicitly that the whole purpose was so that the story would be told accurately.  I then proceeded to fill page after page with half-truths, fables and self-mythology.  Some of this was intentional  Some wasn't.  I've started again from scratch, and I will admit that the tendency is still there to... well, not to make things up, but to not examine certain events too closely so history will be spun in my favor.  I'm working on this.

In the meantime, for those not inclined to put in the work on a full-bore memoir or autobiography, there are online services that will help you WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY (CLICK HERE).  Having once written about 400 typed pages of what amounted to my own fictional obituary, there is only so much I can criticize these services or the people who avail themselves of them.  Yet the urge to get things straight is so much less pressing for me.  People will believe what they wish to believe no matter what anyone says about themselves.

The point is, if it matters little what people say when I'm alive, what difference is it going to make when I'm pushing up daisies?

That's my thought for the day.