Saturday, September 27, 2008

The media get a taste of their own medicine

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) threw a tantrum last week, and it barely made the blurbs on the inside sections of major newspapers nationally. The reason? The media knew it was the pot calling the kettle black.

Here's the dust-up. Google and Yahoo have an advertising deal pending government approval. It would evidently give the two Internet giants more inroads into online advertising. WAN says the deal would reduce the cost of paid search advertising and lower revenues for newspapers' and others' Web sites, which receive payments from the twain. WAN also says the deal would give Google "unwarranted" market power.

Unlike the "warranted" power that the media (especially newspapers) hold in virtually every medium-size city in America and many large cities, where it's stranglehold means confiscatory advertising costs (it just cost me $260 to advertise a house for sale for 8 days). I'm giggling; I'm gaga over Google. Run the media rats out of business, Your Googleness.

The media also didn't bother to mention in their blurbs that they got their pseudo-monopolies via the so-called Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 -- another wretched package passed by the surly Richard Nixon. This act gave exemption to newspapers from so-called anti-monopoly legislation. Hey, you know I'm against monopoly legislation, but newspapers are notorious for bashing the Microsofts and the Googles and the Wal-Marts for allegedly being monopolies while whining that they, the newspapers, are in a "unique" situation that necessitates monopolies. I guess it also necessitates exhorbitant ad costs, huh?

The last irony in this is that the newspapers are worried that the deal between Google and Yahoo will reduce the costs of online ads at the newspapers. In other words, you and I would get to pay less for those ads if Google and Yahoo get their way. This is typical government-begging monopolist behavior. I'm taking another day off my countdown clock for the terminus of newspapering. Meanwhile, my fingers are crossed for Google and Yahoo.

The Vatican evolves to the 19th century

You can all rest easy now. The Vatican recently announced that evolution has “scientific value” and that it “can no longer be considered a hypothesis.” Whew!

The Vatican did also criticize “fundamentalists” for literal interpretations of the Bible. I assume the Pope may have forgotten about his own church’s literal interpretations that burned Giordano Bruno at the stake for his heliocentrism in 1600 and imprisoned Galileo for the same and for Copernicanism soon afterward. Minor details

I'm sure I need not remind anyone that if the Catholic Church had still held sway in 1859, the lovely Charles Darwin would've found himself bound to the same stake as dear Bruno -- and we would not currently be hearing of "scientific value."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An unschooling dad talks

As many of you know who read this blog, I "unschool" my child, which means I allow her to be completely free to run her life as long as no imminent danger presents itself. She can choose the food she eats, the time for bed, whether she wants to brush her teeth or wash herself or brush her hair, what she wishes to do with her belongings, what she wants to learn about the world. There is no formal schooling nor any direction on my part about what she should do with her life as far as knowledge is concerned. She just turned five and is a vivacious, creative, introspective, rambunctious, insightful, humorous, inquisitive child. The following article at the following web site was written by an unschooling dad, like myself. It's quite good and should give some more insight into what this whole unschooling thing is.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hemorrhoids for Philistines and charlatans

After reading a fascinating book called “The Myth of the Resurrection” and getting more curious about some historical aspects of religion, I found myself in an endless link-o-mania on Wikipedia (as has often happened), until I was reading about the so-called Arc of the Covenant of the Hebrews. I then learned that when the Philistines absconded with the Arc the second time (God must’ve been drunk again) that the people of the village of Ashdod “were smitten with hemorrhoids” for the theft and eventually gave the Arc back.

Now, aside from a hardy pat on the back to the Hebrew god for his obvious sense of humor when awakened drunk, I was wondering: Am I such an awful Objectivist to wish there were really a God whose only job would be to “smite” Obama and all politicians with the severest form of hemorrhoids every time they told a lie or tried to take our money or pass an irrational law? How lovely would it be to see Obama giving one of his unctuous speeches and right in the middle of one of his more detestable utterances, his rectum turns into an throbbing inferno amid copious spillage? Ah, how lovely life would be.

Have I gone too far with this? Huh? Oh, hell, I could go on …

Monday, September 01, 2008

Teaching by example -- even if it's bloody

I bought my daughter, Livy, a few new DVDs at the store the other day. After we got home, I had to take care of some business and got into a hurry opening up the DVDs (which only a sadist could've packaged). Instead of putting the DVD cases onto a counter and holding them properly while I was cutting off the wrapper and magnetic tape, I simply stood and tried to do the handiwork while standing with my left hand holding the case about midway up, instead of all the way down, like usual. The very sharp knife slipped and plowed into my forefinger of the hand holding the case, opening up a gash and causing blood to gush out. I cursed, mostly from being stupid than the pain.

Livy was sitting nearby and turned around.

"What happened, Daddy? You're bleeding."
"I can be blasted stupid sometimes, Livy. That's what the matter is."
"But you're bleeding bad. Lets' put a band-aid on it."
"OK, darling. Let's wait till it finishes bleeding first."
"How did that happen?"
(As I sopped up the blood in a paper towel, I explained where I put my hand and where I should've put my hand and where I should've rest the case to stabilize it.
"You should be more careful, daddy."
"I certainly should, love. I guarantee you that next time I will be. Knives are sharp, and I shouldn't have put my hand so close to the blade."
"Here's a big band-aid."
"Thanks, my baby!"

Lesson learned.