Tuesday, December 07, 2010

This unschooled kid went to high school for six weeks and ... WOW.

An unschooled kid named Zack went to high school to see what he was missing -- and he found a lost generation of do-nothings.

This is an inspirational 10-minute take by an eloquent boy who ended up being a mole. He describes, without knowing it, exactly the morality of productivity. Absolutely amazing. You go, Zack!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What is good art?

Artwork is to the eye what music is to the ear. It is an instantaneous like or dislike.

It can become more intellectually interesting, by degrees, after thoughtful reflection, but it is that first emotion you feel upon viewing or listening that counts. It is not an analytical moment; it isn't an intellectual moment. It is an emotional moment that is arrived at by who you are and what you've made of yourself throughout your life.

It is your subconscious mind reacting, and in your subconscious is the sum total of what you've thought and how you've acted since birth -- and more importantly, who you've become and what you think about yourself and what you know about the world around you.

All of the above brings your context into each new artwork. If you know about World War II and you see a painting of a man in a Nazi uniform giving a loving kiss to his wife, you cannot love the painting because you know that that uniform represents severe oppression and murder and anyone wearing it cannot possibly love himself, and therefore he cannot love his wife. You don't think of these things consciously in that first millisecond of viewing the painting, but your subconscious mind does make that lightning assessment and downgrades the beauty of the painting -- or even repulses you.

If you see two people hunched over in prayer with serene faces and a Christian cross in the background, your subconscious mind knows there cannot be serenity, but instead turmoil and false serenity. You move on.

If you see a man in a hard hat hard at work on a steel beam of a skyscraper with sweat dripping off his nose and a look of contented intensity on his face on a brilliant summer day, you soak it up like life-giving sustenance.

The mind can sum up true happiness in artwork so quickly and astoundingly that it may take you minutes or hours to figure out what it was that astounded or repulsed your mind. One painting that an art historian showed me and a group of enthusiasts at an Atlanta museum earlier this year didn't sit well with me, even though the man in the artwork appeared to be doing some sort of masterful drafting or something while standing up.

Around the man were his children, a messy floor, and his wife in the corner of the painting watching him. I realized that the wife had an angry look on her face, as if distanced from her husband emotionally and angry at him for something. The clutter affected me like all clutter does. The lighting suggested a bit of somber.

I realized that the man may have found his true calling in his work but that he was not handling the rest of his life well and could not be completely happy. My subconscious mind picked up on all of this instantly. When I realized this, I shook my head in astonishment of the human mind.

Art should make us happy. There is no truly great artwork that does not do so.

There are four main areas that our subconscious mind evaluates in artwork (I'll talk about them in more detail in a later post): Those areas are: content (objects, people, etc.), theme (happy or sad), quality (masterful or something less in painting skill), lighting (effervescent or less).

The art historian I refer to above, an Objectivist, has written a book recently on this subject, and he says that you must "suspend disbelief" when you approach artwork.

No, you must suspend nothing. You must simply look and be yourself. Your subconscious mind will do the rest. You need not delve into history or ruminate upon the content or learn what the artist intended.

You simply look -- and then enjoy or move on.

The gentleman's game

For more than a century, golf has been referred to rightly as the gentleman's game. It is precise, intellectual, circumspect, humane and soothing, much like classical music. It's one major reason why it's the only sport that'll I'll watch regularly on TV.

That isn't to say it isn't competitive. Just watch Ryder Cup play or the last round of an important tournament. You'll see a vast range of emotions, anxiety, thrill, intensity, conquest, capitulation.

But you will very rarely see outright meanness that you witness in other sports: the yelling at officials in tennis, the in-your-face dancing in football, the endless arguing with umpires and pitching-mound attacks in baseball, the egregious attacks in basketball, the ubiquitous brawling in hockey, etc.

Yes, these others sports are more physical and more "attack" oriented, no doubt raising the testosterone level by degrees. But these other sports seem to attract the "attack" personalities. Which is the chicken and which the egg? These other sports do have a great many men who seem to play for the sake of playing (like golfers) and play with great sportsmanship, not to show off over a downed opponent. But a large percentage of them act badly and don't seem to understand the true meaning of work: to enjoy what you do and to do it the best that you can.

A recent example of a gentleman in the gentleman's game came on Sunday on the PGA Tour at the Las Vegas Open. The 72-hole tournament ended in a 3-way tie. The three men were on the fourth hole of a playoff, when the first golfer on the fourth hole, Jonathan Byrd, struck his ball off the tee. After it landed on the green it rolled into the hole for a hole-in-one, effectively winning the tournament for him before the other two golfers even got a chance to hit their balls off the tee.

Jonathan didn't jump up and down and get in the face of his two opponents. His face brightened and a broad smile shown, and then he moved aside to let his two opponents get their chance to make an unlikely hole-in-one themselves. Here's what Jonathan said after he won the tournament when he was asked why he reacted the way that he did:

"I tried to be respectful of the two other guys (Martin Laird and Cameron Percy). I didn't want to excessively celebrate. I was trying to contain myself, be composed and let them hit. I knew I'd have plenty of time to celebrate and react after that."

That is why I watch golf. A man honors himself and others. He is circumspect spontaneously in the moment, despite feeling jubilation. He wants his competitors to give their best without distractions from him or the crowd reacting to his jubilation.

Like good art, Jonathan Byrd and his golf brethren remind me of the best in me, day in and day out.

He is a gentleman.

Does your octa-nose slobber?

Kids crack me up.

They have a knack for not only creating entirely different words but also combining different meanings in the same sentence -- just for kicks -- and then collapsing into giggles. A language's vocabulary is the playground of their imagination.

While taking my 7-year-old daughter, Livy, and her nearly 6-year-old friend Ethan and his 3.5-year-old sister, Tori, to TCBY for some yogurt ice cream, the kids in the backseat began interrogating me (with smirks on their faces).

"If your brain freezes when you eat ice cream, dad, can you think?" Livy asks. Before I can answer with some witticism, she quickly answers for me: "You can't think anyway! Ha Ha Ha!" Of course, all of the kids collapsed into laughter as I gave them a menacing look with raised eyebrow in the rear-view mirror, which I train upon the kids to watch them in amusement whenever we go anywhere.

Ethan then asked, "Uncle Dave, does your octa-nose slobber?" At this, I collapsed into laughter right along with the kids. The image was too ridiculous and a great non-sequitur. After things quieted somewhat I shouted, "Are you saying that I have eight noses and that those noses SLOBBER, Ethan? Noses can't SLOBBER!"

"YES THEY CAN!" he and Livy shouted quickly, before again squirming in loud giggles.

Livy and Ethan have created their own monster language, too, often saying something to me (or about me) and pretending to understand each other. They also translate road signs into monster language, so I will not remain an ignorant adult for the rest of my life. If I ask why the monster word for "Stop" has changed overnight, they simply inform me that IT CHANGED OVERNIGHT. Well, of course it did, silly me.

I regularly trade "insults" with Livy and Ethan. The "insults" are their way of practicing generalities, testing the mettle of others, being goofy, playing with the language, connecting with another person. Too many adults, unfortunately, take these playful digs by kids too seriously and don't give back as good as they get.

Among the many insults Livy has for me is her pronouncement that I am fat (I'm thin and muscular). She knows that I know that I'm not fat, so it's a playful jibe. I pronounce quickly that she, instead, is the fat one (she's built exactly like me), and she quickly states, "I'm not fat, you're fat!"

The point to this fatness is not fat, of course; it's a kid's way of saying, "Let's have fun." Since Livy knows that I'm not fat and that I love my body, she knows she might get a round of silliness going by stating the untrue, like when they say that the wind isn't blowing the leaves; the leaves are blowing the wind. They find great folly and joy in the opposite, and it helps solidify the real by toying with it.

It's also a kid's way of testing our mettle. Kids, as you know, do this all the time. How will mommy or daddy or Uncle Bill or Aunt Sally or their friends react? These kinds of regular teasings build up their judgment muscles as they watch how a parent (or any other person) regularly responds to "interrogation." They don't mean it meanly. It's almost instinctive in young kids to constantly test the confidence and will power of those who are close to them.

And you don't have to be witty to get their sympathy. Some of the biggest laughs I've seen in kids is when I simply am stymied by their goofiness and can't think of a thing to say. They love rendering us adults speechless. It's a conquest. As long as you take it well, they love you the more for it. Livy loves it when I get that "I don't know WHAT to say to THAT" look on my face or when I shake my head and say, "That's too goofy for MY universe."

Some parents rebel against this "assault." I find it fascinating and amusing. After all, the ball's in my court, isn't it? I can answer however I feel, and I can have as little or as much fun with it as I want.

I respond according to my mood, usually. Sometimes I'll say that I'll respond to that horrible lie (the "fat" one) after I finish a business email (I have raised eyebrow aimed in her direction, and she knows this means I want to have fun but can't right now). Sometimes I'll say, "Poor Livy girl, I guess it's time we take you to the eye doctor to get some REALLY THICK glasses made for you." "No way, I don't need glasses -- YOU do!" she proclaims, giggling at the thought of big thick glasses.

Sometimes I'll answer the "fat" accusation by stating, "Livy, everyone knows I'm built like Mr. Incredible." She laughs heartily and says, "Mr. Incredible was FAT!" She thinks for a minute that she's "won." Then I say with a wry look, "I'm talking about AFTER he was fat and had all those huge muscles. Look at my muscles. Aren't I as big as Mr. Incredible?!" (flexing pose)

"No!!!!!" she says, and we both collapse into giggles.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How does a clean sink get filled with SO MANY DISHES?

Mathematics is the common denominator of physics; it is the infinite in concept formation; it is the friend of any detective worth his salt.

But the real mathematics is in parenting. One child in the household becomes 5 or 7 children suddenly with simply one phone call or a shout -- and it happens so swiftly that you think you must've heard your child say, "Beam 'em over, Scotty."

At noon, the number of dirty dishes in the sink are zero sum. By 12:30, dirty dishes are multiplying over the edge of the sink, threatening you if you come close, like some malevolent Chilean mudslide.

When you last turned the corner, the once-empty laundry basket is now Mount Kilimanjaro, with clothing detritus scattered nearby as if Kilimanjaro sneezed and scattered some of its top across the lowlands.

Over the years, you thought that maybe you'd just bought a toy here and a toy there. Then you enter your child's room and discover not only that you must've had Alzheimer's but that the local Toys R Us has relocated to your darling daughter's room.

Your DVD bookshelves and two tall DVD cases used to have such notables as Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Shawshank Redemption and Spartacus. Now, when you lean over to take a gander at what you'd like to watch during a quiet evening, you find five editions of SpongeBob Squarepants, seven editions of Scooby Do, 9 editions of Princesses, 4 editions of Little Einsteins, and a hundred or so titles of the various and sundry from the kids section of Best Buy.

Before becoming a parent, the slightest noises in the house could get one's attention. Now Hurricane Katrina could pass through and I'd just smile at her and say, "Ha, you think YOU can make noise! Have you ever heard of CHILDREN?"

My friends who are parents know what I'm talking about. And they probably also know what I mean when I say, "It's crazy, but I love every bit of it."

It's life.

Gang Green thinks murdering "skeptics" is funny

Ayn Rand correctly called environmentalists "anti-man" because they put nature above humans and human happiness.

This latest video from Gang Green vindicates her -- as if she needed vindicating. A nearly famous guy named David Elmore once said that subjectivists are subhuman and that they are insane because they detach themselves from reality and factual empiricism that makes us truly human with the breadth of human understanding and introspection that ennobles us.

Check out the latest Gang Green atrocity:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Nobel Prize winner and the terrorist

One man dedicates his life to scientific research. The other man dedicates his life to religion and retribution.

Every year at this time, the Nobel committee picks its winners in the sciences. And every year at this time, we have our terrorist-du-jour splashed across the pages of the newspaper.

It is a study in contrasts: in free will, in rationality, in happiness, in pride, in accomplishment, in ramifications for the rest of society.

One man magnificently creates with the contentment of the creator.

The other man stews in his irrationality, looking for innocent people to murder and destroy.

One man's mind is riveted upon the facts of reality, getting a constant rush from his daily achievements and learning much from minor setbacks in his experiments.

The other man demands respect for his utter irrationality, demands that others drop to their knees and elbows five times a day to worship the unreal, demands that others join him in negligence and deference to the unseen, demands that others join him in surrender to domination, demands that those who are different be exterminated.

One man goes by the name Konstantin Novoselov. He and the co-winner of the Nobel prize in physics, Andre Geim, did revolutionary work with graphene, forming super-thin sheets of carbon in the form of graphene just one atom in thickness. Graphene is 100 times stronger than steel. The prospects for you and I and business are virtually endless: much faster computer circuitry, much stronger and lighter airplanes, see-through touch screens, far greater flat-screen TVs, more powerful cell phones and solar cells, and much more.

The other man goes by the name Faisal Shahzad. He was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for trying to bomb innocent people in Times Square in NYC. He calls himself a "Muslim soldier," and he laughed at his sentencing, threatening Americans with more from his mystical "brothers" in arms. He demands all of the things I mentioned above for his superstitious brethren.

The two men are a study in the contrast of facts and faith.

And the conclusion of propriety is a clear as the technology and secular revolutions.

One-hour conversation with my 7-year-old about religion

My Livy girl just can't seem to wrap her mind around the fact that adults (and children) could believe in make-believe. In this case, religion.

One of her little buddies likes to go to church with his mama, and each time, Livy looks at me and raises her eyebrows, as if to say, "Well, OK, but that's just silly."

On Sunday, it happened again, and Livy again asked me, "Why does he get so excited about going to church?" I explained that at church, they have fun stuff for young kids to do, so it's not really as much about the god thing and make-believe mysticism yet.

This led to a long talk with many questions about religion. We discussed morality, personal responsibility, facts, more facts, rationality, free will, independent thinking (even with parents and other adults), handling irrational people, the history of mysticism (going back 30,000 years), the abdication of thought by mystics (religious people), whether religious people think their alleged god would have a penis or vagina or whatever (we laughed at this part very much), and much more.

We ended like we usually do with such conversations, discussing the ramifications of irrationality on rational people, especially politically, with mystics voting for political domination of themselves and the rest of us. Livy now quite comfortably says things like, "People who go to church want the government to steal from us and give that money to other people because church people like for somebody to be in charge of themselves."

How refreshing it is to have a talk with an objective, clear conscience! How fascinating it is to be engaged with a young mind traveling down complex intellectual paths willfully and freely, integrating concepts, forming conclusions easily once facts are digested thoroughly, asking poignant and direct questions and dissecting the answers to ensure that the answers are themselves rational.

If this coming generation is filled with hundreds of thousands of such children as my Livy, as I think it will be, then I have a warning for the mystics and the government:

Your superstition and dominance will be laughed at and eventually exterminated.

And my Livy will have more money in her bank account to maybe buy me a new car. Ha!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The battle of the "makers" and "takers" in America

John Stossel does some great work in promoting capitalism. He ain't perfect, but his spirit and the spirit of those he interviews inspires me and millions of others.

If you need some inspiration and want to see the battle that's going on between the "makers" and the "takers" in this once-great country, watch his six-part series below from YouTube. You'll be stunned by the brazen remarks of the takers and floored by the wonderful remarks of the makers and their proponents.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Atheists beat mystics on religion quiz

It will come as little surprise that we atheists obliterate the mystics at their own game.

In a new poll by the Pew Research Center, atheists and agnostics and Jews and Mormons (yuck) smashed the Protestants and Catholics at an understanding of world religions.

And (equally of little surprise) the more educated you are, the more you know about religions.

The reason I say "little surprise," of course, is that if you have talked with any number of Christian mystics, you know that they know bupkis about their own myth book.

They don't know that the four so-called Gospels can't even agree on who was outside Jesus' tomb or where his carcass walked after being dead for three days or who was at his crucifixion or what he said to whom or what he preached on the mount or that there are two entirely differing accounts of Adam and Eve or ...

In the survey, almost half of Christians didn't know the name of the first book of the Bible, only two-thirds knew the names of the four alleged Gospel writers, less than half know that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist, less than half of Protestants know who Martin Luther is, barely half of Catholics know that they are allegedly literally eating the body and blood of Jesus when they take communion. The list goes on.

You'd think that any human being that commits himself to a fundamental philosophy/viewpoint of the universe and morality would steep himself in the ideas and words of that philosophy, to show at least some respect for the knowledge that is the foundation for his worldview.

No, not Christians. They remain doggedly consistent in their irrationality and remain haughty about their alleged "truth."

I'd have no problem with this if they didn't vote away my individual rights. If we lived in America under a supremely rational constitution, then we rational people could blissfully make fun of Christians without worrying that they will vote away more of our rights, without living with the knowledge that the mystic slaves insist upon us being slaves to their government.

Alas, that day of reckoning for the mystics is coming -- hopefully in my lifetime.

"To Serve and to Protect"

As a child who'd just learned to read, I looked over at the police car from the back seat of my mom and dad's lime-green Maverick.

The officer inside seemed dignified and imposing. The shiny black-and-white vehicle with its bar of lights atop seemed equally imposing. I'd seen many police shows on TV and had come to hold officers in fearful respect.

Then my eyes moved to a quote on the back quarter panel of the officer's car: "To Serve and to Protect."

It was an epiphany. To serve?! Officers had to serve us?! I never looked at officers the same after that moment. I realized in some youthful understanding that officers were not just our protectors, but also our servants, rightfully speaking -- that they got their right to protect from my parents and eventually from me.

In America, the motto was first used by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955 after it ran a contest for the best motto for its police to use. It was adopted nationally by PDs soon afterward.

It should be the motto on the walls of Congress and the front door of the White House. It should be touched each day by legislators and the president. It should replace the ugly motto "in god we trust."

Officials are our servants, our protectors of individual rights. We are not the servants of police or government officials. It's high time the American public understands this fully and puts these jackals in their proper place.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When a song evokes different memories than it used to

Willie Nelson's song "You are always on my mind" used to remind me of a girl I liked a lot in high school. She and I never hooked up, but I thought about her a lot.

Then, after my mom and dad got divorced in 1978, I was visiting my dad in north Texas. Willie's song came on the radio and dad got pensive and a little emotional. He said quietly, "Boy, I love that song."

My dad was not a sentimental fellow, so the moment was poignant. I could see that the song seemed to mean more to him than it did even to me. Ever since that moment, I think of him at that moment instead of the girl I liked a lot.

Funny thing is that it is a love song. Yeah, I guess it is, in a way I hadn't thought of.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When sickness visits, I now raise the white flag

I've been stupid for 50 years. When I got a serious sickness such as the flu, I would continue to go on runs, work out with weights, do chores, handle business, play with my daughter, etc.

Yeah, I know!

And then I would be sick for a week or two, instead of two or three days, like most people -- which confounded me, since I was in such good physical shape.

Not anymore. I officially surrender. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to bed I go. Time to purge this irrationality from my life.

I got the flu officially Thursday night and woke up yesterday morning after a green-and-yellow poltergeist had invaded my body during the night and slammed my muscles to the mat for the count. I hacked and sneezed my way through a couple of absolutely necessary phone calls and emails for my business before lunch.

Then, I trudged off to bed -- with a full glass of water, Tylenol antihistamines, cough medicine, a nutritional drink and the entire third season of Veronica Mars on my portable DVD player. Every hour or two, I got up and cleaned my sinuses with warm salt water, and I refilled my water glass. I moaned, chilled, sweat, hacked and sneezed all day. Not a pretty site, that! Not fit for public viewing.

I told myself that I must surrender a day or more of my life, in order to not have to surrender more days, as I've done in the past. It wasn't easy, but I kept my chilly, sweaty ass in bed. I let my body have the full, unabridged rest it has always demanded on such occasions.

I felt like a couch potato, as if time had stood still, as if the whole world were doing something, and I was not.

Around midnight, I suddenly felt a break in the throbbing head, less drainage from the Poltergeist, less rapid beating of the heart. Dry hacking turned to productive hacking -- always a good sign. (TMI?)

This morning I woke up feeling nearly human. I have to remind myself that I must carry through on my promise to take it easy for one more day and not give in to the desire to jog in the beautiful sunshine, which tempts me as I write this.

One more day, and then I can perhaps take down the white flag and get my life back.

Until we meet again, Sickness.

Eloquent video on how kids must be free

This unschooling video is professionally done, with eloquent and committed parents speaking to the necessity of liberty in childhood.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Objectivism: The tool in the mental garage

I'm not really that interested in philosophy. Thought I was once, but then I found Objectivism, got things figured out, and I realized the reason I was interested in philosophy was I hadn't figured everything out and I HAD to do so.

Now that I'm at a good objective place, I simply use Objectivism as the tool it's meant to be for happy living. It no longer interests me, for the most part, to engage in long conversations about it or, especially, to get into heated arguments about it. Been there, done that. Got things to do. That's what life's about: doing.

Objectivism has become the tool I hardly notice in my garage. Yes, I notice it when I need to, momentarily. I use that mental tool effectively and consciously, but I don't dwell on the tool. I put it down again after usage. I may pick it up (honesty, independence, integrity, discovery) many times in a day, but each time, it's not about the tool. It's about doing something, and the tool helps me get it done.

Those first acolyte years of Objectivist learning were tough, exciting, enervating, exhausting and fulfilling. But I'm sure glad that's over. While I was having to do all that necessary learning, I couldn't be DOING the other things I love so much.

But if I hadn't stopped to do the learning, my "doing" right now would be sorely compromised, and life wouldn't be as joyful and carefree.

Glad to have the tools. Glad they're finally just tools.

The principled life -- It ain't easy for kids OR adults to be oak trees

As a visiting professor for a semester at a North Carolina college in 1994, I stood before my writing class of 20 students and offered them the following question: "If you could steal $1 million from a business or person and there would be absolutely no way anyone would ever find out and you would definitely never get caught, would you steal the money?"

The classroom erupted, with laughing and high-fiving and jumping out of chairs and hooting and hollering and exclamations of "Hell yeah!" by young men and women alike.

They looked at me as if I were somehow offering them a trick question, as if I were insane to even ask such a question. Of course, you would steal a cool million that someone else had earned if you could get away with it. Why not!?

They are not alone, of course. Probably more than half of Americans would have the same reaction. Most of the other half would say "no" only because their gods tell them not to steal -- but they would really WANT to steal the money; they would have to remind themselves constantly of their commandments to resist the temptation.

The missing link in the above immorality is humanity -- and the singular tool that keeps us humane: rationality.

We humans live in a mental world, unlike the lower animals, and we either remain connected concretely to the outer world or we do not. Our mental lives are only as real as our concepts are real. We are honest only to the degree that we pursue honesty in our concept-formation. We have only as much integrity as we have integrated our concepts correctly according to the real world and to our values. We value our money only as much as we value ourselves (for the above) and our work. We value others' rights to their lives and money only as much as we value ourselves and, therefore, our rights.

When people make of the universe a mystical and unknowable place, and when they disassociate their thoughts from the real, then the only thing left to guide them is momentary and immoral emotions. When they hear that they can get a million dollars of someone else's money, their hearts beat at the thought of all the things the money will buy, instead of morally and principlely thinking: "That person/company earned that money with the sweat of their brow and thoughts connected rationally to the world, and they deserve that money -- not me. I could not live with myself for stealing their time and labor and living from them. Each time I spent the money, it would be a reproach to my own self-esteem and efficacy. I have no interest in taking from them, and I hope they have none in stealing from me."

That last sentence takes an enormous amount of mental work to get to: the building up of concepts of concretes, of self-examination, of morality, of the nature of humans as rational animals, of the ramifications of that, etc. That's why even the most rational of young children find it difficult to act morally all the time. They have a lot of learning to do to get to the utterly principled state of mind that prevents immoral action all the time -- to get to that state where a moral principle is just as hard as an oak tree, and where it must be abided in equal measure all the time.

And that is one of the primary places the rational parent steps in: to guide and inform and help be the watchdog until all those proper concepts and principles are mentally in place. It's an exciting adventure being a parent. It's daunting, yes. But it's thrilling when you know you've got the mental tools and resolution to help -- and you eagerly anticipate the day when your progeny become fully principled and happy individuals.

When they become happy oak trees.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Heteros vs. homos; zeros on "Ground Zero"; ingrates vs. immigrants

We Americans (that roughly includes newspaper people) could be discussing the extraordinary nuances of mental induction explored in David Harriman's brilliant new book "The Logical Leap," or we could be heaping praise upon the fascinating and riveting movie "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

But, alas, Heteros (that roughly includes Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich and Charles Krauthammer) are obsessed with telling Homos that Homos can't get married cause, by Jesus, it's an institution of God, and God don't like Homos -- or more specifically, the like lying down with the like.

Before catching their breath on Homos, the Christian Godistas vent their viral spleens on the Muslim Godistas' decision to have Muhammad spying from a few blocks away upon Ground Zero. In a uniquely Christian Alzheimer's moment, Beck and Gingrich and Krauthammer forget about that nagging little thing we have in America called private property rights that the Christians use so effectively to avoid taxation of their beloved mystic palaces (aka churches).

The oxygen-starved conservatives aren't done yet. There are just too damned many Hispanics in America having too damned many baby Americans. And many of those Hispanics are drug runners violating the drug laws created by the Conservatives to keep Americans from (ready for another Alzheimer's moment?) putting things in their bodies that they have a right to put in them. All of which is not to mention that Hispanics tend to be, heaven forbid, Catholics, and they tend to vote for the Obama liberal cabal.

The Tea Party cabal seems to be pretty much aligned with the above lunacy, so just when you think the Conservatives/Tea Partiers might be regaining some sanity, they go and show their true mystic/subjective bright colors.

All of which brings me back around to induction (that's that pesky rational method of forming mental conclusions strictly upon the facts of reality). When one sees the clear, effervescent landscape of one's own mind, illuminated by the facts of reality and the concepts relating to it, and then sees Conservatives in full, confident mental meltdown, one is reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote: "Illusion is the first of all pleasures."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Principles first -- Unschooling second

The headline on this blog post isn't meant to diminish the importance of unschooling. It's meant to establish the fact that I have to have principles in place first before I can determine if unschooling is the proper method for raising my child, Livy. I determined before her birth that unschooling was, indeed, the proper way to raise her.

In working out my principles in the early 1990s, I determined the propriety of Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand that states four primary things: 1) reality is real and understandable to humans; 2) humans have free will and rational brains that can figure out reality by forming facts; 3) because humans can make mistakes while working with reality, they need a code of ethics (honesty, independence, integrity, etc.) to help guide their minds; 4) because humans are rational and work by a code of ethics, they are the only ones who know how to make themselves happy and are, therefore, entitled to be left alone by other humans and by governments.

Because of the above four true generalizations about humans and reality, I determined that the best way to raise my child was to honor her right to her own life, to not get in the way of her extraordinary fact-finding mission and personal trail to happiness.

I also expect her to respect my rights and others' rights as I respect hers. This means that there are rules such as "you've got to clean up after yourself," "noise levels are limited in a room where some don't want noise," "fix your own food, if I don't want to fix it," "always be honest with me," "do not take others' stuff or violate their right to be left alone," "don't expect others to share or do something for you simply because you wish it," etc. We have been talking with each other about these rules for years now, with me giving explanations many times on why I think they are objective rules of conduct for not only kids, but also for adults.

I don't see unschooling as "unparenting." An objective parent has much to teach and much help to give about the facts of reality and what is right. I see that as my role, with my longterm plans of helping create an individual who will be not only my bloodline writ large in her own way, but be among my best and dearest of friends for life.

That is what she has turned out to be so far, an amazingly independent, thoughtful, caring, insightful individual who knows that in order to be free to run her own life, she must recognize the same for others and their lives.

Livy is a joy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breast milk is a wonder, new study reveals

As my ex-wife Kelly and I learned many years ago, breast milk is the healthiest food for infants and toddlers. We read several studies on the matter before having Livy, and Kelly breast-fed Livy until she was almost 3. Livy is supremely healthy now. She also wasn't vaccinated, and I attribute her great health partially to that as well.

Anyway, a new, in-depth study reveals new information on the wonders of breast milk. Check out the study HERE.

If one of the goals of parenthood is to help create the healthiest child possible, then not utilizing breast milk, it would seem, would be irresponsible and reckless.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The biggest "Ayn Rand" name ever

After driving more than 12,000 miles around America, one enterprising Ayn Rand fan made the lady's name big enough to read from the moon. Check it out HERE.

Amazing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"You choose who you want to be" (from movie)

(No plot spoilers in this movie review)

I have a new mystery/drama in my top 10 list of all time: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Actually it is in my top 5. Actually, I think it's my favorite movie of all time.

It is riveting, fast-paced, perfectly written drama that is steadfastly about justice and independence, uncompromisingly so in the main character: Lisbeth Salander (played with stunning virtuosity by Noomi Rapace, photo). At one point in the movie, a hard-ass journalist tries to make a few excuses for a murderer/rapist. Lisbeth, who suffered enormities as a child that continue into the present, turns her fierce eyes to him and says about the murderer: "He had the same choices as everyone else. You choose who you want to be. He wasn't a victim. He was an evil motherfucker who hated women."

That scene doesn't end with the stare. Lisbeth continues to quietly but ferociously watch the journalist to see if he will face up to what she said. She wants to see who he has chosen to be! As hard as Lisbeth is, she is played with unsentimental vulnerability in scenes that are breathtaking in their acting and their writing.

The second time I watched the movie (within 10 days), I replayed that scene about five times, and each time, my spine got shivers and my head shook with disbelief at perfection that you will rarely see in modern-day cinema.

If that scene sounds fantastic to you, you will find other scenes that are more powerful graphically.

There are a few, sympathetic anti-capitalist remarks in the movie and a few other tangential problems, but nothing that egregiously takes away from a nearly perfect movie. I have never given a movie a "10" rating, but I would give this one a 9.9 -- even above my beloved "Shawshank Redemption." It has better pacing; it is more visceral in its life-threats; it is more awe-inspiring in its evocation of how the main character handles the life-threats and those who threaten her; and it shows Lisbeth as an ingenious person with the singular focus of a moral predator.

Go see it and let me know what you think.

(I no longer reveal plot lines or key plot scenes on movies, so the moviegoer may go into the movie fresh.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How I found out I was debt-free

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February, and on Monday I found out that it was finally successful and that all of my debts had been legally discharged.

Know how I found out?

Several car dealerships sent me letters saying that had special deals for those who'd just gone through bankruptcy and had their debts discharged.

Yep, private businesses beat the government in letting me know my bankruptcy was successful. Imagine that!

Finally, yesterday (Wednesday), the government got around to sending me the official letter.

Well, either way, it's good to know I've finally got a clean slate again after the government murdered my successful real estate business in 2008 and 2009.

If my new company gets going in the next couple of months, as I expect, I may just have to go visit a car dealership nearby and take them up on one of their offers -- and thank them for letting me know that I was out of bankruptcy.

She wants to be an archeologist and a fashion designer

My Livy girl loves to dig up bones.

And she's meticulous about how she dresses, ensuring that colors match and that the appropriate outfit is worn for the right occasion -- though sometimes she absolutely MUST wear a dress no matter the occasion, she reminds me (see black dress in photo in 98-degree Atlanta heat with her friends Ethan and Tori, me, and visiting dog "Rocko")

At her request, I've bought her several of the online bone-finding kits for dinosaurs. She's spent hours delicately picking through the faux hardened sediment to discover hidden bones and then to assemble them into the form of a T-Rex or sauropod or brontosaurus. She proudly displays the menacing prehistoric reptile each time.

She has a wide range of other interests, including clay-making, soccer, Xbox gaming (Gears of War and Halo), computer games, badminton, tennis, having books read to her, swimming, math, photography (she has an extraordinary eye for detail and shaping photos and loves candid shots), music and dancing (LOVES Lady Gaga and can dance remarkably well, showing her lovely, creative spirit), art drawing, gardening, government (keeps asking me questions about what it is exactly and why it takes our money), anthropology, evolution, tea parties, movies, cartoons and happy preteen shows (she LOVES iCarly), Harry Potter (Kelly reads these books to her all the time), board games like UNO and Sorry and Monopoly.

So I asked Livy the other day what she thinks she might like to do for work and money when she grows up. She said, "Mmm, I don't know, probably an archeologist ... probably a fashion designer ... mmm, probably both."

I can just see her out on archeological digs!

It amazes me that a child that won't even be 7 years old until next month could have such a wide range of interests. It reminds me of how complex the human mind is, how much the world has to offer a child, and how much children can enjoy and choose from when they are free to do so -- free of improper constraints of "no" and "you can't" and "you must" and "that's not right for a girl," etc.

I don't know what my Livy girl will finally choose to do, but whatever it is, I'm sure she'll be dazzling at it, have loads of fun, and look DAMN good while doing it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ayn Rand Facebook page hits 100,000 followers

Ten years ago, it would've been unthinkable to suggest that any kind of Ayn Rand web site or organization could receive 100,000 interested followers, but the Ayn Rand Facebook site has just done that.

This kind of milestone gives me great optimism for the future.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Thank you, Daddy"

When some people say "thanks," you can tell they mean it, and vice versa, of course.

One of the wonders of Livy for the last couple of months is her expanding on just "thank you" to "thank you, daddy." And it's in such a sincere voice with a look in the eye of earnestness, like she really feels greatly about what I'm doing for her, even if it's making her coffee the way she likes it (lots of honey and LOTS of heavy cream) in the morning.

It makes me realize what kind of child you can get when you simply let them run their own lives. Their spirits expand. The see things as THEY see them, not as someone tells them they must see them. They run their lives virtually completely and take responsibility for their lives and understand and appreciate the effort it takes to do something -- and for someone doing something for them.

And she loves doing things for me. She likes to make my coffee still. She makes me chocolate milk MY way before bed sometimes. She cleans my car. She puts dishes away. She takes care of my possessions as if they were her possessions and abides by my rules on my stuff as it were her own stuff. She always is extra careful with my expensive phone.

I adore her and the person she has become and greatly anticipate the little lady and woman she will become.

And I hope she always calls me Daddy.

"Bad idea, Livy!"

For the first time ever, I heard my daughter address herself.

She's playing Xbox's Halo3 right now on the TV. Evidently, things aren't going so well, and I just heard her say, "Bad idea, Livy."

It was one of those parent-shaking-his-head-in-wonder moments. When a child's self-identity advances to where she can objectively see herself and monitor herself, such remonstrations occur.

Yet another turning point in my lovely girl's life. Wow!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Daughter, not even 7 yet, learns about inflation and more

Livy and I had a full hour of conversation yesterday afternoon on our porch about government and money that started with her asking for the Xbox game "Halo 3" (she's an avid and terrific player of Xbox's "Gears of War").

I told her we might not be able to buy Halo because money was a bit tight. She understands this viscerally because two years ago, we lived in a bigger home, had nicer things and never really had to talk about money being tight.

She asked why money was tight. I said the government stole more than a quarter million dollars from me by regulating and taxing my previous real estate business out of business, as well as interfering with the U.S. economy and ruining it, and by printing too many dollars.

"Printing too many dollars?!" she exclaimed and then paused. "The government can print money? Does it make money?"

Yes, I said, whenever it wants to print more money to give to people besides us, it just makes its printers work longer and make more money. This causes inflation. I told her that milk, which now costs about $3.5 a gallon, used to cost just 10 cents a gallon, and I gave other examples.

She was aghast. "They can't do that, daddy! They can't just print money when they want it!"

I agreed, of course. But what astounded me was how many questions she voluntarily asked and how she drew her own conclusions from simply hearing facts from me. She said such things as, "We are the boss of ourselves; the government can't tell us what to do."

Along the way, she asked "Who is government?" "What is government?" "Why are people so stupid and choose people (politicians) to take our money?" etc.

Several times, she said, "I wish government would crash in a plane." I said, "Me, too, but then another government just like it would come along because people want it."

This completely exasperated her. "Why are adults so stupid?"

Ha, that was question of the hour and took some explaining. I told her that I and my friends that she knows aren't stupid. People like her mom, Kelly, and Julie and Jenn and Brendan and Aquinas and Aaron and many others. Then I explained about the god people and others like them and how it starts with bad parenting and that schooling was connected as well, and that it was caused by not being brave enough to look at facts and live in the real world and think about stuff and put it all together and then feel good about yourself because you do all those things.

I goofed up near the end and called the vast majority of people dumb. She corrected me. "No, daddy, they're stupid."

Touchez, my darling.

"I am all the government, daddy"

Livy and I have had many conversations about the theft that government enjoys calling "taxation," as well as the proper role of government and how modern America is unlike the free America of 150 years ago -- in terms of laissez-faire, not slavery.

So, with a wink in her eye, she announced yesterday morning with arms sweeping the sky "I am all the government, daddy, and you are my SLAVE!" Giggles.

She meant by "slave" that I was to be a slave to her taxations and whims. I was to do exactly as she said and give her money upon demand. More giggles, then totally serious look in her face (with wry eyes), "No, I'm serious. I'm all the government, really!"

I reminded her that she already got a lot of my money, but she promptly answered that that wasn't nearly enough. I said I might have to move to another country, but she reminded me that "all the government" means "ALL the government."

Alas, I put out my hands and said, "Please put the handcuffs on since I'm to be a slave."

More giggles on both sides.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Unschooling makes it to ABC News

ABC has again done a story on unschooling, and this time they did a little better job of not expressing extreme skepticism about it. And this time, they interviewed a lady who has great unschooling credentials and handled herself pretty well in front of the cameras.

Watch the video HERE.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cutting in line

I saw Nora Jones in concert last night at Cobb Energy Center. She has the voice of an angel -- a very sultry angel. During her performance, I was transfixed. Outside of that ...

... I usually dread such ventures into the public, such as going to the movie theater, because of the callous rudeness one almost always experiences while being around hoi polloi. The vast majority of the 6.7 billion people on the Earth have low self respect and, therefore, proportional disrespect for others and others' rights and space. They all have their own ways of acting out this disrespect.

And so, back to the Nora concert. Before I could even get to the parking garage, some hair-feathered 30-something guy with his trophy girlfriend passes up the long line of traffic waiting to enter the theater parking lot next to the garage. The pathetic fellow picked me, of all people, to break in line in front of, with his girlfriend flashing me her winning, oh-please smile.

As I and other drivers saw barbarian coming, we all closed the distance between each others' bumpers, furious that we'd followed civil rules and that he was brazenly believing he was a notable exception. As he tried to force his sports car into the space in front of me, our bumpers came within a few inches of each other and we stared each other down with me mouthing "fuck you" to him and his pretty trophy.

He shook his head indignantly (Ha!) and backed away from the standoff, but the car behind me relented and let him in. As I stared at him in the review mirror, practically begging him to get out of his car and take a fucking beating that he deserved, his girlfriend shot the finger at me. He didn't get out of the car, and he found a parking space far away from me, even though he had a chance to pull up next to me.

These "special" people are cowards, and they are the reason I attend fewer concerts and movie theaters nowadays. Some of his breed also sat behind me and other nice people in the theater. The lady directly behind me decided to sandpaper her nails during the opening act. The lady next to me and I shot her looks to no avail, and just as I was about to turn around and say something, she evidently finished her 10 finger and stopped.

She and her "special" entourage also chatted through the opening act. I'd decided that if they continued even for one minute during Nora's performance that I'd stand up and shout them down and let it go wherever it might go. They were quiet, and my blood finally cooled about five minutes into lovely Nora's performance.

During the opening act, also, a line of eight people arriving fashionably late stood in front of their seats in the row in front of me trying to figure out whose seats were whose with their mobile phones lighting up the seat numbers. This went on for about three minutes. Meanwhile, I and 7 people next to me could not see the opening act and could not listen to the music because of our fury at the insensitivity.

Who are these people -- these drones who populate our world, believe they have special status, ignore the rights of others, disregard civility, attempt to harass civil people, and blithely interfere with others' joy while intoxicating themselves in their own narcissism?

To quote Doc Holliday, they have a great big hole, right in the middle of 'em. They are not people, not anymore. They are lower animals who've abandoned rationality, abandoned personal responsibility. They are subconsciously furious at themselves for their mental treason, and they reek the havoc that is their inner turmoil upon any who come near, in an attempt to make the lives of their victims as wretched as their own.

Instead of the self-esteem of a well-lived life, they have the vacuum-soul that attempts to mitigate its suffering by imposing suffering on others or attempts to falsely inflate its worth and walk the land like a king who imposes his special treatment upon others, becoming indignant when others don't honor the king as expected.

Some people ask why I spend so much time around my Objectivist friends. The above is my answer. Though most Objectivists haven't quite yet become perfectly moral and cleaned up their psychologies, they are, by and large, very respectful of each others' lives and space. I don't usually have to worry about the lashing out or the presumption of kingship. I can have conversation, have good laughs, have congeniality, have mature relationships, have a mutual respect for life, liberty, civility and friendship.

They don't have a big whole inside.

Here's to my friends!

Around the world in 210 days

She wasn't in school. She had something more important to do. She was told by people from around the world that she was too young to do it. Governments almost stopped her. Her parents supported her. Many people called her parents irresponsible for letting her do it. She battled 40 foot waves. Her boat capsized seven times and she righted it seven times.

She was alone on the ocean for 210 days. She sang loudly to herself on glassy oceans under starlit skies and fought off torrential storms with an iron will and a little lady's strength.

She sailed around the world in a mere 31-foot craft, crossing the equator, managing the stormy seas of the Strait of Magellan below South America that Magellan himself found tortuous and deadly, cut the waters of South Africa and headed to the Indian Ocean, befriended a seagull she named "Silly" who remained her companion for awhile, and arrived safely back in her native Australia, ebullient and happy and hungry for chocolate cookies as an adoring crowd cheered.

She is 16 years old, the youngest to ever circumnavigate the Earth alone in a boat. But she won't enter the record books because those in charge of such things refuse to recognize age anymore to dissuade ever younger kids from attempting such feats.

The young lady's name is Jessica Watson. She called her boat "Ella's Pink Lady." She does not call herself a hero. She says she just did what she wanted to do, and that it shows you can do what you put your mind to, whether boy or girl.

Please remember the name Jessica Watson the next time someone whines about life being hard and not being able to achieve what one wants, or the next time someone says that kids are not rational or capable of running their own lives and doing phenomenal things.

Congratulations, Jessica, to you and your Pink Lady!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Teenager talks eloquently about having been unschooled!

If you want to see confidence and eloquence and circumspection and what it's like for a kid who's been unschooled and knows herself and knows how to evaluate herself and the world without constantly saying "like" and stuttering and equivocating, check out this video.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

ABC does hatchet job on unschooling

A few weeks ago, ABC's Good Morning America ridiculed what I and hundreds of thousands of other parents do concerning our children's upbringing: unschooling.

But, as I posted on an unschooler list, at least it means they aren't ignoring us anymore. They've moved on to the second stage of the old adage concerning what opponents do when confronted with a new idea: 1) ignoring 2) belittling 3) arguing over 4) surrendering.

Just two stages to go.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jesus is coming! Hide the gremlins!

During my hermetic period (from my mid-20s to mid-30s), in which I probably read a couple thousand books, I read the Bible a couple of times. It's a great book, if you're looking for wholesale slaughter of innocent men, woman and children, or perhaps for rape and pillaging, or for a jobless carpenter who says he's a god's child and will kill a man's children if the man doesn't obey him, or for endless ancestry lineage with lots of weird names, or for the word "virgin" uttered often, or for a dude named Satan (not "satin") who kills only two people in the Bible compared with tens of thousands by his prime opponent, a dude named "God."

Fascinating stuff! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The jobless carpenter's name was, as I'm sure you've guessed, "Jesus," whose best parlor trick was turning a loaf of bread into 5,000 (why didn't this guy open up his own bread shop and get RICH?). There's been a lot of talk for a couple of thousand years on when he's going to return. People kinda sorta stopped asking this question when the 2nd millennia passed with nary a sighting nor word from the carpenter, whose bones surely must be turning over and over wondering when the hell all the millions of mystics will a) stop thinking he's a "god" b) stop whispering to him in "prayers" c) stop fucking young children d) stop killing people in his name e) stop pronouncing that the missionary position is the only valid position f) and stop proclaiming that he's about to return to Earth from wherever the hell he went to.

The last of these is especially disconcerting for some of us atheists because the Jesus-God guy is supposed to be omnipresent, so isn't he already here? Can he really leave anywhere when he's everywhere? Is he in my testicles this very moment?!

Oh well, of course I'm being too rational. When hillbillies begin talking about Jesus' return from somewhere to here again for the second time, I get a chuckle. But when the "leading conservative media since 1944" sends me (an online subscriber) an email with the subject line "Is Jesus About to Return," I realize once again that I am an alien who must've been launched in a spacecraft playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and showing Firefly episodes from a remote star system comprising rational people who exiled me here for saying "fuck" too much and for giving love pinches to the asses of beautiful women.

The "leading conservative media" is Human Events, which was Reagan's favorite periodical. Right after I received that troubling email, the doppelganger was complete when Human Events followed up with another email with a subject line that read "The Evidence of Life After Death," which confirmed and solidified my alien status beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you cannot quite empathize with my alien predicament of having two feet firmly planted in reality and two eyes always seeking fun and facts and never wishing for there to be things there ain't, perhaps I can offer you an analogy to help:

Let's say you wake up tomorrow morning and nearly everyone on Planet Earth is calling the color "blue" the color "yellow" and they look at you like you're crazy when you demand that blue is blue. Moreover, each of these people talks blithely to gremlins nearby that you cannot see, and they say that the gremlins are their dead ancestors, who had first morphed into flies, then cockroaches, then rats, then penguins before finally metamorphosing into gremlins with green ears and engorged labia.

You know how I feel yet? I do have friends who know that blue is blue, and I latch onto those friends with abandon. "Please, PLEASE don't every leave me! PLEEEEEEEEASE!" When we get together, we look around and know that we are surrounded by the gremlin crowd, the Jesus crowd. We've seen what they've done in history, the murders, the lynchings, the rapes, the spousal abuse, the bullying, the pogroms, the tortures, the missionary position, the suppression of freedoms because they are not intellectually free, the immense robbery via taxation, the artistic oppressions, Newt Gingrich.

We know that those sitting next to us may think Jesus might have his parachute on and is coming. But if he's not, the mystics will get antsy again and look over at me and my friends and just KNOW that we ain't part of the gremlin crowd. Their eyes will turn to slits.

That's usually our cue to smile and finger our Glocks.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Trailer-trash Shakespeare dude

A few of my gentle readers don't like it so much when I go on one of my f-word tangents (that would be "fuck," not "faith") or when I say "shit" or "cunt" or whatever the fuck else I like to say occasionally. But, by damn, it's just got to be said that way sometimes. Certain low people, certain low things, certain low occasions demand it!

Besides, I was born a poor black child. Oh ... no, that was Steve Martin. I was born a poor bloody white child. I was born in a trailer. Well, not exactly IN a trailer. My family lived in a tiny trailer in San Diego until I was 4, but I was born at a hospital -- a 10-pound baby in a roomful of tiny girl babies. Maybe that's why I like women so much!

My parents and half my relatives were pretty much trailer trash without a high-school education (a good thing) and pretty damned independent and salty. My dad was a Marine when I was born and we lived near the military base in 29 Palms. He was only in the service for 4 years but didn't stop being a Marine-dad to my brother, Mike, and I until we grew lots of muscles and could kick his ass, around the age of 18. Then he got nice -- as nice as a Marine ever gets.

The f-word for dad was a language staple. He used it as an adjective ("fucking Cowboys!) or a noun ("that Nixon's a slimy fuck") or a verb ("fuck you, you son-of-a-bitch"). I emulated little of what my dad was (except for his fierce independence and honesty), but his colorful language stuck, which makes for sometimes odd bed partners with my, well, learning. I was the odd kid in the family who was into books and ideas and thinking and contemplating and graduating and asking "why" a billion times and shit like that.

None of my "intellectual" friends cussed like a pirate, and when they tried, it just sound silly. ("I think we fucking need the fucking quadratic equation to fucking figure out the fucking slope shit, you know?") In fact, I also hung around with the pot-smokers occasionally in high school and I was pretty damn good at sports, too, so the jocks and the cheerleaders knew me pretty well (though I couldn't give a shit about them, except for Jamie Williams, who was HOT AS HELL and very very nice and sweet -- and, oh yes, she had big boobs that made any conversation with her lovely face virtually impossible).

Some of my gentle readers think I lose readers or compromise my gravitas when I "go trailer." Well, yep to the former but nope to the latter. A good argument is a good argument, and sometimes one simply can't replace a well-placed expletive. You can't do it all the time, but when it comes time to call the Pope a shit-head pedophile-loving fuck, well, you just gotta call him a shit-head pedophile-loving fuck. He is base, so base language is fucking necessary. (Oops, maybe that last expletive was a bit much. Oh well, what the fuck.)

Anyway, I love Shakespeare and can quote the sublime dude endlessly, so I can cuss whenever I like, right?

Fuckin'-A right! (I love to answer my own questions)

Hey nonny nonny!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Does the Pope shit in the woods?

We former kids who are still pretty much kids used to hear two jokes concerning when a question is asked with the obvious answer being yes: "Does a bear shit in the woods?" and "Is the Pope a Catholic?" When we got bored, we'd mix 'em up a bit: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" ... To which one of the replies would be, "He does if he's bare."

Yeah, stupid, funny, corny. Hell, it still puts a grin on my face -- especially with the current inerrant Pope and his billion-person herd praying for forgiveness and demanding expiation from the flock. Now, this is too much fun on many counts, so I'm almost (ALMOST) embarrassed to have so much easy comedy to choose from in the hapless smorgasbord.

First off, you've got a Pope who didn't tell cops about some of his priests fucking kids, fucking lots of innocent kids. Then the Pope (who's probably been watching too much American football) adopts the adage "the best defense is a good offense" and tells his mostly innocent flock that they need to pray for the church and even themselves. Note to Pope: "THEY didn't fuck kids or hide priests who fucked kids! YOU did." (end of note)

The Pope owns his own country and has a billion sheep, two things that give politicians and police chiefs hiccups and Alzheimer's. I have approximately 30 readers of my blog every day and do not own my own country (yet) and I love liberty, so I am a prime target for politicians and police chiefs, who would throw me in with the butt-busters in prison if I ever defiled children.

Now, you perceptive readers may have noticed I used the adjective "inerrant" in describing the Pope above. Yes, popes do not make mistakes. They are the direct line between sheep and the guy in the sky with the big cigar and a subscription to the Pedophilia United Broadcasting Incorporation Channel (PUBIC). Popes get direct instructions from the PUBIC lover and, therefore, never makes errors -- at least until modern constitutional republics and the Internet came along. Now, they've admitted to errors during the Holocaust, about their treatment of Galileo of his discoveries, about whether priests can put their penises in young children, and about whether Tim Tebow is in fact Christ risen.

We can only imagine how many tens of millions of children have been subjected to life-altering abuse in dank chambers, musty back rooms and dark forests over the last two thousand years of popery. The mystical rats in robes have ruled their sheep's minds, and therefore their bodies and morality, for centuries and done as they please. It is a shameful era in the history of humankind -- and one that speaks eloquently to what happens to people when they become weak of mind and spirit by not critically challenging the shamans who seek power over them.

And yet watch the crusty curmudgeon conehead and his crucifix enthrall still the hordes who run to him as their saviour's elect. The beady eyes smile knowingly at their credulity. His back bends with the weight of decades of irrationality, carrying the cross of faith -- the f-word that is anathema to all who love life.

One of every 6 human beings adore this white monster, and most of the Supreme Court of the United States of America call him their moral leader. ... Does that give you pause?!

Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Georgia bans texting while driving -- which will kill more people

You got the usual banal reasons for why the Georgia pudge-balls (i.e. "legislators") decided to bring the fascist state into the sending of letters in your car, which is known in modern circles as "texting." The pudge-balls did it yesterday and the supreme pudge-ball (i.e. "governor Perdue") will use his pen to add it to the history of legislation that does the opposite of what is allegedly designed to do.

It allegedly will save lives, especially teen-agers' lives, because it will allegedly make them stop sending short letters while behind the wheel. Having once been a teen-ager (unlike the pudge-ball Peter Pans, who've always just been elementary school tattle-tales and bullies), you and I know what happens when fascists tell teen-agers they can't do something, right?

Yep, they then REALLY want to do it. The defiant ones, like myself, will do it whenever we want like we have a goddamned right to do. But (and here's where the fatal irony of this bill comes in) the shy ones and the mostly obedient ones will begin texting in their laps instead of by the steering wheel to avoid detection.

What this will mean, of course, is that thousands of eyes that used to be at least partially on the road via peripheral vision will now be downcast and blind to avoid a fine. Result? More crashes. More deaths. More laws on people not even carrying cell phones in their car that are turned on. The pudge-balls will use the new deaths as vindication for their fascist legislation's importance and insist on jack-booting to the next fascist step of legislation.

Moreover, the police will not know whether a teenager is texting or punching numbers for a phone call. As one critic explained, this law is virtually unenforceable until AFTER an accident or another law is being broken simultaneously. But then, fascist laws aren't meant to be enforced; they are meant to intimidate and remind individuals of who exactly is in charge.

And, by the way, it ain't YOU!

Out of pocket trying to get rich

For more than three weeks I've been working on nailing down a potentially lucrative deal for ownership and executive employment with a company that has amazing chemical patents and is breaking into the marketplace. We're working out final details this weekend, hopefully to the benefit of all parties. My friend Chris is joining me in this endeavor, and we've worked tirelessly with proposals, due diligence and hard negotiations, so we're pretty warn out but exhilirated at the potential, which I'll talk more on if we get things worked out as planned.

All of the above has meant I've had virtually no time for anything other than basic life stuff -- and though I love to blog and express my opinions (ahem), that ain't one of the primary life-stuff thingies. But today, as we wait for the company to get back with us on the final details, I'm going to blog and blog and blog a little more. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The superstitious mind and individual rights

Priests refer to their parishioners as "my flock."

Rightly so. They are sheep -- to be herded, to be fed mysticism, to be intellectually and morally slaughtered.

The flock must bend to religion's make-believe metaphysics, to religion's insistence on epistemological retreat (faith), to religion's demands of immorality, to religion's self-sacrificing politics.

Religion is the ideal training camp for fascism, socialism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, progressivism, despotism -- any political "ism" that demands self-sacrifice and obedience. The sheep believe they rebel, but even when the sheep enjoy their tea parties, they demand sacrifice from fellow sheep via taxation, regulation, subsidies, welfare. Sure, these sheep say they want less authority and less obedience, but they simply ask for smaller knives at the throats of their fellow citizens. They can't help it. They are sheep.

The non-religious are sheep, too, though they like to think they are rebels and hippies and anti-establishment and trend-setters and intellectual. They are better sheep than the religious sheep. They lambast "greed" and wealth on par with Jesus, unlike their conservative brethren, who ignore the hypocrisy.

The god of the non-religious is Immanuel Kant, who proclaimed that duty is what rightly drives human beings and that we are born with "categorical imperatives" in our mind that guide duty and "good will." In other words, we ain't in control; we should obey some intrinsic things in our minds, and we should sacrifice ourselves and happiness to others and duties to others. (Kant was the King of circular reasoning)

There have been many Kant disciples through the last two centuries, but it is ultimately Kant that the atheistic sheep worship -- ironically, because Kant himself was a theist, whose main purpose was to give alleged vindication of a god's presence and authority over morality: god is necessary for the "ideal of the supreme good."

And so we have the superstitious left and right in this country, who've abandoned their minds to their gods of the heavens and universities. The sheep have surrendered their rationality for obedience and irrational doctrines and concomitant self-sacrifice. They have disdain for themselves and, therefore, for all individuals. Their self-loathing projects itself up the rest of us, insisting that we be punished physically for their intellectual misery.

They cannot believe that individuals have efficacy, the ability to understand reality and the ability to be independently happy. They cannot believe that individuals must be left alone. Individuals must be commanded, and individuals must obey. They must serve. They must, ironically, try to make others happy but not themselves.

And, so, they cannot understand individual rights. They cannot understand rights. They do not want rights and they insist that others do not have them either. We are all sheep, after all -- unworthy of rights, waiting for our next commands, waiting to be rightfully slaughtered. Bound sheep do not like unbound sheep.

As long as the vast majority of humanity allows superstition to grip it by the throat and cut off oxygen to the brain, we will not have individual rights. We cannot even discuss it seriously until great gobs of individuals take ideas and themselves and reality seriously. We will continue to live in the Dark Ages as our "modern" brethren and sisters flock to their particular brand of mysticism.

I sometimes wish I could live 300 years hence, when Objectivism has won and young children's mouths gape open as they hear of a time in the 21st century when people, even adults, actually BELIEVED IN GODS!

At least the very thought of such a time and such children makes me smile. And I've seen that gaping mouth on the face of my own lovely daughter. And, oh, how I smile!

Monday, April 05, 2010

236,315 of us (so far) heading to Washington in 10 days

There's a whole passel of us liberty lovers heading to D.C. on April 15. We'd love to have you come with us. We're calling it an "online revolt," because that's how we're getting the word out. Check out the web site at http://www.onlinetaxrevolt.com/.

By the time the 15th gets here, we'll probably be more than 300,000 strong. There'll be a lot of good speakers. It's officially a tax revolt, but most are probably from the Tea Party set.

It ain't an Ayn Rand rally, not yet. But it's a decent start to letting government know who's boss, so we of the objective strain can gain enough time to win the minds of millions of honest people seeking liberty and personal hegemony.

If you can't come along for the ride and fun, I'll be taking lots of photos and report back afterward.

I've gone around the sun 50 times

Tomorrow is my 50th birthday, which means I've woken up and met a new day 18,250 times -- a mind-boggling number, really. Where do all those days go? How many thousands of first sips of coffee have I had?  How many good books have I read? How many good kisses have I given and received? How many friends have I met, kept and lost?

As a very young child, I remember my gramma's 50th birthday, for some reason. She was old! Yet, now I look at pictures of her when she was 50, and she seems, well, like me, or perhaps a little older since she wasn't in as good a shape.

Movement through life seems to start with measurements in minutes, then hours, then days. As we get older and more forward-planning, they seem to move in weeks, months and years. Gramma would say that she still felt like she was 20 when she was 50. She reminisced about being 20 in the late 1930s, The Depression. As a young child, I couldn't believe or understand that a person who was old felt like she was young.

I understand now. I'm in good health, very good health. My body still responds and feels like it is 20, for the most part, except that it takes a bit longer for soreness to go away and I get a bit stiff if I miss a couple of workouts and stretches. Other than that, I'm stronger than I was 30 years ago, smarter, just as speedy, better organized.

All of my close friends are younger than me, except for my friend Dan, who is five years older. I even have some close friends who are 27, another friend who is 31, another who is 36, another who is 38. People my age seem OLD. They walk slower, their brains are muddled, their midsections are bulbous, they lose their breath easily, they can't wait to retire (I'll never do it). They don't keep up with the latest music, movies, gadgets. They seem to live largely in yesteryear or pine for the easy chair in a decade or so.

It's not just my body that's 20; it's my enthusiasm. I can't wait for today, for tomorrow, for the newest gadget, for a new friend, for a fresh conversation, for that first sip of coffee in the morning, for my next workout, for the next admiring look in the mirror at a body that's the result of decades of commitment, for the next race down the street with my lovely daughter or the next water fight with her and her friends.

The one way that 50 is different from 20 in a major way is my perspective about life, about myself. I'm wiser but not a wiseacre. I don't go around anymore thinking I'm better; I just think I'm good. Life is about living, not comparison. Anxiety has evaporated with the cleansing effect of objectivity, and emotions run pleasantly wild with the knowledge that they are good thing, a very good thing. I'm more fun; people are more fun for me. Life is fun.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I will have lived 18,250 days. It will the beginning of the next 18,250. I'll take my first sip of coffee and kiss my daughter, Livy.

And perhaps I'll nod at the sun while reading my morning paper and say, "You ready for another 50 times around?"

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Take your iPad, Steve Jobs, and put it where sun don't shine

Apple execs have pissed me off -- and I'm fricking fed up!

First, they've joined some lawsuits against Microsoft on alleged antitrust violations or testified against Microsoft in other immoral lawsuits.

Second, in the last month they've added coding to the iPhone to prevent "jail-breaking," which means that people like me cannot download coding for our phones to get them to do what they already should do, such as having two or more programs up on the phone at one time. That same coding is now on the iPad, which went on sale today in stores, meaning that you can't be checking email and have another browser window open at the same time. This is simply barbaric (so 20th century) and anachronistic that it boggles the mind.

Third, Apple refuses to allow Flash video capability on its iPad, which means that the predominance of videos on the Internet simply can't be played on the iPad.

Fourth, Apple made AT&T its exclusive dealer for the iPhone for three years. This reaped billions of dollars for Apple and forced us consumers to be stuck with the wretched AT&T if we were to have our cherished iPhone.

Fifth, Apple's contract with AT&T allows AT&T to basically charge double for data sending, because you cannot use your iPhone data plan on your iPad. You have to buy another data service. Insane!

Sixth (and this is the most egregious), Apple has used the clout it will inevitably have with the iPad to get book publishers to agree to a new pricing plan for new e-books, increasing the minimum price on e-books to $12.99 from $9.99, which Amazon has amazingly been charging for years. Even Amazon had to buckle to the new competition, which ironically has increased prices instead of decreasing, which usually happens with more competition. The reason for this is that Apple is demanding a bigger profit off the sales (30%). The book publishers will make a tad more, but they like the new price because it's closer to hardback prices, thereby giving e-book readers less incentive to buy the less-profitable e-books. Apple wins; we consumers lose.

So, fuck you, Steve Jobs. And fuck the iPad you rode in on. I'm fed up. You are thankfully free to do as you please with your products, and I'm am miraculously still free to give you the finger and walk away.

Get back to me when you regain your senses, defenestrate pragmatics and put the consumer first.

Florida doctor puts up sign: No Obama supporters


The fascists in control of 21st century America will soon have another swastika bill to pass, no doubt, since a Florida urologist has put a sign out in front of his office saying, "If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes in your health care begin right now -- not in four years."

For the first time in my life, I wish I needed urology care, so I could go pay this man my money!

Hell, maybe I'll go anyway. "Well, doc, my penis is doing just fine, thank you. Nope, no pain anywhere. Nope, no constricted flow. Just wanted to shake your hand and pay for a doctor's visit. Oh yeah, by the way, LOVE THE SIGN!"

As you might expect, this sign has got the fascists' panties in a knot, so their legal "experts" are discussing whether the doctor, Jack Cassell of Mount Dora, has broken any laws. So far, the fascists haven't found any. But never fear, they'll make some up soon. Or they'll get canny and send in fascist moles for medical treatment. They'll claim that they got run off by the doctor because they are fascists.

The fascist legal "experts" say the doctor is not allowed to turn down a patient. Yep, that's in the books -- or, so say the fascists wonks.

Anyway, chalk one up as a burr under the fascist saddle. May you live long and prosper, Mr. Cassell, so that perhaps you can extend your marketing campaign to the local billboards!

Groundbreaking work by Harry Binswanger

Top Objectivist Harry Binswanger has created a new groundbreaking audio on methodology concerning the epistemological triumvirate of the objective, subjective and intrinsic, making clear distinctions among them. I think this subject is important because it allows the objective mind to be a better detective in fact gathering and in discerning irrationality in others. I've ordered the audio today from the Ayn Rand Bookstore. The information on it is below. Enjoy.

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Ayn Rand Bookstore

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New product!

THE OBJECTIVE VS. THE INTRINSIC AND THE SUBJECTIVE by Harry Binswanger

www.aynrandbookstore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CB87M

The dismal state of today's intellectual life stems from the lack of a genuine concept of objectivity, the concept for which Objectivism is named.

The essence of Objectivism is not just a championing of objectivity but also the identification of a radically deepened concept of what objectivity is.

In the first lecture, Dr. Binswanger approaches the concept of objectivity by asking Ayn Rand's key question: What facts of reality give rise to the need for such a concept? The answer involves distinguishing the metaphysical from the man-made and the self-evident from the inferred. Then one must recognize the need for a concept ("objective") that goes beyond the simpler concepts of "logical" and "rational."

This leads to Ayn Rand's major contribution to epistemology: her recognition that the law of identity applies to consciousness--to man's means of cognition. Lecture one identifies three facts about the identity of man's consciousness, and discusses how they give rise to new principles of methodology.

Before Ayn Rand, theorists saw only two alternatives: the intrinsic or the subjective--i.e., revelation vs. whim. Either we are to remain mentally passive, hoping The Truth will flow in (intrinsicism), or we are mentally active--by embracing the emotional, the arbitrary, the socially approved (subjectivism). In short, either we relinquish control of our minds (intrinsicism) or we give up reality (subjectivism).

In the second lecture, Dr. Binswanger applies the trichotomy of intrinsic-subjective-objective to identify three corresponding schools of thought on concepts, essences, the good, virtue, the initiation of force, rights, and economic value, showing how, in each case, only the objective school, developed by Ayn Rand, provides a rational understanding of the issue.

(3 hrs.,6 min., with Q & A)

Audio CD; 4-CD set: $41.95

www.aynrandbookstore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CB87M

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Water filter is amazing

For those of you who read my post on the Aquasana AQ-4000 water filtration system, I've had it for a month now and LOVE it. I highly recommend it.

And you may have also ready my post on making money on my blog through products I recommend and link to that you click on. So here goes. You can get the Aquasana AQ-4000 from Amazon for the same price I got it for: $99.

Here it is. Enjoy.

The "coercion factor"

All government legislation initiating force against individuals is coercive. In fact, a bill's moral worth can be measured, so to speak, by its lack or level of coercion. We might call this the "coercion factor." We could even establish a numbers system for how coercive a measure is: on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being non-coercive to 10 being murderously coercive.

The parameters for the measurement of a bill's coercion might be: 1) Does it force you to do something or prohibit you from doing something 2) Does it take family or property, including money, from you 3) What's the punishment for any violations 4) To what degree are the coercion and punishment 5) What precedent does it set for further coercion

There are hundreds of nuances to this kind of measurement, perhaps leaving most people to say, "Well, my gut says that's probably a '5' on the coercion factor."

For instance, a law could outlaw "hate" speech. That might rate a "2" on the scale, but if the punishment for that speech is the death penalty, then the coercive law must be rated a "10." If the punishment is a small fine, then perhaps it's a "3"; if a big fine, perhaps a "4." Or perhaps any coerciveness on speech automatically rates a "6," especially if a prison term is associated with it. In some countries, opposition political speech is punishable by the death penalty, which would rate those laws a "10."

Seat belt laws in every state in the union require you to spend 5 seconds to strap yourself in before driving or face a fine, usually not very big, but a fine nevertheless. If you obey this coercive legislation, then you may lose a small amount of your precious lifetime strapping yourself in. Perhaps you would always strap yourself in anyway. So, perhaps this law would rate a "1" for its small coercion and small fine.

How about taxes? Governments take anywhere from 30% to 60% of our income each year -- for those of us who work and own property such as cars. The punishment for not paying taxes is at least a significant fine and possibly, if you refuse to pay the fines, imprisonment with people who may rape you or beat you to death. The coercive laws of taxation might then rate a "7" for the degree to which they rob you of your lifetime and threaten you with imprisonment if you do not allow them to rob you of your lifetime.

For an industrious soul, I'll leave the itemization of coercive laws and the measurement of the degree of coercion and punishment in those laws, as well as any precedent set.

But before I leave, I'll address the coercion factor of the takeover of health decisions in the United States of America by the execrable being sneering at us from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

The coercive bill on our health probably rates a "7." It will force each of us healthy (or unhealthy) individuals to buy health insurance; it forces every American to give private information to the government; it takes over a huge portion of industry; it penalizes those who do not cooperate with fines; it threatens imprisonment for not paying fines; it sets an ominous precedent for the further erosion of individual rights (I consider this by itself worthy of a "4").

For those of you asking, "OK, David, how did you come up with the '7' without actually quantifying each aspect of your five parameters?" I say to you, "Yes, you're right. Please be my guest. I would love for somebody with the inclination to do so to quantify all of the above. My interest lies in getting the ball rolling."

I would love to hear the "coercion factor" mentioned each time a liberal or conservative makes his case for some new piece of oppressive altruism. I'd like to hear principled individuals discuss the issue of legislation with fundamentals involving individual rights. I think the coercion factor helps do that. Each time a wretched congressman or president brags of wanting to help Haiti or the sick or the underprivileged, I want to hear the rebuttal: "Who are you forcing to pay for your altruism? How much will it cost? What happens if people refuse to go along? What's the coercion factor, you mangy dog?"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Raw deal on raw milk

A very long article in the Health & Wellness section of today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal did what you might expect on the issue of raw milk: a hatchet job.

The story is HERE, but you may be able to read it only if you are a WSJ subscriber. I’m not sure.

As some of you probably know, there have been some sicknesses recently that have been allegedly linked to raw (unpasteurized) milk. My family has been drinking this amazing stuff for years and never had a problem, and we have not heard of anyone else having a problem with it. The article also rounds up the usual suspects (ahem, “experts”) who say that raw milk doesn’t necessarily have any benefit nutritionally over dead (pasteurized) milk – although these same “experts” later say that you can get some probiotics from yogurt and kefir that are found in raw milk but not dead milk. Go figure.

As many of you know, raw milk (fresh from the cow) has not been heated to the surface temperature of the sun (pasteurized), so it still has its natural enzymes and vitamins, which help with digestion and nutrition. But this is what a guy named John Sheehan, the director of the FDA’s division of plant- and dairy-food safety, had to say about it: “Raw milk is inherently dangerous and should not be consumed by anyone at any time, for any reason.” You gotta wonder what a farm dad or mom in 19th century America would’ve said to Mr. Sheehan had Mr. Sheehan walked into their barn and shouted that lovely piece of ignorance. I can only hope that pitchforks would be included in the parents’ reply.

With the latest media frenzy (don’t these ignorant people have anything better to do?), the fascist authorities of the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are pushing states to more highly regulate or ban raw milk. Georgia and Wisconsin are actually two states that have bills pending right now to legalize the sale of raw milk, but this latest crap from the media and the fascists may hinder that. We’ll see if the authorities and media can somehow not treat adults like 2-year-olds on this subject, like most others. Doubtful.

Whole Foods recently took all of its raw milk off of its shelves because it feared lawsuits from customers who drank raw milk and then claimed sicknesses from it.

Damned shame.

Making money from you on my blog

I just set up an Amazon Associates membership on my blog, so when I review a book or recommend a product, you, my readers, can buy the item directly from Amazon from my blog post, if you like. I love Amazon and do most of my online purchases through them.

If you decide to do so, I'll make up to 15% off of your purchase.

You, of course, don't have to worry about my integrity when I recommend something -- unless you see me recommending Al (PudgeFascist) Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" for anything other than kindling for your fireplace.

Yours in wealth.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mark Steyn's "health care" in Oh Canada

The witty and funny Canadian columnist Mark Steyn wrote a wry and revealing column in November 2000 on the decrepit Canadian government health system.

Being an American, I got a visual of what passes for health care in the northern tundra, evoking images of dingy public restrooms, mindless clerks, endless waits, careless dismissals, and devil-may-care attitudes -- not to mention potentially life-threatening delays.

This is back-to-the-future ObamaCare. We simply can't have it. I won't have it.

"I have an uncle who's an avocado"

While Livy was watching iCarly on TV, one of her favorite shows, one of the characters was making fun of another character and said, "Yeah, you have an uncle who's in al Qaeda."

Livy laughed and turned to her two friends Ethan and Tory and repeated what she heard, "Yeah, you have an uncle who's an avocado."

They all three laughed hilariously.

Ha!