Monday, April 07, 2014
“The sheep are well-fed and pacified with entertainment, as you suggested. We have led them to believe that their little problems like buying toys and finding sex partners are the only things to worry about. They have no idea whats in store for them.”
The Taskmaster was fidgety and this didn't go un-noticed by the land-owner. It was obvious something was bothering him.
“Is there something else?”
“We have a malcontent who isn't falling for it. He's trying to spread discontent and refusing to be a good flock member. So far none of the others pay any attention. But that just makes him more determined. It's worrying to think that his ideas may spread to others and eventually the Department of Agriculture might get wind of it.”
“Deal with it! That's what you get paid for!”
“Do I have permission to use the secret weapon?”
“Is it absolutely necessary? If the other find out it may wake them from their stupor.”
“I have a plan that will allow us to kill two birds with one stone.”
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! The wolf answered the door and the Taskmaster was standing there with hands folded in front of him. “I have a job for you.”
“i don't like having a boss. What's in it for me?”
“All the lamb-chops you can eat. They are outside in the trunk of my Fiat”
“I can get squirrels and rabbits for free. Your fiat lamb-chops are worthless.”
“Worthless, maybe. But oh so tasty. If you're not hungry perhaps you could trade some for a new flat-screen TV”
“You have a point there. What do you want me to do?”
“Clean off your sheep suit”
Number 436 was laying down in the barn eating the hay that the land-owner was saving. This wasn't really allowed, but he didn't care. The wolf sidled up to him. “Why aren't you out there eating some fresh grass?”
“Why should I? The land-owner took away my freedom and the Taskmaster whips me and steals my wool. I think they owe it to me.
“Yea, it's rough. But I bet if the land-owner didn't have to pay so many taxes, he would give you more freedom. And if the Taskmaster didn't have many rules to comply with he wouldn't take out his frustration on you.”
“Are you saying that it's all the fault of the Department of Agriculture?”
“You catch on quick. I can tell you are different and special, so I'm going to tell you a secret...”
“Wake up, 667! I got something to tell you!”
Number 667 groggily lifted his head to see what his friend wanted. He was tired from searching out the tastiest clover, and somewhat perturbed that 436 wasn't. “This better be important.”
“It is. I just figured it all out. If it wasn't for the Department of Agriculture the landowner would give us more freedom and the Taskmaster wouldn't be so pissed off.”
“Why do you always want to talk about complicated issues when I'm half asleep? Listen, if it wasn't for the Department of Agriculture, the landowner would scrimp on our food and shelter and the Taskmaster would abuse us even more. They are protecting us from greed and avarice.”
“No no, you don't understand! If you talked to the people I talked to, and read all the books I read you would see for yourself.”
“Where did you get all those books?”
“From the new guy.”
“So you got all those books from the same guy? And they all say the same thing? Thats not research, that's thought control. Why don't you read one of mine?”
“But they might tell me something I don't want to hear, and since I know I'm right, they must be wrong.”
“That is a logical fallacy, and if I had some coffee I could tell you which one.”
“No you're not getting it. I have learned the secret words that once spoken will bring us everything we've ever wanted. Don't you see, words are magic. That's why they call it spelling. Get it? Spelling? Magic spells? It all makes sense.”
“Words are words. There is no such thing as magic. Getting 'spelling' mixed up with 'spells' is like saying that there must be a heaven because it rhymes with seven. If it only works in English, it can't be some sort of mystical truth, or else it would be true in German and Spanish and all other languages too.”
“But the new guy told me and I believe him because I want it to be true.”
“Then why is he here? If he knows magic, he should just create himself a magic land and go there and forget about this place.”
“He did! He said the magic words and got what he wanted. He just came here to tell me that I can do the same thing. I now have special knowledge, and that makes me free.”
“Let me guess; for just $299 he will tell you how Fiat Currency is worthless. This is a huge scam and he wants you to be a Guinea pig.”
“You're wrong. He cares about me and wants me to get what I deserve.” He stormed out of his friends stall in a huff.
Number 436 marched into the office of the Department of Agriculture without an appointment. He wrote his name with the magic ink and spoke the magic words, and was promptly handcuffed and led away to the echoes of laughter. As the knife came closer to his throat, he regretted believing the wolf and not reading some of 667s books.
The Investigator for the Department of Agriculture talked to the landowner and the taskmaster, and they decided to shoot the wolf. The wolf was dangerous, but he was outnumbered.
667 lived to a ripe old age. Sure he gave up his wool once a year, and he wasn't always in the best of health, but at least he was alive and free to read any book he chose.
Nothing else changed.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Alternative Medicine That Actually Works
Due to the rising costs of health-care, many people are looking into "alternative medicine". With an unemployment rate of 9% (closer to 16% if you include the people who have given up looking for work and the under-employed)it's no wonder many are looking for home remedies. I've heard stories of people using pet medicine because it's cheaper. I wouldn't recommend that course of action unless you've had some college level chemistry, although I suppose you could call it "alternative".
Health care costs are still rising and thanks to free trade any new jobs we do create are likely to be low-wage service industry jobs resulting in fewer trips to the doctor, thus raising costs again. If the Republicans are able to bust the unions like they want there will be even fewer patients for the doctors so they will have to raise the prices even more. Not that the Doctors give a shit anyway; higher prices plus fewer patients equals more golf. When I was a young idealist I thought that doctors and teachers were the most noble professions because they help people. I still think teachers are noble because they do it for a LOT less money than doctors. Now I think Doctors are for the most part spoiled rich kids who disguise their greed with patriotism. Being patriotic implies concern for your fellow country-men; I wish I knew how greed became a virtue.
Enough ranting; here is the list of Alternative Medicine That Actually Works. Anything not on this list has either not been proved to work or been proved not to work.
1. Herbal medicine
Some herbs actually do have pharmacological properties, but they can be variable in quality. Most of the good ones are well known and available over the counter. Before you try herbs you should do research first, but be careful. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Also remember that anything you ingest is changed by the digestion process. That's why things like rhino horn and bear bile could never work even if they had the claimed properties. In other words, eating dolphin brains won't make you smarter.
If you get a massive infection and have no money for the doctor you could get gangrene. If you do, don't kill the maggots. They will eat the dead flesh and may keep the infection from spreading. Letting them live will actually increase your chances of survival. Kill the maggots and without medical science you could die too.
Well, that's about it. Accupuncture works as well as a placebo; chiropractic is glorified massage. If you can't get to a doctor you are fucked. Tough luck Charlie, that's the American Way. What are you, unpatriotic?
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Ending the Recession in One Easy Step
So we all know the US has a huge National Debt, right? I've heard all kinds of hypotheses and elaborate schemes to bring back prosperity, but the simplest plan is always the best. All we need to do is arrest the pope and set the bail at 3 trillion. I'm sure the Vatican could come up with it (though they might have to pawn a couple of golden thrones). Then we could collectively apologize to Sinead O'Connor.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Bush Regime memorial
Did you see the tea-baggers with the "Obama-as-Hitler" signs. If you have the misfortune to to be trapped into conversing with one of these creatures, try not to smile too much when you realize that they see no irony in this. You won't be able to get them to see the irony no matter how you try, so don't even bring it up. If does come up however, be prepared to respond to this:
"you guys called Bush a nazi, Now it's our turn."
See how he trapped you like that? That's why I told you not to bring it up. Now what are you going to say to him? "But that was different!"
Indeed it was different, but your bewildered friend there has been drinking Reagan-flavored Kool-aid for so long that you'll never get him to see that. Some people are beyond reach.
Instead, do what I do. Say to him or her, "I never compared Bush to Hitler. He wasn't even in the same league with Hitler." Then tell them this joke:
"Q. What's the difference between Bush and Pinochet?
A. One destroyed his middle class, tortured people, and told the poor to go to hell. The other was the dictator of Chile."
He probably won't laugh. Nevertheless, I believe it to be one helluva good joke. Because, you see Pinochet was the dictator of Chile and Bush.. oh, never mind. If you gotta explain these jokes, then you lose the comedic timing.
Seriously though, don't even argue with these people. It does no good and it legitimizes their point of view. It's why scientists don't debate with UFO abductees or creationists. There are not two sides to EVERY issue, especially when one side is completely wacko.
Besides as these people become less rational, they become more violent. It's not worth risking injury to make a point to someone who won't acknowledge that you made a point.
Instead, use your time more wisely and go home and prepare for the coming class war. Only it won't be a class war; the corporate media will spin it into a race war. The rich people can hire people who are smarter than us and know how to shift public opinion. Do you really think the owners of the air-waves will allow a revolt against their incestuous hegemony? They will have the red-necks and the brown people killing each other in the streets quicker than you can say "Gulf of Tonkin" if it means they get off the hook. And who do you think is going to be stuck in the middle? Me and you. The remnants of the former middle class. Whose side will you be on? Better ask which side will allow you to join. The skin-heads think people like you are the cause of their problems, and you're not brown enough to move to the hood. You will feel like the only guy in jail that gets a Kosher meal. Let's see, who else can you befriend to help get through this trying time? I know! Wealthy people! So as the klan and the krips are killing each other in the street, you should mosey on down to your nearest gated community and tell the armed guard there that you want to be friends with all the nice people inside. Besides your hungry and scared. I'm sure those nice people inside will swing the gates wide open and yell "Hallelujah! The prodigal son doth return!"
Oh how they will greet you. While the different varieties of poor people are out there killing each other, your new friends will throw a feast in your honor.
Or the guard just might kick the shit out of you and not even hear as you moan "but I voted for Ron Paul and always bought BP gas," as the gate creaks shut.
In closing I will leave you with another joke. Perhaps it will act as one of those zen koan things and bring enlightenment, but I won't hold my breath. Okay, here's the joke.
The dictators from history were finding it a bit boring in the afterlife so they decided to have a peek at some warfare. One track minds, I guess. So Gengis Khan says "Hey guys! Check out the Middle East!"
Chairman Mao said "Look at those American weapons! If I had had those, I could have wiped the nationalists out of existence!"
Hitler said "Look at those American soldiers! If the Wermacht was that highly trained all of Europe would be speaking German!"
Napoleon said "If I had Fox News the French people would have never heard of Moscow."
Thursday, August 13, 2009
1. The dark ages. If it wasn't for religion we would have an almost 1,000 year head start in science and technology. All the problems we have now could have been solved by now and we would be living in a peaceful, sustainable land.
2. Men wrote the bible. I'm sure some of the stories in it are based on things that may have happened, but bear so little resemblance that they can only be used as clues to figure out the real story. How can you expect a text that is nearly prehistoric to be without error?
3. There is no evidence. Unlike most Jesus-Junkies, my mind CAN be changed. All it would take is some evidence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
4. Any subject that needs something called "apologetics" to justify its existence is suspect from the start.
5. Most Christians are ass-holes. I drive a lot and more often than not, when someone is driving like a selfish bastard, they will have a plastic fish on the bumper. Pro-tip: Being self-centered is often indistinguishable from being stupid.
6. Religion encourages racism. 40,000 members of the KKK have been ministers.
7. There is no such thing as "super-natural". If something exists, it is either natural or artificial.
8. Why are there so few placental mammals in Australia? Only evolution can account for that.
9. Religion is a vector for toxic memes.
10. God feels he has to destroy humans every so often when they become too wicked. Why does he feel he need to be melodramatic with the fire and floods human sacrifice? If he can do anything, couldn't he just suck the blood out of evil people one at a time? That would be a cool story.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Happy Fourth, America
A restored letter
The Thoreau Reader
Monday, June 15, 2009
I don't listen to much music anymore because most of it's crap, but here are some songs I reccomend. I guarantee you will find something you like. Go get something to ingest; you might be here a while. Sorry you gotta cut and paste, but there were too many to embed them all.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The following is an actual message I recieved on my Youtube channel from a religious person who is apparently upset that I am an Atheist.
"Die painfully okay? Prefearbly by getting crushed to death in a
garbage compactor, by getting your face cut to ribbons with a
pocketknife, your head cracked open with a baseball bat, your stomach
sliced open and your entrails spilled out, and your eyeballs ripped
out of their sockets. Fucking bitch
I would love to kick you hard in the face, breaking it. Then I'd cut
your stomach open with a chainsaw, exposing your intestines. Then I'd
cut your windpipe in two with a boxcutter. Then I'd tie you to the
back of a pickup truck, and drag you, until your useless fucking
corpse was torn to a million fucking useless, bloody, and gory pieces.
Hopefully you'll get what's coming to you. Fucking bitch
I really hope that you get curb-stomped. It'd be hilarious to see you
begging for help, and then someone stomps on the back of your head,
leaving you to die in horrible, agonizing pain. *beep*"
I sent him a friend invite and gave him my address and told him how much I look forward to meeting him. What would Jesus do?
Dear SUV driver
I'm terribly sorry I got to the stop sign at the same time as you. If you were there one second earlier, it would have been your turn, but by a cruel twist of fate I was on your right. I know it must have seemed so unfair to you that I got to go first even though your vehicle is more expensive than mine. I hope it didn't interupt your important phone call. P.S. You got served by a car thats older than your mother and still gets better gas mileage than your Stupid Useless Vehicle.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Chuck Norris Sucks
Seriously if this isn't un-American, then I must be missing something. Not only did Chuck Norris pick a lame martial art that was a Korean copy of a Japanese copy of an Okinawan style that was itself a copy of a Chinese peasants style, he also picked the lamest political philosophy ever. I mean, if they think secession is patriotic, then maybe we should just let them leave. They need us more than we need them, thats for sure. And just how far would Texas get without the rest of the states? They would come crying back in no time, begging to be forgiven, just like the whiny little babies they are. English does not have a word to describe how utterly disgusted this kind of inflammatory rhetoric is making me.
I don't know what to do about this increasing unhinged-ness from the right, but I think I know the cause. You see, most republicans are out of touch with reality. That's not just a cliche; if the only place you get your news is from Fox or World Nut Daily, and you never encounter poor people in your day-to-day activities, it's easy to believe that America is some sort of Leave It To Beaver rerun.
Did you ever get cut off by an ass-hole in an SUV who can't be bothered to use a turn signal? It's a symptom of the same illness. He really didn't notice you, anymore than he noticed the homeless guy with the crayon scribbled sign that was standing in the street. To him, his phone call really was more important than other peoples safety. It's called Cognitive Dissonance; it's why they think that the way to fight Islamist extremism is to become a Christianist extremist. It's why NRA members can think free guns would be good but free health care would be bad. It's why they get mad when you tell them that Benedict Arnold was a conservative and Jesus was a liberal. These things challenge their subjective image of reality.
I don't think there is anything you or I can do help this generation other than to keep blogging and voting, but hopefully these virulent Memes will die out of their own accord like a virus that kills its host too quickly. Then one day we can teach our boys that being a man doesn't depend on subduing things and teach our girls that being a woman doesn't depend on popping out babies.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Science is the Answer
I stumbled across a news item that I would have thought would have garnered a bit more attention from the fear-mongering corporate media. In December of 2007 a woman from Colorado was diagnosed with Marburg hemorrhagic fever. It's called a Filovirus, like Ebola, and can be spread by contact with the bodily fluids of infected people. It's so bad it's considered a potential bio-weapon. It's icky; I'm glad no-one else caught it.
For some reason she had to go to Uganda. She was probably one of those wacky missionaries sent there to tell the natives how praying works better than condoms. Either that or she's the trophy wife* of an overpaid Bankster who only went there as a status symbol. She was probably a blonde, too, because she had to go in the python cave where the bats that are the most likely vector of Marburg live. Now I wouldn't mind going to Africa myself, but if I do, I'm not going into a python cave. I'm sure it's not called the python cave because of all the cuddly bunnies running around. She's lucky all she got was Marburg. Wouldn't it be ironic if she was an anti-vaxer?
But that's not the point; The point is that it took the CDC over a year to confirm that it was in fact Marburg. After suffering through the anti-science administration we've had for the last eight years, I'm not surprised. At least now we have a President that knows that Science is important. Let's just hope he doesn't cave in to the religious wing-nuts (cave, get it?).
At least there are still people who take their science seriously out in the field. Some would say that it was a miracle that no-one else was infected, but lets give credit where it's due. Marburg is pretty nasty and it wasn't prayer that stopped a potential "hot zone". It was the brave doctors and nurses and lab techs at Lutheran Medical Center and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment who worked with the CDC to minimize the risks to anyone who may have come into contact with the patient. They are unsung heroes. I also heard a rumor that there was some old guy dressed in black who was mumbling over some beads, but he didn't do anything usefull.
Unfortunately the United States isn't the clear leader in high-tech research it once was. I blame that luddite, Ronald Reagan and all the gullible lemmings who followed him over the cliff of voodoo economics. Stealing our thunder, the Human Virology Department of the Ecoles normales supérieures in Lyons, France are at the forefront of research into Filoviruses. A team lead by Prof V Volchkov are figuring out what makes this stuff tick. They clone the virus from cDNA and then engineer mutations in it's genome. Different mutations affect different proteins and this way they will find out the role of specific proteins in pathogenicity of the virus. Once the replication of the virus and the synthesis of proteins is understood, vaccines and therapeutic tools against Filoviruses can be developed. Or they could just go to church and listen to some charlatan tell them how the god of Bronze Age goat-herders is still somehow relevant and how Jesus wants tax cuts for the wealthy.
*don't get mad at me for using a misogynistic stereotype. Do something to change it.