Monday, May 20, 2013
OK, if Obama and friends are the government, why is he denying involvement in this IRS scandal? The IRS is part of the government, and he IS the government, so doesn't that make it impossible for him not to be connected to it?
It isn't merely concern about the people at the top of government that makes people suspicious. The executors who implement and enforce those policies also generate major suspicion and concern. The government's lowlier agents are the ones most people encounter, so they probably cause more concern than the top level folks they report to.
How typical: when something happens that the President favors, the government is he and he acolytes. When something happens he wishes to deny, suddenly it is the work of "rogue agents."
The government admits rogue agents exist, but continually smears citizens who worry about them.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I spent my 20s in such company, all because of a delusion about “making it" in comedy (I can't even write it without cringing!). A poor choice on my part. But hey, any chump who bunny hops toward a mirage deserves what he gets.
Don't know where my comedy goes from here. Do know I need to get funny again. Hope I'm haven't become permanently pretentious. If I have, hopefully I'll recognize it and quit jokes forever. I'm not cut out for confessional folk comedy, and neither are crowds that are worth entertaining.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The NBA is almost seventy years old. If we accept that there has only been one Jordan in seven decades, it follows that we cannot reasonably expect a new Jordan every year, or every few years. Furthermore, when we say that all these "next Jordans" didn't live up to their potential because they didn't become Michael Jordan II, we are again talking nonsense. We attached a demonstrably improbable expectation to them, and then criticized them for not meeting it. "Oh, he didn't become the next guy who has only surfaced once in 2/3 of a century? Ugh, why did he even pick up a basketball?"
It is a testament to Jordan that his career spawned its own subgenre of sports analysis. Unfortunately, "expert" sports forecasts, like most other expert forecasts, have the same pleasant tone as a test of the emergency broadcast system. They are of almost no worth and on their best day provide fifth-rate PR for the sports they are discussing. Just one example of their nonexistent predictive value: when Michael Jordan came into the league, was anyone saying he was the "next Oscar Robertson" (or the first Michael Jordan)?
*We are also seeing it now in golf. Everyone is the next Tiger Woods.
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Saturday, May 4, 2013
It is strange that these two faculties seem to impress people almost equally. The talents needed for each aren't equally rare. Comparatively few can read mathematics, which is why math causes great struggles for so many. Meanwhile any literate person can at least read and recite passages from the Great Ancient Books (ever hear of someone contemplating suicide over a exam about Seneca the Younger?). The fact that people weight these two skills equally is yet more proof that most people can't do math.
It surprises me that more people don't study the Great Ancient Books so they can lay more women and bamboozle more people at parties. An unnecessary reference to the Classics is a Trojan Horse that would make Virgil proud.
My Tweets are so good they don't need to be in Latin: https://twitter.com/greatMikePayne
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Tuesday I had an appointment with a new physical therapist. The one I’d been seeing for 2 ½ months informed me at the end of my last session she’d be out of the country through January. The notes she’d made during my mostly ineffectual treatment were lobbed to another therapist, and my first appointment with him was primarily a questionnaire.
The spells of immobilizing fatigue are coming more often. I keep finding it necessary to rest on stairwells, to lean against walls, and to scout for places to sit, even after the mildest activity. My train station is 10 minutes from my flat. Sunday night I barely made it home, and fell through the door winded and without an ounce of strength left in my body.
I feel stronger already!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The occasional sunset might be pleasant, but every chemically balanced person should object to them on general principle. Sunsets mean the disappearance of the sun; nature's happy pill. Does having the sky resemble a bad tie-dye t-shirt for 45 minutes really justify all the subsequent hours of mocking darkness? I think not.
It is unnatural to celebrate when joyous things come to an end. Do you sob with glee when you're putting the rocky road back in the freezer? When a woman is putting her pants back on after a one night stand, are you like, "Wow this is best part, let me grab my canvas and brushes!" No. There's a reason why women putting their pants back on is the only part of life that hasn't become a porn sensation.
I don't understand why we're not using today's technology to put an end to sunsets. I don't want to see an iPhone 6 until they've discovered a way for me to calibrate the Earth's movements so that it is sunny all the time wherever I am (if the iPhone 6 has that feature, fair enough).
I will no longer remain silent in the face of pro-darkness fascism. I hope to have your support at the next anti-sunset referendum.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Am I a zero dreaming that I am a hero, or a hero dreaming that I am a zero; meditations on meditation
Atheism--which many seem to feel can be best expressed by bashing "organized religion" (facing Mecca is more sound if always performed in solitude?)--is more public than it used to be. This hasn't resulted in people finally freeing themselves from the pursuit of "enlightenment." Instead of using atheism as a backstage pass to fun and folly, many instead still seek "transcendence" through painful rituals like fasting; something the religious have done for centuries.
Unlike the Buddhist monks who often withdrew from already simple lives, today's cosmopolitan transcenders dip their pinky toenails in similar antics while living a life of nonstop sensation. They talk a good game about hating "consumerism," but have enough electronic devices to make Batman's utility belt look like something that came with a Happy Meal. Phones that purr like kittens and apps that update you whenever your friend gains a pound do not change the fact that this life is all there is, same as it was before everyone looked like Inspector Gadget. Unsurprisingly, some people respond in much the same way as the folks who have long organized (cue Home Alone scream face) themselves into religions.
The sequence is simple. After some introspection, a would-be transcender comes to the painful realization that this is all there is. He then turns to more introspection and pain as a means of resisting the fixity of his existence. Unfortunately, attempting to overcome pain--that is to say life--by pursuing more pain is like overcoming aspirin by taking more aspirin. By fasting, you have not overcome anything. You have become hungry. You will eventually have to eat, because you are still bound to the same physical laws as all the other Earthlings. You cannot meditate your way around this. Existence has no service elevator.
Many of today's capital A atheists are as judgmental of hedonism (put less scandalously, the pursuit of pleasure for its own sake) as subscribers to traditional religions. They can't believe everyone wouldn't want to "think of something greater than themselves." If this reminds you of statements you've heard from organized religion adherents, it isn't a coincidence. We cannot transcend what we are, but we can try to make ourselves feel better about it by trying anyway. All religious pursuit, organized or otherwise, could be given the same name: Placebo Effectism.
But fear not, there's no need to be so gloomy about it all. Humans want to feel they're more than a slowly sinking buoy in a sea of chaotic and indifferent energy. No problem. Here is an easy, relatively painless, (and free) form of "transcendence" you can try at home. Every morning when your alarm goes off, your initial urge is to go back to sleep. But instead, you get up. Why not tell yourself you have transcended sleepiness? And throughout the day, remember to pat yourself on the back for overcoming your urge to strangle your boss and seeing beyond your desire to take a six hour lunch. Everyday drudgery suddenly becomes triumphant when you feel you've walked in the bare feet of Parashurama.
And if you like your transcendence drastic, you can always go old school and set yourself on fire. Just tell everyone all that stopping, dropping, and rolling you did was just a really advanced form of Bikram Yoga.
Firewalk with my Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/greatMikePayne