Monday, October 16, 2006

The Myth of America

There have always been myths (another word for lies) in every culture. China thinks it is the Middle Kingdom (i.e. center of the universe), and that eating tiger penises will enhance virility. England, the inventor of the concentration camp (the Boer War, 1900) held to its moral superiority as it enslaved hundreds of millions of people. As for America, I wasn't taught about the "gift" by the U.S. government of thousands of blankets infected with smallpox to wipe out (e.g. that's genocide, folks) the Indians, or the overthrow of democratically elected governments that were deemed to be unfriendly to American business interests, or the turning away of hundreds of thousands of Jews trying to escape death in Germany.
My point is not that America is any worse than any other government, but it really is time to stop thinking that it is better than all other governments. When you hear words bandied about like freedom, and democracy and liberty, you can rest assured that it is unlikely that the politician is really talking about those ideals; they are merely buzz words designed to evoke a Pavlovian response in the listener to get him to agree with the speaker without thinking. This is one of the great myths of America, that most of the world hates us because they don't inderstand us, or they are envious of us or whatever. Most of the world hates us because our government is acting in a way that is perceived to be arrogant, selfish, short-sighted, and cruel. 660,000 dead in Iraq,mostly civilians, for a war that was unnecessary and illegal. That is NOT about liberty and freedom. It is about oil and money, and if you don't get that, you are living a myth.

Monday, September 04, 2006

if you are over 50, read this

Juice can help prevent Alzheimer's

[Posted: Mon 04/09/2006]

The risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease can be reduced by regularly drinking fruit juice, a new study has indicated.

The 10-year study found that the risk of developing the disease was dramatically reduced for older people who drank fruit or vegetable juices regularly.

The study found that the incidence of Alzheimer's was 76% lower for those who drank juice three or more times a week than for those who drank juice less than once a week.

The incidence was 16% lower for those drinking juice once or twice a week.

The researchers at Vanderbilt University in the US said their study showed that

one particular type of antioxidant in fruit and vegetable juices, called polyphenols,

was linked to the positive effect on Alzheimer's.

These are found in the outer sections of fruit and vegetables in the peel or skin and when the whole fruit is processed, this goes into the juice.

The study involved more than 1,800 Japanese people living in Japan, Hawaii and Seattle.

Their fruit and vegetable juice consumption was monitored and their mental function was checked every two years.

The research is published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

this is pretty amazing, too

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Real Estate Speak

When reading ads for houses, a certain translation is needed.
Here's a partial sampling:
Charming: small
Cozy: very small
X number of years young: X number of years old
Fix-me upper: dilapidated
Pastoral view: no mountain view
The following words have absolutely no meaning whatsoever: gorgeous, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime, fantastic, dream, extraordinary, magnificent, sensational,
large, spacious, enjoy, etc. etc.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This is amazing

A sort of political manifesto

I read recently that Dick Cheney said that Lieberman's defeat in Connecticut would (and I paraphrase here) encourage Al Quaida to commit more violence. By implication, what he is saying is that voting can be a form of treason.
It seems to me that this administration and American constitutional democracy are two phrases that don't belong in the same sentence.
Let me state this clearly: If you still support this administration, you are at best stupid, and at worst a big asshole. So there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Law of Unintended Consequences

I was watching this program on the ' 70s, I decade I virtually missed because of my involvement with TM, and it explained that the reason cocaine became such a big thing was becaues Nixon made pot VERY illegal, so the smugglers wisely switched from pot to coke because, whereas a kilo of pot might fetch a couple of hundered dollars, a kilo of coke would bring in tens of thousands, so they started flooding the market with coke. Now this is a perfect example of unintended consequences. And last night I was watching a program about Henry VIII and the struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants and it seems that most of the things that each side did had the opposited effect of what they intended. For example, Mary, his daughter, also known as Bloody Mary, when she became queen, wrote an edict that ordered the burning at the stake of any Protestant that would not renounce his faith. Now while this did rid England of several hundred Protestants, it so enraged the nation that as soon as it was clear Mary would leave no successor, they annointed Elizabeth I, a Protestant, to be the next ruler.
I'm not sure exactly what my point is here, but I think it must have something to do with being very careful what you wish for and being VERY careful with how you go about getting it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On swearing

Some friends of mine, after reading the previous post, told me that they were unable to focus on what I was saying because I used the word "fuck" so much. So I went back and read the blog and, indeed, I did use the word "fuck" a lot, but it was only in a very narrow and precise meaning, specifically, to harass, as in "to fuck with people." I think that is a great use of the word. I could have used the word "harass," but it doesn't have the same oomph as "fuck."
I think in general people are too hung up about swearing. When I was in high school, everybody said that swearing was the sign of a bad vocabulary. Now, not to be too arrogant about this, but I was well aware of the fact that I had a better vocabulary than almost eveybody I knew, so that was a specious argument at best, and a wrong one at that. So I dismissed that whole thing about swearing a long time ago. I think swearing, when ued properly (whatever that means) adds spice to language. It's not called salty language for nothing.
So for those of you offended by my language, you shouldn't read it if it bothers you too much.