June 26, 2014

  • Atlas Shrugged

    A LINK for later

    ***********************

    I think for myself.  I always have.  Well, at least since the age of 7, when I remember clearly how strongly I objected to being told by a close relative that I believed in the same religious crap that he did.

    I doubted then, and still do, in the existence of a Supreme Being who “created” the universe in which we live.  I’m perfectly willing to coexist with people who have faith in this or that.  To me, “God” means “good” and somewhere along the way the letter O got dropped from the inside.  And “good” is another way of expressing the power of love, and I even once sincerely answered yes to the minister’s question, “Do you consider yourself religious?”  Because being “religious,” to me, is believing in the power of love. 

    The minister in this case was the settled minister at the Unitarian Universalist congregation to which I’ve belonged for the past 23 years.  A healthy percentage of us UUs share thoughts similar to mine.  But we all of us think for ourselves.  That’s what defines us. 

    So anyway, it’s not particularly hard to understand why one of the things I love about Ayn Rand is her rabid atheism.  I’m NOT an atheist, per se, because as I suggested near the beginning, all I have are doubts.  I’m not QUITE a pure agnostic, because I’m not persuaded that God, if he or she exists, can never be known.  That’s how I think agnosticism is defined:  a lack of belief in God because God is unknowable.  But I’m close.  I just say, God is PROBABLY unknowable.  If he or she exists. 

    I’m even less a believer in Christianity, however you want to define that branch of human thought or belief.

    Now let’s move from religion to politics.  I fell in love with Ayn Rand’s books when I was 19 years old, and my first presidential vote was for Barry Goldwater.  After that I voted for Richard Nixon twice, followed by votes for Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan (twice), Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton (twice), Ralph Nader, and Barack Obama (twice).  Most of my fellow UUs are confirmed Democrats, and I’m a member of that party only because I joined in 2008 to help get Obama nominated.  (We have closed primaries in Florida.) 

    But I still love Ayn Rand, even though she was a scummy human being and her philosophy and politics were borderline demented.  Not that I’m happy being “Atlas Shrugged” bedfellows with the likes of Ron Paul, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.  I’ll see Part 3 of “Atlas Shrugged:  the movie” because I loved loved loved that book.  As for John Aglioloro, while I’m grateful he went to the trouble to purchase the rights and get the movie to the big screen, I deplore his lack of professionalism when it came to producing the movie.  Part 1 was pretty good.  It got horrible reviews because of political differences between Objectivism and the liberal press.  Part 2 stunk.  Part 3 will probably stink, but I still feel a need to bear witness.

    I may be inclined to vote Republican someday, but I don’t know when or if.  Currently, that party and all of its members are nobody I want to be associated with.

     

    The article I linked at the top is of moderate interest, so I’m sharing.

June 18, 2014

May 25, 2014

  • May 25 New York Times

    I don’t have that many readers these days, but I’ve seen enough of today’s Sunday New York Times to urge anyone within range of these words:  buy a copy of today’s paper before it disappears from the shelves.  The Sunday Review section alone is worth the price of the paper — and so far I’ve only had time to read all of Page 11 (Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and Nicholas Kristoff — all three op-eds are awesome) and the lead article (“Faking Cultural Literacy” by Karl Taro Greenfeld, which is a total riot), and a smattering of other articles.

    I’ll publish links to the choice items either later today or later this week.

May 21, 2014

  • One-Hit Wonders

    Thanks for the kind responses to “Testing.”  I bought a new computer and Internet Explorer isn’t working as well as Google Chrome but I can only get to my home page from IE (at the moment), so life is complicated.

     

    Anyway, I’m looking for a song.  Can’t think of title or the singer, but the title was something that had to do with loving a woman whose hair had turned to silver and the singer was some guy known to be a singer of romantic ballads, but he’s not famous.

     

    Anyway, the recording used to be featured on a radio station that plays oldies, but they haven’t played this record in like forever, and in searching I found a website that lists “one-hit wonders” from the 50s and 60s and HERE IS THAT SITE.

    That was actually for the 60s.  HERE’S FOR THE 50′s, starting from 1955.  I don’t know why.

     

    Lots of good stuff there.  Just haven’t found what I’m looking for.  Yet.

May 15, 2014

May 3, 2014

  • And then, of course, the other side — the reason we cheered

    Much as I admired Jason Whitlock’s critique of the harsh punishment meted out to Donald Sterling (see yesterday’s post), there are good reasons why we cheered when Adam Silver laid down the hammer. 

    But let me back up.  Back in the mid-90s, the tournament Scrabble world that I inhabit was all consternated over the fact that our treasured word list was about to be expurgated thanks to the complaints of well-meaning anti-bigots who felt words like nigger and kike and even fatso were offensive terms so labeled in our source dictionaries.  All of those offensive words are still legal in sanctioned Scrabble tournaments, because the expurgated dictionary is only official for school tournaments.  Can’t expose the little darlings to words like fuck and asshole, don’t you know.  (As if they don’t know those words well from the playgrounds and the streets.)

    Before the compromise was reached (no expurgation for the adults; delete the offensive words for school Scrabble), I was resigned to not only accept the coming ban of naughty words, but ready to embrace it.

    “Let Scrabble lead the way in ridding our culture of such ugly words (and thoughts),” I chimed in.

    I was roundly outvoted, but reminded of the experience when reading about Sterling and his admonition to his mistress to not let it be widely known that she associated with black people.

    And why did we all cheer, even though freedom of speech was being trashed?  Well, Timothy Egan summed it up well.  I would have missed seeing Egan’s column, which doesn’t seem to have appeared in Friday’s print edition of the New York Times, if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be patrolling the parking lots at work and hearing his column mentioned on the radio. 

    Whitlock and Egan.  Two writers to admire.

May 2, 2014

  • The White Supremacy Culture

    I was kind of almost feeling like the Odd Man Out last week as I reflected on the disgraceful attitudes expressed by Donald T. Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.  I was feeling odd because I felt almost sorry for Sterling, who is about to be forced to sell his basketball team on the reasoning that as a racial bigot, he is unfit to be an owner in the National Basketball Association.

    New commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling is banned for life from any association with the league or with his team, and we all cheered.  Even me.  I cheered also, thinking that Sterling deserves to be hung by his thumbs.  But at least I felt a little bit guilty about what I was thinking.

    Then I felt that I had a lot of company when I read the Letters to the New York Times in yesterday’s paper, and even more so when I read Jason Whitlock’s column this morning.  See

     Whitlock on Donald T. Sterling

    I must go to work this morning.  See ya later.

April 27, 2014

  • New computer

    Thanks to the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows XP, I was forced to buy a new ‘puter. 

    It’s installed and working fine.  The new one, that is.  It uses Windows 8.1, I think, but I can configure the desktop to look like Windows 7 so that I can use the damn thing.  Paying for it is next on the agenda. 

    Why do I always feel broke?

April 12, 2014

April 8, 2014

  • “The Oppressed Majority”

    That’s the title of an 11-minute video that has gone viral on YouTube. 

    Imagine a world in which one sex is oppressed by the other, in which you can’t dress attractively and walk down a city street without enduring wolf whistles and degrading comments and disgusting sexual innuendos.

    You say we already live in such a world?  Yes, but imagine if the roles were reversed.  We live in a world where most cops are men and most of the victims of sexual assaults — verbal or physical — are women.

    French filmmaker Eléonore Pourriat has created a video that shows what a world would look like where male and female stereotypes are switched.

    It’s a brilliant series of vignettes.  A househusband is taking his young ‘un out for a walk in its stroller, and drops the toddler off at a day-care center run by another househusband.  Later, he is harassed by lecherous women in the streets, then attacked physically, then has to undergo the mortification of being interrogated at the police station by a female officer when he tried to report the sexist assault.

    It’s an awesome look at who we are, and who we shouldn’t be.

    View ”The Oppressed Majority” HERE.