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10 June 2010 @ 11:00 am
This blog is basically defunct.

For your reading pleasures I suggest




That is all.
28 June 2009 @ 10:55 am
Operation "Gradually Take Over the Publishing World So That My Forthcoming Magnum Opus Making Out With You Killed My Dog Will Be Immediately Met With the Acclaim It Deserves" is proceeding apace.

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean it can't do without your help.

1. If you haven't bought the book already, what are you waiting for? I've heard all of your excuses: "It's too expensive!" "It's too blasphemous!" "I hate things that make me laugh!" And, quite frankly, I found them all wanting.

2. If you have bought the book already, then why haven't you written an Amazon review? There's only two of them right now: one by perich and one by some cranky dude who apparently pans every "new atheist" book that comes out, making his 3-star review ("commits logical fallacy argument ad ridiculum but is riotously funny") a major moral victory. Of course, I would prefer 5-star reviews, but I guess 4-star reviews could suffice if you're in a huge hurry. (Note: I am not asking you to review the book if you haven't read it. In fact, I would prefer that you not review the book if you haven't read it.)

3. I am sure that one or more of you must be a book reviewer for the New York Times (I'm looking at you, Michiko Kakutani) and can hook me up with a glowing above-the-fold review. Alternatively, one of you (*cough* Sam Harris *cough*) must be influential in atheist circles, or (*cough* Blackstone *cough*) in magician circles, or (*cough* Penn and Teller *cough*) in atheist magician circles. Do what comes naturally.

Or perhaps you just know one of these circle-famous people; perhaps Richard Dawkins is in possession of your kidney, or you once let John Hodgman cheat off you in English class, or you're having a steamy love affair with Maureen Dowd.

Anyway, my publisher has kindly given me some "promotional" copies to distribute strategically. And while I'd love to just give them to my friends, I should probably try to get them to people who'll help, you know, drive sales. And I should probably also try to get them to these people in a way that doesn't result in their immediately being thrown in the trash, which is what I imagine happens when you send books unsolicited to Deepak Chopra, or to Iranian president Mahoumadijamabad, or to the estate of Ayn Rand.

Therefore, if any of you have any "contacts" in the "media" who you think might be "interested" in my "book," I would be exceptionally grateful if you would HABU!

I'm not saying that I'd reward you with a cameo in the "Nancy Drew" storybook, but I'm not saying that I wouldn't...
17 June 2009 @ 08:53 pm
Book for sale! Book for sale!

(commonreader, you probably don't want to click the following link.)


Book for sale!
23 April 2009 @ 02:21 pm


It's very topical, but you might enjoy it still.
29 March 2009 @ 03:02 pm
The role of "Joe Biden" will be played by Max von Sydow.

10 February 2009 @ 02:24 pm
BIL was awesome. I apologize to LA people I didn't get to hang out with -- BIL literally sucked up every minute of my weekend -- but you should have come to BIL anyway, so it's your own fault.

I got to see brkvw _elle_ radiantsun radium aliteraryaffair neoteny s3nsational jemvla browascension lightling resipisco patrissimo neurogirl odditory hober kirinqueen and I'm sure a bunch of other people with LJs that I just don't know about.

Hooray for friends!
09 February 2009 @ 12:22 am
Things I love about LA:

(1) my friends
(2) the beach
(3) you can drive as fast as you want (traffic permitting) and no one cares
(4) all the billboards for lap bands

Things I don't love about LA:

(1) pretty much everything else
03 February 2009 @ 07:33 pm
hey LA people,

I'm going to be in your neck of the woods this weekend for BIL. If you're not going to BIL but you still want to hang out, let me know and we'll see what we can work out.
someone else: Did you get the two-sided ones?
candid: No.
someone else: You can get the back printed in Spanish or Braille.
candid: If people don't have eyes or don't speak English, I don't really want them contacting me.

09 December 2008 @ 11:15 am
perich: http://www.chryslerllc.com/en/
candid: is this a joke site ?
perich: not so far as I know
candid: "it's not a beer belly, it's a fuel tank for a sex machine"
perich: "I'm not threatening to kill you; I'm encouraging you to exert yourself."
perich: "I'm not sleeping with your sister; I'm becoming a part of your family." etc.
candid: "I'm not coming in your mouth; I'm avoiding making a mess on the carpet"
candid: note to self:
candid: for future refence
candid: "I'm trying not to ruin your uniform, officer" would have worked better
08 December 2008 @ 04:21 pm
Anyone who knows me (or who reads my del.icio.us links) knows that I think Malcolm Gladwell is the Bullshit King. perich asks why Gladwell's latest is so bullshitty.

It is bullshitty, of course, because it follows the Gladwell model:

1) State a stylized fact:
Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the college draft that year, and each looked as promising as Chase Daniel did now. But only one of them, Donovan McNabb, ended up fulfilling that promise. Of the rest, one descended into mediocrity after a decent start. Two were complete busts, and the last was so awful that after failing out of the N.F.L. he ended up failing out of the Canadian Football League as well.
2) Grossly mis-characterize this phenomenon and give it a cute name:
This is the quarterback problem. There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they’ll do once they’re hired.
(If you are wondering why this is a mischaracterization, it is worth considering whether NFL scouts were able learn enough about me to predict how I'd perform as a NFL quarterback.) (In case you think I am being too flippant, I will further observe that there are hundreds of college football quarterbacks who graduate every year, and most of them are judged, presumably with some merit, as not pro football material.)

3) Apply your "rule" to some trendy cause:
After years of worrying about issues like school funding levels, class size, and curriculum design, many reformers have come to the conclusion that nothing matters more than finding people with the potential to be great teachers. But there’s a hitch: no one knows what a person with the potential to be a great teacher looks like. The school system has a quarterback problem.
4) Drown the reader in colorful (but irrelevant) details:
Kickoff time for Missouri’s game against Oklahoma State was seven o’clock. It was a perfect evening for football: cloudless skies and a light fall breeze. For hours, fans had been tailgating in the parking lots around the stadium. Cars lined the roads leading to the university, many with fuzzy yellow-and-black Tiger tails hanging from their trunks. It was one of Mizzou’s biggest games in years. The Tigers were undefeated, and had a chance to become the No. 1 college football team in the country. Shonka made his way through the milling crowds and took a seat in the press box. Below him, the players on the field looked like pieces on a chessboard.
5) Loop in a third example:
Perhaps no profession has taken the implications of the quarterback problem more seriously than the financial-advice field, and the experience of financial advisers is a useful guide to what could happen in teaching as well.
6) Draw an "outside the box" conclusion:
In teaching, the implications are even more profound. They suggest that we shouldn’t be raising standards. We should be lowering them, because there is no point in raising standards if standards don’t track with what we care about. Teaching should be open to anyone with a pulse and a college degree—and teachers should be judged after they have started their jobs, not before.
(For the record, I agree with this conclusion, which is further evidence of its outside-the-box-ness.)

(Also, notice that this conclusion actually has nothing to do with the original "problem", as evidenced by the fact that neither Gladwell nor anyone else is suggesting that we would be well served by lowering the standards for NFL quarterbacks.)

7) Be wistful:
What does it say about a society that it devotes more care and patience to the selection of those who handle its money than of those who handle its children?
8) Demonstrate tolerance:
This was what it would be like to be an N.F.L. quarterback, wasn’t it? But there is nothing like being an N.F.L. quarterback except being an N.F.L. quarterback. A prediction, in a field where prediction is not possible, is no more than a prejudice.
9) End with an irrelevant, opaque quotation:
“In a great big piece of pie,” Shonka said, “that was just a little slice.” ♦

CONGRATULATIONS! You're as smart as Malcolm Gladwell! Use your powers wisely!
05 December 2008 @ 09:54 pm
Ladies and gentlemen, William Ayers:
"I'm not an unrepentant terrorist; I'm just a guy who set off a bunch of bombs in support of my political agenda, and (looking back) it's possible (but definitely not certain) that doing so might have been a bad idea. If I have any regrets, it's that our terrorism bombing campaigns weren't successful in achieving our political goals."
Can someone please let me know whom I have to terrorize bomb in order to get the New York Times to publish op-eds by me?
04 December 2008 @ 10:13 am

Oh noez, the Seattle Public School district is recommending the "African American Academy" for closure! Where, then, will students go to learn about Nguzo Saba?
The Seven Principles of Nguzo Saba have their roots in a rich African cultural history. They are the foundations of the 7-day Kwanzaa family and community celebration practiced by many African American families, which begins each year on December 26, the day after Christmas. Part of the celebration includes lighting a candle that's been placed in a specially prepared candleholder, after which members of the family or group that has gathered talk about one of the principles.

The Seven Principles are:

UMOJA (Unity)
This means helping each other stay together as families, communities, a nation, and a race.

KUJICHAGULIA (Self-Determination)
This is the right to decide who we are, what our names will be, what we will become, and what we will create for ourselves. We will not let others do these things for us.

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility)
This means we should build and take care of our communities. We should work together to solve our problems.

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics)
This means we should build our own stores, shops, and businesses. We should profit from them together.

NIA (Purpose)
Our purpose should be to make our people and communities as great as they can be. We can do this by taking care of our homes and communities, and developing the skills and knowledge of all our people.

KUUMBA (Creativity)
As African American people, we should do as much as we can, in our unique way, to make our homes and communities more successful and beautiful.

IMANI (Faith)
We strive to believe with all our hearts in the worth of African Americans. We believe in the struggle and victory of our people.
I, for one, am outraged that Seattle might stop funding this common-sense curriculum. Who's with me?
20 November 2008 @ 10:00 am
"Whether The State Should Sanction 'Gay Marriage'" is not one of the top 50 most pressing issues of our time. (In fact, it is probably not one of the top 1000, but I have trouble counting that high, so I can't be sure.) If you are going to whine, or protest, or armed-takeover Mormon temples, or carry humorless signs, or angrily call black people "niggers", please do so in service of one of the following more worthwhile causes:

(1) Ending the despicable "war on drugs"
(2) Ending the despicable "war on filesharing"
(3) Abolishing the despicable patent system
(4) Demanding that the Pink Pony bring back "recession-busting $5 table dances" (which featured prominently in their radio ads back in 1991)
(5) Allowing dental hygienists to clean teeth without dentist supervision
(6) Abolishing prescription requirements for pharmaceuticals
(7) Crushing the teachers unions
(8) Releasing "Night Stand with Dick Dietrick" on DVD
(9) No more bailouts
(10) Promulgating the truth that 9/11 was an inside job
(11) Fixing "Heroes" so that it stops sucking so much
(12) Bringing back the McRib DONE!
(13) Abolishing the Electrical College
(14) Releasing left-wing-activist cop-killers from jail
(15) Sticking up for Ezra Levant
(16) Insisting that "Guitar Hero: World Tour" and "Rock Band 2" play well with each others' peripherals
(17) Abolishing licensing requirements for hairdressing, hair-weaving, hair-beading, hair-lengthening, and medicine
(18) Rescuing Katie Holmes from the Scientologists
(19) Repealing Washington State's inhumane alien firearms licensing non-system
(20) Revoking Al Gore's Nobel "Peace" Prize
(21) Getting rid of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(22) Reuniting Winger DONE!
(23) Electing Ron Paul
(24) Getting Chris Hitchens his own TV show
(25) Instituting a college football playoff
(26) Getting "Son of the Beach on Hulu DONE! ("I'll get you in the end, Notch Johnson!" "No, The Bird, you're headed to prison, so you'll be the one getting it in the end.")
(27) Insisting that the incontrovertible fact of evolution be taught in public schools
(28) Making sure that Chelsea Clinton never gets her hands anywhere near the reins of power
(29) No new taxes
(30) No old taxes
(31) Convincing Guns N Roses to finally release "Chinese Democracy" DONE!
(32) Developing cheap, fuel-efficient auto-rickshaws for the Amrikan market
(33) Teaching economics to our children, so that one day everyone will be able to prove the First Fundamental Theorem
(34) Liberating the Atlas Shrugged movie from "development hell"
(35) Getting Led Zeppelin to give Bert Jansch credit for the arrangement of "Black Mountain Side"
(36) Figuring out how to get YouTube to stop thinking I'm in India
(37) Lobbying Bill Cosby to bring JELL-O Pudding Pops back to the market
(38) Eradicating tropical diseases
(39) Encouraging Mormons to write more books about teen/vampire romances, Bean, and Allomancers
(40) Tarring and feathering Nathan Myhrvold
(41) Popularizing the theories of Mencius Moldbug
(42) Preventing the reinstatement of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (at least until such time as I have stocked up on assault weapons at non-gouge prices)
(43) Promoting "fareology" (and, if there's time, also "vibeology") as legitimate academic disciplines
(44) Encouraging me to finish my anti-religious magnum opus
(45) Developing wildly-creative regional film industries like they have in India
(46) Eliminating the stigma on pejorative non-sexualized usage of the word "gay"
(47) Supporting the rights of hall-of-fame ballplayers to have their heads cryogenically frozen after retirement
(48) Putting "The Simpsons" out of their misery
(49) Boycotting Dominos and Pizza Hut and Papa John's and Round Table
(50) Giving some sort of lifetime "outstanding achievement in the field of excellence" award to Timothy Stack
05 November 2008 @ 10:20 am
Assuming I haven't deleted the blog by then, we can check back in four years and see how right or wrong I was.

Terrible Things Obama Will Do That McCain Would Not Have Done

* Taxes on me

Obama claims he will not raise my taxes. I do not believe him. I expect that my marginal rates will go up and that he will raise/eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes. You might think of me as greedy for worrying about this, but I work hard, and I already pay tons of money in taxes, and most of it gets spent on awful things I don't approve of.

* Un-Taxes on people poorer than me

I expect Obama to start eliminating taxes on low earners and sending "refund" checks to people who do not pay any taxes, increasing a culture of dependence on government, an attitude of "it's not my money, so who cares how stupidly they spend it", and a vision of government as "sugar daddy".

* Forced volunteerism

Obama will institute some sort of "national service" program that recruits teenagers into paramilitary-style squads to engage in left-wing activism. He will be unable to make this mandatory (as that would be a form of slavery), but will instead make participation in this program (or the military) a requirement for federal financial aid for college.

* "Fairness" Doctrine

Congress will pass (and Obama will sign) a revival of the "fairness doctrine", which will then be used selectively against conservative talk radio, but not against liberal TV networks or NPR. My attempts to invoke the fairness doctrine to get a column next to Billy Graham's will fail

* IP Issues

The Democratic congress will roll over for the RIAA and MPAA and give them sweeping new pseudo-law-enforcement powers. Obama will proudly sign the bill, remarking on the importance of fighting "piracy"

* Supreme Court

Obama will appoint at least 2, and possibly 3, justices to the Supreme Court. They will be "judicial activists" able to find spurious "rights" in every nook and cranny of the constitution. They will do incalculable damage to the cause of liberty, largely by deciding that other people have "rights" to my money and to Harrison-Bergeron-style "fairness" and (especially) not to have their feelings hurt

* Pay "Equality"

Obama and Congress will pass some sort of "equal pay for equal work" bill, which will have entirely predictable "unintended" consequences

* Unions

Congress and Obama will pass Card Check (and other) legislation that will dramatically strengthen the power of unions. More jobs will end up sent overseas as a result.

* Trade

Obama and Congress will be trade-unfriendly. Obama will not pull out of NAFTA, but he will attempt to renegotiate some of its provisions. (See previous.)

* Faith-based programs

Will expand federal funding of "faith-based" programs, with a bias toward funding left-wing programs.

* Guns

Will work hard to make handguns more difficult to legally obtain. Will attempt federal ban on concealed carry. This ban will fail.

* Civil Liberties

Congress will pass laws against thought crimes and the government will increasingly use nasty privacy-invading tactics against those who dissent. I'll probably end up in front of some kind of Ezra-Levant-esque tribunal once my book comes out. I'll videotape it (the tribunal, not the book) and it will become a YouTube sensation.

Terrible Things Obama Will Do That McCain Probably Also Would Have Done

* Education

Congress will dramatically increase federal spending on public education. Public education will continue to get worse.

* Social Security

Obama and the Congress will work to expand Social Security benefits.

* Immigration

Congress will attempt to pass an amnesty bill (which they will not refer to as an amnesty bill). It will either barely pass or barely fail.

* "Alternative" Energy

Congress will allocate assloads of money to "alternative energy" research. The overwhelming bulk of this money will end up in pork-barrel projects that never produce anything of even slight value.

* Housing

Will craft bailout for (some subset of) people who bought houses they couldn't afford, implicitly penalizing those of us who bought (smaller) houses we could afford.

Things Obama Will Not Do

* Healthcare

No substantial healthcare reform will take place. Seriously.

* Abortion

Abortion will still be legal. (This also would have been the case under a McCain administration.)

* Drugs

Will (with the overwhelming support of Biden) continue the hugely moronic, hugely destructive war on drugs

* "Carbon Neutrality"

Nothing will happen on this.

* Guantanamo

Obama will not figure out a way to shut down Guantanamo. Alternatively, he may shut it down and open up its equivalent elsewhere.

* Economy

Obama will not be able to save the economy. Sorry.


You will notice I didn't say much about foreign policy. That's because I don't have a good sense of Obama's foreign policy (and also I'm not good at making predictions about foreign policy. Someone else can do that.)
01 November 2008 @ 04:05 pm
First, from the Saddleback Forum:
WARREN: Now, you’ve made no doubts about your faith in Jesus Christ. What does that mean to you? What does it mean to you to trust in Christ? And what does that mean to you on a daily basis? What does that really look like?

OBAMA: As a starting point, it means I believe in — that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that I am redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis. Yes, I know that I don’t walk alone. And I know that if I can get myself out of the way, that I can maybe carry out in some small way what he intends. And it means that those sins that I have on a fairly regular basis, hopefully will be washed away.
In discussions, many of which involved Sarah Palin's religiosity, I have brought up this quote as evidence that Obama too is a religious nut, that he believes (to put it in easy to understand language) that "a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

Now, perhaps this is the case, in which case I am surprised that my many atheist friends are so ga-ga over the guy. But invariably, when I bring this up, I am told that "of course this is a lie" and "I bet he's a closet atheist" (or "a closet agnostic") and "this is the sort of thing you have to say to get elected".

Let's take these in reverse order:

(3) "this is the sort of thing you have to say to get elected". No. It's possible you have to affirm theism in order to get elected. But I am pretty sure that Bill Clinton never made pronouncements about Jesus "dying for his sins" in 1992. If it's a lie, it's quite an uncessarily detailed one.

(2) "he's a closet atheist". "What," I always asks, "makes you believe that?" "Oh," people tell me, "if you look at his background, he's got to be one." I interpret this as "he's educated, so he's got to be an atheist", which is a complete non sequitir to me. I know lots of "educated" Christians. Some of them even went to Harvard Law (and others of them claimed to have attended Columbia). While Obama might in fact be a closet atheist, the only justifications I've heard amount to self-congratulation on the part of my atheist friends and colleagues.

(1) "of course this is a lie" OK. Your savior is a big, fat, liar. What else is he lying about? "Oh, politicans all lie, and of course he's not lying about anything 'important', like his associations with Ayers or whether he heard sermons at his church or whether he was a member of the New Party or whether he believes in 'redistributive justice' or so on." Um, yeah. Also, how do you know Palin's not lying about her religious views? "Ummm...."

The most charitable explanation (and the one I subscribed to until everyone started arguing with me about it) is that Obama is a Christian nut who believes that Jesus died for his sins (and, by extension, that I, having publicly renounced the holy spirit on multiple occasions, am going to be tortured in "hell" for several eternities). Probably Palin believes this too, but at least I can see faint traces of a libertarian streak in her.

The alternative to my explanation is that he's an especially craven liar, which may be par for a politician, but hardly represents "CHANGE".
30 October 2008 @ 03:05 pm
herbaliser: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i6aed018f8f53c49b726df7ed83b2e24a
candid: I am very skeptical
candid: (not that the movie exists, that it is necessary and that it will be any good)
herbaliser: you are probably right.
candid: how are we so bereft of ideas that we need to remake nearly-perfect 80s movies ?
herbaliser: they are also making a movie out of the Preacher graphic novels
candid: "mommy, the other kids made fun of me for reading comic books"
candid: "poor baby, next time just say they're 'graphic novels'"
herbaliser: the real difference is the amount of blood, gore and sex
herbaliser: also, cursing.
candid: you don't read the right comic books
candid: anyway, I have never read a "graphic novel", and I have never heard of "preacher", so I have no opinion on your second piece of news
candid: (other than "it's about movies, so it probably says nothing to me about my life. hang the dj.")
03 October 2008 @ 10:30 am
Were I not about to leave on vacation (during which I will have unreliable internet access), I would single-mindedly devote the next three weeks to establishing a grassroots movement devoted to defeating every single congressperson and senator that voted for the bailout package. (This includes both Obama and McCain.)

If there are no repercussions for legislators who vote for (horrific) legislation strongly opposed by the vast majority of their constituents, I will take it as the ultimate rebuttal to those who naively maintain we live in a "Democracy".


26 September 2008 @ 03:29 pm
AJC, 9/25/08: Gas shortage may crimp weekend fun
AJC, 9/26/08: Ga. officials investigating 130 gas stations [for price gouging]
20 September 2008 @ 08:35 am
If there were any justice in the world, Barney Frank would not only lose his job but would also be beaten with a sack of doorknobs.
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
19 September 2008 @ 10:20 am
My birthday is coming up soon, and what I really want this year is a picture of me and Stevie Nicks. However, the woman who got internet famous for producing them on commission apparently no longer takes new requests.

This is where you come in. I know that every one of you is an artist (in some medium) and wants to produce this sort of me-and-Stevie picture. I don't really care what the format is. MS Paint. Photoshop. Pixel art. Scribbles on napkins. Blood and feces on a wall (in this case please send only a photograph). Legos. A song. A YouTube video.

If you need some source materials, there are some pictures of me here and some pics of Stevie Nicks here. If you want to depict me as having more hair than I actually do, that would be a sweet birthday gift as well.

Comments are open!
11 September 2008 @ 09:42 am
I am sure you are all sick of me repeating the story of how I chose the wrong week to vacation in NYC and how I just happened to visit the top of the WTC on the evening of September 10, 2001. So this year I give you instead a video tribute to New York City, the city that's both too hot to handle and too cold to hold:

05 September 2008 @ 02:09 pm

Update: easier to read, thanks altamira16!

01 September 2008 @ 06:12 pm
This fall I am going to India for 3 weeks. It is looking less and less likely that my magnum opus "Making Out With You Killed My Dog" (not actual title) (current status: 22k words) is going to be finished by then, which means that I will need some way to work on it while I am traveling.

To that end, I am considering the purchase of one of these tiny PCs that are in vogue.


Acer Aspire One
pros: cheap, decent keyboard
cons: shitty battery, runs operating systems called "Linpus" which sounds like a kind of infection

Eee PC 900H
pros: pretty cheap
cons: shitty battery, tiny keyboard

Eee PC 1000
pros: good battery
cons: ass-expensive

MSI Wind
pros: nice reviews
cons: unavailable


I guess I am leaning toward the Acer, but I thought I'd ask for suggestions/recommendations, both regarding machine choice and more generally as to whether buying something like this to take to India is a terrible idea.
31 August 2008 @ 09:15 pm
I am hearing lots of complaints about Palin's positions on gay marriage and abortion. The first one I have a lot of trouble getting worked up about, as "should gay people be allowed to get married?" is not in my list of "top 100 crucial public policy issues". The second is indeed an unfortunate position.

HOWEVER, Joe Biden is SO BAD ON DRUGS. And while I'm sure I'm going to lose some LJ-friends for saying so, ANTI-DRUG LAWS ARE (MOSTLY) ISOMORPHIC TO ANTI-ABORTION LAWS. Both are attempts to criminalize voluntary transactions.

In fact, anti-abortion laws are marginally more defendable, as at least it's POSSIBLE to argue that there is a victim being looked out for. (Although it's not an argument that will go anywhere beyond angry shouting and offensive sign-waving.) Whereas when marijuana is grown and bought and sold, THERE ARE NO CONCEIVABLE VICTIMS. NONE.

Furthermore, the sheer scale of the "war on drugs", with its literally MILLIONS of victims, makes any possible "war on abortion" pale in comparison.

Just so I make myself clear, I will repeat. THE WAR ON DRUGS (of which Joe Biden is one of the largest supporters) represents INJUSTICE on a COLOSSAL SCALE. The sequence of events that would lead to a war on abortion characterized by similar levels of injustice is possible in theory (I guess) but AMAZINGLY far from the status quo.

THEREFORE, I must insist that whenever we critically discuss Palin's pro-life credentials and policies, we counterbalance them with an accounting of the MILLIONS OF LIVES THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN OR ARE CURRENTLY BEING RUINED by Joe Biden's WAR ON DRUGS.

That is all.
29 August 2008 @ 11:48 am
25 August 2008 @ 02:35 pm
Q: What do Zig Ziglar, Rudy Giuliani, Suze Orman, and Colin Powell have in common? (Besides funny names and lesbianism, I mean.)

A: They are all participating in some kind of Get Rich Quick seminar at KeyArena today, which means that traffic was abyssmal this morning, and (worse) that the whole neighborhood is overrun with thousands of the kind of people who go to Get Rich Quick seminars.

(Apparently a key element of "Get Rich Quick" is that when the line at Taco del Mar has about 100 people in it and is actually stretching outside the building, you should join the line and stand outside in the rain with your stupid khaki pants and leather folio, rather than looking for somewhere else to eat.)

(If I had realized that this is what KeyArena would be used for in their absence, I might have voted for the Sonics to stay in town. Probably not, though.)

Update: 5:45pm

If I had realized that this meant utter gridlock for miles in every direction at evening rush hour, I would have definitely voted for the Sonics.
23 August 2008 @ 10:15 am
s: so are we very sad today?
candid: we are slightly sad
candid: it's not like it was a good state of affairs pre-biden
s: i'm sorry
s: would you remind me again why you dislike him so much?
candid: he is terrible on drugfs
candid: drugs
candid: he authored the RAVE act
s: and that's the main reason?
candid: and the "defining addiction as a disease" act
candid: he's also terrible on IP
candid: he's in bed with the RIAA
s: yes, i thought i remember you being upset about IP stuff with him
candid: those are the two main reasons
candid: but they are both issues I feel strongly about, and he is actively bad on both
candid: (whereas most policitians are just generally bad)
s: ok, that makes sesne
s: sense
s: in other areas is he about as bad as the other Dems?
candid: yes
candid: he's a pretty mainstream choice
s: ok - thank you for the clarification!
candid: he's just terrible on a couple of my pet causes
s: yeah, it seems like you have a much stronger reaction than most other folks
s: but it makes sense given the items you care about in particular
candid: where is ron paul when we need him
s: poor joel!
s: and how do you feel about McCain?
candid: oh, he is a terrible man
s: i find it interesting that no one's talking about how we really have two dreadful choices here
s: who's really excited about either one of them?
candid: I know lots of people who are excited about obama
s: i think if folks are honest, no one really likes them
candid: seattle is full of them
s: do they mean it, or would they have been excited about almost any Dem?
candid: no, they are extra-excited about obama
candid: he's for "change", and so are they!
candid: it's a match made in heaven!
s: uh-huh
s: oh dear
candid: also, he is black, and they've always wanted to have a black friend!
candid: now they can!
s: heh
s: you're making me giggle
s: it's going to be painful to watch it all this year
s: people don't understand why i won't watch the debates
s: it's because it's too painful
candid: also, biden is a catholic
s: is that a plus or a minus?
s: i guess a minus?
candid: the whore of babylon!
candid: it's a minus
s: uh-huh
candid: he'll take orders from the pope just like jfk did
s: well they're all "Christians " - so is that a minus that cancels out across the board?
candid: obama is a muslim, I thought
21 August 2008 @ 04:51 pm
I used to love this guy when I was a kid, but shamefully I never thought of looking for him on YouTube. Until now:

19 August 2008 @ 03:03 pm
s: so who will Obama pick for VP?
candid: you already asked me this question
s: yes, do you care to revise your answer?
candid: sebelius [this was my original answer]
s: ok, good to know :-)
candid: if it's biden, I'll be very unhappy
s: yes, i know
s: and that's what intrade is predicting i think
candid: "predicting"
s: heh
s: but i know how you feel about him
candid: last I checked he was trading around 0.3
candid: I would interpret that as intrade predicting "not Biden"
s: ok, have you checked recently?
candid: yesterday
s: well, he's ahead of everyone else
s: by a fair bit
candid: he is still trading around 0.3
s: yes
candid: which means "not biden" is trading around 0.7
s: yes
s: i understand how it works
candid: I am just arguing
s: yes, i understand how you work
candid: that biden at 0.3 does not mean the market is predicting biden
s: the market is favor biden over anyone else
candid: sure
candid: the same way that if I buy two lottery tickets and everyone else buys one, I have the highest chance of winning the lottery
s: yes, joel, i understand these things
candid: this is a topic I feel strongly about
s: probability?
s: and properly understanding it?
candid: yes, but more specifically "misinterpretation of prices in prediction markets"
s: ok, fair enough
s: my language was too loose, but i do get the ideas
candid: I guess my hangup
candid: is the "the most likely candidate" does not mean "the likely candidate"
candid: but people tend to talk as if they are the same thing
1. Republicans

This morning, on the radio, I heard the following conversation:

John McCain: I don't believe in negative campaigning.
NPR host: You accused Barack Obama of being [currently] "responsible" for high gas prices.
John McCain: Well, I believe that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
NPR host: [...]
John McCain: I said, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

NOW, one thing that makes America great is that (as long as you fork over approximately 50% of your income as tributes to your elected betters and to poor people and to the politically well-connected, and you don't grow the wrong kinds of plants on your property, and your website doesn't implement a trivial and obvious idea that the patent office gave some troll a worldwide monopoly on) we believe in the right to be left alone.

"Not part of the solution => part of the problem" is an explicit rejection of this principle. Why, I'm not part of the solution to gas prices either. That means I must be part of the problem. And if I'm part of the problem, well, someone had better do something about me.

At least it made me mad enough to get out of bed.

2. Democrats

Barack Obama wants to eliminate income taxes on old people.

c) OLD PEOPLE?!!!!!!!!
d) IF ONE PERSON PAYS TAXES, THEN EVERYONE PAYS TAXES. Seriously. Otherwise I am hopping the first plane to Galt's Gulch.

3. Green Party

I remember when the Green Party was concerned with environmentalism. Then they nominated Cynthia McKinney, who only agrees with three planks of the Green platform:

a) anti-semitism
b) 9/11-truthism
c) crying-racism

If she gets to be on the Today Show this fall, I will be sad.

4. Libertarian Party

Bob Barr's campaign manager keeps sending me emails that (through some trick of the internet) appear to originate @caltech.edu. Stop that! It is very confusing.

5. Natural Law Party

I could really go for some yogic flying right about now.
11 July 2008 @ 09:56 am
(via perich, who only agrees with me on one of these)

(My sole criterion was: if all the movies from this year were on TV at the same time, which one would I watch?)

(Please don't hold it against me that there are two Steven Seagal movies on the list.)

(Man, the 80's were good years for movies.)

(The last several years were very difficult on account of small sample size.)

1974 - The Conversation
1975 - Death Race 2000
1976 - Network
1977 - Annie Hall
1978 - Animal House
1979 - Apocalypse Now
1980 - Airplane!
1981 - The Cannonball Run
1982 - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1983 - Trading Places
1984 - Revenge of the Nerds (there were lots of good choices this year)
1985 - tie: Better Off Dead / Real Genius (I would flip channels back and forth)
1986 - Back to School
1987 - Summer School
1988 - The Naked Gun
1989 - Heathers
1990 - Hard to Kill
1991 - Silence of the Lambs
1992 - Under Siege
1993 - Demolition Man
1994 - Pulp Fiction
1995 - The Usual Suspects
1996 - The Rock
1997 - The Devil's Advocate
1998 - The Truman Show
1999 - The Limey
2000 - Memento
2001 - Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (not because I "think" it's a great movie, but because I watch it every time it comes on tv which de facto makes it my favorite movie for the year)
2002 - Resident Evil
2003 - Pirates of the Caribbean
2004 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (this one actually is a pretty great movie)
2005 - The 40-Year-Old Virgin
2006 - Idiocracy
2007 - Ratatouille
2008 - Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (before you judge me too harshly, know that this is also my least favorite movie of the year)
11 July 2008 @ 07:37 am
Last night we went to a Poker Night event for (a subset of) G's company. After we all drank a bit, they assigned us randomly to tables, then allowed anyone who wanted to switch to the "Novice Table". I briefly considered it, as I've only actually played poker a couple of times and both were 3+ years ago, but I decided to try my luck.

My boss's boss played in the WSOP but got eliminated on Wednesday, so before leaving work I popped into his office and asked him for 3 minutes worth of advice. "Play tight," he told me, and so I did.

I bled money slowly for a number of hands then won big a couple of times right before they combined tables (so much so that I had to have two other people help me carry my chips to new table). Then they started increasing the blinds like mad, and I realized that "play tight" was no longer a good strategy, so I started bluffing a lot. I made it to the final two before realizing that I had absolutely no strategy for playing heads-up poker. A couple of bad decisions later, and I was out.

Still, I got second place, which was good for $100, which is actually more than I made off patrissimo.

The other guy in the finals found it very nervewracking, but I was exceptionally calm (partly because I didn't understand how much money was at stake). Afterward, he asked me, "how do you stay so cool?" "Citalopram", I did not tell him.

Maybe I'll play again in a few years.
15 June 2008 @ 10:21 pm
Thank god we have George W Bush to stand up for the rights of paraplegic fishermen:
At least 25 percent of the railings at fishing piers would have to be no more than 34 inches high, so that a person in a wheelchair could fish over the railing.

At least half of the holes on miniature golf courses must be accessible to people using wheelchairs, and these holes must be connected by a continuous, unobstructed path.

A new swimming pool with a perimeter of more than 300 feet would have to provide “at least two accessible means of entry,” like a gentle sloping ramp or a chair lift.

New playgrounds would have to provide access to slides, swings and other play equipment for children who use wheelchairs.
HOW THE FUCK IS A KID IN A WHEELCHAIR GOING TO USE A SLIDE?! ("Here is our new slide -- at the top it is 12 inches from the ground, and it slopes steeply down to 6 inches at the other end. Be careful on it!")

When I was a kid, we were taught that America was the land of the best and the brightest. The Bush 43 administration, it appears, has a different view:
John L. Wodatch, chief of the disability rights section of the Justice Department, said: “Disability is inherent in the human condition."
This is the notion of "original sin", converted into a $23B executive branch boondoggle.

If I could find the right umbrella organization (especially the one asserting that the "Bowdlerization of Miniature Golf Act" doesn't go far enough), I'd add them to my enemies list in a heartbeat.

(Now I am too angry to sleep.)
29 May 2008 @ 09:04 am
1. The good: this morning I thought about not going to CrossFit, imagined writing a check to the Discovery Institute, and then quickly grabbed my gym bag.

The bad: after CrossFit I went to Tully's and thought, "hey, I'm $25 richer than I would be if I'd skipped CrossFit" and proceeded to spend money with that in mind.

2. For a long time there was a "class picture" hanging on the wall in the hallway near my desk. Every time I turned my head I would see it. And I never much cared for it, because it was taken several months before I started here, and so I was not in it.

Well, many weeks ago someone took it down, which resulted in a bare hook sticking out of the wall, staring me in the face, taunting me every day. This past weekend I could take it no longer, so when we drove by a Goodwill we stopped in the "art" section with the mission: "find the stupidest piece of art in the store".

That is how I came to be in possession of the following cross-stitch:


Which (until someone decides it's unprofessional) now hangs proudly in the hallway at work right near my desk. (My boss noticed it immediately; no one else has said anything.)

I like to imagine that the guy at the top left used to be a bell pepper, the one at the bottom a strawberry. (The artist seems to have left some room for interpretation.)

3. At the time, tagging along on G's business trip to Paris seemed like a great idea, because, hey, mostly-free trip to Paris. (Also, it was a lot of fun.) Now, however, she really wants a vacation, and I don't have much vacation time left (and what I do have I'm trying to save for to go to India in the fall). If only I could come down with some sort of chronic-but-non-debilitating illness. Leprosy, for instance, might require a trip to Hawaii. Hmm...
28 May 2008 @ 03:49 pm
herbaliser: Wednesday June 18th
At Showbox SoDo - 1700 1st Avenue South
Snoop Dogg's West Fest
$35.00 ADV / $40.00 DOS - Doors at 8:30pm - All Ages
candid: if I thought I had a good chance of not getting capped, I might go
herbaliser: if only it was ages 25+
candid: fo shiz
candid: I would respect "WARZONE" a lot more if he spelled his name incorrectly

2. I keep flaking out on going to CrossFit. I should be going to the 7am class on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday, but I keep waking up and thinking "I'm tired" or "my knee hurts" or "I'll go next time", which is plainly unacceptable. To that end, I'm going to adopt the economist's trick and make a deal with myself that each time I skip out on going (with exceptions for work-related stuff or vacation) I'm going to donate $25 to one of my enemies.

To that end, I need an enemies list. I put pen to paper and came up with the following organizations all working to make the world a worse place:

La Raza
Discovery Institute

What else should be on there?

3. Just when I got serious about sitting down and building a PVR (going as far as filling a NewEgg shopping cart with parts), I realized that there's not actually anything on TV I want to watch, which makes the whole exercise a little bit pointless. I guess I could use it for college football in the fall, which would allow me to actually go out and do stuff on Saturday afternoons, although I would sort of miss those cool "At Oklahoma State University, we're rodeoing into the future... in our aerospace engineering department... on the football field... at our glee club... in the women's studies department... " commercials that they're obligated to show at least once a game for each team.

I guess if that's my rationale I can wait for another 3 months of CPU-doubling before I start.

Along similar lines, we are well into Season 4 of "The Wire", which means my Netflix subscription is about to become useless again, unless I can figure out another TV show that's worth watching in sequence. (If you say "Firefly", I will punch you through the internet.)
1. It's astonishingly easy and fun to do Joel Osteen impressions. Whenever I'm flipping channels on a Sunday morning, I always linger on his broadcast for a couple of minutes to practice my Joel Osteen (which is surprisingly similar to my Brother Love).

A few channels later I came across a Barack Obama speech, which was full of many similar cadences and pauses. Now, many years ago I bought a book about the dynamics of preaching in the Black Church, not because I was interested in homiletics as such, but because I was fascinated by the charismatic rhetoric style. Maybe, I figured, Barack Obama joined his nutcase church not because he is a churchy nutcase, nor because he was looking for a father, nor because he needed street cred. Maybe he joined it just so he could learn to speak like a fiery black preacher. (I considered joining such a church for just that reason.)

For what it's worth, he's no Pastor Manning. It would probably be more entertaining if he was.

2. Incidentally, while there is a certain appeal to having a presidential candidate who is from the younger generation, as a last "fuck you" to the baby boomers, this appeal vanishes entirely when said younger candidate makes it a plank of his platform to raise taxes on younger people in order to funnel more and more money to old people. As far as I'm concerned, this makes him an "age traitor".

What's more, I hear that Joe Biden is a front-runner to be his VP. Joe Biden is probably, except for maybe Orrin Hatch, the worst Senator on IP policy, and is also awful on surveillance and drug policy.


(Not that Hillary or McCain would be any better.)

(Is it wrong to pin my hopes on the rumors that Paultards are planning to somehow hijack the RNC? On [shudder] Bob Barr, who is a pretty Johnny-come-lately libertarian? On the possibility of moving to Asia?)

3. With about 15 years in the rearview mirror, it's pretty easy to see that Nirvana basically ruined rock and roll by bringing an end to the hair band era.

Imagine what more we could have gotten from Whitesnake, Warrant, Skid Row, Nelson, Queensryche, Extreme, Poison, Steelheart, Firehouse, Winger, Slaughter, White Lion, Damn Yankees, and Bad English.

What did we get in return? A couple of Nirvarna albums, years and years and years of Eddie Vedder being a blowhard, a bunch of Che worship, and heroin. Smart trade, Einsteins. I blame you, Seattle.