“Mom! You’re Breaking the 4th Wall!”

I have a friend, Becky — (Hi, Becky!) — who describes herself as an ex-hippie.  She dislikes representations of violence, and wouldn’t buy her son video games.

Becky told me today that when he was old enough, her son bought a copy of “Grand Auto Theft.”  She could hear it and wasn’t too happy about it, but it wasn’t against the rules and she let it slide.

Then one day, he had his high-school friends over.  They were all playing Grand Theft Auto, and laughing in a rowdy way.  So she decided she had to do something.

She went to the room.  On the TV there was a little old lady crossing the street.  Her son was at the controls, and he ran her over.  And all the kids laughed.

Becky demanded, “Did you just run that lady over?  Why would you do that to her?  You probably killed her!”  — and continued in this way for about fifteen minutes, as they passed the controller around.

Finally, her son turned it off and said, “Ok, ok, will you just go?”

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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A hypnotist re: The feminist who tells women to settle.

A peculiar newsworthy item, which I will write about with the understanding that this blog post is not aimed at any of my unmarried female friends, or divorced friends, or anybody at all.  The topic, the culture around mate selection strategies, interests me.

This woman writer, who wasn’t on my radar before, but who I’ve probably heard on NPR, has a book out that advises single women who hit 30 to settle.  Marry Him:  The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, by  Lori Gottlieb.

More interestingly, she has a gruesome-funny blog article, quite catty, arguing against a rival author.  This rival apparently contacted her saying, hey, we wrote similarly-themed books; take a look at mine; she said, no thanks; Rival Author wrote Slandarous Lies about her book on Rival Blog; and drama drama drama.

But there’s a hole in her thinking that I find disconcerting. (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on February 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm  Comments (9)  
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Whacko Kills 13: The Real Tragedy Is That This Will Make People Dislike Muslims, Imams Say

killerwhackoYeah, okay; so the guy was under psychological pressure, and it’s a coincidence that he said, “Praise Allah!” just before he opened fire.  Isn’t a strong religious background supposed to help you cope with psychological pressure?

While the media wrings their hands about what a U.S. soldier killing other U.S. soldiers in the name of Allah will make the American public think about Islam, Muslims ideologues tell us how deeply hurt they are that people might think that Allah wants Muslims to murder.  It seems to me these folks are confused:  I’m fine with Allah not wanting Muslims to murder.  They don’t need to tell me; they need to tell people like Major Hasan.

A PowerPoint slide from Major Hasan's presentation.

A PowerPoint slide from Major Hasan’s presentation to the military.  This presentation raised eyebrows, but no red flags.  Officials explained they didn’t want to discriminate.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Rainy Season in Cambodia

It hasn’t been too bad, all together.  But now, toward the end, we’ve gotten the tail-end of a local typhoon.  (In the States we have hurricaines; here they have typhoons.  The nature of the difference eludes me.)

I was at the bar I go to (Mary’s) when the typhoon hit.  It just started pouring.  Several of us were hanging out on the balcony.  Mary’s is a guesthouse, so I rented a room for the night.  Later, I found out that the host had made it on the house; or as the girl put it, “free for you.”

It rained so much that the river overflowed.  As of Saturday, this was the view from Mary’s:


The sanitation engineering is very basic in Siem Reap, so I don’t really want to think about what this girl is walking through.  The host on the day I took this photo said the previous night he’d pulled a leech from between his toes. (more…)

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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Beck-FOX death toll begins: FED slaying

Well, what did you think was going to happen?

After months of pumping incoherent rage into the media, some of Beck’s more loyal followers, some inbred-Jed types — who don’t understand that Beck is owned by FOX, which is owned by big business, and that the goal is not to tell the truth, but to torpedo health care reform — have taken action.

Let’s back up a moment.  Let’s see how we got here.

How have the conservatives run the country into the ground?  Let us count the ways:

  1. Started a needless war in Iraq for oil, on false WMD claims.
  2. …which siphoned military force away from the war that was about terrorism, in Afganistan.
  3. Ruthlessly de-commissioned government regulation of American business.
  4. Taxed the rich less, in order to…
  5. Cut government spending that benefitted the poor, while…
  6. Increasing government spending that benefitted U.S. businesses, which in combination with the Iraq war resulted in…
  7. The creation of ballooning national debt.
  8. So these “pro-business” policies caused the U.S. economy to implode, at which point the GOP had no choice but to…
  9. Spend trillions of dollars to bail out the companies that created the problems.
  10. And there’s some other stuff in there, about turning Federal criminal inquiries into a political tool, imprisoning people with no trial, torturing them, and (oh yes) appointing people to positions of great responsibility (running FEMA, sitting on the Supreme Court) because they’re old friends or support Bush, without regard for their competence or ability.

Finally, after eight years of cluster-fuck-ism, the nation has the audacity of electing a progressive moderate President, who is what a conservative ex-military acquaintance of mine quite candidly calls a nigger.

And Beck and his ilk spew lies villifying Obama and the Democratic party.  Obama is an Arab; he’s a terrorist.  Obama isn’t really an American citizen.  The Democrats want to create death panels.  They want to control what doctors you see.

And now we apparently have Inbred Jeds in Kentucky killing some guy and scrawling FED into his chest because he works for the U.S. Census.

It looks to me like this killing needs to be laid at Beck’s feet.  Beck didn’t do it, but he is the public face of the propaganda machine that created the anti-Federal sentiment that lead to the killing.

We really need to start getting a grip on the truth in this country.  The GOP managed to gang-rape the economy in the first place with repeated lies, about just about anything:  The swift boat thing, for example.

And the problem is that the news media play the lies without calling them out as lies.  Because they’re supposed to be “objective.”  Because being “objective” means being respectfully servile to anything that a politician says, even when it’s a lie.  And the GOP know how to use that.

So, now people are killing Census workers and carving “FED” into their chests.  Great, guys.  Congratulations, Beck.  You must be very satisfied to know that the hatred and lies you’ve been vomiting into the airwaves are working so well.


Published in: Uncategorized on September 25, 2009 at 11:45 am  Comments (2)  
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Health Care: Making a Killing in the Free Market

In general, this blog isn’t about politics.  But let me get this straight–

The Problem

America has about the best medical technology in the world, and the best doctors, and we have about the worst citizen’s health in the first world.  Because we allow insurance companies to suck sick people dry, chew them up, and spit them out.  In some cases, ambulences take sick people without health insurance out of hospitals and drop them off on a curb in the slums.  Old people smuggle legal drugs in from Canada.


Now the Republicans tell us that if we were to change this, we would be rationing health care.  Because what we have now isn’t “rationing.”  Currently we give health care to — we treat — people who can afford it.  People who can’t afford it, we don’t.  And that’s not “rationing” because (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Problems with Face

Cultures are generally complex, and I’m not interested in rating them, in saying one is superior to the other.  But I am interested in that kind of cultural troubleshooting which is so popular in the West, and which is done by both progressives and conservatives.

And in my reading of biographies written by U.N. social workers, I’m noticing a pattern.

Something inexplicible happens, very often, when young women and girls enter into prostitution.  A little over a third of the time, I seem to notice this pattern.

The girl — I’ll stick with that term because they’re very rarely of age — is tricked or forced into sex-work.  She’s promised work as a seamstress in another village for good money, and then shipped to a brothel; or she’s abducted; or she chooses to prostitute herself because she needs money, often to pay for medical treatment for a sick parent.

Sometimes her madam, who might be an aunt or other relative, pays her monthly as a means of keeping her dependant; and then sometimes refuses to pay her at the end of the month, or doesn’t pay the agreed wage.

Sometimes, she’s just molested or raped, and it has nothing to do with money.

After that, what we’ll call the initial contact, she very often may escape the (usually exploitative) situation and return home.  Then, inexplicably, she starts looking for work as a prostitute. (more…)

Rifqa Bary’s Interview

I have a strong suspicion that this kid


is lying. And the way she hangs on that guy — who I’m guessing is Lorenz, the married conservative Christian church leader to whose household she fled and in which household she was secretly sequestered during a frantic search for her by officials and her parents — there’s something about the way she hangs on that guy I don’t like.

It is technically true that anyone who converts out of Islam (an apostate) is supposed to be killed, but it isn’t done much in the first world. I imagine that when it is done, in modern society, the motivations wouldn’t be purely theological, but it would be the culmination of a domestic dispute.

But, be that as it may, this kid is very close to being incoherent. Her hysteria looks put-on. While I think some of the social norms of Islam are a big problem for secular society — they may be actually incompatible with our version of civilization — it looks to me like she’s playing to mainstream bias against Muslims.

She may have good reason to want to get away from her parents; but it doesn’t look to me like she’s being straight about them.

Also she looks like a wingnut. I can see the parents might not be too pleased.

And, for what it’s worth, I’ve met a few people with profoundly deep faith in Christ. None of them behaved like that.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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