Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Quote of the Day

Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon says, really, everything that needs to be said on the policy end of VBL Day:

The two possible reactions to 9/11 were to exploit the situation to start conducting a bunch of fruitless wars that would only instigate more hatred towards the U.S. as we racked up civilian casualties, and to limit our response to police actions to nab important terrorist leaders while supporting democratic movements throughout the Middle East.  Liberals have always supported the latter (except for a few featherheads who really did suggest a do-nothing strategy, but they were always a teeny tiny minority), and we were right.  We told you so.  We were right.  And I’m not going to let pointless scolding about “civility” stop me from saying so.  We were right.  Our preferred strategy got Bin Laden.  Our preferred strategy is what is causing change in the Middle East.  We’re not getting what we want by conquering nations, but by recognizing the autonomous desires and abilities of people all around the world.  We were right.

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If you read one thing I wish I’d written on Libya

Really, it’s very much worth reading the whole thing. It’s balanced and interesting. This graf, though, is worth printing out and taping up somewhere.

This is particularly a problem because there is no good option in Libya: with respect to UN intervention, both “nothing” and “something” are completely terrible. And you need to understand that I understand that, because otherwise — no matter how I say what I will eventually say about it — you may mistake me for someone who is in the business of not only predicting the future, but of demanding that a particular course of action, based on my particular insight into events, is the right one. You will mistake me for someone who is under the illusion that “if I were president” is a useful premise for commentary. It’s not, and I’m not doing that. I’m watching the news day-by-day, reading aboutthepast and revising my opinion as I get more information. “When the facts change, I change my opinion,” as Keynes supposedly said; “What do you do, sir?”

Please, though, do go on and read the whole thing. That’s just a teaser from the introduction, and I mostly quoted it because “there are no good options” is my political philosophy in a nutshell.

Intravenous Platitudes

Greeting Cards for the Dreary (c)

Make the pictures in your mind
because
drawings could be difficult

Insert Image Here x13

1. Some people live life through telescopes
and some through microscopes
but most live through toilet paper tubes.

2. What’s your STDatus?

3. LIFE ISN”T ABOUT FINDING YOURSELF.
LIFE IS ABOUT CHEATING YOURSELF.

4. Say “no” a thousand times.

5. If you tread water long enough
you’ll drown later

6. Take me to your feeders

7. Tell me you love me
but take your time

8. I miss your glancing blows.

9. Happy Birthweek.

10. Stop following me.

11. If you’d only stop reminding me
you’re pregnant.

12. Go home and fall asleep.

13. We cream as we cry
with foam.

I can’t draw either, but it’s still fun to try

This is a great piece by Roger Ebert on the value of creating art for yourself, no matter how rudimentary. I strongly suggest you read it if you ever feel the urge to draw (or dance or sing or take pictures or play with sidewalk chalk). But in the event that free time is currently lacking, here are some wonderful tidbits which I think present a compelling case for making your own art:

The break in our childish innocence comes the first time we use an eraser. We draw a chin and think it looks nothing like a chin, and in frustration we erase it. That’s it. Our bond of trust with our artistic instinct has been severed. We will be erasing for the rest of our lives. I speak here not of great and accomplished artists, for whom I hold great awe, but for you and me, whose work, let’s face it, will not soon be given a gallery show.

What you draw is an invaluable and unique representation of how you saw at that moment in that place according to your abilities. That’s all we want. We already know what a dog really looks like.

 

In Paris, London, Venice, Cannes, I found corners to establish myself. I published a book about Cannes that was illustrated with my deeply flawed sketches — but they were perfect, you see, because they recorded faithfully whatever I drew at that time and that place. That was the thing no one told me about. By sitting somewhere and sketching something, I was forced to really look at it, again and again, and ask my mind to translate its essence through my fingers onto the paper. The subject of my drawing was fixed permanently in my memory. Oh, I “remember” places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. I could tell you about sitting in a pub on Kings’ Road and seeing a table of spike-haired kids starting a little fire in an ash tray with some lighter fluid. I could tell you, and you would be told, and that would be that. But in sketching it I preserved it. I had observed it.

I found this was a benefit that rendered the quality of my drawings irrelevant. Whether they were good or bad had nothing to do with their most valuable asset: They were a means of experiencing a place or a moment more deeply … Conscious thought was what I had to escape, so I wouldn’t think, Wait! This doesn’t look anything like that tree! or I wish I knew how to draw a tree! I began to understand why Annette said finish every drawing you start. By abandoning perfectionism you liberate yourself to draw your way. And nobody else can draw the way you do.

As I will be the first to admit, I cannot “draw” worth a damn in the conventional sense. But every now and then I find intense delight in picking up my trusty box of 64 Crayolas and just going nuts on a blank piece of paper. The few drawings that I have incorporated into my journal are some of my favorite things to share with others, not because they will impress them, but because they are unique representations of me that could not have been created by anybody but me.

With that in mind, go out and create something for yourself; and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!

 

Sorry

I really do have thoughts and opinions on things, but you’ll note that once Tim and I both got full time jobs, the number of posts here dropped dramatically. Lately, the most I’ve been able to do is choose a quote and add maybe one or two lines about it. Which, thankfully, is what tumblr was designed for. Mostly, it’s been reproductive rights, since HR3 is, basically, the most degrading piece of legislation to come out of congress since the Fugitive Slave Act.

I should, god willing/inshallah/knock wood be posting some thoughts on The New Jim Crow in the next couple days. I borrowed it from my girlfriend, and read it all in one sitting, and would like to revisit some parts of it. In short, if you care about ideas like “justice” and “citizenship,”  you need to read this book.

Don’t ever “skip” a loan payment

It’s the holiday season and, odds are, your bank (pretty much every bank does this) has sent you a letter about skipping this month’s loan payment. Don’t ever, ever, ever do it.

Why? you ask.

Because skipping a payment isn’t like skipping school. Truancy days don’t have to be made up. Loan payments do.

Sure, the banks will make it look like the amount due in December is forgiven – our flier says something akin to “just send back this form telling us that you want to miss a payment for $49.95, and we’ll take care of the rest” – but all that happens is the amount owed for that month gets added to the end of the loan along with any interest accrued on it and the $49.95 fee. In other words, they take the amount you are skipping off the original loan and tack it on that end.

Of course, the small print says this. But I looked at the small print, and it wasn’t until the second or third line that it actually says you are still liable for the original amount of the loan. I consider myself to be an intelligent guy, and I had to study the letter to actually find these details. An witting person is going to see “skip a payment” and think that the banks are doing them a favor at the holidays. Now, common sense would indicate that this is too good to be true (because it is). But you would be surprised how many people actually “take advantage” of this option.

The truth is, if you need some extra cash at the holidays and can’t afford to pay on your loan, simply missing a payment will be cheaper for the vast majority of people. Most late charges cost far less than $49.95, and the hit to your credit is minor, especially if it’s a long-term loan such as a mortgage.

Since most of the people who view this are probably younger and don’t have much outside of student loans, this is just a little advice worth tucking away for future reference.

There are no words.

Look at this story, and think about what it does to a city.  Especially if that city already has some pretty stark racial and class divisions. Especially if there was already one pretty bloody desegregation lawsuit. Especially if that city has significant engineering and medical sectors.

Think about that.